“Another Ilaiyaraja symphony? Another monumental masterpiece that mankind will never get to experience?”, sneered the cynics. Their jest was not misplaced. After all, how could a symphony performed by the London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra not find a way to be released to the masses? I was equally perplexed, and never usually discussed it with the handful of Ilaiyaraja fans I know. It was not something we liked to talk about. Hype kills, and it was never better demonstrated as with Raja’s unreleased “Symphony #1”.
So, as much as TiS was paraded on discussion forums, fan clubs and even a dedicated website, the gnawing prospect of another unexplained dropped project loomed. Which was probably the best thing going for TiS. For the more realistic Raja fan, all the hype was diluted by forces of doubt, that to some extent was reinforced by a string of sub-par movie albums.
Maybe, we needn’t have worried so much.
I’m not going to review TiS. It’s truly beyond the scope of my understanding. It’s like asking me to glance at the star-studded night sky and recreate that on canvas, every nuance in place. Wow! truly bad metaphor, but you get the point. In fact, I’m pretty sure there are very few people who can claim to have reviewed it with complete understanding. Think about it, a western classical perspective would miss out on the intricacies of the Thiruvaasagam. A literary expert might not comprehend how exactly the counterpoint & harmony embellished kOthumbi. And really, who do we have around that could claim expertise in both?
So here we are, rendered novices by a work of art that every one of us wished they knew about more. Not to be able to post a complete review and garner appreciation, but just to be able to appreciate. What I can attempt though, as days go by, is try to add to this initial post as I listen to it more. Not a critique of the work, but rather put words on wordpress, so to speak. And maybe some you will relate to it, and nod your heads in agreement.