What's your favorite Rabindro Sangeet

Final presentation on music in South Asia. An intercultural project
Organizer: Mainz University of Music

February 08, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.
University of Music
Black Box (02-312)
Jakob-Welder-Weg 28
55128 Mainz
free entry

Dr. Arun Banerjee, Prof. Christopher Miltenberger
with Ashok Nair (Sitar)
and Florian Schiertz (tabla)
as well as students of the school music department
and members of the poetry club Dichterpflänzchen (recitations).

In cooperation with the Institute for Indology at JGU.
Funded by the Gutenberg Teaching College (GLK)

Contact: Event Management HfM
University of Music
Tel .: +49 6131 39-28009, email: [email protected]

Ashok Nair

Florian Schiertz

Rabindranath Tagore
The delight of flying (Transfer: Dr. Martin Kämchen)

What a delight the birds are when they are
fly up in endless expanse,
while the wings have a nameless' word
write in the sky.
When my mind rises
its tone begins to vibrate;
in the delight of flying alone
can my writing succeed.

Excerpts from a presentation "Music and Dance at Rabindranath"
by Dr. Banerjee.

Indian classical music.
As a child, Rabindranath received singing lessons in the most important genres of Indian music. At the age of fourteen he wrote his first songs. In total he composed and wrote over 2000 songs and wrote several dance and music dramas. Text and melody were mostly created at the same time, had a direct relationship to one another and were of equal importance. Two basic elements of Indian classical music are: TALA and RAGA

It is the basic rhythmic metric structure of music.

In Indian music, the RAGA phenomenon is the most striking difference compared to other musical cultures. This phenomenon, often referred to as the melody model, goes well beyond the aspect of a melodic model.
The definition of raga from the Sangeeta Sastra (800-900 AD) reads: The special melody, which is characterized by tones and their combinations and colors the thoughts of people, is called raga by the wise men. Raga is a combination of successive tones determined by special rules, each corresponding to an inner attunement.
A typical RAGA performance consists of two large parts:
1. ALAP = “getting to know” and
2. BANDISA = vowel composition through a certain TALA-linked part of a RAGA performance. In the course of the performance the tempo is increased.

From Tagore's memoirs: 4. Domination of servants.

“A personality stuck in my mind. His name was Iswar. He had previously been the village schoolmaster. With his head tilted slightly, he used to pronounce his carefully chosen words slowly in a deep voice. The adults made fun of his literary speech behind his back. This former schoolmaster had found a way to keep us quiet in the evenings. Every evening he gathered us around the cracked oil lamp and read us stories from the "Ramajana" or "Mahabharata". "

Rabindranath Tagore learned to sing from the old singer Srikanta Babu.

Dr. Banerjee:

A large part of the songs composed by Tagore is based on RAGA and TALA of classical music, but the religious music of Bengal, the Bengali folk music and finally the European music also influenced his work considerably.

Tagore freed himself from traditional rules and developed an unmistakable personal style. Religious themes, love, the various Indian festivals, the six Indian seasons and nature are the contents of his song lyrics.

Rabindranath was trained in the tradition of raga music, which in most cases formed the basis of his compositions. With greater emphasis on textual components, he adapted the strict principles of raga music to the textual content.

In Indian music, it is customary to impart knowledge orally. The teacher-student relationship (guru-sisya-parampara) is of decisive importance in this context. Tagore himself taught orally, but had his texts and compositions written down.

The first recordings of Rabindra songs were made as early as the beginning of the 20th century. Even today, 14 audio recordings by Rabindranath are known. There are also numerous sound recordings made by Rabindranath's direct students.

From Tagore's memoirs: 10. Srikantha Babu.

“At this time I was fortunate enough to have a listener I will never find again. The old man was like a perfectly ripe mango fruit, an Alfonso mango, without any trace of acidity and without any coarse fibers in the tissue. His mild, smooth-razed face was rounded off by an all-covering bald head; not a trace of a tooth bothered the inside of his mouth, and his large, smiling eyes shone with constant delight. When he spoke in his soft, deep voice, everything spoke to him: his mouth, his eyes, and his hands.
He was of ancient Persian culture - Farsi was formerly the official language in India - and could not understand a word of English. His inseparable companions were a hookah in his left hand and a zither on his lap; and a tireless song flowed from his throat.
When it comes to singing, I was Srikantha Babu's favorite student. He had taught me a song: "The happy games are over for me," and now he dragged me into everyone's room and let me sing. "

Tagore on the teacher's job:
"The main task of the teacher is not to explain meanings, but to knock on the door of the spirit."

