“Eine kleine Weltmusik: die Musik der Santal” in Klangkörper. Saiteninstrumente aus Indien – Rezension in ASIEN 139

Johannes Beltz; Marie Eve Celio-Scheurer (Hgg.): Klangkörper. Saiteninstrumente aus Indien.
Zürich: Museum Rietberg, 2015. 81 S., 23 EUR | Zur Ausstellung in Indien und über die Englische AusgabeCadence and Counterpoint, Documenting Santal Musical Traditions by Johannes Beltz, Ruchira Ghose and Maria-Eve Celio-Scheurer (eds.) >>

Eine einzigartige Würdigung der visuellen Attraktivität und künstlerischen Qualität der Musikinstrumente der Santal in Indien. Mit einem Text von Bengt Fosshag über seine Passion als Sammler dieser Instrumente und einem kurzen Essay von Ludwig Pesch zur Musik der Santal.

ASIEN 139 (April 2016) in print – Rezension von Heinz Werner Wessler (Professor für Indologie an der Universität Uppsala, Schweden) , S. 138-139 | Mehr über den Rezensenten | LinkedIn >>

Der Band ist Ausstellungskatalog (Ausstellung „Klang/Körper“ im Musum Rietberg), Nachschlagewerk und zugleich ein Beitrag zur Erforschung der Saiteninstrumente der indischen Adivasis (Ureinwohner), insbesondere der im östlichen Indien ansässigen Santals. Die hier dokumentierten Instrumente, die zum größten Teil auf eine aktuelle Schenkung an das Museum Rietberg zurückgehen (einige wenige Exemplare wurden vom Rietberg-Kreis aus der Sammlung Fosshag angekauft), wurden im berühmten Zürcher Museum für asiatische Kunst zum ersten Mal ausgestellt und hier im Rahmen des vorliegenden Kataloges dokumentiert.

Die Sammlung geht zurück auf den Designer und Illustrator Bengt Fosshag, der über viele Jahre Indien bereiste und dabei über Jahrzehnte diese einzigartige Sammlung aufbaute. Dies in einer Zeit, in der lokale Traditionen mehr und mehr gefährdet sind und untergehen, wie das auch mit den Musikinstrumenten der Santals und ihrer Musik der Fall ist (vgl. den Beitrag „Eine Instrumentensammlung für ein Kunstmuseum“ von Johannes Beltz).

Das Museum, das als ein Ort für asiatische hohe Kunst eingerichtet wurde, öffnet sich mit der Annahme der Sammlung damit weiter in Richtung Volks- und Stammeskunst. Ursprünglich hatte sich das berühmte Museum Rietberg vor allem als V ermittler und Bewahrer der klassischen hochkulturellen Kunsttraditionen Indiens etabliert. Das Anliegen, klassische Kunstwerke aus Südasien als Exponate der Weltkunst zu etablieren, hat sich durchgesetzt. Inzwischen gibt es andere Prioritäten, die zu programmatischen Annäherungen zwischen der Weltkunst gewidmeten Museen und den modernen Völkerkundemuseen führten.

Ludwig Pesch macht in seinem Beitrag „Eine kleine Weltmusik: die Musik der Santal“ deutlich, dass die Santal und ihre Musik einerseits völlig eigenständig sind, andererseits aber in einem „Dialog im Flüsterton“ ihren Einfluss auf die indische Moderne hatten, vor allem über Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941), der seine berühmte Universität Vishvabharati in Santal-Gebiet gründete. In diesem Sinn versteht sich der Katalog, wie Johannes Beltz schreibt, als „ eine spielerische, poetische Annäherung an die Instrumente“ (S.31) als „Klang/Körper“, das heißt als Klang erzeugende Kunstwerke der Santals.

Die Sammlung Fosshag besteht aus 92 Instrumenten aus der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts, fast alles Streichinstrumente, deren Saiten entweder mit einem Bogen gestrichen oder gezupft werden. Ihr Formsprache nimmt die Körperteile des menschlichen Körpers auf, so auch in der Bezeichnung der einzelnen Teile des Instruments in der Santal-Sprache. Auch die ornamentalen V erzierungen sind meistens anthropomorph. Leider sind die Instrumentenbauer und ihre konkrete Herkunft bisher weitgehend unbekannt.

Der kleine Band enthält außerdem einige der von Martin Kämpchen in deutscher Übersetzung herausgegebenen Lieder der Santal sowie hochaufgelöste Bilder aller Instrumente der Sammlung.

