LAKSHMINARAYANA SUBRAMANIAM (b.1947): Concerto for Indian Violin and Tuba, Journey, Eclipse, A Tribute to Bach.
Catalogue Number: 08U054
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: Dr. Lakshminarayana Subramaniam is quite the global phenomenon - star of innumerable Indian music and world music concerts, festivals and recordings, and a leading practitioner and virtuoso in the South Indian (Carnatic) violin tradition. As long ago as the 1980s he immersed himself in Western musical traditions, and started combining his traditional style with numerous Western soloists and ensembles, including the symphony orchestra - all part of his concept of 'Global Fusion'. This kind of crossover World Music is in a way an easy way in to the richness, unfamiliarity and complexity of Indian music for those who don't feel ready to attend an all-night concert by Indian musicians. The immensely attractive double concerto was written at the request of Subramaniam's co-soloist (the tuba not being a frequent participant in Carnatic music). What the composer has done, with great skill, is to provide a framework of voluptuous orchestral exposition of his material, which sounds not unlike aspects of minimalism or film music, and then introduce the characteristic variation style of Indian music, with the passing back and forth of elaborated material between soloists. The Indian tuning of the violin - fifths doubled at the octave - lends itself to rich double-stopped textures characteristic of Subramaniam's style of playing, and Baadsvik's nimble tuba playing is a surprisingly apt partner in the game of imitative ornamented dialogue. The presence of the mridangam - the double-headed Indian drum, a versatile rhythm section in itself - and the tambura drone, provide additional local color. The shorter pieces from earlier years, which must be arrangements as Subramaniam and Baadsvik first met in 2014, are in similar vein, but with a synthesizer substituted for full orchestral opulence, again with the soloists exchanging virtuosically ornamented versions of the material. The astonishingly flexible vocals of Kavita Krishnamurti (which would of course be more authentic than the tuba in Carnatic music!) lend an additional, extraordinary tone colour to the admittedly rather crazy-diamondesque Eclipse, and the lively Tribute to Bach is a Brandenburgian romp, irresistibly jaunty and toe-tapping. Lakshminarayana Subramariam (violin), Øystein Baadsvik (tuba), Trondheim Symphony Orchestra; Jaakko Kuusisto.