Interview Excerpt #3
FRANK J. OTERI: I want to talk to you about some specific pieces of your music. I’ve been really enjoying it. I want to talk a bit about My Rainbow. I heard things in it that pressed certain buttons for me and I don’t know if these composers will mean anything to you, but I want to mention these composers to you to see if you know of them because I thought there was a kinship: Howard Hanson, Amy Beach, Arthur Foote, Samuel Barber. Do you know their music?
NATASHA SINHA: I think I know Amy Beach. Yeah and I like her music. I’ve heard it a little bit. I sort of like it.
FRANK J. OTERI: And I thought it was interesting, you living in the Boston area, writing music in the tradition of the great New England composers. And I’m wondering, is there something in the water up there that makes people write rhapsodic beautiful music filled with counterpoint that is very gracious to performers. I mean this is music that performers would want to play.
NATASHA SINHA: Well I think that whenever I compose music, I always try to think of things, especially in one song, it was The Brook. And I thought of a tropical rain forest and how sometimes there’s sometimes like little brooks and all. And also I think of the rain, and how it comes down and then how the water starts flowing. And whenever I come by water, I always start hearing sounds that are not like sounds from the water, but music that just starts coming.
FRANK J. OTERI: Now I know that you have played Poulenc‘s music. And there’s a wonderful flute and piano sonata by Poulenc. I don’t know if you’re familiar with it.
NATASHA SINHA: No, I don’t know that.
FRANK J. OTERI: Who are some of your favorite composers?
FRANK J. OTERI: You played Bach’s Two-Part Invention No. 8 on your piano CD and I definitely heard it as a departure point for a lot of the music you’ve done. That sort of sense of line in the invention sort of translates into one of the movements of the flute piece. I also heard echoes of it in the last movement of The Seasons, the cello and piano piece, and in your oboe and piano piece. Bach is somebody whom I also find a constant source of inspiration as a composer. But it’s interesting… Why is this man who lived in Northern Germany 300 years ago relevant still to us today in America?
NATASHA SINHA: Well I think that his music still shines. Because just the way he writes, he wrote the music, it brought out a lot of melodies that I enjoy even though it was such a long time ago. I don’t pick music by when it comes from. I mean I wouldn’t really mind if it came from like 300 years ago or 400 years ago, but I still like the music because I like the way it sounds.
FRANK J. OTERI: You love Bach, and you also love the Back Street Boys. Is there any music you don’t like?
NATASHA SINHA: I don’t really know if I don’t really like any music. I think of music as just being second nature to me because it’s always around and I don’t think there’s any wrong way to play music.
FRANK J. OTERI: That’s wonderful. It’s a shame that a lot of people don’t feel that way and some people get so caught up in one area of music making that they close out everything else.
NATASHA SINHA: Yeah, some of my friends like rap music and I like some rap, but not like I love it. But all they do is like rap. They don’t understand really what classical is or anything. And they think it’s boring.
FRANK J. OTERI: Because they don’t take the time to get into it…
NATASHA SINHA: Yeah. They always like turn on ‘N Sync…
FRANK J. OTERI: Well, it’s interesting in terms of talking about other influences, because I heard some interesting things in your cello and piano piece, The Seasons. I’m thinking specifically of one of the movements, the Fall movement where the cello sort of sounded like a Chinese erhu, which is this two-stringed violin and there was sort of a Chinese-sounding scale. Were you trying to incorporate Chinese music at all in that?
NATASHA SINHA: I learned in the theory class I take at the New England Conservatory, about the minor way of playing something. And that sounded sort of interesting to me. And that particular section I thought that would fit in well there.
FRANK J. OTERI: So have you listened to Chinese music?
NATASHA SINHA: Not really.
FRANK J. OTERI: Any other sort of non-Western music, Indian music…
FRANK J. OTERI: Have you heard Lou Harrison‘s music?
NATASHA SINHA: No.
FRANK J. OTERI: I think you would be very interested in his music. Also Alan Hovhaness who died about a little over a year ago. Lou Harrison is still alive. He’s in his 80s now. He’s in California. And he writes this really lovely music that combines really tuneful sounding music for violin, cello, piano, with Asian influences like Indonesian music and Chinese music.
JENNY UNDERCOFLER: Lou Harrison wrote a piano concerto that you would like a lot. The piano has to be tuned in a specific way though. It’s not the regular piano tuning. In one movement the pianist gets to play with a block instead of the left hand. You play part of it with a block. It’s a really cool piece. You’d like it.
FRANK J. OTERI: Yeah, it’s wonderful. I’ll send you some music to listen to.