Heinz Werner Wessler

“Unity in Diversity, Antiquity in Contemporary Practice? South Indian Music Reconsidered

Musik_Politik_Identität_Cover-2016“Unity in Diversity, Antiquity in Contemporary Practice? South Indian Music Reconsidered” by Ludwig Pesch (Amsterdam) in Gardner, Matthew; Walsdorf, Hanna (Hrsg.). Musik – Politik – Identität. Göttingen: Universitätsverlag, 2016 (Musikwissenschaften)

This essay evolved from a presentation for participants at the music conference “Music | Musics. Structures and Processes” held at Goettingen University (4-8 September 2012); with due credits to the editors.

ISBN13: 978-3-86395-258-7

Softcover, 17×24, 218 S.: 24,00 € Online Ausgabe, PDF (3.681 MB)

© 2016: Creative Commons licence Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Abstract

The “classical” music of South India is an amalgam of regional traditions and practices. Increasingly codified in the past five centuries, it is now known as Carnatic or Karnatak music. Like the Sanskrit term Karnâtaka Sangîtam, these Anglicisms denote “traditional” music besides distinguishing South Indian music from its northern (Hindustani) counterpart. Progressive scholars have long espoused the common goal of making teaching more effective for both idioms while safeguarding “authentity”. It may therefore seem odd that detailed notation has not been embraced by practitioners.

This paper probes the resilience of oral transmission in the face of modernity. It looks into the concerns shared by musicians who, while belonging to different cultures and periods, have much in common as far as performing practice is concerned: close integration of vocal and instrumental music. The role of manuscripts in Minnesang, as described by McMahon, also applies to Carnatic music: “songs were handed down in an oral tradition [and] the manuscripts were not intended to be used by performers.” (The Music of Early Minnesang Columbia SC, 1990.)

It will be argued that this fact is not just a question of some musicians’ conservatism, ignorance or irrationality; nor would it put the continuity of a living tradition at risk. On the contrary, Carnatic music reaches global audiences today while “ancient” roots are claimed even by those who cherish its association with musicians from other cultures throughout the 20th century.

About this publication

Music – Politics – Identity

Music always mirrors and acts as a focal point for social paradigms and discourses surrounding political and national identity. The essays in this volume combine contributions on historical and present-day questions about the relationship between politics and musical creativity.

The first part concentrates on musical identity and political reality, discussing ideological values in musical discourses.

The second part deals with (musical) constructions, drwawing on diverse national connections within our own and foreign identity.

Matthew Gardner & Hanna Walsdorf (eds.)

Musik – Politik – Identität

Musik ist immer auch Spiegel und Kristallisationspunkt gesellschaftlicher Paradigmen und politisch-nationaler Identitätsdiskurse. Der vorliegende Sammelband vereint Beiträge zu historischen und gegenwärtigen Fragestellungen, die um das Verhältnis von Politik und musikalischem Schaffen kreisen.

Im ersten Teil sind Beiträge zusammengefasst, die sich mit „Musikalischer Identität und politischer Realität“ befassen und dabei ideologische Zuschreibungsprozesse im Musikdiskurs thematisieren.

Der zweite Teil des Bandes umfasst Betrachtungen über „(Musikalische) Konstruktionen von eigener und fremder Identität“ aus verschiedensten nationalen Zusammenhängen.

Matthew Gardner & Hanna Walsdorf (Hg.)

Inhalt / Contents

Hanna Walsdorf und Matthew Gardner
Vorwort

I Musikalische Identität und politische Realität

Hanna Walsdorf
Deutsche Nationalmusik? Ein diskursgeschichtlicher Annäherungsversuch

Mauro Fosco Bertola
„Die Musik ist mediterran“: Orient, Latinität und Musikgeschichte, oder: Wie Nietzsche 1937 Italiens koloniale Macht legitimieren sollte

Yvonne Wasserloos
„Nordische Musik“ als Faktor der Propaganda der Nordischen Gesellschaft und der DNSAP in Dänemark um 1940

Simon Nußbruch
„Was ließen jene, die vor uns schon waren…?“ Musik in der Bündischen Jugend nach 1945

Gilbert Stöck
Methoden musikalischer Opposition in Portugal während der Salazar-Diktatur bei Jorge Peixinho und José Afonso

Paul Christiansen
‘The Stakes Are Too High For You to Stay Home’: Divergent Uses of Music in TV Political Ads in the 1964 U.S. Presidential Election

II (Musikalische) Konstruktionen von eigener und fremder Identität

Matthew Gardner
‘Das Land ohne Musik’? National Musical Identity in Victorian and Edwardian England

