Param Vir: Wheeling Past the Stars

Param Vir: Wheeling Past the Stars

NMC Recordings
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Release date: 28 May 2021

For the first time, Param Vir's music comes together in an album solely dedicated to his works.

'[His] music is resounding in my heart as messages of great inner wealth. It is like a new idea of beauty and grace and has all the strength and the energy of great art.' Hans Werner Henze

Param Vir freely draws from mythology, art and literature in his work. The title track of this release, Wheeling Past the Stars, sets the poems of Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore and in these four song settings, Patricia Auchterlonie (soprano) and Ulrich Heinen (cello) explore the themes of love, politics, nature, and the rejuvenating effect a child can have on their grandparents.

The Austrian contemporary music specialists Klangforum Wien with Enno Poppe join forces with British Indian virtuoso sarod player Soumik Datta for the part notated, part improvised Raga Fields. It is not a work that imitates Indian music but instead 'harnesses rich, contemporary harmonic techniques that facilitate the confluence between the two rich and diverse musical traditions.' (Paul Conway). Through close collaboration with Param Vir over many months, Soumik brings his artistry, insight and imagination to the improvised sections creating an organic development to the music.

Param turns to evocative imagery for the other works in this collection. Before Krishna takes inspiration from the images around the birth (and the unusual events preceding it) of Krishna, the most popular and loved of the Hindu gods. Utilising serial techniques, the 'Krishna Row' twists and turns in the hands of the London Chamber Orchestra and conductor Odaline de la Martinez, who draw out the expressive detail in Param's carefully crafted sequences. In Hayagriva, Vir chooses not to retell the story of the horse-headed incarnation of Vishnu but instead to explore the aspects of the character's supernatural powers. Commissioned and performed by the Schönberg Ensemble, the piece was first formulated during a visit to Peter Maxwell Davies's studio on Orkney Island and quotes an unpublished work by Max, a fitting tribute to a friend who helped guide Param Vir's early career.

Klangforum Wien
London Chamber Orchestra
Schönberg Ensemble
Soumik Datta sarod
Patricia Auchterlonie soprano
Ulrich Heinen cello
Enno Poppe conductor
Micha Hamel conductor
Odaline de la Martinez conductor




"A long overdue and illuminating release." The Wire

"Param Vir’s Wheeling Past the Stars...could be an exemplar for life: many styles and traditions living freely, fruitfully, distinctly, in the mind of one person." The Guardian

"The Indian composer’s work displays a synthesis of East and West that leaves notions of “crossover” far behind. ...The title piece is sumptuous settings of Tagore" The Sunday Times

"Param Vir is a composer who has often just been on the outskirts of British contemporary music and this new release from NMC gives proof that there should be a genuine evaluation of his music and the themes and ideas he brings to it." Morning Star


This recording was made possible with support from PRS Foundation Composers’ Fund, the RVW Trust and the Hinrichsen Foundation.



Raga Fields was recorded by the ORF (Radio Österreich 1) at Konzerthaus Vienna, Austria on 23 May 2015
Fritz Trondl (ORF) Recording Engineer
Florian Rosensteiner (ORF) Recording Producer

Before Krishna was recorded at Maida Vale BBC Studios, London on 14 December 1988
Stephen Plaistow Recording Producer

Wheeling Past the Stars
was recorded at the Henry Wood Hall, London on 10 October 2020
David Lefeber Recording Engineer & Producer

Hayagriva was recorded at Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Amsterdam on 13 December 2005
Dick Lucas Engineer
Anneke van Dulken Recording Producer
Wim Laman Recording Producer

David Lefeber Mastering

Catalogue number: NMC D265
Release date: 28 May 2021