The Flower Raj - People & Places in the land of the Gods - India revisited. Mushtaq Ali Khan recordings
Mushtaq Ali Khan recordings from the collection of Steven Landsberg, ragascape.


Steven Landsberg is a serious non-Indian performer of India's Classical Music. He was a disciple of the great, late Ustad Mushtaq Ali Khan and in fact, was the only student that the Ustad taught surbahar to. Steven began his studies in the 1960s at the Banaras Hindu University but soon found private teaching & specialised in the Surbahar.

He is also a musical researcher & his web site Ragascape contains erudite writing on Indian classical music & rare recordings, often not available aelsewhere, as with the recordings below, of his teacher, the late Ustad Mushtaq Ali Khan

Ustad Mushtaq Ali Khan (1911 1989) was an Indian sitar, surbahar (and pakhawaj) player. His father Ashiq Ali Khan was a renowned sitar player. Mushtaq Ali Khan was recognized as the foremost representative of the Senia gharana (style, musical school) of sitar playing in the mid-20th century.

At first a court musician at Jaunpur, he left the court to pursue an independent career. He started playing for All India Radio in 1929, and performed at the 1931 Sangeet Sammelan (conference) in Allahabad. For all of the 1940s and most of the 1950s he was considered the most prominent sitar player in India, following the demise of Enayat Khan of the Etawah Gharana, and prior to the rise of the young Ravi Shankar and Vilayat Khan in the mid-1950s.

The recordings presented here are mostly not available anywhere & represent a treasure trove of early Mushtaq Ali Khan recordings (1934 onwards), at the beating heart of North Indian classical musical tradition.

Recordings of Mushtaq Ali Khan.

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Adana - A raga played around midnight. High tempo with force and vigor.
Adana - A special recording from 1934 that Mushtaq Ali Khan recorded as a 78 rpm disc. Never distributed. Demonstration of Khansahebs' speed and skill.
Behag - A raga of the early night between 6 and 9 , tender, patient and warm hearted tones.
Bhairav - Early morning preferably just after the sunrise, strong but also devotional , particularly for sadhana.
Bhairav - Always the desert at the end of a concert. Loving, compassionate, as well as devotional. This recording includes an example of a Maseetkhani composition.
Bhairav - The second of two short pieces Mushtaq Ali Khan recorded in 1934 when he was twenty three.
Bhimpalashri - Afternoon around 3 pm. Flattened notes begin to return after the predominant use of natural notes at the noon hour. Quiescent, unresisting, with meaningful satisfaction.
Bhopali - An early night Kalyan type with strong use of Shuddha Gandhar . Lightly devotional and happy, outgoing. Pentatonic natural scale omitting the fourth and the seventh. Mushtaq Ali Khan plays Maseetkhani in this recording and it is worth comparing it with the Barkatullah Khan recording on the Sources page.
Brindhavani Sarang - A midday raga with mostly sharpened tones, heavy emphasis on the second, Shudda Rishab, which is typical of ragas at midday and midnight. Cautiously opening to the world.
Darbari (Part 1)
Darbari (Part 2)
Gaur Sarang
Iman - Raga Yaman, also known as Raga Iman, is a night raga which is very romantic in nature.

Ragascape I - The Tambura (article in The Flower Raj Blog) "The first Ragascape essay is on the tambura, as the all-encompassing sound of this instrument is the source from which arise the melodic centers (notes) of Indian music."

Ragascape II Swaras, Ragas, Rasas (article in The Flower Raj Blog) "The second Ragascape essay focuses on the central themes of Indian music including tonality, melodic formation and their relation to the character and feeling content of ragas."

Two more articles to come...

Ustad Mushtaq Ali Khan  "...recognized as the foremost representative of the Senia gharana (style, musical school) of sitar playing in the mid-20th century."
Ustad Ashiq Ali Khan (no links found).
Barkatullah Khan (no links found).
Maseet Sen (no links found).
Mian Tansen  "The legendary musical prowess of Tansen surpasses all other legends in Indian music."
Sunil Bose  "distinguished musician and music educator."
Tejpal Singh and Surinder Singh (videos on Youtube) "Pandit Tejpal Singh of Indore Gharana and the oldest living disciple of Ustad Amir Khan Saheb renders various ragas."
Shah Jahan  The fifth Mughal emperor after Babur, Humayun, Akbar, and Jahangir & a great patron of the arts.
Bahadur Shah II  The last Mughal emperor.


Surbahar: Windows to the Heart.Surbahar: Windows to the Heart   (Steven Landsberg, Phillip Hollenbeck). "explores the depth of Indian tonality on a large fretted stringed instrument known as the surbahar. Designed especially for revealing the dynamics of Indian melodic form the surbahar,which looks like an oversized sitar, opens the window to a rich array of emotional texture. Accompanied by the pakhawaj, the ancient two sided hand drum, and the all encompassing spaciousness of the tambura; the surbahar inspires and invites listeners towards tranquil contemplation."

Night and Beyond: Ragas of Indian Music. Night and Beyond: Ragas of Indian Music  (Steven Landsberg, Abhiman Kaushel). "Steven Landsberg's latest CD, finds the contemplative and soothing ground of Indian tonality and rhythmic intricacy. While the surbahar sections reveal a depth of noble and tender feelings, the sitar and tabla sections display rhythmic subtlety and genuine flavors of Indian music."


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