National-award-winning music maestro Ilayaraja announced his next project - creating a symphony of yet another classical compendium of Tamil verses during a release function of their printed version here.
"For me, this is a labour of devotion for divinity. Our ancient treasures were pristinely composed and sung by the saints. I am just adding a modern sound dimension to these spiritual jewels," Ilayaraja said. This time, it will be the Naalaayira Divya Prabandham (4000 divine verses) believed to have been composed by a dozen Aazhwars
(Vaishnavite saints) before the 8th century A.D. and compiled some 200 years later in which form they exist today, publicists said.
The announcement was made on Thursday in the presence of N Gopalaswami, chief election commissioner who released the book with English translations of the verses authored by former member of parliament and philanthropist S Jagatratchagan, who also heads an organisation dedicated to research of the Hindu devotional verses.
Despite their age, the 4,000 verses are written in a style easily decipherable by even those with a working knowledge in modern Tamil.
Some of them are publicly sung all over Tamil Nadu between mid-December and mid-January - the music season in the south coinciding with the peak of its mild winter and tourist season.
The symphony's release is scheduled to take place during the music festival in Chennai, publicists added.
In 2005, Ilayaraja composed the Tamil collection of hymns in praise of Lord Siva with the help of American lyricist Stephen Schwarz and performed by the Budapest Symphony Orchestra.
In 1993, his first western classical symphony was performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of John Scott. Both the compositions have received rave reviews and are bestsellers.
Born in 1943, Ilayaraja has scored music for over 800 films in a career spanning 30 years and has thrice won the national award for best music.