When I was first approached to compose a sitar concerto for the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, I was incredibly honored and appreciated the challenge. After all, the last person requested to create such an elaborate composition was the legendary Pandit Ravi Shankar.
Having navigated through this musical adventure, I would like to share a few of my thoughts and motivations with you.
This sitar concerto represents a marriage of two high arts with deeply rooted traditions. In composing this piece, I have taken great care to ensure that it will not only be about Indian music, but a harmonious representation of both cultures and musical traditions.
It was my aim in writing this piece to transcend beyond the form of a concerto expressed through the language of Raag (Hindustani melodic structure), and place the utmost importance on musicality above all else. For instance, the concerto is based on a 13 beat time cycle which is rhythmically quite complex for the performer. However, my hope is that the listener will find it natural and easy on the ears because the musicality of the composition reigns supreme.
It is my hope that the listener will inwardly feel the eastern elements while outwardly hearing the western. The listener will hear call and response, a dialogue between the orchestra and myself. In Hindi, we refer to this as 'Sawwal Jawwab' (question and answer). This is a wonderful example of how some musical elements are truly universal.
This has been a very special project for me and one for which I have put forth my most sincere effort. It is my privilege and pleasure to have shared this composition with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
I hope all my fans will enjoy it.
Shahid Parvez Khan