One of the USA’s greatest ever composers, Terry Riley launched what is now known as the Minimalist movement with his revolutionary classic “In C” in 1964, changing the course of 20th-century music and strongly influencing the works of Steve Reich, Philip Glass and John Adams, as well as rock groups like The Who, The Soft Machine, Tangerine Dream and countless jazz musicians. In the 1960s and '70s he turned his attention to solo improvisational works for electronic keyboards and soprano saxophone, and pioneered the use of various kinds of tape delay in live performance. Riley travelled to New Delhi in 1970 to begin studies in Hindustani music with Pandit Pran Nath.
SwarAmant was written for Simon Thacker's Svara-Kanti immediately after a particularly inspiring trip to India in early 2012.For guitar, violin and tabla, it is an instrumental tour de force, an intense, virtuosic concerto for three.
The title is a made up word which combines a Sanskrit and Latin root, which Terry intends to mean “lover of the swaras” (swara means “tone” or “note”).
Composers who Have written for Svara - kanti
Nigel Osborne is a composer and music therapist whose studies and work have taken him all over the world. His works have been performed by many leading orchestras worldwide, and he has pioneered the use of music in therapy and rehabilitation for children who are victims of conflict in the Balkans, Caucasus, Africa and Middle East. He is winner of many awards, including the Netherlands Gaudeamus Prize, the Radcliffe Award and the Koussevitzky Award of the Library of Congress.
Each of the movements in Nigel's piece "The Five Elements" corresponds to one of the five elements of Ancient Indian philosophy, and each contains a compositional mystery. The Sanskrit texts are drawn from references to the five elements in the Katha Upanishad.
Shirish Korde is an Indian composer who spent his early years in East Africa. He arrived in the United States in 1965, already well versed in the traditions of Indian and African music. He studied Jazz at Berklee College of Music, composition and analysis at New England Conservatory, and Ethnomusicology, especially Asian Music (including Indian drumming), at Brown University. Currently, he is Professor of Music at the College of the Holy Cross, Cambridge MA. His music is performed by orchestras and ensembles across the world.
Shirish's Anusvara 6th Prism (Anusvara literally means "after sound" in Sanskrit) is described by the composer as a "sonic meditation" influenced by concepts of sound found in several of the Upanishads, ancient Hindu texts. The piece is based on raag Rohini. Slowly unfolding melodic arches are interrupted by rhythmic sections reminiscent of the ancient Hindustani Dhrupad nom tom alap style (this is where the excerpt in this video begins). The instruments play interweaving independent pulsations to underpin the voice in these sections.
Simon Thacker formed Svara-Kanti in 2010 to extend and expand the work he started with his first Indian based project, The Nava Rasa Ensemble. Since then Svara-Kanti has been recognised as being consistently at the very forefront of intercultural collaboration. Svara-Kanti's current programme consists entirely of Simon's work and reimaginings, as will the follow up album to the hugely acclaimed Rakshasa, to be recorded in late 2015. With the concept of Rakshasa revolving around different perspectives on the meeting of Indian and Western music, the next album will exclusively feature Simon's compositional voice in a period of intense creativity and experimentation, with the soundworld further expanded with exciting new collaborations.
Simon's Rakshasa, the title track of Svara-Kanti's debut CD, takes the backwards recording technique pioneered by Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles to its culmination with his own dark new raga, up to 8 simultaneous forwards and backwards guitars, tabla, waterphones and Tibetan singing bowls to depict the demons of the Ramayana in a work unique in the world's of guitar and Indian influenced music. Other works include Multani,Svaranjali and Dhumaketu (below). Dhumaketu (Sanskrit for "great comet" or "falling star") is a trio for guitar/violin/tabla and starts with an "alap" or short improvisation which introduces the scale of the piece, the phrygian mode or raag Bhairavi in Hindustani music, with the addition of a flattened fifth.
All of the following music is featured on the award winning album Rakshasa.