O.S. Thyagarajan’s delineation of Shanmukhapriya brought out the raga’s lustre.

O.S. Thyagarajan’s concerts are assured of definite qualities of dignity in presentation and reverence to the classical format. His vocal concert at The Chennai Cultural Academy Trust is no exception. If one could identify the initial Atana raga exposition carrying musical sophistication, his central piece Shanmukhapriya (Chamaram) exhibited the veteran’s musical wisdom.

Atana essentially carries a class of authority and vigour and Thyagarajan carefully used it without projecting any imperious end product. Tyagaraja’s ‘Ilalo Pranadharthi’ moved on with sublime sobriety linked to interesting swaras on the pallavi; landing on dhaivatam and progressing alternatively on panchamam and dhaivatam before a catchy conclusion.

Shanmukhapriya was flexible and melodic extending opportunities for the artist’s elaborate disposition. OST’s illustrious experience in classicism helped him showcase the lustrous sides of the raga through an array of phrases prime, petite and languorous. All the levels – manthra, madhyama and tara region sancharas were expertly interweaved to present a beguiling portrait of Shanmukhapriya.

Pakkala Ramadas on the violin reflected OST’s vision with admirable precision in his responses both in Atana and Shanmukhapriya. Muthuswami Dikshitar’s ‘Ekambresa Nayikam’ (Chamaram la Shanmukhapriya) at a comfortable pace was energised with niraval and swaras at ‘Kanchi Nagara Nivasineem.’

The percussion side was expertly handled by Srimushnam Raja Rao (mridangam) with N. Guruprasad on the ghatam. Raja Rao padded up every kriti in his own imaginative manner and the tani avartanam for 20 minutes had a resounding effect.

Thyagarajan’s programme opened with ‘Nee Pada Pankaja’ in Begada, followed by ‘Kalaharana’ in Suddha Saveri both by Tyagaraja and ‘Birana Varalichi’ in Kalyani by Syama Sastri (Why swara appendages for every item in succession?) and ‘Muruga Muruga’ in Saveri of Periaswami Thooran and ‘Nathupai’ in Madhyamavati of Tyagaraja towards the end.