Join us on a musical grand tour and discover the exotic sounds and inspirations behind some of the most colourful classical music. Ken Hunt guides you through composer, country and instrument.
‘Today I’ve been in touch with a composer from Yugoslavia, another from Korea, one from Argentina and Hamza El Din called today too’ enthuses David Harrington, the San Francisco-based member of the Kronos Quartet. ‘The possibilities are greater than ever. It’s astonishing what can be done now. You never know what you might be able to hear next.’
As the next century races to greet us, it’s easy to forget that much of the music available has only been accessible for a few decades. To have listened to authentic Indian music at the turn of the century would have meant visiting Madras or Benares or attending an exhibition such as the Franco-British Exhibition of 1908 with the Ceylon Village and Indian Area. To have studied it might have entailed reading the ‘Music in Hindustan, Siam and Java’, a chapter in Weber’s A Popular History of Music from the Earliest Times (1891). Little assisted culturally-challenged westerners to overcome their musical superiority. Witness one H Cottrell writing from Bombay in 1907 who observed of Hindu (Indian) musicians: ‘They make most awful noises.’