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Blog Archive: August 2017

70th Anniversary of partition and the unifying call of music

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Categories: eclectic music, inspiring music, live performance, world music
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Marking the 70th anniversary of partition and independence on the Indian subcontinent by celebrating three contrasting traditions: Hindustani music of North India, South India’s melody-driven Carnatic music and the mesmeric Sufi music of Pakistan.

I have been saddened, as I have been reading and watching programmes about Indian Independence, by the realisation of how little I have been aware of the devastating effects of partition on that country.

As a clarinettist, I have been involved in performances with North Indian Musicians and enjoyed the company of musicians, dancers and narrators both through playing music with them and enjoying their hospitality. Anyone involved with Indian musicians will appreciate their generosity of spirit. Sharing chai, food and music, often in that order, is an integral part of creating music together.

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Contemporary composers: pretentious and tuneless

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Categories: british composers, composing today, contemporary classical music, music profession

A recent poll carried out by YouGov for the Symphony Hall Birmingham revealed that over 80% of those asked are of the opinion that classical music must change or wither.
Among views collected was this observation that the music of contemporary composers does less than nothing to draw in new concert-goers.
OK, so since when was a pile of bricks, or half a cow in formaldehyde or an unmade bed not unpretentious and out of tune with Joe public?

How about contemporary theatre – that can be shocking or incomprehensible; and who hasn’t described contemporary dance as angular or inelegant.

What is the purpose of contemporary art and the role of contemporary artists if it is not to refect, challenge and celebrate contemporary life?
Or, do the arts exist only to entertain, provide distraction and blot out the real world?

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