Rabindranath Tagore songs at Munich music fest

Kolkata: East will meet West at a music festival in Munich next week when a 10-member ensemble from Kolkata teams up with performers from Germany in a concert featuring Rabindra Sangeet.

Christened Der Gasteig Brummt, the festival would for the first time feature Tagore`s compositions in orchestral format blended with works of european classical masters in a concert titled "Tagore in Symphony" April 18.

The work has been scored, composed and directed by noted Indian conductor and violinist Abraham Mazumdar, principal-cum-founder of Kolkata Music Academy (KMA). The KMA`s Chamber Orchestra will be performing at the concert.

Tagore`s classics, including his last song "Oi Mahamanab Ashey", will be presented with preludes and interludes from symphonies of Handell, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven among others, in a befitting climax to the Bengali Bard`s 150th birth anniversary celebrations which conclude next month.

Tagore, the first Asian to win the Nobel prize in literature, holds the unique distinction of having composed the national anthems of two countries - India and Bangladesh - and was deeply influenced by Western music.

"Hints of Beethoven, Mozart, Verdi and Puccini can be found in his songs. This is why Rabindra Sangeet can be juxtaposed with European classicals," Mazumdar told IANS.

The festival will also showcase `Indian Folk Rock` where the hits by India`s first musical band Mohiner Ghoraguli will be arranged in an orchestral format, in a joint effort between KMA and the Odeon Youth Symphony.

Both the concerts, "Tagore in Symphony" and "Indian Folk Rock", will mark Asia`s debut in the festival, said the conductor`s wife Madhusree Mazumder, who doubles up as director and teacher at KMA.