I still do not know exactly, what most of the other participants in the concert on 6 October actually thought of it, as we haven’t really met each other since the combined onstage photo-op at its end. Perhaps, we would now hate the very sight of each other, so soon after a sustained and intense period of musical co-catharsis.
Perhaps, more hopefully, we are all just recovering from the effort and focus that it took to bring Leo Brouwer’s music onstage in a dedicated concert and are already preparing ourselves to work on subsequent individual and collective musical projects.
Speaking for myself, it was multifaceted: featuring permutations of moments with musical serendipity with those of sheer, untrammelled terror. All the while attempting to retain control and projection with two of the Maestro’s concerti.
In hindsight, this was a well-conceived and sequenced program with an excellent choice of co-conspirators. Kuldeep with his highly understated and all-too-brief and yet expressively rich, initiation of the concert, Meghana and Kabir with their beautifully coordinated rendition of the first movement of Retrats Catalan (they are both being gently coerced into performing the entire work next time!), Kabir, again, with his excellent tonal control on a short Brouwer solo study and the solid and highly individually-flavoured piano interpretations by Rose and Tuhin on the two concerti, which were a delight for me to play along with.
This concert instilled substantial sonic confidence for Kabir and I, considering that a proper balance was achieved between our guitars and the majestic Bluthner grand piano. Amplification is no longer frowned upon in classical guitar circles and opens up another vista of expressive possibilities particularly, when the nuances and delicate colouring of a guitar can be heard properly against a piano. I was happy to find that it was possible for Rose and Tuhin, playing along with me, to work with a common dynamic range from pp to ff, with none of us compromising our tonal freedom. I heard Meghana and Kabir from the front row of the audience and their tonal and dynamic balance was truly impressive.
Of course, I underwent a couple of short concentration lapses and experienced a few glitches (including the one where I had to briefly improvise my way out of the deep end), but fortunately, these were not severe enough to derail the performance.
In conclusion, for me, this was an extremely inspirational event to have participated in. Playing through two of my favourite concerti sequentially, did a lot to improve my confidence and to help identify technical and musical areas that I need to work on in the future. We had an excellent audience who were unfazed by the complete unfamiliarity of the music and enjoyed the entire concert – which further reinforces one of the core PGS tenets: to bring more contemporary repertoire to performances in India.
Looking forward to the next PGS concert.