From The Audio CD
Artist Images Courtesy – Gautam Rajadyaksha
Catlogue No: 88697199692
Format: Audio CD
Legends Forever is a series of definitive albums from Sony BMG Music that is a tribute to artists comprising the genius of Indian Classical Music of the modern world. These are the doyens, whose repertoire amasses colossal proportions. Including the most talented vocalists and instrumentalists, this collection salutes the stalwarts who have given the genre its current stature,
Indian Classical Music has one of the most complex and complete musical systems ever developed. Having it’s origins in the Sama Veda, it developed as a form of meditation and discipline, initially meant for the elite. Under the regal patronage of successive dynasties, this form of art flourished to create a tresorie of culture, a heritage that is deservedly considered the most formidable in the world.
Over centuries, Indian Classical Music has been developed by musicians who dedicated their lives to the discovery of music. These are geniuses who delved into the intricacies of a raga, played with its nuances and created further musical marvels.
Legends Forever is a series of definitive albums from Sony BMG Music that is a tribute to artists comprising the genius of Indian classical Music of the modern world. These are the doyens, whose repertoire amasses colossal proportions. Including the most talented vocalists and instrumentalists, this collection salutes the stalwarts who have given the genre its current stature. What each artist has created belongs to the realm of the eternal, traversing time and space. For that, indeed, is the essence of art.
This series is therefore an attempt to introduce successive generations of musicians and enthusiasts to the richness of India’s musical legacy. It is to sustain a cultural wealth that exemplifies the artistic prosperity of India, a land where music implies a way of life.
A legend is a marvel, a prodigy. They also say that a legend is a star. Bringing together the best of the best, this series is, in fact, an entire constellation.
With the passing away of Ustad Bismillah Khan, the rich world of Indian music has been rendered poorer. His inventiveness, his purity of intonation and delicacy of touch were what his genius was made of. This album includes the famous rendition of ‘Raghupati Raghav Rajaram’ as well as a 5-minute speech by the Ustad himself.
Just as we cannot think of Michaelangelo without thinking of the city of Florence, we cannot think of Ustad Bismillah Khan, without thinking of the ancient city of Varanasi, situated on the banks of the Ganga. Born on March 21, 1916 in Dumraon, in the state of Bihar in India, Bismillah Khan went to Varanasi to study under his uncle, Ustad Ali Bux at the tender age of seven. Since then he lived in this holiest of holy cities all his life. All the men in his family were players of Shehnai, a kind of double-receded oboe, which in those days was considered an instrument of minor importance in the hierarchy of Indian musical instruments. His uncle played the Shehnai in the most important temple in the city, the temple of Kashi vishwanath, and young Bismillah joined him as an accompanist.
The Shehnai was an instrument of festivity, heralding all auspicious moments, used to unity worshippers in a temple, to welcome a bride to her home or to celebrate the birth of a son. It was rarely considered at that time as an instrument that was capable of producing the subtle and delicate cadences of classical raga music. Bismillah Khan, whose name means in the name of God’, changed all that.
With precocity and musical inventiveness, the Ustad gave to Shehnai a sound that paralleled the human voice, both in passion and integrity. His technique of interpretation was as good as that of any singing voice. Under his fingers, the Shehnai grew to equal established concert instruments. Audiences listened with attention and absorption to his various Ragas. The Shehnai had arrived in Indian classical music and its one and only maestro was Bismillah Khan. He had a style that had a provocative purity of intonation. His musical expertise was immence, his elaboration of a Raga meticulous in detail and structure. The Bismillah Meend, a kind of portmanteau, which included in its transit all the intermediate frequencies between each note, became a signature of his instrument. It is the delicacy of touch; a gentleness and warmth that is almost healing that were the hallmarks of his style.
Needless to say, Ustad Bismillah Khan has been hailed as one of the greatest musicians of India. And in his passing away, the rich world of music has been rendered poorer by the one. He has been the recipient of several prestigious awards – the Sangeet Natak Academy award for Hindustani Instrumental Music (The National Academy of Arts, Music and Dance), the Padma Shree, the Padma Bhushan, the Padma Vibhushan as well as India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna. Despite these laurels, Bismillah Khan remained a humble man, who lived for his two supreme loves – the shehnai and the Ganga.
• Raga shudh kalyan
• Raga shankara
• Thumri in raga khamaj
• Dhun in raga shivranjani
• Raghupati raghav rajaram
• Speech – ustad bismillah khan
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