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City musician renders India’s first-ever symphonic poem

Inspired by Beethoven and ruler Maharaj Digvijay Singh, Ganesh B Kumar collaborates with Staatskapelle Orchestra from Germany to compose a musical album

City musician renders India’s first-ever symphonic poem
Georgina Margarite Ezra, Ganesh B Kumar,Prem Venkatesh, Anand Madhavan and V Muthukumaraguruswamy


When city-based Dhahara Vidhya Foundation approached Ganesh B Kumar to write two orchestral works, little did the composer know that he would end up creating India’s first-ever symphonic poem. A symphonic poem is a piece of orchestral music based on a literary work like a poem, short story, or a novel. Along with the project’s patron Anand Mahadevan and Prem Venkatesh from Scotland, Ganesh started working with his team including chief linguistic consultant V Muthukumaraguruswamy and songwriter Georgina Margarite Ezra.

“I was inspired by the lives of Ludwig Van Beethoven and Maharaj Jam Saheb Digvijay Singhji. Beethoven faced several hardships and was hearing impaired. However, it never stopped him to compose timeless classics,” says Ganesh. “Likewise, Digvijay Singhji, ruler of the former princely state of Nawanagar in Gujarat, saved over 500 Polish children during World War 2. I wanted to show the heroic deeds of these amazing personalities through music.”

This resulted in the birth of the music album Spirit of Humanity which includes the symphony Rise and the symphonic poem, The Journey. An interesting aspect of The Journey is its melancholic aria, Lost Souls, penned by Georgina on the desolate conditions suffered by Polish children. “The composition includes a Tamil poem Undaal Amma Ivvulagam written by an ancient Sangam era King,” the team says. Ganesh spent several days researching so it could help him write the musical notes with a deeper sense of understanding.

After writing the piece, Ganesh and team got in touch with the renowned Staatskapelle Orchestra from Germany led by Bernd Ruf. Their team of 91 instrumentalists and 31 singers from the Choir of the Opera Halle, conducted by Markus Fischer, performed and recorded the music. The makers signed up with Navona Records to distribute the music. “They had planned to release the album next year but decided to prepone the launch as 2020 marks the 250th birth anniversary of Beethoven and the 75th anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany which eventually ended World War 2,” concludes Ganesh. Spirit of Humanity will be released on June 26.

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