Shirish Korde Excites at Boston Musica Viva Finale

Shirish Korde, distinguished professor of humanities at the College of the Holy Cross, changed the spirit of contemporary chamber music with a piece so rhythmically infectious people could not but move to the beat at the Boston Musica Viva finale on Saturday, April 11. Korde’s ‘Kala Chakra,’ a nine-movement song cycle-cum-spiritual jam session, saw much praise in both the Boston Classical Review and the Boston Globe.

“Let’s face it, ‘It’s got a great beat and you can dance to it’ is not a line you commonly see in reviews of contemporary chamber music,” read the Boston Classical Review.

“But at Saturday night’s concert by Boston Musica Viva in the Longy School of Music’s Pickman Hall, there it was: the world premiere of a piece so rhythmically infectious that, if the tiny hall had any aisles to speak of, one could imagine the patrons dancing in them.”

Korde created the piece around three soloists: soprano Gitanjali Mathur, trained in Indian and Western traditions; Wu Tong, a virtuoso on the sheng, the Chinese mouth organ — and a rock singer; and tabla master Sandeep Das, a veteran of cross-genre explorations.

‘Kala Chakra’ was based off the idea of samsara, the birth-and-death cycle that, in many eastern religions, emphasizes life’s fleeting impermanence. Enlightenment turned out to have a wide-ranging itinerary, said the Boston Globe.

The Boston Classical Review called ‘Kala Chakra’ “the climax of a program full of propulsive music.”

Click here to read the full article on the Boston Classical Review.

Click here to read the full article on the Boston Globe.

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This “Holy Cross in the News” item by Jacqueline Smith ’15.