march 2009 programmes



friday 20th march
6.30 pm TH E  O V E R T U R E’ -  a talk by Dr R.P Jain

Today we are inaugurating a series of illustrated lectures with the title DIVERTIMENTO on various aspects of Western Classical Music.

To begin with we have a discussion on the musical form of the Overture. This means ‘opening’ or ‘beginning’ and was a piece of music which was played at the beginning of a dramatic work, be it an opera, an oratorio or a play. So it is meet that we start this series with this musical form. 

The word ‘Overture’ was introduced into the English language around the end of the 17th century. This word though current in England and France was called ‘Sinfonia’ in Italy. 

Another word which was often used was ‘Prelude’. 

The early operas and oratorios at the beginning of the 17th century very often had just a fanfare or flourish of trumpets to call the attention of the audience, but gradually this introduction became more extended musically. 

This talk will explore the development of two main kinds of the Overture, the Italian and the French, whereby the Italian type became the germ of the classical sonata, symphony and string quartet. 

R.P. Jain graduated with a PhD from the University of Hamburg . He taught German language and literature for over 22 years in J.N.U. His interest in Western music grew imperceptibly, almost by osmosis from his earlier years in London to his stint in Germany where his interest in classical music was kindled. He lives a retired life in Delhi and is an active member of the Opera fraternity.