Raga Fields (2014) 27'


Review: Birmingham Contemporary Music Group at CBSO Centre

By Christopher Morley
The BIRMINGHGAM POST, 9 October 2014

The most exciting of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group’s presentations are those when one emerges elated after hearing works which have gained a rightful place in the repertoire and new ones which certainly deserve to.

And this was certainly the case in Saturday’s opening concert of BCMG’s new season, in which two rewarding premieres rubbed shoulders with established “classics”.

A Sound Investment co-commission with organisations on both sides of the Atlantic, Param Vir’s Raga Fields proved compelling and fascinating, in effect a concerto for sarod (it looks like an electric guitar, but sounds like nirvana -- and I don’t mean the rock band) and chamber ensemble.

These Three Spaces allow the soloist, Soumik Datta with his happy, serene presence, to improvise on ragas to forge a timeless interaction with western instruments and textures. The sound-relationships created are sometimes almost extra-terrestial, harp and celeste prominent collaborators, but we also dig firmly into mainstream territory with the finale’s evocation (perhaps unaware) of Tippett, Petrushka, and the orgiastic Rite of Spring.