T.M. Krishna regaled listeners with his singing, but his Carnatic music grammar did not bear scrutiny.
The flight of this ‘Little Master' had a perfect take-off. T.M. Krishna literally lifted the rasikas to greater heights, with his captivating presentations in the initial stages of his concert during the Thyagaraja Music Festival organised by Shree Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha recently in the Capital. His flight, however, was soon hit by turbulence. Endowed with a good voice that comfortably traverses three octaves, Krishna's opening piece was Muthuswami Dikshitar's “Tyagaraja palaya sumam” in the raga Gowla. The swaraprastaras that he suffixed to this item spoke highly of his creative talents. His next item, a composition not heard frequently in concerts, Tyagaraja's “Vinave omanasa” in raga Vivardhani, was well presented.
After an outstanding delineation of raga Mukhari, Krishna left rasikas wondering what he was up to. He chose to present a padam. He spent considerable time on this item by introducing further improvising techniques, namely, neraval and swaraprastaras. For yet another composition of Tyagaraja, “Gnanamosaga” in raga Poorvikalyani, Krishna prefixed taanam, instead of an alapana. Traditionally, compositions are preceded by improvisation techniques like raga alapana, and followed by neraval and swaraprastaras.
Ragam-taanam-pallavi too is a creative aspect of concert presentation, but the components (alap, taanam and pallavi) are presented together. Only in a veena concert, the artiste presents a taanam before taking up a fitting composition. The taanam is presented only after the raga alapana. There may not be written rules or regulations in this regard. But such a pattern is being followed. Krishna's seemingly ‘different' endeavour was ‘indifferent'.
Krishna's central piece was again a Tyagaraja composition “Paramatmudu” in raga Vagadheeswari. The composition was preceded by a detailed delineation of the raga and followed by neraval. Swaraprastaras were conspicuously absent for this central piece.
R.K. Sreeramkumar on the violin, K.V. Prasad on the mridangam and B.S. Purushothaman on the kanjira provided excellent support. While Sreeramkumar's delineations of ragas Mukhari and Vagadheeswari were delightful, the percussionists' depth in laya came to fore during their captivating tani avartanam in Adi tala.