It’s turning out to be quite a start to the year for Western music buffs. After Jean-Luc Ponty, Billy Cobham, Abdullah Ibrahim, Jonas Hellborg, Shawn Lane and all that jazz, it’s now the turn of French pop piano icon Richard Clayderman to cast his spell on Calcutta.
The Prince of Romance, with more than 1,000 original melodies and over 75 million worldwide record sales under his keys, will captivate Swabhumi on February 24. And thrown in among his vast repertoire of originals, classics and pop standards will be a few tunes from Bollywood hits like Silsila and Asli Naqli.
The Swabhumi concert, presented by the RPG Group, will also feature Rahul Sharma, son of santoor maestro Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, in a solo recital and later, in tandem with the master pianist who will perform solo and with tapes. The duo that has created the best-selling fusion CD, The Confluence, travels to New Delhi and the RPG Group’s music festival for the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation on February 26.
“This is the first time that Calcutta will host a popular western music artiste of this repute. The Clayderman show will put the city on the global music map and can do wonders for Calcutta’s brand image,” RPG Group vice chairman Sanjiv Goenka said on Monday. The group plans to host “two to three big artistes in Calcutta every year if we can pull this one off successfully”.
And the owners of the Saregama (formerly HMV) label are leaving no chord untouched to make the 49-year-old Dolannes Melodie-man’s maiden gig in town a memorable evening. The special nine-foot grand piano – A 440 or 442, Yamaha or Steinway style, not more than two years old — as specified by Clayderman’s managers Olivier Toussaint and Paul De Senneville in a technical rider, has already been procured.
The front-of-the-house speaker system and monitor wedges for Clayderman’s piano must be Meyer or equivalent, the main mix console should have 16 channels, and each channel the necessary reverbs, compressors and noise-gates.
Nothing can be left to chance. After all, the harbinger of the New Romantic style, who “has arguably done more to popularise the piano around the world than anyone since Beethoven”, has clocked up an incredible 267 gold and 70 platinum discs.
Tickets for the “exclusive concert” (priced at Rs 750 and Rs 1,500) will be on sale from this Friday from a few outlets, including MusicWorld, Pantaloons and ABN Amro, on first-come-first-grab basis, for a date with the man born Philippe Pages, but famous as Clayderman.