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Raga Fantasy
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V.S. Narasimhan is a pioneer in composing and arranging south Indian traditional compositions for string quartet. The latest album- Raga Fantasy by V.S. Narasimhan focuses on several aspects as outlined below.As always, while keeping to the rules governing the various ragas of the compositions in the arrangements, he also gives importance to the emotion and spirit of the lyrics. In order to highlight the importance of lyrics, he has introduced vocals in this album. He also includes modern composers and has chosen a visionary composer M.B. Srinivasan, by selecting the song "Amma". In order t...  show more

Tracks in this album
Click on play button to listen to an extra-long preview of the track.
Preview tracks are sampled at a lower bitrate. The purchased mp3 (Download Album) will be of superior quality.
     Name   Description 
play/stop  Telisi    
play/stop  Shobhillu    
play/stop  Count Five    
play/stop  Amma    
play/stop  Hecharikagaa Raara    
play/stop  Durga    
play/stop  Sri Saraswathi    
play/stop  Impromptu    
play/stop  Navya    
play/stop  Folk Song    
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Letter from a fellow musician to V.S. Narasimhan after receiving the CD RagaSaga

Dear Narasimhan,

As I am listening to the 1st song: tears in my eyes, gorgeous packaging, superb photo, booklet, very classy, world class presentation, quite modern harmonies.

Each tune is different in character, very rich musically, captures attention and brings many deep feelings, great subtlety; never heard this kind of sound before. Very happy that you could make it; a remarkable contribution to the world of music; this is "classic" music not "world" music, perhaps "classical world" music.

The sound is sometimes like ancient western classical music, medieval or renaissance music, both by the arrangements/harmonies and the sustained sound of the electric instruments. I observed some unusual chord progression, very interesting and surprising for my ears, but not at all lacking unity

Definitely this CD has to open the doors to western classical musicians, because it is quite unique and some quartets might wish to learn how to play such a music. If String Temple Records would publish some of your scores (not easy for gamakas notation, but possible -perhaps score and audio examples?) there would be much interest in the western world. Yet, at first, they will have to listen carefully to your CD to educate their ear.

The bridge between carnatic music and European music, that you build, is more solid, refined and integrated. I have no doubt that your work stands in a class of its own at an international level.

The song "Gnaana Mosagaraadhaa" sounds full of mystery and strangeness (for a western ear). Reminds me of some works of Jehan Alain. I love it.

The intro of Paraathparaa sounds just exquisite, to me (the ending too) (is it on rag Charukhesi?) (after reading the booklet, it says rag Vaachaspathi; never heard this name before , the interval structure seems similar to Charukhesi)

I feel that this is really great music, not just musical playfulness with some fantasy to pretend to be original, like it happens so often, nowadays, because composers/ musicians don't let their music mature enough, but rush their production, possibly for commercial reasons etc...

I have been listening to a lot of music of many genres/ cultures in my life. This is definitely a CD that

  1. I would recommend very much to anyone that LISTENS to good music
  2. I would carry with me even on a desert island, (and I am not far from that since this island where I live is musically a kind of desert, for me at least...) your CD is definitely in the top 10 of my playlist!!

I am listening and enjoying a lot, the smart use of pizzicato, tremolo and the timbre of the cello which sounds sometime like a bassoon, or a trombone. Another thing is that you are blessed to have such a good friend, Shekar, the cellist with his vast musical understanding and sensitivity, so both of you can exchange and share the sound which is in your head and your heart.

To condense my feelings about your "baby", I JUST LOVE IT. Your music touched me deeply and your use of bold harmonies is amazing. There is abundance of love in your music. And the world needs desperately this in our times.

Thanks again for sending me your beautiful CD and hope to hear from you soon.

Warm regards,

Gilbert

Two days later, Narasimhan received an addendum to the above letter:

I have been listening again to your CD and there is something that I forgot to write before; it's inspiring!

At least it inspires me to come much closer to Indian music. Not for the exotic side of it (please remember that my ear, even after 4 years in India, is still mainly formed to western musical grammar and vocabulary) but for the sense of sacredness I feel in it. It reflects a deep quality of relationship with everything, while western music has been more influenced by technology and experimentation As a result there is much more tension and sometimes much "show" in it and that leaves me often tired, and a bit empty. I was watching a movie found sometimes ago on internet called "Drupad" with wonderful music from the Dagar tradition. The voices, the packhawaj, the timeless quality and the profound devotion to the music touched me very much.

You are making a quiet "almost silent" revolution in the music world and it is just the beginning. Of course there are other musicians who had their education half in the West, half in India, but how many reached that level of integration of the 2 worlds without losing the classical quality?

To be honest I never was impressed by Ravi Shankar concertos, or Sir Yehudi Menuhin trying his luck on a raga (with all the respect I have for his musical mastery, in the Western music)... Even groups like Shakti etc... for me was more a showcase of virtuosity, speed and complexity to impress young audiences, than something to immerse in and listen with all attention.

In RagaSaga, no pyrotechnics! Just music with a great sound and lots of subtle emotion. Something for the people blessed with good, sensitive and discriminating ears.

Gilbert

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