Program texts

Sarod Recital – Program Notes

A recital of North Indian classical music

Ken Zuckerman – sarod, with accompaniment on Tabla and Tanpura

North Indian classical music is one of the most highly developed art music’s in the world. Partaking strongly of improvisational elements, the structural framework of the music is provided by a system of melodic patterns called ragas and of rhythmic patterns called talas. Within the framework, the performers must create the musical fabric at the moment of performance.

Following tradition, the musician doesn’t perform a set program, but rather plays different ragas as inspired at the moment. The choice of raga is not usually a matter of whimsy: in accordance with centuries old philosophical traditions, certain ragas are considered to be appropriate to specific times, seasons of the year, and even states of mind. (more…)

Meeting Two Worlds of Modal Music – Program Notes

Sample Program

Mode in D (Dorian)

Anonym – „Natali regis gloriae“ (Conductus, 12th c.)
Ken Zuckerman – Composition and improvisations in dorian mode
Gregorian chant – „Universi qui te expectant“ (gradual)
Traditional Indian – Raga Bhimpalashri

Mode in C

Traditional Indian Raga ‚Pahari’
Gregorian chant „Alleluia, Angelus Domini“
Traditional Indian * Raga ‚Manj Khammaj’- introduction
Jehan de Lescurel (beg. 14th c.) „Bontés, sen, valours et pris“ (ballad, lydian)
Traditional Indian ** Raga ‚Manj Khammaj’ – continued
Traditional Indian/Persian tabla/zarb – solo
12 Traditional Indian ** Raga ‚Manj Khammaj’ – conclusion

Mode in F (Lydian)
13 Traditional Indian ** Raga ‚Bihag’ – introduction
14 Raga ‚Bihag’ – continued and conclusion
15 Anonymous Istampita ‘Principio di virtu’
(source: London, British Library, MS Add. 29987)
16 Jehan de Lescurel „Douce amour, confortez moi“ (virelais)

Mode in E (Phrygian)
17 Sephardic „Ven querida“
18 Traditional Indian ** Raga ‚Bhairavi’
19 Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) „O splendidissima gemma“ –
20 Traditional Indian ** Raga ‚Bhairavi’
21 Raga ‚Bhairavi’ – continued
22 Raga ‚Bhairavi’ – conclusion

The musical traditions of the European Middle Ages and of North India, in spite of their many differences, have common roots going back far into the past. This can be seen especially in the organization of compositions according to the melodic modes. Internationally renowned specialists from the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and of the Indian classical tradition here build a musical bridge between these cultures. Structure and improvisation, sensual melodies and complex rhythms, virtuosity and passion mark this fascinating meeting of two worlds! (more…)

Lutes of the World – Program Notes

Improvisations on Sarod, Medieval Lute, Oud and Dhotar

This performance gives listeners a rare opportunity to hear a variety of lutes from the East and West. Although their sounds, shapes, sizes and playing techniques vary somewhat, these four members of the lute family are all united by a common musical thread – mode. Monophonic modal music, which is at the heart of many eastern classical traditions, also played an important role at various stages in the development of western art music, particularly during the Middle Ages.

Program from Feb. 2006 in the Purcell Room in London (more…)

  • Recordings

  • 2 Worlds Modal

    Ragas d'equinoxe

    Salon de Musique

    Nature of Ragas

    Modal Tapestry


    Live in Basel

    Lute Improvisations
    (soon available)