Sunday, May 22, 2011

Padma Vibhushan Acharya Allauddin Khan • Sarod Recital

Padma Vibhushan Acharya Allauddin Khan
- Sarod Recital
Great Master Great Music - All India Radio Recordings
EMI India - ECSD 2757 - P.1976

Side A 

A1 Raga-Kaushi Bhairav Alap: Gat Vilambit and Drut-Tritaal 21'05

Side B 

B1 Raga-Hem Alap: Gat Drut-Tritaal 19'40

Some of the records I will post the following days are answers to several requests I have received from old friends and new. Some asking for flute and some for sarod and more sitar, and some being much more specific than that. Personally, like I have repeatedly said before I enjoy vocal music much more than instrumental but that does not mean I don't listen to any instrumental. I certainly do, and although neither sarod nor flute are any of my favourite instruments (these days more so because of my increasing tinnitus) I can anyhow sometimes find great enjoyment in both of them. 

I do however prefer reeds over flutes and bowed over plucked strings, especially when they are exploring the lower registers. It is maybe already evident from my previous posts of Bismillah Khan and Ram Narayan. And when it comes to plucked strings, Surbahar and Rudra Vina takes precedence over any sarod or sitar. All that said I still think this post is long overdue. Mainly because of the increadible influence on most of the North Indian classical music that the western audiences first came into contact with. Here is an old recording with an even older Allauddin Khan. At ninety years of age he was no longer in his prime but the recording is nevertheless most interesting, especially considering the scarcity of longer recordings with him. This is also a call to anyone that has any of the older recordings by him, when he was still at his peak, to come forward and share them. There are many who would eagerly like to wrap their ears around any such sounds. Anyhow here is another recording of the few that was released from the many treasures of the All India Radio Archives.

Allauddin Khan, also known as Baba Allauddin Khan (ca. 1881 – 6 September 1972), was a Bengali sarodiya and multi-instrumentalist, composer and one of the most renowned music teachers of the 20th Century in Indian classical music.

In 1935, he toured Europe, along with Uday Shankar's ballet troupe, and later also worked at his institute, 'Uday Shankar India Culture Centre' at Almora for a while. During his lifetime, he composed several ragas and laid the foundation of a modern Maihar gharana. Amongst his recording which are rare, the most important ones are those he recorded with the All India Radio in 1959-60.

He was the father of sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan and Annapurna Devi, and the uncle of Raja Hossain Khan, as well as the guru of Ravi Shankar, Nikhil Banerjee, Vasant Rai, Pannalal Ghosh, Bahadur Khan, Sharan Rani and other influential musicians. He himself was a disciple of many great musicians, including Gopal Chandra Banerjee, Lobo, Munne Khan, and most importantly after a lot of struggle managed to become a shagird of the legendary Veena player, Wazir Khan of Rampur.

(snipped from wikipedia here)

Pt. Kanthe Maharaj-ji, U. Ali Akbar Khan, U. Allauddin Khan, Pt. Nikhil Banerjee and Pt. Kaviraj Ashutosh Bhattacharya, with a young Aashish Khan on tamboura - Kolkata 1952

It is my proud privilege to introduce to the young generation my guru, guide and father Padma Vibhushan Acharya Allauddin Khan.

This disc has been prepared from the Acharya's tapes obtained from All India Radio. Originally this music was recorded when he was in his nineties. This Long Play record is brought out by HMV so that it may be preserved as a cherishable memento of musical history rather than as a specimen of his great art. To this musical history the Acharya contributed so much, for the benefit of so many.

Comment on the record by 
Ali Akbar Khan

Acharya Allauddin Khan. 

One more vital link with our musical past snapped with the passing away of Acharya Allauddin Khan in 1972 Indeed, it marked the end of a great era - the era of giants in music. The centenarian Acharya was much more than a maestro, he was a phenomenon that just came off. His contribution to the enrichment of our musical heritage remains sui generis. He was steeped in the tradition of old masters. But his vast vision, his deep respect for western masters and his catholic understanding of their classical traditions lent a halo of universality to his art. In this sense, he was a reformist among conservatists and a conservatist among reformists.

The early decades of this century witnessed a near revolution in the time-honoured concept of instrumentation. And Acharya Allauddin Khan was the visionary who pioneered it. His fusion of gayaki, layakari and tantrakari, which enjoys such a tremendous vogue today, was no departure from the fundamentals of our tradition, but a unique combination of contemporary modes of instrumental expression without bias to any particular technique. This synthesis of tradition and experiment, of past achievements and future possibilities, lent a new dimension to North Indian instrumental music. The vitality of the stylisation, as also the versatility of its creator, is borne out by the fact that four of our greatest virtuosi are his disciples: his son Ali Akbar Khan, the inimitable sarodist, his daughter Annapoorna Devi, the undisputed Surbahar and sitar player, his son-in-law Ravi Shankar, the peerless sitarist, Timir Baran Bhattacharya and the incomparable flutist Pannalal Ghosh Adding to this impressive roll of honour are the Acharya's grandsons Ashish Khan, Dhynesh Khan, and a host of others.

