An evening washed in music (Cadenza) – a review



Cadenza is a passage of music typically contained within the last phrase of a classical work that calls for a soloist or, sometimes, a small ensemble to perform an improvisation or a previously composed ornamental line.  The cadenza often allows the performer to display their virtuosic skills as they “free-style” melodically and rhythmically. For Guwahatians, though, Cadenza means an evening to be washed in a musical treat. The third edition of CADENZA, by Promiti Phukan, leading pianist and teacher in the region along with her talented students delivered much more than the promise that 17th January at the Pragjyotish ITA, Machkhowa was to be an evening to celebrate music. As overheard from someone in the audience, “There were so many moments when I was overwhelmed with emotion, seeing and hearing the little ones perform.”

Every child, whether playing the piano, singing or making the lengthy and complex announcements, was full of poise and confidence.  And full credit must go to their teacher Promiti, for instilling such self belief in them.  A stickler for perfection, Promiti drove her pupils, the technicians and the rest of the support crew to achieve the high standards that she strives for herself.  “When I see a show, I hate to have to wait endlessly between acts. So, I am very conscious to avoid that in my show.”  And the hard work and dedication paid off, as the acts merged seamlessly into the other, the lights dimming in clockwork precision to allow the announcer to walk on stage, while the technical staff changed the position of the microphones.  Promiti’s attention to detail was also evident in the length of the black skirts that most of the girls wore… one not a millimeter longer than another. And the use of the colour teal… a gown or top, or just a tie or a sash on a black frock – bright, but not too overpowering for an evening of classical and contemporary western music.

The programme started with Londonerry Air, a tune played as the victory anthem of Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games. A duet by Divyana Sandhilya and Sanyukta Phukan, it set the mood for the evening to follow. While the seniors got to perform solos – Le Onde by Mahima Hazarika , Angel by Bidisha Deka, Hope by Affan Amin and the theme from the movie Amelie by Harshaa Kutum, there was a special moment when the teacher did a duet, Witches’ flight with Sauham Medhi, probably the youngest student. There were several other duets – Hungarian Dance No 5 by Sunaina Baruah and Noyonika Chowdhury, The Prayer by Achintya Banerjee and Megha Baruah, Turkish March by Shravanee Bhuyan and Anuragini Gohain. The trio of Nayanika Sharma, Nilav Saikia and Shreyashi Roymedhi definitely showed their skills, combining together to perform La Campanella, the third of Franz Liszt’s six Grandes etudes de Paganini, played at a brisk allegretto tempo. A lively vocal rendition of Over the rainbow by Siddhant Bordoloi, Avairaa Sharma, Parnavi Deka and Krishnav Chowdhury, or Say something by Promiti and Uddipana Neog with Tanisha Gayon on the piano added variation to the show.

And when established musicians like international concert artist Nise Meruno with his group Zowe Madrigal, rocker Girish Pradhan and Voodoo Child frontman Rittique Phukan collaborate with the young musicians, it not only encourages them, it definitely gives a major boost to their confidence. Nise Meruno started with an individual performance that he termed Fire and Ice – a lively piece by Handel, followed by his own composition that had very distinct Asian overtones. But it was the song Thousand years that Nise and Zowe Madrigal performed with Promiti and her students that moved many.

For me however the star of the evening was Prayashi Bora. Playing the piano for Girish’s performance, she raised the bar so high that a surprised Girish automatically moved on to the high notes in the Bon Jovi song  Always, later regretting having stretched his sore throat. But the international star that he is, he rebounded quickly to perform Sweet Child of Mine by Guns N’Roses. It was however his Knocking on heaven’s door that had most of the audience on their feet and singing along. The highlight of the evening had to be a tie between a collaborative effort on I don’t wanna miss a thing by the guest musicians, and Promiti and her students signing off to O’ mor apunar dex. CADENZA is proof of the musical talent that abounds in our part of the country and Promiti Phukan deserves to take a bow for guiding and promoting the youngsters under her tutelage to achieve the highest pinnacles in music.