Ravi Shankar Symphony

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Ravi Shankar
ALBUM TITLE: Ravi Shankar Symphony
WORKS: Symphony
PERFORMER: Anoushka Shankar (sitar); London Philharmonic Orchestra


Ravi Shankar has been involved with other ventures designed to combine Western and Hindustani classical traditions (notably, the sitar concerto commissioned in 1970 for André Previn and the London Symphony Orchestra, and Passages, his 1990 collaboration with Glass). But this Symphony is the most successful.

It’s a tremendously attractive, sometimes serene, often joyous work, drawing on Indian melodic and rhythmic elements, European structures and developmental procedures, and textures from both traditions. His daughter, Anoushka, an accomplished performer across an eclectic range of music, performs with her accustomed charm, aplomb and panache. Credit should also go to the flautists, who are given important work to do.

The London Philharmonic matches Anoushka with a precise, vibrant, crisp performance, recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall. I first saw Shankar play there more than 40 years ago and his recitals remain among the most magically affecting and musically impressive I have
ever attended. This recording somehow screens the average British audience’s customary counterpoint of coughing and shuffling.


Barry Witherden