Maharajapuram S. Ramachandran offered Mohanam, with its beauty enhanced. Suswara was the dominant aspect of Chaitra Sairam's short, yet sweet recital.

The Mylapore Fine Arts Club

Those who listened to Maharajapuram S. Ramachandran that evening would vouchsafe for the fact that Carnatic music is in the pink of health. The veteran had a receptive audience and the long duration of the concert provided him with a wide scope for depth and expansiveness required to showcase his multi-dimensional creativity.

Ramachandran took up Mohanam as the main raga. Let's not forget that it is almost the ancestral property of the Maharajapuram clan! Credit however should go to him for further enriching the legacy. The underlying subtle and delicate beauty of Mohanam came to the fore through the vigour and carrying power of his trained voice.

‘Rara Rajeevalochana' of Mysore Vasudevachar was the kriti chosen. The kalpanaswaras kaleidoscopically brought out the raga's magic and majesty. With just five notes, he could produce innumerable varieties. With M.A. Sundareswaran on the violin, it was literally a harmonious amalgamation of Maharajapuram and Parur. The thani by K.R. Ganesh (mridangam) and Tiruchi K. Murali (ghatam) brought out several intricate rhythmic patterns. The misra nadai presented by Ganesh was captivating.

The Shanmukhapriya Ragam Thanam Pallavi, ‘Bhavatharana Venkataramana' in Tisrajati Triputai was relaxed and elaborate. (The artist announced that it was rendered as a tribute to the secretary of the sabha, K.S. Venkataraman, who passed away on Monday last.) There were trikaalam and thisram and a Ragamalika comprising the ghana ragas Nattai, Arabhi, Varali and Sri. Perhaps he didn't include Gowlai as he had already rendered ‘Pranamamyaham Sri Gowri Sutham' in that raga. Incidentally the kalpanaswaras for this piece at ‘Siddhi Vinayakam,' nine Aksharas before Samam -- were full of interesting vivaharas. Ramachandran had total control over swara and laya.

Ramachandran commenced the concert with a Lalgudi varnam, ‘Innam En Manam Ariyaathavar Poala,' in pleasant Charukesi. Tyagaraja's ‘Ramanannubroavara' in Harikhambodi was a traditional rendering with niraval and lovely swaras at ‘Meppulakai Kannadhaavu.' Then he sketched an all-embracing essay of Dhanyasi for Papanasam Sivan's masterpiece ‘Balakrishnan Paadha Malar.' The madhyama kala portion was exquisite. ‘Ranganathude' in Saurashtram of Ponniah Pillai, with lovely madhyama kala charanams also came out very well. Ramachandran concluded his regal concert with M.D. Ramanathan's ‘Sagarasayana Vibho,' a bhajan (Ramam Bhaje) and the Maharajapuram special, ‘Bho Sambho.'

Muthuswami Dikshitar's erudite compositions point out to the fact that he visited several sacred places as a zealous pilgrim and sang in praise of the deities there. He described every aspect of the temple. He was in Kanchipuram for four years and little wonder that he composed the beautiful Bilahari kriti ‘Kamakshi' wherein he describes her as the bestower of boons, victory and glorious kingdom. Chaitra Sairam chose this as the main kriti.

The wide-ranging step by step development of raga alapana created the rasa – essence. Sudha R.S. Iyer on the violin too drew out all the contours of the raga in an elaborate essay. Chaitra brought out the import of this stunning composition in a relaxed rendering. The swaras were at the pallavi. Sumeshnarayanan provided a compact thani. His thisra nadai showed his mastery. Suswara was the dominant aspect of Chaitra's short, but sweet recital.

Chaitra commenced her concert with Balamuralikrishna's enchanting ‘Mahaadeva Suthamaham' (Arabhi), whose speciality is the chittaswara. The kalpanaswaras were equally charming. Dikshitar's ‘Arddhanaareeswaram' in Kumudhakriya (Rupakam) came out well. The Kharaharapriya alapana was followed by Papanasam Sivan's ‘Senthil Andavan.' The niraval was at ‘Velan Valli Deyvanai Lolan.' However the kalpanaswaras were in the pallavi segment. A little more attention on korvais will help Chaitra immensely. Chethalapathy Balu handled this kriti in a sparkling manner.

Tyagaraja's ‘Manasuloni' in Hindolam was a neat rendition. Chaitra concluded her recital with the Vasanthi thillana of Lalgudi, preceded by a viruttham from Kandhar Anubhoothi.

(ramakrishnan.h@gmail.com)