Philip Glass and Ravi Shankar BBC Proms


Philip Glass and Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar and Philip Glass's 1989 album Passages, a unique fusion of Hindustani sitar music with American minimalism, is performed live and in full for the first time.


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Transcript


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Passages has always been one of my favourite examples of collaboration.

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It's a beautiful album that my father Ravi Shankar

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made in duet with Philip Glass.

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This concert to me seems like such a treat.

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It is a real-world premiere of an album that many people have

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loved for nearly 30 years.

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No-one has heard it live before.

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This album has been in my life for so long

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that I have forgotten where the actual click came.

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It changed my world immediately.

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And I think I was at uni and I said, "I want to conduct this piece

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"with Ravi Shankar." That was always a goal,

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and of course Mr Shankar passed away five years ago,

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and the honour is just as great to do it with Anoushka.

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I grew up being aware of Passages.

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I was there in the sessions from when I was nine.

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I was the kid there conducting.

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I re-approached the album when I started writing music

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and that is when the genius of that album really was brought home to me.

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It celebrates and explores the separateness and togetherness

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of Western classical instruments, Indian classical instruments

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in a way that really only my dad and Philip Glass could have done.

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I grew up aware of how close my father and Philip Glass were.

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Philip studied with Ravi Shankar starting when he was about 25.

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This would have been in the '60s.

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At some point in conversation they said,

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"Why don't we do a piece together?"

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And one, two, three, four, five, six.

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Basically my father gave Philip three pieces of music

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and Philip gave my dad three and from there they both grew their own

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three individual pieces of music and those six pieces make the album.

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There is a kind of seed of Philip's brain in my dad's pieces

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and a seed of my dad's brain in Philip's pieces.

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It is one thing to hear it,

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it sounds complete, but the language is different for the two styles.

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Western music is very one, two, three, four, one, two, three...

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These are all different in Indian music - they have their own sets

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of hand movements, which when I am conducting and I see them doing

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the hand movements, I am kind of like, "Oh, my goodness."

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My score doesn't look like their score but you have to have enough

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that means we can communicate with each other.

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It is all a bit crazy.

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Part of the Indian tradition and part of Philip Glass's tradition,

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there is a meditative element to it.

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So it is definitely going to have a beginning meditation

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and an ending meditation,

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and Philip's meditation begins the hour

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and Mr Shankar's ends the hour.

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The fact that you get to hear the whole journey of the album,

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there is a story there, the way it ends on that really peaceful note

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after a lot of drama and some dark moments.

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I think there is going to be a lot of tears at the end,

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because, look at me, I'm tearing up because it is so beautiful.

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I hope that we'll leave people with that kind of uplifting sense

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of peace that they hoped to give listeners when they made the album.

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APPLAUSE

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APPLAUSE

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APPLAUSE

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SHE VOCALISES TO THE MUSIC

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VOCALISING CONTINUES

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VOCALISING CONTINUES

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APPLAUSE

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APPLAUSE

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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THEY VOCALISE TO THE MUSIC

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VOCALISING CONTINUES

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HARMONISED VOCALISING CONTINUES

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RAPID CHANTING

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APPLAUSE

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HUMMING

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# Hey Nath

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# Hama para kripa kijiye

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# Door kara andhakar

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# Gyan ka aloka dijiye

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# Hinsa dwesh lobha bamese chhin lijiye

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# Manamey prem shanti bhar dijiye

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# Hey Nath, hama para kripa kijiye

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THEY HUM

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# Hey Nath, hama para kripa kijiye

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# Hey Nath, hama para kripa kijiye

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# Door kara andhakar

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# Gyan ka aloka dijiye

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# Hey Nath, hama para kripa kijiye

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# Hinsa dwesh lobha bamese chhin lijiye

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# Hinsa dwesh lobha bamese chhin lijiye

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# Manamey prem shanti bhar dijiye

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# Manamey prem shanti bhar dijiye

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# Hey Nath, hama para kripa kijiye

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# Hey Nath, kripa kijiye

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# Hey Nath, kripa kijiye

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# Hey Nath, kripa kijiye. #

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APPLAUSE

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Two goliaths of 20th-century music, Ravi Shankar and Philip Glass, recorded the studio album Passages together in 1989. The result was a unique fusion of Hindustani sitar music with American minimalism. Tonight the album is performed live and in full for the first time, with Shankar's daughter Anoushka playing the sitar alongside a dazzling array of Indian soloists and the Britten Sinfonia, conducted by Karen Kamensek.


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