Sunday, 25 November 2007

Rondevous with Music masters- Schiff & Mintz

Andras Schiff playing piano at St. Petersburg Philharmonic on 17th Nov. 2007 (Pic by Abhay K)
St. Petersburg is a great place when it comes to live music concerts by maestros, rock stars or ballets, operas or theatre. I have had the opportunity to hear two great masters -Piano Maestro Andras Schiff and Violin maestro Shlomo Mintz just within a gap of seven days. Andras Schiff was here last Saturday on 17th November and Shlomo Mintz today evening and both happened to perform at the historical St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra (named after D.D. Shostakovich)in the heart of the city where the great composers like Glinka, Chaikovsky and Stravinsky have performed earlier.

Andras Schiff is widely acclaimed as one of the best living interpreters of Bach, Schubert, Schumen and Beethoven. He has given concerts in different capitals of the world performing the complete piano sonatas of Beethoven. He has won two Grammy awards for the best instrumental soloist performance. You can see him performing by clicking here.
Last Saturday was my debut in the Grand Philharmonic as a listener and I truly loved every moment I spent there listening to Schiff. Before going to his concert I also listened to his lecture-recitals on Beethoven at Wigmore Hall, London and even to a first timer into western classical music like me they were highly revealing. You can listen to them by clicking here.

In 2006 the Milwaukee Sentinel wrote of Shlomo Mintz's performances that they are 'the most ravishingly beautiful playing we mortals can hope to hear...' but today evening he seemed a bit out of form. nevertheless it was a great evening listening to him playing violin. For his performance videos you may click I & II
The next month on 8th December I am eagerly looking forward to hear my favourite Bryans Adams at the famous Ice Palace here in St. Petersburg.
Wish you all a great week ahead!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Enlightenment of the soul!

In a moment
the soul
millennia crossed
the brilliance and the glory
of that moment
left it touched
for ever and ever
the world changed;
reality ,ambitions
the perspective of the whole life changed;
oh! what a fool
what a fool have been the soul
wasting life on false pursuits;
how long, how long
the clouds of morality
covered the longings of the soul
and in the prison the soul suffered
till that moment came
and came the liberation
the victory day;
and soul's deepest desires-
a life of solitude
full of coffee beans
books and films
a villa on the top of the hill
or in the middle of the jungle
by the lake
not far from the cafe house
but far away from the maddening crowd!


Saturday, 10 November 2007

Diwali celebrations in St. Petersburg

Diwali- 'the festival of lights' has always been close to my heart since my childhood days when I used to go shopping for crackers and candles with my father. In day time we used to clean and wash up the whole house and at night we used to put 'Dias' and candles inside and outside our house and have fireworks. It used to be such a special occasion for the whole family. For reunion, for forgiving each other, for solidarity and a very special occasion for the children.
Now I live far away from my home but it is said 'home is in the heart' so I carry India of my imagination, a little of her, in my heart wherever I go, even to Russia. Here in St. Petersburg it has been snowing since a few days but it did not dampen our spirits to celebrate the festival of lights. We decided to celebrate Diwali at the Consulate and everybody showed their enthusiasm. An Indian Classical Music Group "Nirmala" consisting of seven members came forward to perform for us as a special gesture on the special occasion of Diwali. We invited a number of Indian and Russian guests who have been associated with us for a long time and arranged 'Samosas & Amritis' for them along with chips, juice, cold drinks, chai & coffee. Our Russian chauffeur brought the Russian dish 'Blinis' from his home and also a lots of candles to decorate the whole entrance and the sitting hall. The music group sang 'Bhajans, Aartis and Qwalis' and performed 'Kuchipuri' dance. It was amazing to see Russians singing 'bhajans' and playing 'tabla, dholak & harmonium' with great skills. Many Russians could not believe that the members of the music group were Russians. The kind of perfection they showed in playing Indian music is not only inspiring and praiseworthy but also worth emulating.

Aboveall we had a great Diwali in St. Petersburg, not missing anything where people from a different country participated with great enthusiasm. What can be a greater bliss!