Wednesday 27 July 2022

Sarojini: a new work by Shruthi Rajasekar celebrating Indian Independence

Sarojini Naidu on a 1964 Indian stamp
Sarojini Naidu on a 1964 Indian stamp
This year is the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence, and in honour of this the Hertfordshire Chorus will be premiering a new work by Indian-American composer Shruthi Rajasekar, Sarojini, which will be performed alongside Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man at St Albans Cathedral on 22 October 2022, with David Temple conducting the Hertfordshire Chorus, London Orchestra da Camera, Ana Beard Fernandez (soprano), Osama Kiwan (muezzin), Nirmala Rajasekar (veena - a long-necked, pear-shaped lute - & voice), and Tanjore Murugaboopathi (mridangam - a double-sided drum).

Rajasekar creates music that draws from her unique background in the Carnatic (South Indian classical) and Western classical idioms. Her new work, Sarojini is written for chorus, orchestra and Indian classical instruments and her guru and mother, Nirmala Rajasekar, will be one of the premiere's performers. Sarojini is named for the remarkable freedom fighter, poet, and women's rights activist Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949). She was an important person in India's struggle for independence from colonial rule, and her work as a poet earned her the sobriquet 'the Nightingale of India', or 'Bharat Kokila' by Mahatma Gandhi because of colour, imagery and lyrical quality of her poetry. She was also the first woman to hold the office of Governor in the Dominion of India.

Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man was composed for the Royal Armouries Museum's Millennium celebrations and was dedicated to the victims of the Kosovo crisis. Subtitled, 'A Mass for Peace', it combines a setting of the ordinary of the mass with other texts which were selected by Guy Wilson, former Master of the Armouries.

Full details from the Hertfordshire Chorus' website.

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