Biggest-ever Classical Music Festival In Romania
Music has no boundaries, says Pakistani Sufi singer
3, 2013, 11:12 a.m. PDT The Washington Post News Service (c) 2013, The Yomiuri Shimbun. Get your favorite singer’s album for only $10! Despite the seemingly endless free music available on the Internet, record companies have attracted many customers by selling a wide range of CDs for less than half their ordinary price. A new CD usually sells for 2,500 to 3,200. Imported albums of Western music have long been more popular than domestic albums due to their lower price, but deflation has often resulted in highly discounted local versions. Universal Music Japan released CDs from 104 well-known films on Sept. 18 under the series titled “Eien no Santora (eternal soundtrack) Best & More 999.” Featuring music from such films as “The Godfather,” the James Bond series and “Flashdance,” a single CD costs 999 and a pair is 1,499. The series also includes music from popular Japanese films, such as “Seirafuku to Kikanju” (Sailor Suit and Machine Gun), and TV dramas including “Daitokai” (Big city), “Long Vacation” and “Kyumei Byoto 24-ji” (Emergency room 24 hours). The CDs are domestic versions and include liner notes and explanations in Japanese about the background of the films or dramas and their music. The series has been a hit with many retailers, bringing in presale orders for about 150,000 CDs to Universal Music, according to a spokesperson for the company. The company earlier launched a similar series, “Jazz Meiban (famous albums) 999 Best & More,” in 2010, also featuring CDs for 999 each. It sold 800,000 copies for 270 titles. “The popularity of the 999 projects has been boosted by the deflated economy,” said Yoshimitsu Harashima, a Universal Music employee in charge of both series. “We sold them at extremely cheap prices, and as a result, many people made bulk purchases.” The company can sell the CDs for budget prices because it asks the music’s rights holders to reduce their fees for a limited time.
It is loved across the world and is respected the world over. It transcends borders. When and how did you get hooked to Sufi music? I grew up on Sufi music. From the age of seven, I started accompanying my father, Faqeer Ghulam Rasool, a Sufi singer to Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s shrine. Since then the music has stayed with me. You also sing folk and ghazals. What are your thoughts on folk music? I feel really great at the recognition Sufi, folk and ghazals amongst the younger audiences. There’s tremendous appreciation of such music amongst them. Folk music has always been an important form of music because it is based on traditional thoughts and practices. That’s why they are so popular. Has the popularity of ghazals dipped post the era of Ghulam Ali and passing away of Jagjit Singh? Ghazal is still appreciated. But the era of Ghulam Ali, Mehdi Hassan and Jagjit Singh was the greatest.
2 and 3. He called the “audience energy and response … incredible,” noting that the hall was standing-room only. Other orchestras in the festival’s lineup were the Orchestre de Paris, the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia, The Munich Philharmonic, the Staatskapelle Berlin and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, which played Brahms and Enescu in a concert conducted by Vladimir Jurowsky. Romanian math teacher Elena Ungureanu went to eight concerts. “There was a very high standard of music and the soloists and orchestras were special,” she said. “There were lots of young people and many people were standing. I wouldn’t have had the chance to see such great orchestras if they hadn’t come here.” One morning during the festival, violin and flute music floated across Revolution Square, a tranquil historic spot in the otherwise traffic-snarled capital, as tourists and passers-by crossed. It was a fitting musical footnote to the Wagner, Beethoven and Mozart concerts that rung out from concerts at the nearby 19th century Atheneum and the Palace Hall, where late dictator Nicolae Ceausescu presided over the Communist Party’s final congress weeks before his downfall and execution in December 1989. “The concerts are very good value for money,” said Fareed Curmally, an Indian pianist and conductor who traveled to Bucharest for two weeks of concerts and purchased a CD to bring home. “And the standard of music is very high; I’m enjoying it.” The festival, which started in 1958 and is held every other year, has grown larger and more attractive in recent years as the country has opened to tourism and foreign investment. Tickets for the 2015 event will go on sale in February of that year, and if this year’s success is any indication, many concerts will be sold out months before they take place. Flowers are a hallmark of the event, with 2,500 roses, 3,500 lilies and 5,000 carnations adorning halls or presented to female artists. Bucharest has had a long love affair with flowers, because even when meat and bread were rationed, and electricity and hot water were in short supply during the dying years of Ceausescu’s rule, Romanians could still buy flowers. Between the flowers, the concerts and the ongoing restoration of buildings that had fallen into disrepair, the festival seemed to recall a heyday here in the years between the world wars: music and Bucharest, flourishing once more.