Album: Ravi Shankar, Symphony (LPO)
It's not uncommon for Western composers like Tavener to bring Eastern influences into their work, but much rarer for an Indian classicist to operate in the Western tradition, as Ravi Shankar does here in his Symphony, which follows the classical four-movement structure but incorporates sitar (played by Shankar's daughter Anoushka) and raga scales into the orchestration.
Performed by the London Philharmonic under David Murphy, it's a resounding triumph, from the vibrant, animated opening movement “Kafi Zila” through an elegant, involving lento section of duetting flute and sitar, and an intriguing Indian scherzo whose hypnotic layerings of marimba, flute and sitar evoke echoes of American minimalism, through to the stirring, virtuoso finale.
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