Allauddin Khan's artistic intuition found its eloquent expression in many ways. The sarod was his first love — and last. But his virtuosity over a number of other instruments — string, wind, bow and percussion varieties — was truly astounding. The impressive line-up of ragas he created, such as Kaushi Bhairav, Hemant, Prabhakali, Hem Bihag and a host of others and also many talas, are his precious contribution to North Indian music. As a performing artiste, Acharya Allauddin Khan presented all that was best from the vast and varied Hindustani repertory and something more: the mystical element in music which in turn created a mood of spiritual awareness in the listener. This quality of detached intensity was probably inherent in the genius of the Acharys who, while yet a boy of eight, ran away from home to seek musical faith more than musical career. The saga of the sacrifices he made in the pursuit of his muse has few parallels in the world's musical history.

Born in 1862 in the village Shibpur (Tripura), now in Bangladesh, Allauddin Khan inherited his passion for music from his father, Sadhu Khan. After weeks of wandering in Dacca and Nawagram and days of starvation in Calcutta, the youngster at last found a great and magnanimous guru, the well-known musician Nanu Gopal, who promised to train him in vocal music. Pandit Nandlal, another guru, agreed to teach him tabla and mridang.

He devoted the next seven years of his life to vigorous and constant practice of vocal music. On the death of Nanu Gopal, Allauddin Khan decided to devote himself in future only to instrumental music. He joined the band of Habu Dutt, the well-known brother of Swami Vivekanand and learnt various instruments from him. Allauddin Khan's teacher in violin was Mr. Lobo, the conductor of the famous band at Eden Garden at Calcutta.

After three years of strenuous work, Allauddin Khan met Ustad Ahmed Ali, the famous sarod player, who accepted him as his pupil. After some years he left Ahmed Ali and went to the then Nawab of Rampur, a great patron of music. A descendant of Mian Tansen, Ustad Mohammed Wazir Khan Seniya. who was an eminent veena maestro in the court of Rampur. gave intensive training to Allauddin Khan to enable him to become an accomplished artiste. Allauddin Khan spent about thirty years of his life for this rigorous training. When he appeared at the concert platform, he was hailed as an outstanding sarodist throughout the country.

Allauddin Khan in 1929.

Allauddin Khan had formed the Maihar State Band, In later years he become the court musician of the State of Maihar. In 1935, he went on a concert tour to Europe with Uday Shankar's ballet troupe. He toured throughout the world and thrilled his audiences, for many years he continued to teach the poor musicians at Maihar and Allahabad and carried on his pioneering work in orchestration of Indian music.

A saintly personality, Acharya Allauddin Khan had dedicated himself and his music to Sharda Ma and was a strict vegetarian and disciplinarian. He regularly said his "namaz" or prayers five times every day. He was the first recipient of the President's Award in 1952 and Padma Bhushan in 1958, Desikottama from Vishwa Bharati in 1961 and Padma Vibhushan in 1971. But he remained essentially a lone artiste, unspoilt by name and fame, always immersed in the holiness of his art.
from the sleevenotes 

Still more to read here

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Anonymous said...

thank you, this is a good one, indeed. i've been listening to an old cassette copy and am very excited to sink my ears into what promises to be far superior sound... Speaking of bowed instruments, i've been really getting into Persian kamanche, lately! What an amazing sound -- like a voice, but its not a voice...

Anonymous said...

you might enjoy this, too:

and i'm very honored and touched that you would mention specifically in the post your response to a request! thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

from Ravi Shankar's comments in another Allauddin Khan release, Akashvani Sangeet, which has 1962 recordings of Shuddha Basant and Paraj Basant (not the same Paraj basant which appeared on the 5-cd box set a few years prior, by the way)...

"Having heard the few CD's that Akashvani brought out earlier of Baba and other great masters, I strongly feel that most listeners may not get the correct impression of their greatness and the musical prowess through these CD's considering that all these recordings were made from AIR broadcasts when they were in their late seventies and eighties and in poor health. Still I commend Akashvani for undertaking this project, for the true Sangeet Rasikas who would hear some great moments in the performances by these masters who have been the source and inspiration for all of us classical musicians of India today."

...just for the record, I still find these recordings you have posted to be absolutely mind-blowing and God-unifying... When Allauddin gets going, he's like the strongest horse, the most powerful and massive train hurtling through space, etc. Whereas so so so many of the other musicians, toward the end of a raga, are really just playing rapidly on a string or two, Baba is spinning-out tight and complete little phrases faster than you could possible imagine!!! etc., etc., I better quit while I'm ahead!

Anonymous said...

i'd invite anyone to give Baba a 30-day or 90-day trial!! listen to him regularly, and I'll bet after a while you'll notice that some of the players you used to like are really not sounding the same to you, anymore!

Anonymous said...

you might enjoy the indian and african stuff in these 3 pictures


Anonymous said...

