An excellent CD that would make an ideal starting point for new listeners to the beauty and wonder of Ravi Shankar's music- certainly well worth the 5 star accolade!! One very minor moan would be the inclusion of track 3 (Pancham se Ghara), which unless I'm mistaken (?), is the same live version (minus the audience applause) from the brilliant 'Monterey Pop Festival' 5*****CD (also track 3)! Don't get me wrong, this track is one of my all-time favourites but it's a shame it had to be duplicated here, when I believed the recordings were older 'India Gramophone' studio tracks. That aside, I fully recommend this CD for its range of styles and instrumental virtuosity..
There's nothing pretentious about the choice of the title - evidently, Shankar ji IS the master of sitar. Contained are four older recordings, each assigned to a particular time of the day and thus forming a full cycle. All pieces are played with a flagrant virtuosity. In fact, this CD was my initiation to Indian classical music, and my personal favourite is Track 1, with its incredibly fast culmination.
It is a great shame that Ravi Shankar has been treated to a rash of reissues and cd compilations in recent years. At best it's a pity because his longer concert performances are under-represented in the cd catalogue. The performances on this compilation CD are all from the vinyl age when raga was squeezed down to fit the format, and the result is a loss of the true essence of Indian raga performance. 30 years on, to continue to treat the western market to short performances like this is somewhere between misleading, patronising and exploitatative. The worst crime is that on this cd the live Pancham Se Gara track is actually cut and faded before the climax. Nevertheless there are a couple of good performances on the CD and its generous total length and budget price make it a fair purchase if you want an introduction to Ravi Shankar's work. But if it's a true master of sitar you want, and a more truthful exposition of raga, try some of the Nikhil Banerjee live performance CDs, which knock spots off this poor effort.