A report about my concert and workshop in Pune, India
Veet Ohnemus and Pune: Rekindled Senses
by Jayant S
The last two weeks saw an unprecedented enlivening of the classical guitar world in Pune.
Veet Ohnemus visited us from Germany, along with his Heubner guitar, a long and diverse recording and performing career at his fingertips, considerable cheerfulness and a patient, humorous outlook on life.
I’d first met Veet during his stay in Pune in the late 1990’s, and had taken a few lessons from him. I was meeting him for the first time since then. He didn’t seem a day older though. Veda, Kuldeep and I discussed the outline of a recital which we’d been able to arrange for him, as well as tentative plans for a presentation/masterclass session. And, of course, we were interested in lessons for ourselves.
During these two weeks, Veda, Kuldeep and I had the opportunity for two learning sessions with Veet. His teaching approach focused a lot on finer bio-mechanical nuances and their impact on tone, and on a more comprehensive understanding of harmonic movement in composition. While Veet’s focus as a teacher is totally unrelenting and he pays incessant attention to detail, somehow I always came out of these long sessions wanting to play more and more.
Veet performed at a recital which was arranged with the Gyaan Adab Center. We were taken by surprise at the number of people who attended, and the intense concentration with which they received a program of 20th century Argentinian and Brazilian guitar music, including works by Cardoso, Piazzola and Assad. Veet obviously prefers modern guitar music, with all its tonal variety, dynamic range and textural diversity, but his interpretations have a way of being very accessible to listeners and consistently expressive across styles. I was, of course, fascinated by his rendition of Sergio Assad’s magnificent Fantasia Carioca, a fiendishly difficult and yet musically sublime work. which Veet has also recorded for his Youtube channel.
Finally, towards the end of his stay, Veet was the focus of a one-day presentation and masterclass session organised at Enoch Harold’s new establishment in Pune. He took a group of attending guitarists through a systematic discussion on the connection between the body, the guitar and the music, making everyone closely aware of the impact that even slight changes in posture, hand position and the deployment of effort can have on musical expression. The second session familiarized participants with structure in Bach’s music, the nuances of Glenn Gould’s piano interpretations, and ways in which Astor Piazzola’s ensemble writings have been arranged effectively for a single guitar. Without actually saying so, Veet emphasized the need for guitarists to listen “beyond the instrument” – to not become too preoccupied with the instrument, its repertoire and its technical demands – but to hear and think about music as a far greater world, with its rich and threaded history and cultural presence. Apart from these discussions, Veet was his usual patient and engrossed self even when listening to young beginner guitarists, to whom he had plenty of good advice to offer.
For me, personally, this short encounter with Veet was a vindication of some of my own self-learned musical directions, while revealing opportunities for focused improvement in the future. We certainly hope he visits again, as he has that rare combination of articulate teaching and superlative recital abilities, and can also be an uproariously funny guy to talk with!
Veet’s rendition of Jongo by Bellinati which he played at Gyaan Adab – a nice example of folk mixolydian influences seeping into serious music.
There are six new videos on the video page!
Live recording from Stuttgart.
Agua Y Vino by Egberto Gismonti
for guitar solo
Guitar: Dietmar Heubner, 2012
Collegium Helveticum, Meridian Saal
Two Schoeps Mk5, Cardioid position
Seventh Circle Audio J99 Preamp
Lake People ADC C440 Analog Digital Converter
Recorded in 24/96
Converted to 320mb/s mp3 file
Natural reverb only
Just a -1db eq at 3500Hz to compensate the slight accentuation of the used microphones
Concert in Prague
February, 27th 7.30p.m. at
110 00 Praha, Czech Republik
There is a introduction including audio samples for this program on this page.
The originally planned video version of this was postponed.
Also, Google maps is there below for orientation.
Have fun, and hope to see you there
( Please note that the recordings used in this are just rehearsal recordings. The Cd for this programm is in preparation.)
Guitar Music from Argentine & Brazil
Welcome to this introduction to my new programm "guitar music from Argentine and Brazil."
Since many years, I am studying and playing music from those two countries that are - each one in its unique way - so particularly rich. Also one can say that the guitar always had a most important role in their respective musical life.
If you look at South American music, you will immediately note that there is no strict division between popular music and the so called "serious" music. Art and entertainment are more part of a continuum than polar opposites. Much of the popular music has become "classic" in the sense that even after decades it has not lost its appeal but rather has gained an audience in newer generations not only in their home countries but around the world.
This Argentinian milonga by Jorge Cardoso is a slow dance derived from habanera. It is - besides the tango - the most popular dance of that country.
It is only one (dance) step more and we are in the rich world of tango.
Tango can encompass a range of feelings from passion to macho-attitude, it can be erotic, sentimental and even humourous, religious and ironical.
It was in that rich musical world that Astor Piazzolla grew up and took part as a musician. The "king of
tango" created the "new tango"(Nuevo Tango), a musical style even richer. Piazzolla studied composition in Europe, played in Jazz bands in New York and thus integrated a
multitude of styles into the tango transforming it from a dance into pure art that stands side by side with modern classical music such as Ravel,Debussy or Gershwin. His music has been described
as an expression of the "whole cosmos of feelings". Even the music of Bach is found contrasting with various musical elements.
Brazilians music has one more dimension to it and that is the rhythms driving from African music. In general, Brazilian popular music is abundant in all musical dimensions: Harmony, melody, rhythm and also lyrics.
One pinnacle of Brazilian music is Antonio Carlos Jobim, the composer who created bossa nova. Universally acknowledged, his unforgettable music has already made the transition from popular to classical music. His music places him on par with the best composers of his century.
One may wonder what could be next step in Brazilian music from there. Just like Piazzolla used European music and Jazz, Egberto Gismonti did and draw from a multitude of influences. Himself a charismatic improviser, his music ranges from wild Afro-Brazilian dance rhythms to the most sublime realms.
The depth of Gismonti's compositions transcending all popularism, intellectualism, in fact any -ism. This may only be possible to attain by a musician who lives his music with every fiber of his being.
I hope, you can now understand a little bit, why I am so fascinated by this music.
May it open some (musical) doors to you also!
Hope to see you in my concert.