Magic Of Twilight

Magic Of Twilight
Style: Classical
Label: NaxosWorld
Country: Germany/HongKong
1 Twilight Raga (Purya Dhanashri) 43:49
2 Evening Raga (Bhopali) 22:25

"The Naxos label has been a boon to various corners of the music universe, from their stellar budget line of classical recordings to the more recently launched jazz division. They're also throwing their hand into the world market, with integrity intact. One title from a recent batch of releases comes from sitarist Irshad Khan, "The Magic Of Twilight." Part of a longstanding and highly respected musical lineage, and the son of Ustad Imrat Khan, Irshad lives in both Bombay and Toronto, where he teaches. On this recording, done in a small town outside Toronto, he displays his measured skills and musical grace on the 43-minute "Twilight Raga," and the 22-minute "Evening Raga," which showcases his impressive abilities and, more importantly transports the listener to an alternately still and exhilarating place."

- Jazz Times (Oct 2000)

The stimulating, improvisational quality of Irshad Khan's music is the perfect antidote to a mid-summer musical slump. These evening and twilight ragas give a glow of peace and contemplation perfect for absorbing at the end of the day. Admittedly, it takes a sizable chunk of the average world music radio show to air one piece, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

- James Lien

As a classical guitarist, I have spent most of my professional life interpreting and shaping music through the medium of the plucked string Today, the magic of that plucked sound remains to me as compelling and mysterious as at the very beginning, and reflects the universal appeal of music expressed through these instruments Perhaps it is the apparent mechanical simplicity which fascinates the senses, or perhaps some primordial tone which recalls the sound of the prehistoric hunter's bow - whatever the cause, mankind the world over is charmed by the vibration of the ringing notes. Nearly every musical culture has prominently featured plucked instruments throughout its history From 20th century popular music, back to ancient China and beyond, the plucked string has entranced listeners from the beginning of time During these recording sessions with Irshad Khan and his colleagues, I was reminded once more of the common roots between his instrument and mine. The similarity is not just in their names, guitar-sitar, denoting the number of strings, but in their physical structure as well Each has a long fretted neck attached to a resonating body - the gourd of the sitar being replaced by a body fashioned of curved woods in the guitar - and each is held in the lap of the player, allowing the fingers to work the strings in front of the instrument. Most important of all, the musical language of the sitar and of the guitar (especially in flamenco music) features melodic improvisation within a fixed rhythmic framework. This improvisation departs from a main theme in increasingly more complex figures, and usually builds to a frenzied climax, demonstrating the skill and virtuosity of the performer. Dazzling fingerwork by both hands, quick repeated notes, and rhythmic accentuation are hallmarks of these skills Also, the mood or specific atmosphere of each piece is depicted and forms the emotional bond between the performer and the listener.

While working on these recordings with Irshad Khan, I found myself transported by his playing, the seamless fluidity and endless resources of his technique never fail to astonish, and the expressive invention of his playing provides a range of moods and colours unique to his art.

I feel that this CD, recorded in the idyllic small village of Aurora (just north of Toronto) has captured the spirit and emotion of Khan's live performances - his captivating passion and energy - and hope that you the listener will be equally charmed.

- Norbert Kraft