On Air Now
Cowan's Classics with Rob Cowan 7pm - 9pm
15 September 2017, 16:27
The traditions of East and West, together in one of the most beautiful works of the 20th century.
Victoria & Abdul is the true story of Queen Victoria's unexpected and profound friendship with a young clerk, Abdul Karim. The film stars Dame Judi Dench and a fantastic supporting cast including Michael Gambon, Eddie Izzard, Simon Callow, Tim Pigott-Smith, Ruth McCabe, Olivia Williams and Ali Fazal. Discover more and find a screening near you here - and we'd like to also give you the opportunity to win a beautiful stay on the Isle of Wight.
It's got us thinking about the incredible moments when cultures have come together in music and composition. And one work in particular comes to mind.
Few musicians can boast a better success rate of combining the musical styles of the Eastern and Western worlds than Ravi Shankar. Renowned throughout his lifetime for his virtuosic playing of the sitar, Shankar regularly collaborated with Western artists including The Beatles, Yehudi Menuhin and Philip Glass.
One of his most remarkable works, though, was created through the combination of the sitar and one of Western music's most important forms, the concerto. In 1971, Shankar worked with the London Symphony Orchestra to bring about his Concerto for Sitar & Orchestra and a true moment of East meeting West.
Shankar took the traditional four-movement western form and filled it with the sounds of India. The recording was an instant success and has been credited with bringing a new audience to the sitar and Indian classical music.
Shankar’s daughter, Anoushka, has played the work many times. Here she is with one of Europe's finest orchestras, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the beautiful sounds of colliding musical traditions.