From Tagore's memoirs: 13. My father.

“I can remember a lot of things that I didn't understand but that moved me deeply. When I was once standing with my eldest brother on the roof terrace of our villa by the river and suddenly dark clouds were gathering together, he recited some stanzas from Kalidasa's “Cloud Messenger” aloud. I didn't understand a word in Sanskrit, nor did I need it. His ecstatic presentation of the sonorous rhythm was enough for me.

“I once accompanied my father on a trip to the Ganges in his houseboat. Among the books he had with him was an old Fort William edition of Jajadeva's Gita-Govinda. It was printed in Bengali types. The verses were not withdrawn, but continued like prose.

I had to find out the intricately intricate meter of Jajadeva myself. And finding out gave me great pleasure. Of course, I couldn't quite understand the point. I can hardly pretend that I even partially understood him. But the sound of the words and the rhythmic flow of the meter conjured up images of wonderful beauty in my imagination and moved me to copy the whole book. "

Dr. Banerjee:
Music with Rabindranath.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, Tagore songs have become an indispensable part of everyday life in the Bengali people. They are sung and heard everywhere in the Bengali-speaking area in everyday life and on various occasions. The songs of Tagore are called "Rabindra Sangeet" in Bengal.

A song about LOVE - The translation is:

I hear someone playing the flute.
The flute plays: "I love, I love"
I hear this melody near, in the distance
Above the water, on the land:
I love, I love ..
It's a sad melody
because love does not come true.
Heaven weeps like a woman with black eyes -
This woman is crying because her love cannot be fulfilled.

Rabindranath Tagore
separation (Transmission: Dr. Martin Kämchen)

When the night was over
you stood at my gate
When you said goodbye
I gave you every song
which I succeeded.
You smile in my hand
laid your flute to separate.
There arises from the next day
in spring and autumn,
a loud lament in the sky and in the wind.
Weeping, the sound of a flute wanders
in search of his singing.

From Tagore's Memoirs: 19. Literary Companions.

“My brother used to sit at the piano all day for a while, immersed in the creation of new melodies. They gushed out from under his dancing fingers in abundant tides while our friend Akschay Babu and I sat on either side, trying to find words for the melodies that were forming, to make them easier to remember. That's how I completed my apprenticeship in song composition. "

From Tagore's Memoirs: 28. European Music.

“It is as if European music were interwoven with material life, that the text of its songs is as varied as life itself.… Our melodies go beyond the boundaries of everyday life, and only because of that they can make us hurt and bear the highest bliss. Because their task is to let us take a look into the mysterious, unfathomable depths of our being, where the pious finds his hermit cell ready and even the Epicurean his arbor, but where there is no room for the worldly businessman.

Later, as a father and head of his family's West Bengal lands in Santiniketan, as a businessman, so to speak, he seeks this deep inner peace.

Rabindranath Tagore
Break (Transfer from Dr. Hermann Weller)

Allow me just a short time
To turn completely to you:
The work, consecrated to the floating hour,
I want to finish it later.

Am I far from your face
Then I won't find rest or rest
My work, it does not see the bank
In the sea of ​​toil and burden.

His buzzing and sighing carries to me today
Summer in through the window;
The bees mutter their minnebrevier
In the temple, the blooming grove.

Oh, now it's time to take time out:
I hug you completely
And sing to you my life and being
In the silent, indulgent peace.

His close contact with Western culture later influenced Rabindranath in his lyrical and musical works, he found new forms in which he interwoven the best of both worlds, for example he combined Irish folk songs in his first musical game, `` The Genius of Valmiki '' with classical Indian music.

He played the role of Valmiki himself. Later he founded a theater school, he wrote nine dramas, all of which were performed. The female roles were all played by women (mostly from his own family) - a novelty and a taboo break in the Bengali society of his time. ...

As a young student, after returning from his first stay in England, Rabindranath Tagore was invited to give a lecture on music at the Béthune Society in Calcutta.

From Tagore's memoirs: 31. A lecture on music.

“By leaving the instrumental music aside, I tried to explain the end and purpose of all vocal music, to bring out what the words were trying to express even better. - But I must confess today that the view I was so enthusiastic about that evening was wrong. - Since music is rich enough in itself, why should it serve the word? Rather, their task begins where words fail; its power lies in the realm of the unspeakable, it tells us what words can never say. The less a song is burdened with words, the better. "

Dr. Banerjee:
A second Rabindra Sangeet:
A song about DESIRE
“Choche amar trishna
Trishna amar bokho jure, ami bristi bihin baisakhi din ”

The translation is:
I am dying of thirst because I have no water to drink.
You are the water I need to quench my thirst.
I'm a dry day in the summer month of Boisakh,
because the monsoon rain is not there yet.

