Sub title: The Singer and His Song
Author: Reba Som
We often forget that Gitanjali, the book of poems for which Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, was actually a collection of songs. In his lifetime, Tagore was most renowned for his songwriting. But today, outside Bengal, his music remains largely unknown and his songs are scarcely understood. Much of what Tagore experienced in life"his frustrations, his grief, his sense of devastation"were expressed in songs. The distinction of Tagore's musical oeuvre lies in the near-perfect balance that he achieved between the evocative lyrics, the matching melody and the rhythmic structure in which each song is bound. Even his art, which flowered late in his life, was influenced by music. Music, in fact, is the key to understanding Tagore: the man and his greatness. This biography maps out chronologically the musical journey of the poet with anecdotes and allusions, and includes translations of some of Tagore's most evocative songs. It is also illustrated with photographs and paintings that are crucial to the understanding of Tagore as a musician.
Penguin Books India
11 Jun 2009
312pp with 24pp col photos