Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Sangam, a ground-breaking collaborative work by Michael Nyman, reflects both the commonalities and differences between Eastern and Western musical traditions. Sangam - a Hindi word meaning 'a coming together' or 'meeting point' - is the culmination of a two year musical odyssey by Michael Nyman which began with a month-long visit to India at the end of 2000. Nyman and his collaborators, mandolinist U. Shrinivas and the vocal team of brothers Rajan Misra and Sajan Misra, create stunningly lovely music. This welcome reissue from MN Records was originally released in 2002.
American Record Guide, January/February 2013
In the first work, Nyman's music serves as a discreet underpinning for four Khayal singers: Rajan, Sajan, Ritseh, and Rajnish Misra (as Nyman put it, his music acted as "a bed" for the singers and respected the compositional structure they established). The singers are heavenly. The second work is a longer and more rhythmically incisive one for Nyman's band and the mandolinist U. Shrinivas. In both works, the harmonies remain more static than in most of Nyman's music. It is this fact as well as the fact that the collaborative process doesn't seem to partake in the fascinating web of allusive musical references that makes Nyman's recent music so interesting to me that leads me to think that the project, while musically satisfying, cannot continue to be a concern in Nyman's compositional work. Then again, Nyman is a composer whom I consistently find one of the most surprising and imaginative of his generation; he might very well prove me wrong once again.
Full performer name: Michael Nyman/U. Shrinivas/Rajan & Sajan Misra.
Personnel includes: Michael Nyman (piano); Rajan Misra, Sajan Misra, Ritesh Misra, Rajnish Misra (vocals); U. Shrinivas (mandolin); The Michael Nyman Band.
Producers: Carmen Rizzo, Michael Nyman, Austin Ince.
Included liner notes by Michael Nyman.
Audio Mixers: Michael Nyman ; Austin Ince.
Liner Note Author: Nigel Williamson.
Recording information: Abbey Road Studios, London (07/2002); Sony Studios, London, England (07/2002); Abbey Road Studios, London (10/2002); Sony Studios, London, England (10/2002).
Photographer: Michael Nyman .
The classical music traditions of Europe and India have been in an ongoing dialogue for several decades now. The conversation has at times been stilted and occasionally downright incoherent, as well-meaning artists from both sides of the equation have attempted, with limited success, to fuse two musical genres that are built on fundamentally different sets of rules and expectations. At its best, though, the exchange has produced stunningly lovely music, and this experiment is among the more successful ones. Composer Michael Nyman went to India in late 2000 looking for collaborators, and settled on two: mandolinist U. Shrinivas and the vocal team of brothers Rajan Misra and Sajan Misra. For the Misra brothers, Nyman created a chamber-orchestra accompaniment based on their singing; the result is exceptionally lovely, and is sometimes reminiscent of the more contemplative parts of Steve Reich's composition "Different Trains." But the best piece here is the half-hour-long "Samhitha," Nyman's collaboration with U. Shrinivas. The piece consists essentially of Shrinivas' extended elaboration of a pentatonic theme suggested by Nyman; the strings play along with him, sometimes doubling his lines and sometimes accompanying them as he flies off on complex and fanciful digressions. Strongly recommended. ~ Rick Anderson
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