Rabindranath Tagore
from Gitanjali (transmission: Dr. Martin Kämpchen)

That I only desire you, you alone,
Let my heart repeat that without end.
And all of my wishes, day and night
guide me from you, wrong and hollow
they are to the core.

Just like the plea in the darkness of the night
To keep the light hidden, that's how it sounds
From my soul's unconscious depths
The scream: "I need you, only you!"

Just as the storm seeks its goal in peace
Even if he strikes peace with might,
That's how my revolt hits your love
And yet only knows one call, the only one:
"I need you, only you!"

Dr. Banerjee:
The DANCE at Rabindranath.
The classical Indian dance is "god dance": people dance for the gods, imitate them or become possessed by them.

Indian dance is body language. In fact, some dancers only converse with their repertoire of gestures.
The basics for the dance performances of the Indian dances were written down by the master BHARAT in the 2nd century AD in the textbook "Natyasastra".
Then dancers should bring out emotional postures, BHABAs, so genuinely in body language that they trigger certain emotional states, RASAs, in the audience. The emotional state of “being in love”, for example, is created by smiling looks, seductive hand gestures and flirtatious movements.

As in music, Rabindranath went his own way with dance: he invented a new dance style and called it "NRITYA NATYA", a mixture of ballet and operetta.

The most famous pieces are:
Balmike prativa: Subject: Ramayana
Chitrangada (1936): Subject: Role of women in Indian society
Chandalika (1938): Subject: Abolition of the caste system
Shyama (1939): Subject: Conflict between Hindus and Muslims

He also wrote the choreography for the performances of the pieces.

Rabindranath was a pioneer on the Bengali stage: In his time, classical Indian dance was not socially acceptable in Bengali society because of the notorious temple dancers. Tagore had personally taught the art of dance to girls from middle-class families. They were allowed to travel as dance groups inside and outside India to show their dance skills.

Tagore's dance dramas are characterized by the unconventional use of Indian dance for the time. Tagore merged elements of different Indian dance styles into an independent style that is adapted to the content and expressive possibilities of his lyrics.
This style is still taught today at the Visva Bharati University in Santiniketan.

Rabindranath Tagore
from Gitanjali No. 70 (transmission: Dr. Martin Kämpchen)

Is it too much for you to be happy?
In the swing of these happily dancing rows?
Pushed, thrown, lost
In the vortex of painful dance gestures?

Everything hurries as quickly as the moment
Nothing stops there, nothing looks back;
No power can stop the hasty things
You keep tumbling in a whirling course.

With music without rest and tranquility
The seasons dance to us
To go again. And tones and colors
And scents throw cascading sheaves
In an overflowing joyous happiness,
That gives, dies, becomes every moment.

From Tagore's memoirs: 32nd on the Ganges.

“When I returned from my second trip to England, my brother Dschjotirinda lived with his wife in a villa on the river in Chandernagur, and I visited them there.

Those lovely days on the banks of the Ganges slipped by like consecrated lotus flowers drifting down the sacred river. I spent many rainy afternoons singing the old Vishnu songs one by one to my own tunes and accompanying myself on the harmonium. Other afternoons we drifted down the river in a boat; I sang and my brother Djotirinda accompanied my songs on his violin. We began with the Puravi tune and changed the tune of our music as the day fell, and as we began the Behaga tune we saw the western sky close the gates of its golden fairy tale castle and in the east across the fringe of trees the moon climb up.
The top room of the house was in a round tower, with windows on all sides. This was my poet's room ... Back then I was busy composing my evening songs. "

Rabindranath Tagore
from Gitanjali No. 8 (transmission: Dr. Martin Kämpchen)

It was a whisper early in the day
We should be sailing on the sea
Just you and me,
And nobody should know
Nobody in the whole world
Of our pilgrimage to no country
And no goal.

In this ocean without coasts
At your silence that smiles as you listen
My songs rise to melodies
Like waves free and free from the fetters of all words.

Hasn't the time come yet?
Is there still work to be done - undone?
Because see, the evening descends on the beach
And come with the farewell look of the light
The seagulls looking for their nests.

Who knows when the chains will fall
And our boat, like the last glow of the sunset
Float away into the night?

