East Meets West in New Music by Composer Ash Madni
Composer Ash Madni has drawn on a lifetime of exotic influences and experiences from the East and West to create his latest compositions. Ash’s evocative music explores a new tonal, easy listening fusion style which was well received in February 2012 when his ‘Sounds from the Bazaar’ , his first violin concerto,was performed by the Ten Tors Orchestra, conducted by Simon Ible, in the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival.
"Eminently listenable," wrote Philip R Buttall in The Herald, Plymouth, praising Ash's "vivid sound picture, where ethnic influences blended seamlessly with instrumental effects."
Following closely to the premier of his violin concerto, Plymouth hosted Ash’s piano trio works. Philip Buttall, says
”Without a doubt, Madni has again successfully merged elements of his native Indian music with Western traditions, creating a unique sound-stage that is more than merely superficially imbued with exotic colours, harmonies and textures for effect alone”
The heady cacophony of the bazaar, calls to prayer and Indian serod and sitar ragas formed the soundtrack to Ash’s early childhood in the Middle East. He says: "Until I moved to the UK in the 1970’s I had never heard classical music, and soon became fascinated with the possibilities of the fusion of eastern and western styles."
A self-taught musician and composer, Ash has built up an impressive catalogue of over 30 compositions and has some notable followers around the world.
His first CD for string quartet, ‘Mystic Thoughts’ recorded by the Monzi Quartet, was released last year and the actor Simon Callow is a fan. He says: “Ash Madni’s Mystic Thoughts is a must listen.”
‘Mystic Thoughts’ fuses Romanticism with ethnic ideas, taking the listener on a journey around the world from west to east and back again.
Kazakh violinist Marat Bisengaliev is the leader of the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI), now in its 11th season. He has been bombarded with requests from composers for the renowned orchestra to play their music, but he says: “There’s no point in playing music that isn’t world class. But I’m sure, little by little, there will be some composers who produce interesting work.”
It is a considerable credit to Ash that some of his compositions will be the first to be recorded by the SOI.
In his review of the 'Mystic Thoughts' recording, Director of the Manchester Symphonia Richard Howarth says:
"The music on this CD represents a new original voice. It has its own trade mark style, is approachable and demands to be listened to. Most of the tracks offer a catchy rhythmic peg on which to hang the tunes, some of which are extensive, others fragmentary. There are moments, mostly fleeting, of the sumptuous harmonies from the Western tradition appearing as if from nowhere out of the predominately Eastern sounds of the plucked cello and decorated upper lines."
Ash has started a new collaboration with talented Soprano Christine Westhoff and her husband, Tim Allen. The first output of this collaboration, is "An Aria for Fatimah", sung by Christine and accompanied by Tim on piano. This recording will be shortly followed by "In Flanders Fields", the famous poem by Lt. Col John McRae.
Christine Westhoff and Timothy Allen will be recording Ash's first choral album Chrysalis, to be released in Nov 2014. Chrysalis will use both sacred and secular text, including well known pieces from the Latin mass and famous poems of Percy Shelley, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost and WH Auden.