Music, unplugged and pure

Jun 17, 2014, 10:08 IST | Kanika Sharma

Rahul Bharadwaj, a trained singer in Indian as well as Western Classical traditions will be performing with the pianist, Chris Williams in a unique format — expressing poetry through music, today

Q. Could you tell us about your upcoming performance, Verse: A Voice and Piano Recital and its relevance in today’s times?
A. The voice and piano format is far closer to our intimate baithak set-up in Hindustani music than it is to the large orchestras we associate with Western Classical music. What makes this new for us is that we are unaccustomed to listening to any music without electronic amplification or interference. For over 80 years, public performances of Hindustani music have been performed almost exclusively through amplification. When you have to reach a large audience in spaces that are not designed acoustically, amplification is a measure we are forced to take. I studied Hindustani music for 15 years. It was not until I moved to the Western Classical format that I realised that technique is what allows the human body to amplify and project sound naturally. There is always something vital lost when electronics come between the singer and the listener. While microphones and speakers make music easier to hear, we lose audible components that are not obvious. We need to retire terrible speakers and listen to real human voices and instruments. Western Classical music is my chosen pathway, but this is true for all music.

Rahul Bharadwaj Music artiste
Rahul Bharadwaj Music artiste

Q. What drew you to the Western Classical music tradition after being trained in Indian Classical?
A. I’ve always loved both the forms. My wonderful teacher, Mrs. Tara Kini, introduced me to the world of Hindustani, and I loved every opportunity to sing. But it was only as an adult that I had an opportunity to train in Western Classical. I think I fell in love with it when I took a course in music history and literature. Framing music in context to the lives of people who listened to it and those who composed it, made it relevant to my life. I have been accepted in the Masters programme at the Trinity-Laban Conservatoire, beginning this September. I’m still looking for funding for my studies and these recitals are part of that endeavour.

Pianist Chris Williams with vocalist Rahul Bharadwaj performing Orpheus
Pianist Chris Williams with vocalist Rahul Bharadwaj performing Orpheus

Q. In terms of your performance Verse — where poetry is expressed in music — which pieces have
been selected?
A. Much like an album, every piece in Verse has been chosen as an integral part of the recital. The works in totality portray a development of the art-song genre over 300 years from 1640 to 1950. People are often surprised when they recognise poetry like Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Vagabond or Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach.

ON: Today, 7 pm
AT: Experimental Theatre, NCPA, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point.
CALL: 22824567/66223724

Go to top