East met West for a tribute to one of the most famous 20th century Indian composers: R.D. Burman, creator of 300 legendary film soundtracks for thriving Bollywood, transforming Indian film music for ever. Much was familiar to the audience, but unusual for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s slightly reduced strength of 75 players.
Screen music is instinctive for Indian musicians on set, with no scores in evidence. Therefore modern technology is essential in converting imaginative film music into hard copy for access by Western musicians. Ex-CBSO librarian Tim Pottier did the mind-boggling computer magic enabling our symphony players to read from familiar-looking orchestral parts for the exotic accompaniments.
BBC Asian Network presenter Noreen Khan set the scene for a dazzling Asian audience. A massive array of percussion added background and head-on guts with superb drum-kit excitement, colourful sound-effects and hair-raising splashes of tuned percussion.
Fun and audience participation with Rashid Ali, fascinating weaving body-language from singer Shin DCS and high spots from classical artiste Sanchita Pal drew everyone into the party atmosphere.