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Between Heaven&earth Between Heaven&earth

Topic started by muneer (@ on Mon May 17 09:35:10 EDT 2004.
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Global Hits

May 13, 2004

Listen Technical Help
Artist: A.R. Rahman
Title: Between Heaven and Earth
Label: Sony
Country: India
Music Available from: Public Broadcasting One
More World Music at: BBC Music Online

As we've seen this week, Indians are not averse to change. Witness the defeat at the ballot box that prompted Prime Minister Vajpayee to resign today. But some things in India stay the same. When it comes to orchestral music, A. R. Rahman has been "the man" in India. And as The World's Marco Werman explains in today's global Hit, Rahman remains the man even when his music has little to do with India.

Imagine two brilliant swordsmen at odds in China's Gobi desert. It's the middle of the Tang Dynasty, about 800 AD. The two men are pitted against each other. However they must delay their battle to the death in order to survive the desert and conquer the evil overlord who rules the region.

That's the plot for the film "Warriors of Heaven and Earth," due to arrive on these shores in September. Like the hugely successful "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon," this new martial arts extravaganza held out great potential for a dramatic score and soundtrack.

A. R. Rahman was the composer who wrote the score for "Warriors of Heaven and Earth." And his music became the starting point for his first ever full work for orchestra entitled "Between Heaven and Earth."

A. R. Rahman took the film's Gobi desert setting as a musical inspiration for his full symphony. The sound of "Between Heaven and Earth" traverses the music that lies along the famed Silk Road that runs from Turkey to China.

Rahman wrote parts for the traditional Chinese violin, the erhu, and for the duduk, a reed instrument used in Turkey and Armenia. And Rahman layers these sounds over a full western classical orchestra, the Czech Film Orchestra and Chorus.

But don't think Rahman's "Between Heaven and Earth" is limited by the formalities of an orchestra. Rahman has composed spaces where the members of the orchestra sit quietly while the music and beats of the Silk Road eclipse the soundscape.

A. R. Rahman has been called "the Asian Mozart." Some would say Rahman is a Mozart-like genius because he's broken all the rules of Indian music. But the comparisons between Rahman and Mozart have more to do with the sheer volume of music the 37 year-old has written.

He was born to a musical family, but Allah Rakha Rahman was more interested in technology as a kid. When his father bought a synthesizer, that began to change.

In 1992, A. R. Rahman went to Bollywood where a mentor hired him to score a musical. Doubters wondered if a 25 year old could pull it off. But history has proved the skeptics wrong.

In the last 14 years, A. R. Rahman has scored over 60 films. Another ten are in production. He's been the musical director for the London stage musical "Bombay Dreams," which recently came to Broadway. And Rahman has been tapped to score the stage version of "Lord of the Rings," coming out in 2005.

If the club deejays have their way with samples from "Between Heaven and Earth," they may also turn A. R. Rahman into the next dance music hero.

For The World, I'm Marco Werman.


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