The concert was fantastic. In addition to these 4 musicinas there were some students from the one week workshop that these 4 had conducted at the new Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music (Prasanna's music school on the outskirts of Chennai). Some of that stuff was only so-so, but some of it was brilliant.
There was a blend of styles and genres and some absolutely sublime musicianship, all of them Gilmore, Pope, Holmes and Prasanna are masters of their respective instruments and most of the compositions were Prasanna's so they had a very carnatic sound. Superb stuff!
Only problem was that the hall's acoustics is not very good for concerts, lots of reverb, and the sound was a bit smeared because of that. Don't know if I would blame Acoustic Control who were handling the sound, because they're generally excellent, which is why I am concluding it was probably the hall that was at fault.
One more downside of course that we had to listen to a few speeches in between, but that's a small price to pay for an otherwise FREE concert of this calibre!!!
I concur for the most part. The first piece that Prasanna and Holmes played was mind boggling! It sounded like the guy was playing Mridangam, replete with carnatic beats. What blew me away was the fact let out by Prasanna that the piece was an impromptu improv. and that they had not practised it before! It's easy to impress the audience by playing the drums lightning fast, but playing it at a tempo so slow and still mesmerizing the audience, I'd think would take a whole lot of talent. Hats off to Holmes. Prasanna was his usual brilliant self and Mike Pope completing the almost perfect picture which was let down a bit due to the sound quality. Looking at the mouth of the horse, I had the following thoughts:
1. The bass guitar was treated like the red-headed step-child as usual by the guy behind the board. You could barely hear the bass stringing together the other instruments with all the snaps, pops and growls crushed and killed at source. The bass lines could barely come out of the mix intact.
2. Both the guitar and the bass needed better amps., though I've heard Laneys set up much better. I also had the feeling that the drum kit was subduing a lot of emotions. For a fusion concert like this, my first choice would've been a nicely run-in Premier.
3. The acoustics of the hall could've been a bit better but not bad at all for one run by the state government.
4. Inspite of the venue flooded with the promoter's branding, with details of the performers nowhere to be seen, it was a very good concert, especially since it was free. For once I could grit my teeth and put up with the frequent interruptions in the form of people grabbing the mic.
5. I could see more proof to my boast that Chennai has a lot of musical talent that's not just Indian classical.
6. The donuts sold outside the hall was blech!
All in all, it was a fine concert showing off an amazing array of talents. Kudos to the promoters for sponsoring the music school and the concert, I'd be waiting for even more greater things from them...