East Meets West
“East meets West” was an examination of how we are influenced by faraway places. Whether it is Western composers whose eastward glances indulge their creative fantasies, or Eastern composers reaching out to what must seem like strange customs of the Western world, it was my hope to identify some of these influences and their effects, in all their similarities and differences.
Maurice Ravel, with his unique sound world, enhanced by that astonishing invention, the luthéal, was represented here as the musical bridge connecting both worlds – it is also Ravel who provided the inspiration for Alfred Schnittke, a composer from Eastern Europe whose feet, both geographically and metaphysically, were to become firmly planted in the West.
Pandit Ravi Shanker completed the circle, with his extraordinary tribute to Menuhin, and his employment of the violin in strict, structural Ragas, influenced themselves by the sonority of a Western instrument.
Could there even be a direct link between violin, luthéal and sitar? I’ve left it to you to decide.
I dedicated this project to Pandit Ravi Shankar, with admiration and gratitude.