The historic South Park Cemetery on its 250th year today lit up with the tunes of baroque music as a string quartet comprising classical music maestros played out compositions of the greatest musical minds of 17th and 18th century baroque music. Around 500 people poured in to witness the extravaganza organised by the Christian Burial Board (CBB) at the heart of the cemetery.
The baroque concert in the heart of the historic cemetery which holds the graves of several eminent personalities today turned lively with the compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel and Antonio Vivaldi which were played by a string quartet and a pianist.
Speaking on the composition ‘Firework Music’ by Handel, Professor Prosanto Dutt on first violin explained “Handel was a court musician at Hanoever and later, on becoming a ‘Kapellmeister’ to King George I, he used to accompany him playing and composing music for the band.
The compositions that were made by him while floating on River Thames on a boat along with the King, were named as’ water music’ while the ones composed during firework display were known as ‘firework music.”
“Compositions that were played today were in keeping with the time when this cemetery functioned and hence this baroque concert had a lot of relevance especially the slow movements which have a deep connection with funeral hymns” said Mr Dutt, who learnt violin under Theo Olof in the Royal Conservatory of music.
Thespian Victor Banerjee commenting on the event said “Baroque and Rococo art are closely related. It is an opulent form of music and have inspired generations of musicians. Music is eternal.”
Dr SK Mukhuty, Chairman, CBB, speaking at the occasion said “The concert is special in its way as it is being performed in an unusual atmosphere.
“The ambience has provided for an appropriate mood to enjoy a music genre that originated in the years when the historic cemetery, where tombs are constructed in a Greek and Indo-Saracenic style, was active. Most of the structures were made of mortar and lime and hence it becomes difficult at times to keep them preserved. We would love to have support from the citizens who have always cherished the historical value and sentiment of this place.” Ranajoy Bose, executive member, CBB, said, “The concert was unexpectedly well attended by the music lovers of Kolkata, particularly by the students of music schools. Some of the renowned doctors, present here, have already mentioned about the therapeutic and healing effects of music on the human anatomy. It is not easy to hold a concert in a cemetery but we hope to conduct more of such events here in the near future.”