Yehudi Menuhin and Ravi Shankar – West Meets East (Angel 36418) (1967)

This is a lovely record on EMI’s Angel imprint which, I’m guessing because of its vintage, introduced many in the West to the joys of Indian classical music. The album was apparently the fruit of the two musicians’ collaboration at the 1966 Bath Music Festival. In fact, the headliners appear together on only two of the four tracks, totalling 13 minutes; the other 12 and 24 minutes are taken up by a Shankar Raga and a Menuhin interpretation of Georges Enesco’s Sonata No. 3 in A minor in the “Popular Rumanian Style”, respectively. Menuhin’s choice was particularly appropriate because, although a Western-composed sonata, in its recurring ominous drone it bears hallmarks of Indian music (and indeed much of what we call “traditional” folk music).

To my untutored and Beatle-saturated ears, I hear echoes of “Love You To” and “Within You, Without You” on the Shankar tracks. Apart from demonstrating my philistinism, I suspect that this might be because there are number of typical sitar “licks” in Indian classical music, just as there are typical figures in other improvised form, e.g. Blues music. Then again, maybe not.

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Published in: on June 17, 2010 at 8:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

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