Cosmos - Beethoven & Indian Ragas
With this remarkable album, Sri Lankan pianist Shani Diluka reveals common ground between Beethoven and traditional Indian music. Beethoven was captivated, says Diluka, by 1816 German translations of ancient Hindi scriptures, the Upanishads, and explored in his music similar philosophical thoughts on humankind and the cosmos. This fascinating dialogue between East and West is deftly, beautifully achieved. The opening of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” and “Appassionata” sonatas emerge, seemingly organically, from the swirling mists of the sitar, while final bars in the second movement of “Moonlight” are peppered with tabla. The second, variation movement of the “Appassionata” is astonishing, as Indian instruments and piano alternate and intermingle, the sonata’s final moments a riotous cultural blend that feels wholly natural.