Here's a Bismillah Khan which you might enjoy. It was a cassette tape, which I know is nobody's favorite for fidelity, but it does actually sound quite good. After the fact, I realized that my little ripping rig is monaural, but its still better than not being able to hear the tape. Shivaranjani and Rageshri, both clocking in at about 30 minutes and both in Jhaptaal. I know the old traditional thing was for instrumentalists almost always to play in teentaal, but I really like the newer trend of being able to enjoy different talas. Sometimes, I even try to chose them over teentaal, if & when possible. After the rip, I put each song onto a different CD, b/c I was making some CD's to have various examples of the same raga played by different maestros, as an aid to my learning some more of the swaroops, bandishes, etc. I can provide you with the original files, if you'd like? I mention all of this not for loquacity's sake, but b/c I know that *you care* about the details! btw, you inspired me to listen to Imrat Khan's surbahar rendition of Basant Mukhari...

Anonymous said...

Ravi said when he met Allauddin at some big conference (or whatever it was) back in the 1930's, all of the other musicians looked like dandies, wearing a bunch of medals, but Baba was very plain & at first Ravi didn't even notice him... I like that.

Giri Mandi said...

Eh, the empyrean ustadji... kya baat hai, for ever and ever!

Actually there is a five CDs set, published in 1997, archivial releases fron AIR, recorded 1959/60, ragas lasting 20/30 minutes. Every single CD parades fascinating titles such as "Baba's Subline (sic) Sarod", "Baba's in Moods", "Baba's Enchantment", "Baba's Melody", "Baba's Genius". If anybody needs it, I can copy the list of ragas (two per CD).

bolingo69 said...

Anonymous & Anonymous=D

Thanks a lot for your comments, I'll check the links as soon as I get a bit more free time. At the moment it is a bit hectic and todays post was swallowed by the blogspot hickup that lasted from afternoon until just a little while ago.

& Giri Mandi thank you for your kind offer but since I only post LP's and K7's, I forgot that I actually have that 5 CD box myself ;-( - The titles are hilarious! ;-)

Ragas are

Vol. 1
Jaijaiwanti 30'05
Emni Bilawal 20'29
Gara 9'17

Vol. 2
Paraj Basant 27'34
Malhar Ka Prakar 27'15

Vol. 3
Chhayanat 26'27
Puria Dhanashri 26'00

Vol. 4
Alhaiya Bilawal 28'45
Basant 27'32

Vol. 5
Emni Bilawal 20'29 (same as Vol. 1)
Bhairavi 19'18

All recorded like you said 1959-60...

Anonymous said...

whats hilarious is the way the emni bilawal repeats!

bolingo69 said...

Maybe it gets better the second time ;-)

Anonymous said...

gotta love that quality control... well, sharing is caring & since you mentioend Bismillah, I thought about that tape I'd just ripped. I'm pretty sure those Music Today titles got rereleased onto CD, so you've prolly either already got it or a rip of the CD. I'll never know if you DL'd the mediafire link, though -- I'm not set up to check those kinda things...

bolingo69 said...

I have downloaded the Bismillah file but have not had time to check yet. Apart from all the vinyl and K7's I do have an awful lot of CD's by him as well so the likeliness that have those takes you sent are fairly high. I'll let you know as soon as I get the time to sit down and check properly! And of course, thanks a lot for sharing!

Anonymous said...

great! that's very nice of you to get back to me. no obligation, but thank you.

Anonymous said...

OMG!!! The sound on this thing!!! WOW!!!! I just now finally gave it a listen and its like a whole new album, for me. What I had sounded like a shitty sound on a cheap tape, and the little bit of the Kausi-Bhairavi that got excepted on the 12-volume (tape) or 6-volume (CD) *Morning to Midnight* sequence [HMV] was the same shitty master source but on a cd, big deal... The 5-cd box set also had the same shitty sound -- they're so stoned they repeated the Yamani Bilawal but then they're gonna go into the vaults and find the very cleanest masters? Yeah, right.... SO, anyway, this is basically like the first time I've really gotten to hear Allauddin Khan like close to how it should really sound. These aren't recordings from the 1930's, in other words.

Anonymous said...

the versions of these tracks that i had been listening to, and all of allauddin's stuff that i had been listening to ------- sounded like some Edison cylinder from the turn of the century, in other words. I'm so thankful the label & engineers, etc. managed to put out a great-sounding LP and that this nice Bolingo person on the web is sharing their record collection with the ENTIRE UNIVERSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

the HEM sounds a LOT vetter than my tape, too.. i'd never really listened to it more than once or twice (for obvious reasons) but now will enjoy finally getting into it...

øשlqæda said...

some priceless commentary on this post :) i just dropped in to say thx fer the tunes

Anonymous said...

you know it, owl-baby

Anonymous said...

Can't seem to download the music...the link takes you to an ad site and you cannot proceed further. Any tips on downloading will be appreciated! really want to hear this music!

Unknown said...

Finally yesterday I was able to get this 2 CD collection of sarod recital. I will be very much obliged if any of you can tell me what time in the day is Raga Hem performed?