Once I entered the city of Bangalore, I heard about Pratham S Hegde. At first, I thought he was a bit too overrated. Next on I went to see his composition of Narasimha Dakshina performed by the Tamil Hegde Organisation. That day I had no idea. I was in tears after the end of the concert. I wanted to meet Hegde. How can someone so young compose music of such proficiency? I asked some musicians out about where he was. They immediately answered, "The other end of the city. He doesn't come here". I was disheartened. I had to catch a flight the next day so I needed to get some sleep. I couldn't hunt him down. In the middle of the night, I decided, "If I am unable to meet him, what was the point of coming to Bangalore when I may be able to find the recording." I cancelled my flight tickets. I first went to get records about him from all over the city. Some were nasty. They made me feel like I did a grave mistake by consulting them. They insulted him but it didn't diminish my respect towards the master. I finally found his address and went to meet him. I greeted him and he gave me a grim smile. I told him that I played both the violin and the piano and he congratulated me sarcastically like he was trying to avoid me. I told him that I was a reporter and a freelance. He told me that it was good that I had come to him. There was some silence.
I asked him, "Where did you get inspiration to write your Narasimha Dakshina?"
He said, "When I was writing my Vishnu Keerthana, I wanted to do one for every sensible avatar. So this is the fourth avatar, I have five more dakshinas to complete if I were to be honest with myself."
"How many days did you take to write it?" I asked.
"A maximum of twenty one days to compile it all together."
"How can you write such a magnanimous piece only in twenty one days? Some composers take almost a year to make an average but meaningful composition of a few minutes!"
He answered calmly but in a strict tone, "I said compile, not write. A good composer always writes down every single idea he gets and experiments on it. When the need comes, he compiles them, arranges them in an order and finally adds lyrics. If I were to start from scratch once the commission is given, it takes three years to write this piece."
I asked him, "Do you get all this by walking around? I can't believe that you are so gifted."
He seemed to be annoyed with this questioned but he answered it anyway, "Madam this is the result of experimentation and continuous playing and how the world works. If I am to write in counterpoint, I do the first three voices and the fourth one writes itself. This is how it works. No human can get the entire dakshina while walking around. I know the keyboard instruments very well and I can improvise. There is a composer named Alma Deutscher. I like her music but not her ideals. I try my best to refrain from sounding like her."
"So the whole dakshina is an improvisation?"
"Can you tell me a little about how you started learning music and what kind of exposure you had?"
"When I was two years old, my maternal grandmother taught me to sing. I respect her as a great teacher as she was the one who introduced me to music and I learnt so much from her. Other than that, I was instructed by a teacher named Raghunath Acharya who taught me how to play the pump organ. Without them, I couldn't achieve musical complexity and glory."
"I am surprised that even after this, you are not as famous as you deserve."
"It is not appreciated in our society if we take music seriously. I can't lay my hands on vanity until I leave this country."
He shut me up. I asked him another question, "Do you get criticism and by how much?"
"I do as the temple syllabus insists for old Pre Trinitarian Music and the popular music is Post Trinitarian music which is film and contemporary. My specialty is complexity, beauty and virtuosity. It is not too popular and am disrespected from time to time like people walk out of the concert or recital. I won't go into too much detail as I don't like to sulk in your reports."
"Well thank You so much for answering my Questions. Do you mind if I put this on Violinist.com? Make an account in your name and upload your details?"
"Sure Madam. Your Welcome"Tweet
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