When Duke Orsino in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night uttered: “If music be the food of love, play on.” He was hoping that excess music would cure his obsessive love for Countess Olivia.
Since England’s greatest playwright considers music to be the food of love, what better way to spend Valentine’s Day than listening to some classical music?
The Sixth Concert Season of the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) opens on February 14 at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) and continues till February 21.
Chairman of the SOI Khushroo Suntook said: “Music is generally connected to love. Most of the greatest music has been written on the theme of love and there are a great amount of love duets.”
This year Dr Karl Jenkins OBE, a Welsh composer, based in the UK, has written and will conduct the opening concert at the Jamshed Bhaba Theatre on Saturday, which will feature Indian tabla players and a tribal dancer. It will also see the Asian premier of Sarikiz, a new violin concerto he wrote for SOI music director violinist Marat Bisengaliev.
Its world premiere took place n New York in January and Bisengaliev will again play the violin on Saturday.
British conductor Adrian Leaper, who made his debut performance with the SOI last September, will return to conduct the rest of the concerts, which will feature two eminent Russian soloists who will be performing in Mumbai for the first time — pianist Ilya Itin and cellist Borislav Strulev.
The Chamber Music Concert will take place at the Tata Theatre on Tuesday.
“Chamber Music is written for very few instruments, unlike symphony music. It is considered to be great classical music, a very evolved esoteric beautiful form of music. It’s the epitome of music in many ways,” Suntook said.
He said this year’s season was also the most ambitious to date with several technically challenging works.
These include Richard Strauss’s Don Juan Symphonic Poem and Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, which can only be played by very advanced orchestras, he added.
The SOI is the country's first fully professional symphony orchestra formed in 2006.
Players are recruited from an international field, and there are currently 11 Indian players.
“This year’s programme has been very carefully devised to incorporate very modern and traditional elements,” Suntook said.