© Marisa Vranjes

A Passage To India

A trip around the world with Romina Lischka

This season BOZAR puts a spotlight on the exciting musician Romina Lischka who will take you on a thrilling trip, from London to India’s Uttar Pradesh. With her favourite instrument in hand, the viola da gamba player broadens our horizons by introducing you to dhrupad, a traditional music genre that was popular in the 16th century Moghul empire. During her three concerts, the artist sends us on a journey through time and space, revealing the unimaginable range of the viola da gamba repertoire. 

5 key locations:

London: In 1759 the British capital welcomes Carl Friedrich Abel, a relatively little-known composer. The son of a close friend of Johann Sebastian Bach, Abel co-founded the series of London’s first subscription concerts with Johann Christian Bach. His Suite in D minor is taken from his barely known Drexel Manuscript, which we obtained thanks to his friend, the renowned painter Thomas Gainsborough. (22.09.2019)

Berlin: Named the “Bach of Berlin”, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, composed his Sonatas for viola da gamba for the court of Frederick the Great, where he was the organist for around thirty years. (22.09.2019)

Vienna: The Venetian composer Giovanni Priuli left Italy for Austria, where he was named Hofkapellmeister by Archduke Ferdinand. Priuli followed the Archduke to Vienna when he became Emperor Ferdinand II of the Holy Roman Germanic Empire. It was then that he composed his Sonata prima in due cori for the imperial court. (19.05.2020)

Venice: Venice is a city eminently known for ancient music. It was home to the finest composers. Claudio Monteverdi is one of the most illustrious, with his Venetian period masterpieces the Magnificat and the Laudate Dominum omnes gentes. (19.05.2020)

Swami Haridas teaching his disciple Tansen, two great classical dhrupad musicians, in the presence of Emperor Abkar.
Swami Haridas teaching his disciple Tansen, two great classical dhrupad musicians, in the presence of Emperor Abkar.

Agra and Fatehpur Sikri: These successive capitals of the Moghul Empire are located in modern day Uttar Pradesh in India. The two cities reveal the splendour of the 16th century Moghul civilisation, under the reign of Abkar, an art lover. The Emperor encouraged the development of dhrupad, a traditional music genre, which reached the zenith of classical expression at the imperial court. References to the instrument are found in ancient Sanskrit texts (puranas) and there is a legacy of the declamatory-style Vedic hymns and mantras. Dhrupad’s popularity has endured throughout the centuries. It has a systematic structure but there is also a focus on improvisation. Its free adaptation recalls the music that was played for British consorts in the court of Elisabeth I during the same period.  (22.02.2020)

Romina Lischka (Viola da gamba) & Maude Gratton (Harpsichord) J.S. BACH Sonatas for viol and harpsichord

See also