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Promising talent

Bangalore School of Music's East-West Encounter saw both visiting musicians as local talent



YOUNG NOTES Neville Barucha and Suraj Satish shared the Evening of Prodigies

The last two classical concerts in Bangalore School of Music's East-West Encounter fittingly showcased local amateur talent. While it is always a privilege to hear visiting musicians, local ones should also be promoted on a platform such as this festival. A public podium gives them the confidence that can only come from such exposure, and it is encouraging for them to be appreciated, the hall on both days being almost full.

At the concert, two young pianists shared the Evening of Prodigies. Suraj Satish, 17, plays with a great deal of feeling so that lyrical pieces like the Delibes, Fauré and Schumann fared best. However, this very sensitivity occasionally made his touch too light, so that some notes were not sounded. He got off to a nervous start, with a few fumbles and even had a blank spot, but he soldiered on, learning a very valuable lesson from such a public recital: that even the most experienced professional sometimes make mistakes, but what is important is to put them behind one and carry on. The fact that he did, bodes well for future recitals, with his talent blooming. However, I found that the liberties he took with tempi were wholly unwarranted by the composers' markings in the two Liszt works and in the Chopin: the latter's famous Raindrop Prelude suffered from an unjustified deluge!

Teen tones

Neville Barucha gave his first public piano recital at nine and impressed enormously then. He is now at an awkward age — 13 — when adolescents are prone to self-consciousness and uncertainty; consequently, four years ago he displayed a higher level of confidence and seemed to enjoy his playing more. One also saw more errors this time around, particularly when he was a trifle over-ambitious in tackling pieces like Schubert's Impromptu. Nor did he capture the requisite rhythm of Albeniz' Tango or the distinctive ragtime quality of Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag. He handled the rest of his repertoire well, ranging from Scarlatti to Sibelius, and in the Beethoven and Chopin reminded us that he is a formidable talent for his age, still full of promise.

The next concert featured BSM's Orchestras. It is highly commendable that BSM has a Junior String Orchestra as well their regular Chamber Orchestra. There are so many academic pressures on students and most schools have eschewed extra-curricular activities (FAPS being a notable exception, I gather). For the past few decades, the Arts have taken second place to sciences and engineering and now, with the advent of hitech and computer sciences, they have suffered even more. Therefore, it is most admirable that these youngsters (at nine, Jasiel Philip is the baby among them) have found the time, energy and dedication to learn a musical instrument, and then devoted time to rehearsing with the ensemble. Their short piece, conducted by V. Narayanaswamy, showed how well they are shaping up, on their way to becoming very competent, displaying good teamwork and technical ability. Borodin's Nocturne was a prime example of his lovely soothing melody, not surprisingly introduced by the cello, since Borodin was primarily a cellist.

The Senior Orchestra devoted itself to early music, starting with Corelli's Concerto Grosso ing, played standing up. The use of an electronic keyboard, on harpsichord setting, made for a richer sound, besides establishing rhythm and giving the piece its period flavour. In Stamitz' Concertante Sinfonie for Two Violins, lead violinist, Stefan Pontinen from Sweden, was given more of an opportunity to display his substantial skill and experience. As the other violinist, Manoj George was not far behind, by no means merely a "second fiddle", and Paulette DeMello fared well in her flute part.

BSM's untiring efforts at promoting music — even venturing into jazz and East-West fusions, though it started out as a classical music forum — is very praiseworthy and their activities will no doubt further advance when their building is completed.

MALINI WHITE

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