Monday, May 11, 2015

Scriabin in the Himalayas


I have a rule of not publishing press releases On An Overgrown Path. But this one just could not be ignored:
Scriabin in the Himalayas is a tribute concert for the great Russian composer Alexander Scriabin taking place on the outdoor terraces of Thikse Monastery in India this June 21st for the Summer Solstice. The multi-sensory performance includes three world-class pianists and one tenor, an interactive light show based on Scriabin's colour tonal system, Himalayan Cham dance and an olfactory score of timed scent diffusions. A limited number of 100 concert tickets have just been released via scriabininthehimalayas.com at £2,000 per person alongside an optional travel package by our partners Quintessentially Travel.

This once-in-a-lifetime experience is being offered at a time when the cultures of the Himalaya, unique in the world, have suffered a great loss. Amongst the tragic loss of life, it is believed that four of seven Unesco world heritage sites in the Kathmandu valley have been severely damaged during the recent earthquake in Nepal. For this reason, a portion of the ticket proceeds are being donated to the Blue Shied (BS) - the cultural equivalent of the Red Cross - and their representative the International Committee on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) who are currently coordinating an action plan to support the restoration of Nepal’s rich cultural heritage.
The photos of the Tibetan Buddhist Thikse (or Thiksay) Monastery were taken when I stayed there last summer - see my post The paradox of the Dalai Lama. This is not just a stunning venue for the concert, it is also an appropriate venue. The obvious link is that Alexander Scriabin intended his uncompleted magnum opus Mysterium to be performed in a specially built temple in the foothills of the Himalayas, which is where Thiksay is. But there are other links. Scriabin was a Theosophist, as was Nicholas Roerich, who collaborated with Stravinsky on The Rite of Spring. Roerich visited Ladakh - where Thiksay is situated - in 1925 and has a particular connection with nearby Hemis Monastery. More on that in When classical music danced to the rhythms of Mother India. Finally a word of caution to anyone thinking of attending Scriabin in the Himalayas: Thiksay is a stunning and appropriate venue, but reaching it is a challenge.


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2 comments:

Pliable said...

This must be one of the bravest concert promotions ever. Just one of the problems is that I am almost certain there are not three concert standard pianos in the whole of Ladakh. Which means shipping them in for 500 miles by road over the Himalayas at altitudes up to 17,480 feet on the route we took - http://www.overgrownpath.com/2014/07/on-road-to-enlightenment.html

Michael Hardy said...

Luckily Zanskar Productions has experience in this area. See the trailer for their film currently in post-production - http://www.pianotozanskar.co.uk which will be released later in the year. I think Steinway will choose a slightly easier route however.