Trichur V. Ramachandran’s unerring ability in presenting his guru GNB’s compositions and the songs popularised by GNB, became the cornerstone of his concert at Swamy’s Hall for Sri Ranjani.
The piece de resistance was the impromptu inclusion of the crowning sangati of ‘Radha Samedha Krishna’, to the slokam that came as a prelude. This song rendered with a recognisable similarity to the original, was part of the thukkada phase.
This section had other melodies as well – ‘Thottu Thottu Pesuvan’ in Behag (tuned by GNB), ‘Amba Ninnu Neranammithi’ (in Anandabhairavi, Bhairavi, Kalyani, Begada, Sahana, Surutti, Kedaram, Gowlai and Sri) and a Marathi composition - all carrying the GNB essence and stamp. ‘Maravanune Ninnu’ (Arabhi, GNB) sung at the beginning was also cast in the same mould. The ragamalika was a composition of Chinni Krishna Dasar ,which had the names of the ragas in the lyric, in a disguised manner.
Ramachandran’s raga expositions were in Bilahari, Poorvikalyani, Khamas and Kanada - in that sequence. Each one had its respective structure presented with depth in phrases and briga swirls, interspersed with a fine sense of proportion. There was a substantial niraval for ‘Meenakshi Memudham Dehi’ (Poorvikalyani) at ‘Madhurapuri Nilaye’ and the swarakalpanas were good exercises in long karvais and had a spiral of swaras that were handled with admirable control. The kritis in Bilahari, Khamas and Kanada were Dikshitar’s ‘Ekadhantham Bhajeham’, Vasudevacharya’s ‘Brochevarevarura’ and GNB’s ‘Nee Allaal Ini Yaar Enai Kaapaar’, respectively. There was a rough-edged beginning at the pallavi eduppu for the Kanada number, which finally got smoothened out as the song progressed.
Violinist Sanjeev’s alapanas were quiet and fell delightfully on the ear with a characteristic sweetness and consistency in his bowing methods. His swara answers were prompt and precise, Vocal support was by Iswaran Bhattadri who has a powerful voice and showed exemplary alertness while singing niraval and swaras.
Srimushnam RajaRao (mridangam) and E.M. Subramaniam (ghatam) formed the laya section. Their playing went with the nature of the songs and their thani was a fine mixture of short and long rounds with well-set final korvai. They showed amazing power of anticipation during the swaraprastharam.
The acoustics of a hall of this dimension warrants a thorough re-look and needs a more balanced control to give aural pleasure.