Rabindranath Tagore
Escape to rest (Transmission: Dr. Martin Kämchen)

The turbulent day moves towards the night.
The bubbling spring runs and seeks the sea.
In spring, the flower anxiously waits for the fruit.
So all restless things rush to calm abundance.

From Tagore's memoirs: 33. Some more about the evening songs.

“The sadness and pain that sought expression in the evening songs had their roots in the depths of my being. Just as the sleep-choked consciousness struggles with nightmares and struggles to wake up, so the inner self seeks to free itself from inhibitions and to come to light. ... Where the pain of disharmony tries to dissolve in harmony and to express this dissolution, there poetry breaks out as music, like the breath that goes through the flute. "

The audience found Tagore's morning songs, namely "The Echo" difficult to understand. First of all, Tagore replies that poems cannot be explained any more than the fragrance of flowers: "If someone smells a flower and says he does not understand it, one can only answer: There is nothing to understand, it is just a fragrance."

In his memoirs (34th Morning Songs) he gives a wonderfully poetic explanation of how "Das Echo" is meant:

“When streams of melodies pour out into space from the original source in the depths of the universe, their echo is thrown back into our hearts by the countenance of our loved ones and by everything that is beautiful around us. That echo, I wanted to say, has to be what we love and not the things themselves that happen to throw it back.
When the artist sends his song out from the bottom of a full heart, that is truly joy. And the joy is doubled when the same song sounds back to him from a strange mouth. When the creation of the poet of the world returns in a flood of joy and we let it flood over our consciousness, we feel immediately, in an inexpressible way, to which goal this flood is flowing. And as soon as we feel this, our love opens up and releases our self from its mooring, which now wants to drive towards its infinite goal with the stream of joy. This is what the longing that stirs in us when we see beauty means.
The stream that comes from the infinite and pours into the finite - that is the truth, the good; it is subject to laws and has its specific shape. Its echo, returning to the infinite, is beauty and joy that are difficult to grasp or hold on to and therefore lift us above ourselves. This is what I tried to say in the echo in the form of a parable or a song. "

Rabindranath Tagore
Sun and dew drops (transmission: Dr. Martin Kämpchen)

“Sun, who but the sky can take you?
In my dreams i can see you
but to serve you is not possible for me "-
says the dew weeping.
“O sun, to bind you in me is not in my power.
Compared to you, my life is tiny as a tear. "

“I give my light to the earth in infinite rays.
Still I let myself be caught in a drop of dew
and incline me kindly to you "-
says the sun smiling.
"I will make myself so small
that I dissolve myself completely in you.
But I want to stretch your tiny life a lot
with your eternally shining smile. "

* * *
The forest shadow shyly loves the light.
This is what the leaves tell the flowers; they laugh all over their faces.

* * *
Many children gather in the temple courtyard.
God forgets the priests, he watches the children's games.

Tagore: "All of my poems have the same basic theme - the joy of finding the infinite in the finite."

Rabindranath Tagore
Children at the ocean (Transmission: Dr. Martin Kämchen)

On the beach of the ocean
the children meet.

Unmoved spans wide
above the heads the infinite sky.
The deep blue water foams up
And dance the day through
What uproar there on the coast?
The children meet there.

They build houses out of sand
they play with shells.
On the water so blue and so endless
let small boats drift
they tinker with light hands
small rafts made of leaves.
On the beach of the ocean
the children meet.

You can't swim
also do not throw the nets.
The divers look for pearls while diving,
the traders pass by in their ships -
but the children collect pebbles just for them
to layer in small piles.
They don't ask about the value of gems
they cannot throw the nets.

The foam spurts up, the sea laughs,
the sea beach laughs too.
The children are the huge waves
like verses made of liquid notes,
like a mother's songs that her children
moved on the swing.
The sea plays with the children
the beach laughs.

On the beach of the ocean
the children meet.
A rainbow covers the sky
Ships capsize in the endless distance,
an angel of death flies up -
but the children play and play.
On the beach of the ocean
the children celebrate their big party.

From Tagore's Memoirs: 38. Pictures and Songs.

“A comment on the morning songs. Or should we put it better like this: If the strings of the soul are correctly tuned to the universe, then his music can bring them to resonate more harmoniously at every point. This music, which was awakened in me, made me feel nothing as ordinary or insignificant. Everything that my gaze fell on found its echo in me. Just as children play with sand or stones or shells, or whatever else they can get - for the spirit of the game is in them - so we too recognize, when the song of youth resounds in us, that the harp of the universe has its manifold tones Has strung strings everywhere, and that we only need to strike the next one to accompany us and not look any further. "