MUSIC / Free spirits: Choked by CDs, Meredith Oakes makes the case for the live experience

There were about 35 CDs in the Tallis Scholars brochure at their Tuesday concert in St John's, Smith Square. On Sunday morning at the Wigmore Hall, the Quatuor Mosaques paused in its weekend Haydn-Boccherini Festival to be presented with the 1993 Gramophone Award for Chamber Music, while people ran around carrying CDs stacked like pancakes. Twenty new live CDs of Indian music were advertised at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Monday night, when Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was recorded live in concert. How many CDs can the world absorb?

Indian classical music, with its basis in improvisation, is an interesting case: each concert is unique and potentially collectable. In Monday's flower-decked ceremonial circumstances, the tension between music uniquely linked to a time and a place, and music technologically multiplied, packaged and preserved, was poignant. Two low, white-draped platforms were on the stage. The big one, with its red oriental carpet, was for Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, master of the sarod. The other was for His Holiness Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji, spiritual head of the Namdhari Sikhs, a slim elder who sat listening cross- legged while an attendant ritually whisked flies away with a white horsehair switch. As Ustad Amjad Ali performed, he threw playful glances to His Holiness, seeking connoisseur approval for daring turns of phrase. To the left and right of them were the biggest black loudspeakers I've ever seen.

The amplification was too strong. The metallic bite of the scouring fingernail articulations was boosted so much that it made you flinch. Here, as in the speechmaking, which tended to equate the buying of CDs with support for all that was best in Sikh spiritual life, there was need for fine tuning.

Ustad Amjad Ali offered a suitably extrovert programme whose highlights were incredible feats of speed and percussive energy, both from the sarod and from the two tabla stars, Anindo Chatterjee and the lightning-handed Sukhvinder Singh Namdhari. The slow introduction to the dark, minor-coloured raga after the interval was rich in those curling, sighing, sliding whispers where the sarod, with its fretless metal fingerboard, excels: I would have liked more of this.

People packed the Wigmore for the Quatuor Mosaques, witnessing the absolute triumph of Haydn's cogent, whole-hearted inventiveness over the highly coloured minimalist piquancies of Boccherini (which were certainly fun). Even the playing style differed: antique short-breathed aerated scoops gave way almost irresistibly to a franker, more modern, bows-on-strings approach when Haydn stepped in. There were clean, lovely, sensitively coloured tone, sometimes over-careful tempi from the quartet and its collaborators, who included the immaculate lutenist-guitarist Jose Miguel Moreno.

The Tallis Scholars were bliss, again. Josquin's Missa ad fugam redeployed its four parts with such subtle variety that the often rhythmically plain setting never palled. Two Magnificats and a splendidly rhetorical motet Vae, vae Babylon, by Nicholas Gombert, showed single chords being harnessed for emphatic, expressive gestures, and false relations heightening the emotional crunch. Terrifying solo entries were well survived.

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
News
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders