Raga Unveiled – ambitious cinematic effort to grasp the essence of Hindustani classical music

I reported earlier on ‘Raga Unveiled’, an ambitious cinematic effort to take a look at the history and essence of the Hindustani classical music system. In this film – directed by Gita Desai and released in 2009 – scholars and great artists of today unveil the raga and demonstrate evrything you always would have liked to know about Indian classical music.
Here’s the trailer:

For anyone interested in raga music this 260 minute-film is a ‘must’ and of course it’s needless to say that you should see and buy the film on dvd in much better quality.

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Valja’s ‘wake up’-call! :)


Deep commitment and musical depth during Valentina Lisitsa’s Rachmaninoff Project, but there was also lots of funny moments… here’s just one of them. Filmed by me in London, December 2009, Abbey Road Studios.

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Valentina Lisitsa plays Rachmaninoff #1 in Duisburg & Köln in December 2010

Some stunning playing in this blog by Valentina Lisitsa. Two recordings of the cadenza in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #1: first a solotake filmed by me, then another take of this cadenza – filmed by Val’s husband Alexei Kuznetsoff and at that point with the LSO around 🙂 Both takes filmed at Abbey Road Studios, London, September 2009.
In December 2010 Valentina plays the Rachmaninoff piano concerto #1 twice in Germany with the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste: in Duisburg on 9 December and in Köln on 10 December.


An exquisite solotake – filmed by me – of the cadenza in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.1


And another exquisite take – filmed by Alexei, and now ’rounded’ by the LSO at start and finish 🙂 – of the cadenza in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.1

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Texan teen Sarah Jarosz is a huge talent

In the press she’s been called (Gillian) ‘Welch’s lost young daughter’ 🙂 Bluegrass-country-folk songwriter Sarah Jarosz – a Texan teen, born in 1991 – is still very young and a huge talent. Her breakthrough album ‘Song Up In Her Head’, released in the summer of 2009, was now given a five star ‘top of the world’-review in Songlines (September 2010) by reviewer Rose Skelton who uses superlatives like ‘supertalent’, ‘fabulous moments’ and ‘exceptional piece of work’. On YouTube I found this track from Sarah Jarosz’s celebrated album, titled Shankill Butchers, a song she covered from The Decemberists. All the other tracks she wrote herself. Great to hear this new young talent.

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22-5-10: not to be missed recital by world class pianist Valentina Lisitsa in Leiden

On Saturday 22 May 2010 electrifying world class classical pianist Valentina Lisitsa is performing in Leiden, The Netherlands. She’s gonna play an exciting and daring programme: two Beethoven Sonatas (the ‘Mondschein’ and the very complicated ‘Hammerklavier’) and all(!) 24 etudes of Chopin. For more information on the location and sale of tickets, click here. On Friday 28 May she will perform the Rachmaninoff / Warenberg 5th Piano Concerto (European premiere) with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Both concerts are really a must for evry lover of classical piano playing.

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Valentina Lisitsa during a rehearsal in the Abbey Road Studios, London, December 2009 (photo: Pieter de Rooij)

I consider Valentina Lisitsa a once-in-a-generation pianist and one of the best classical pianists ever. To illustrate my words I’ll present below ten videos of Valentina that show the immense range of her musical powers. Most of these videos are from her Youtubechannel, which is actually the world’s best visited channel of a classical pianist. I also would like to refer to my Youtube video-documentary on Valentina’s Rachmaninoff recording project with the London Symphony Orchestra that can be found on my Youtubechannel, along with other videos I made last year in London of Valentina talking and playing. If you live in Holland and you like classical piano then don’t miss this great opportunity to hear the one and only Valentina Lisitsa live on stage in May 2010 in Leiden and Rotterdam.

1. Rachmaninoff / Etude Tableau Op 39 No. 6 “Little Red Riding Hood

2. Liszt / Totentanz

3. Rachmaninoff / Piano Concerto No.2 minus orchestra, 2nd movement

4. Rachmaninoff / Piano Concerto No.1, 1st movement, Cadenza (my recording)

5. Chopin / Etude Op 25 No.12

6. Chopin / Etude Op. 25 No. 6

7. Chopin / Etude Op 25 No.7

8. Schubert/Liszt / Schwanengesang #13, Die Taubenpost

9. Balakirev / Islamey

10. Robert Schumann / Traumerei

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Review: kleurrijk Darbar Festival fotoboek

Een review in Mixed No. 9, zomer 2009 over ‘Darbar Arts Culture Heritage’, een kleurrijk fotoboek over het jaarlijks in Engeland plaatsvindende Darbar Festival, het grootste ragamuziekfestival buiten India.

Klik enkele keren op de foto om de review te vergroten en te lezen.
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Uit het fotoboek een foto van zangeres Kaushiki Chakrabarty tijdens haar optreden op het Darbar Festival 2008.
ragasinger Kaushiki Chakrabarty performing at the Darbar Festival 2008

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Indiase muziek: recensies van Pieter de Rooij uit 2009

Mijn recensies uit 2009 in het blad Mixed met betrekking tot Indiase muziek. Besproken worden:
* Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia – An audience with
* Pushparaj Koshti – Surbahar
* Rahul Sharma – Santoor
* Rajan and Sajan Misra – Benares
* Kalapini Komkali – Sacred Breath
* Najma Akhtar & Gary Lucas – Rishte
Klik op de foto -en daarna nog enkele keren om verder te vergroten- om de recensies te lezen.

mixed-2009-reviews

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Carnatic singer T.M. Krishna in ‘Gharana’ 31-07-09 on Concertzender

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On Friday 31 July 2009, from 21.00 to 22.30 PM (dutch time), Gharana – my Concertzender programme on raga musicians and their performing tradition – features singer T.M. Krishna (b.1976) from Chennai (formerly Madras), one of the young top performers in carnatic -or South Indian- raga music. He’s known for his glowing voice and Continue reading

Radio: Gharana, 29 May 2009 / Ravikiran: brilliant slider on the chitravina

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On Friday 29 May -from 21.00 to 22.30 PM, dutch time- there’ll be a broadcast of a new episode of Gharana, my programme on Indian classical music for Holland’s finest musicstation, the Concertzender. This time the programme focuses on Chitravina N. Ravikiran (b.1967), a celebrated musician in South Indian carnatic music. He has been labeled ‘the Mozart of India’ by critics. He’s a virtuoso on a lute called the chitravina. It’s the world’s oldest fretless slide instrument still being played. Ravikiran was a prodigy and he became famous already at the age of two Continue reading