Just as a typical ‘Maharajapuram’ would be. M. Ramesh
Maharajapuram Srinivasan proved himself to be worthy of the ‘Maharajapuram’ tag in his name by providing a thoroughly enjoyable concert.
Leaving aside the sundries, the concert had three main elements — Kalyana Vasantham (‘Sri Venkatesam Bhajami’ of Dikshitar), Nasika Bhushani (‘Sri Rama Saraswati’ of Dikshitar) and Latangi (‘Venkata Ramana’ of Sivan). In all the three, as indeed in the entire concert, the unhurried ‘Maharajapuram’ style shone through. It is a style that lays emphasis on melody rather than on vocal gymnastics, which Srinivasan has obviously internalised. The result was a gentle concert.
It is debatable, but the Nasika Bhushani piece must be referred as the best out of the three. It was a cute alapana, where the vivadi swara, the Chatsruti Rishabham, shone with due distinction. Again, there were some nice swaras at ‘Tara Mantrinyadi Parivrutam.’
The Kalyana Vasantham alapana came out with rich emotive power, giving the listener a meditative experience. There was an expectation of ‘Nada Loludai,’ but the surprise pick was the rare Dikshitar piece.
But in the Latangi that came later, the alapana easily betrayed the composition that was to follow, as the phrases kept ringing like ‘ramana’ (ga ma pa). Niraval and swaras appeared duly at ‘Alarmelmangai Manaala.’ The other elements of the concert were ‘Raghunayaka’ (Hamsadhwani, Tyagaraja) and ‘Ranganathude’ (Sowrashtram, Ponnaiya Pillai).
Of particular note throughout the concert was the play by violinist Mullaivasal Chandramouli. Chandramouli, as has been observed in several other concerts, is a man in-form. He is playing superbly, and this concert was no exception.
One aspect that Srinivasan might be advised to pay attention to is his approach to swara singing. His notes appear to be too stereo-typed, sounding like ‘korvai’ often. While such a way of singing has its own beauty, too much of it militates against the very essence of Carnatic music — the free flow.
All Srinivasan needs to do is to keep this in mind and his concerts would be a notch or two more beautiful. Mridangam player J. Vaidyanathan is a veteran accompanist and had no difficulty in providing able support to the vocalist.