Rebekka Sandmeier
Reflections of European Culture in the Grey Collection (National Library of South Africa)

Mario Dunkel
Jazz and the Emergence of the African-Roots Theory

Dorothea Suh
Achim Freyers Mr. Rabbit and the Dragon King: Eine Interpretation des koreanischen P’ansori Sugungga

Ludwig Pesch
Unity in Diversity, Antiquity in Contemporary Practice? South Indian Music Reconsidered

Search for other publications by these authors in a library near you: 
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Unity in Diversity, Antiquity in Contemporary Practice? South Indian Music Reconsidered – Free download

Musik_Politik_Identität_Cover-2016“Unity in Diversity, Antiquity in Contemporary Practice? South Indian Music Reconsidered” by Ludwig Pesch (Amsterdam) in Gardner, Matthew; Walsdorf, Hanna (Hrsg.). Musik – Politik – Identität / Music – Politics – Identity. Göttingen: Universitätsverlag, 2016 (Musikwissenschaften) | Abstract and contents >>

ISBN13: 978-3-86395-258-7

Softcover, 17×24, 218 S.: 24,00 € Online Ausgabe, PDF (3.681 MB)

Download for free here: http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?univerlag-isbn-978-3-86395-258-7 >>
(Creative Commons licence Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International)

Santiniketan: Birth of Another Cultural Space – Free e-book by Pulak Dutta

Of all living creatures in the world, man has his vital and mental energy vastly in excess of his need, which urges him to work in various lines of creation for its own sake […] Life is perpetually creative because it contains in itself that surplus which ever overflows the boundaries of the immediate time and space.
Rabindranath Tagore in The Religion of an Artist *

KG Subramanyam with Pulak Dutta – Santiniketan 2009

Download : Santiniketan Birth of Another Cultural Space (free e-book) here >>

Pulak Dutta. Santiniketan: Birth of Another Cultural Space. Santiniketan 2015.
Contact: pulaksantiniketan@gmail.com

* Quoted by Pulak Dutta (p. 97) from Sisir Kumar Das (ed.). The English Writings of Rabindranath Tagore Vol 3. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi 2006 (pp. 687-8)

India Inspiration – Tropenmuseum Amsterdam

For ten years this exhibition celebrated the sources of inspiration shared by Indian and Western artists; and at the same time, it traced the role of migrants from India via Surinam through songs, memorabilia, and documentary film footage.

Concept and research: Ludwig Pesch (www.aiume.org) in collaboration with museum staff and Architectenbureau Jowa (www.jowa.nl).

Photographs © Ludwig Pesch

This exhibition was one of the five themes in the exhibition “Round and About India”: Wanderings

Amsterdam-Museum-Tropen_Visit

Storytellers and actors brought their stories to every corner of India. Today their narrative boxes, scrolls and performances are increasingly being replaced by modern mediums, but they have not yet disappeared.

India is a country of stories and storytellers. Opportunities abound in the exhibition Round and About India to watch and listen to narratives about people, ideas and objects. Every item has a tale, every person has something to tell. Whether it is festivals and processions, commerce and history, gods and heroes, pilgrimages and wanderings.

In this exhibition these stories are the central features of performances in dance, theatre and music.

On display until 2017

Visit the Tropenmuseum

This museum is one of Amsterdam hidden treasures. Located off city centre in a beautiful old building in East Amsterdam (Amsterdam Oost), Tropenmuseum often remains forgotten, like an old collection of post stamps. However, if you are interested in other cultures, other countries and distant lands – do no miss it.

Amsterdam Tropenmuseum exhibit is modern, fascinating on many levels and inspiring. […] Modern and intelligent presentation makes the visit pleasant to a larger public, including children. | More information: www.amsterdam.info/museums/tropenmuseum

Some notes on Rabindranath Tagore and his role in fostering “sympathy of the East and West” during his visit to The Netherlands in fall 1920

In his poetry, for which he received the Nobel Prize for Literature as Asia’s first awardee in 1913, Tagore uses musical instruments as metaphors for self-realization and transcendence; notably the vina (or “veena”, often translated as “harp”) and the flute. In a letter to Frederik van Eeden, his Dutch translator, he wrote:

“Very often I think and feel that I am like a flute – the flute that cannot talk but when the breath is upon it, can sing. I am sure you have seen me in my book and I shall never be able to make myself seen to you when we meet; for the body of the lamp is dark, it has no expression, only its flame has the language.” (signed in London, 9 August 1913) [1]

