BBC Proms 2022: Amjad Ali Khan – a stunning begin to the day

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ndian classical music has been often carried out on the BBC Proms since 1971, however it’s normally been at late night (or all evening) live shows. Yesterday it was within the morning, so a uncommon likelihood to listen to morning ragas carried out on the apposite time of day. It marked the seventy fifth anniversary of independence (August 15) and the gamers devoted it to Mahatma Ghandi’s “message of peace and non violence”, presumably referring to Ukraine.

Amjad Ali Khan is India’s foremost sarod participant and he was joined by his two sons Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash. The sarod is a plucked stringed instrument, much less jangly than the sitar with a transparent, lyrical and muscular tone. The live performance started with Amaan and Ayaan enjoying an introductory raga with percussionists Sanju Sahai (on tabla) and Pirashanna Thevarajah (on double-headed mridangam drum).

It’s at all times exhausting to outline what makes a morning raga, however Lalit has an odd and unsettling tonality, which appeared like waking up disoriented and slowly getting one’s thoughts into focus to seek out ribbons of coherent scales and eventually a pulsating rhythm to face the day. Indian recitals at all times go from sluggish improvisation exploring the raga right into a mid tempo composition with rhythmic accompaniment, with a virtuoso climax on the finish.

Amjad Ali Khan was joined by his sons Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash

/ Mark Allan

The introductory piece lasted about quarter-hour after which Ayaan stated “Let’s skip to the great half” and launched their father to the stage. Whereas the sons have been wearing darkish blue, Amjad, aged 76, was in magisterial crimson and performed two solo items. He’s instructed me that improvisations are simply of the second after which misplaced in time – which is what many individuals like about them. So his improvisations have been brief whereas the compositional elements have been longer, as he feels these are a legacy he can move on. The raga he performed, Miyan ki Todi, was supposedly created by sixteenth century Mughal musician Miyan Tansen whose tomb is in Gwalior, the ancestral house of Amjad’s household.

And there’s a direct musical hyperlink right here as he was educated within the Senia gharana (faculty) created by Tansen’s disciples. The mid-tempo part of this raga was the spotlight of the live performance – totally of melody, slowly drawing you in in order that the smallest gestures have a dramatic impact. At one second there was a stunning slide up the metallic fingerboard of the instrument like an irrepressible yelp of enjoyment. Beautiful.

Amjad added a brief vocal piece so the finale with all three gamers was reduce brief and what we heard, with imitative phrases between father and sons, sounded a bit an excessive amount of like a sarod lesson. Nevertheless it was a spectacular lesson and earned a standing ovation all the identical.

BBC Proms 2022 run to September 10; bbc.co.uk/proms


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