Monday, 8 August 2016

Vilayat Hussain Khan (1895-1962) - A great singer of the Agra Gharana - Performances recorded by his students - CD 1 & 2

Here we present a privately done double CD by Vilayat Hussain Khan, next to Faiyaz Khan the greatest singer of the Agra Gharana of the 20th century. T-Series had published in 1997 a series of six CDs by him with recordings from the archives of All India Radio. Unfortunately these are no longer available for many years. might still have one or two of these volumes.
The recordings we present here were done during Mehfils by his students. Music of exquisite beauty.

CD 1 & Scans - wave
CD 2 - wave

CDs 1 & Scans - mp3
CD 2 - mp3

Many thanks to KF from whose collection these recordings are and who designed the covers.

"Ustad Vilayat Husain Khan (1895-1962) was one of the greatest figures of the Agra Gharana, who excelled both as singer and teacher. He was the fourth son of the legendary singer, Natthan Khan. After he lost his father at the age of six, he was looked after by his relatives, Kallan Khan and Mohammad Baksh, durbar musicians in Jaipur and received his initial training from them. In 1914, he moved to Mumbai to live with and learn from his older brother, Mohammad Khan. Here his gurus also included Ghulam Abbas and Tasadduk Khan.
Vilayat Husain Khan had documented the names and materials of 42 gurus, including Ustad Faiyaz Khan, from whom he took taleem in the course of his distinguished life. He inherited, imbibed and developed a style which was both individualistic and representative of the Agra Gharana. Khan Sahab, was a bridge between the last phase of the Durbar music and the modern period. His music was steeped in Sangeet Vidya (the science of music) and authentic `gayaki`. 
Khan Sahab had a large repertoire of compositions in dhrupad, dhamar, khayal etc and his renditions were marked by distinctive extempore bol-bant and fine layakari. He composed bandishes in many ragas including some very rare ones under the nom-de-plume `Pran Piya`. He also composed rubaiyat, nazm, marsiya and soz under the pen name, `Shafaq`. He also authored "Sangeetagyon ke Samsmaran", a collection of biographical sketches of a large number of musicians. His significant contribution has been in the Drut-Chhota Khayal in some uncommon ragas, in which till then, only Vilambit Khayals were available. His command over difficult and complicated ragas made them seem deceptively easy. 
Khan Sahab had several disciples in Maharashtra, and the region owes its eminence in Hindustani music to the work of generous teachers like him. Some of his well known students were Mogubai Kurdikar, Jagannathbuwa Purohit (Gunidas), Menaka Shirodkar (mother of Shobha Gurtu), Ram Marathe, Gajananrao Joshi, Sumati Mutatkar, as well as his sons in law, Sharafat Hussain Khan and Latafat Hussain Khan and his son, Yunus Hussain Khan. His most famous guru-shishya relationship was with Jagannathbuwa Purohit and each of them composed several bandishes dedicated to the other. 
He was a court musician of Mysore for sometime and also lived in Kashmir for a while, as tutor to the young prince Karan Singh. After independence, he was appointed as a Sangeet Salhakar (Advisor) to All India Radio, Delhi. Ustad Vilayat Husain Khan was conferred the title of `Sangeetacharya` from Mysore Darbar and received the `Sangeet Ratnakar` from Allahabad Sangeet Parishad."


Anonymous said...

About Vilayat Hussain Khan and T Series ,I think four of these volumes are still available at Shrimati's.I'm not sure.
Alain Charlot

Richard said...

Thanks for this!

I purchased almost all of those AIR T-series CDs from Shrimati's years ago. There are a little less than 100 of them if I'm not mistaken.

The deal with Shrimati's is this: they used to have a storefront in Berkeley, CA (and if you do a google web search with Street View you can see what the storefront used to look like).

However, the store has closed to the public. They will still sell you their current stock of CDs and cassettes through mail order. But I doubt very much that they are going to invest any money in purchasing additional copies of CDs from India and have them shipped to California.

So if you can find a CD or cassette on their website you can order it, but it could be their last copy. As of today there is volumes 1, 2, 5, and 6 of that series listed on the Shrimati's website -- no volume 3 or 4. If owning the actual CD is important to you, now is the time to get it. Many Western labels specializing in Indian Classical Music have folded. Some are barely functioning. EMI/Saregama/whatever in India is focusing on streaming and downloading -- not on producing physical CDs.

Even though CDs are not indestructible (and frequently what is sold as a CD is actually a CDR which has an even shorter lifespan),now is the time to order from Shrimati's. Say hi to Anil and Hitesh if you do!

Tawfiq said...

I myself have all 6 volumes as well as all the other titles from AIR recordings which interest me. I will check which volumes Raga Maqam Dastgah in Germany has in stock. I know they tried to order them from India recently but only received 1 or 2 of the volumes. In India they are officially out of print for many years, but there might still be some copies in shops.