This recurring motif may excuse the amusing blunder by a cartoon character (the alter ego of the museum’s former Curator for South Asia), who hails Tagore as “India’s greatest flautist”! [2]

In an earlier letter to Van Eeden, written seven years before visiting the Netherlands, Tagore wrote:

“Still I cannot deny that this award of the Nobel Prize has been a great thing. It is the handshake of sympathy of the East and West across the water – it has proclaimed the oneness of humanity.” (signed in Shanti Niketan, 12 December 1913) [1]

Tagore_Vrije_Gemeente_Spaarnestad1920
Rabindranath Tagore in Amsterdam (Vrije Gemeente 1920) © Spaarnestad Photo – click on the photo for more details and to zoom in

In 1920 Tagore spoke before packed houses including the “free congregation”: the humanistic and cosmopolitan “Vrije Gemeente” whose highly placed members had built a magnificent church at the Weteringschans in Amsterdam. (It now houses Amsterdam’s prime pop venue, known as “Paradiso”.)

Tagore’s lecture tour made a lasting impression on countless listeners:
“Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) and the Dutch writer, psychiatrist and Utopist Frederik van Eeden (1860-1932) exchanged correspondence between 1913 and 1928, and met in Amsterdam in 1920. When Van Eeden discovered Tagore’s poetry in 1913, he experienced a feeling of profound recognition and went on to translate a considerable amount of Tagore’s poetic work into Dutch, starting with Gitanjali [Wijzangen]. Van Eeden’s translations became very popular in the Netherlands, also among composers.” [3]

Van Eeden’s father (the elder Frederick van Eeden) was in fact the co-founder of what later became the Tropenmuseum, established as the “Colonial Museum” in nearby Haarlem in 1864. The grand building in Amsterdam dates from 1923. [4]

 

[1] Learn more about Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Frederik van Eeden (1860-1932) and the spread of Tagore’s educational ideas through Noto Soeroto in “Tagore in The Netherlands” by Liesbeth Meyer:
www.parabaas.com/rabindranath/articles/pMeyer.html
(visited 14 March 2016)

Tagore with tambura - Sangeet Natak Centenary Number (New Delhi 1961)
“As Blind Minstrel in Phalguni” by Abanindranath Tagore (detail); title page, Sangeet Natak Centenary Number (New Delhi 1961)

[2] For the record: it is a well known fact that Tagore did not play any musical instrument other than the drone:

“I practiced my songs with my tamburā resting on my shoulder.” (My Boyhood Days, p. 38, Calcutta: Visva-Bharati 1997).

Later he was depicted as playing a similar string instrument, namely as a participant in his own music dramas (see the detail from Abanindranath Tagore’s painting reproduced here). So if you visit the exhibition and watch its audiovisual contents, kindly ignore this blunder by an over-enthusiastic museum team member. Here you may enjoy the rare and instructive media contents supplied by many contributors including the Embassy of India in The Hague.

[3] More information is found in the English Abstract by Rokus de Groot for his article titled “Van Eeden en Tagore. Ethiek en muziek” in Tijdschrift van de Koninklijke Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis, D. 49ste, Afl. 2de (1999), pp. 98-147. The  abstract and article (in Dutch) are found here:
www.jstor.org

[4] In 1923 the building on the corner of Mauritskade and Linnaeusstraat was completed and the collections from Haarlem could be moved to Amsterdam. On 9 October 1926 Queen Wilhelmina officially opened the new Colonial Institute. The history of the Tropenmuseum is outlined here (in English):
www.geheugenvannederland.nl/?/en/instellingen/tropenmuseum

Tip

Listen to “Tagore: Unlocking Cages” from the series of podcasts by BBC 4 titled “Incarnations: India in 50 Lives”. Sunil Khilnani tells the story of the Bengali writer and thinker Rabindranath Tagore. The series is found here: http://bbc.in/1KVh4Cf

Rabindranath Tagore on art, music, painting and dance

The creation of art, music, painting and dance elevates man from a mere being to a personal man. The personality of man, according to Tagore, is “conscious of its inexhaustible abundance; it has the paradox in it that it is more than itself; it is more than as it is seen, as it is known, as it is used. And this consciousness of the infinite, in the personal man, ever strives to make its expressions immortal and to make the whole world its own.”

Rabindranath Tagore, Personality, 362.
Personality, in The English Writings of Rabindranath Tagore, vol. 2, ed. by Sisir Kumar Das (New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 2008).
Source: © 2012 Arup Jyoti Sarma http://www.kritike.org/journal/issue_11/sarma_june2012.pdf
Accessed 21 April 2015