I found this beautiful veena recital-brochure in the Peter van Hoboken papers at Radio Netherlands, a small, but very fine collection I try to write about now and then. Inside pages of the veena recital-brochure (click on the picture to enlarge, twice for extra large)
I don’t know how Van Hoboken did get this folder, but it seems to me it was either sent to him or he visited a concert of veena maestro S. Balachander himself. Neither the date, nor the location of the concert recital are mentioned, but I guess it was used to inform an audience in India, since the folder was printed in Madras.
OMG, fantaaastic! I can watch this clip all day!!!
Amazing footage of the greatest veena genius, S. Balachander. In this set he’s playing a garland of ragas. There’s some funny moments as well, revealing a bit more of his personality. His playing is monumental and totally unique. Soo inspiring and uplifting to watch this. I think serious, improvising musicians from all over the world – regardless of their musical and cultural background – will easily get inspired by this stupendous veena playing.
A beautiful example on YouTube of the mellifluous voice of Kaushiki (Desikan-)Chakrabarty, she must be very young here. Ajoy Chakrabarty – her father and also her guru – explains and plays harmonium. Yogesh Samsi is playing tabla.
Peter van Hoboken in his office at Radio Netherlands
From here I’d like to refer to these documents as the Radio Netherlands Hoboken Collection, abbreviated as RNHC. My find in January 2002 of a unique recording by Radio Netherlands in 1957 of sitarist Ravi Shankar already illustrated the great value of Peter van Hoboken, who organised this recording. As an adept of Indian classical music and dance Van Hoboken organised recordings of concerts in The Netherlands and he produced many Radio Netherlands programmes on Indian classical music.
At this point I want to proceed with some interesting documents I found among the RNHC, concerning radiotalks done in 1950 by world famous dutch ethnomusicologist Arnold Bake (1899-1963), radiotalks Bake did in english and hindi about the musical life and culture of India, recorded for the Radio Netherlands Transcription Service to be distributed to presumably India and Surinam for broadcasts by stations over there. What I found of these radiotalks is only paperwork, Bake’s typed scripts along with his handwritten corrections. Unfortunately, the recorded tapes can’t be found in the Radio Netherlands Audio Archives, as these were sent to stations outside Holland, the main task of the Transcription Service.
It’s a great pity the recordings of Bake can’t be found in the archives of Radio Netherlands. I’ve asked Felix van Lamsweerde and they’re not in his Van Hoboken Collection. I would assume that they could have been stored in the Arnold Bake Archives, kept at the University of Leiden, but Felix and another expert, Fred Gales, told me that the collection over there contains only papers of radiotalks and not recordings. So, if not in Hilversum and not in Leiden, where can they be? Did the Radio Netherlands Transcription Service sent them to All India Radio and/or to Surinam or are they kept somewhere at the University of London’s School of Oriental & African Studies where Bake lectured? At this point I can’t believe they’re lost. I hope they can be found somewhere, as I’d like to hear how the scripts I found in Hilversum come alive in a radio transmission with Bake’s voice and with the music he talks about.
The radiotalk-script I like to present here contains Bake’s thougths on India’s world famous writer, poet, philosopher and Nobelprize winner Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941), in particular on ‘Tagore and his music’ and when I publish this it’s 7 May 2011, precisely the 150th birthday of Tagore. So, yes, this update on the RNHC took me too long, but I think I’m right on time with presenting these particular papers. 🙂
scriptpage 1, click a few times on the photo to enlarge
scriptpage 2, click a few times on the photo to enlarge
scriptpage 3, click a few times on the photo to enlarge
scriptpage 4, click a few times on the photo to enlarge
Let me add that I consider my short writings here on the RNHC as a work in progress. I don’t wanna pretend that I know all the details or have all the answers. That would be stupid and a false claim. If someone sees mistakes or things I overlook or has interesting additional information, please let me know.
* Radio Netherlands and Peter van Hoboken’s son Alexander have given me permission to publish these documents and write about them.
Morning raga Bhairavi, beautifully sung by Keserbai Kerkar. It’s one of the recordings travelling through space with the Voyager Spacecraft, launched in 1977. I once made a two part-special for the Concertzender concerned with this idea of a musical space message. All the Voyager music was broadcasted in part 1. Part 2 featured my own musical space message: great music from all over the world, representing basic human emotions. I didn’t receive any alien response 🙂