It was a mixed bag of melodies as eminent artists performed at the Bharat Sangeet Utsav, Coimbatore.

Nagai Muralidharan and Nagai Sriram performed a violin duet on the fourth day of the seven-day Bharat Sangeet Utsav, held in Coimbatore. Their well-planned concert started with Thiruvotriyur Tyagayyar’s varnam, ‘Karunimpa,’ in Sahana. This was followed by ‘Sri Jaalandhara,’ a composition of Mysore Jaya Chamarajendra Wodeyar, in the majestic Gambira Nattai. Tyagaraja kritis ‘Pariyachakamaa’ (Vanaspathi) and ‘Nee Pogadakunte’ (Varali) preceded the delightful Khamas alapana and Mysore Vasudevachar’s ‘Brochevarevaru Ra’. The niraval and swarakalpana session was particularly enjoyable with intricately woven swara repartees. They concluded with Vyasaraja’s ‘Krishnaa Nee Begane’ and a soothing tillana composed by Maharajapuram Santhanam in Sivaranjani. Thanjavur Murugabhoopathi on the mridangam and Vaikom Gopalakrishnan on the ghatam showcased their mastery.

N. Ravikiran began his chitravina recital with a rare kriti of Oothukkadu Venkatakavi on Ganesha, ‘Sindhiththavar Nenjil Iruppathu Sivaloka Ganapathiye’ in Nattai. He told the audience about the contribution of the poet’s indirect descendents, particularly Needamangalam Krishnamurthy Bhagavatar, who had preserved not only the compositions, but also the tunes. The delineation of Pantuvarali, (‘Enna Gaanu Raama Bhajana’ by Bhadrachala Ramadas) and the niraval for ‘Maarubalka Kunnavemi Raa’ by Tyagaraja in Sriranjani were highly enjoyable. ‘Raghuvamsa Sudhaambhudhi’ in Kathanakuthuhalam by Patnam Subramanya Iyer was presented in the vilamba kala in the beginning, enabling the rasikas to recall the lyrics and soak in their beauty. The brisk pace at the end showcased another facet of the composition.

At the festival, Ravikiran was the first musician to take up Ritigowla as the main raga. After a mesmerising alapana, he presented ‘Janani Ninnu Vina.’ This composition by Subbaraya Sastri, son and disciple of Syama Sastri, epitomised devotion and supplication. ‘Idathu Padham Thookki Aadum’ by Papanasam Sivan and a tillana in Kalyana Vasantham brought the concert to a close. Akkarai Subbulakshmi on the violin was at her best and followed her guru with utter sincerity. Mannargudi Eswaran on the mridangam and K.V. Gopalakrishnan on the ganjira enhanced the concert and gave a delightful thani.

Vidwans Nagai Muralidharan and Thanjavur Murugabhoopathy sat through Ravikiran’s concert, with evident enjoyment. ‘Tyagaraja Meets Ilaiyaraaja’ was a collaborative effort, featuring P. Ganesh on the chitravina, B. Vijayagopal on the flute and K. Satyanarayanan on the keyboard. All the artists were exponents of Carnatic music but they had one common love — the maestro’s music. The concert began on a formal note with the Tyagaraja Pancharatnam, ‘Jagadaananda Kaarakaa’ in Nattai and followed by ‘Pani Vizhum Malarvanam’ from the Tamil film, Ninaivellam Nithya. Those used to listening only to Carnatic music were pleasantly surprised when they discovered how close film songs were to the classical ragas — for instance, ‘Endhan Nenjil’ is in Nalinakanti and ‘Ennulle Ennulle’ in Kiravani. Then, the three main artists presented their favourites. Ganesh played Tyagaraja’s composition in Atana, ‘Anupama Gunaambhudhi,’ Vijayagopal rendered the sprightly ‘Ninnu Kori Varanam’ from the movie Agni Natchathiram and Satyanarayanan took the rasikas back to Tyagaraja with ‘Bhagaayanayya’ in Chandrajyothi. Film songs and Carnatic compositions followed each other. The audience could get immersed in the softness of ‘Idhazhil Kadhai Ezhuthum Neramidhu’ and soon sit up energetically with the spirited ‘Sarasa Saamadhaana.’

Hamsanadham got a special treatment with ‘Bantureeti’ as well as interludes from film songs. It was time for the main song. Flautist Vijayagopal began with the soothing Kalyani. Satya followed, and Ganesh soon joined them. After a spirited tanam, a few popular film songs in the same raga leapt out — ‘Vandhaal Mahalakshmiye,’ ‘Sundari Kannaal Oru Saedhi’ and ‘Vellai Puraa Ondru.’ Then, the music rose to a crescendo with Tyagaraja’s ‘Vaasudevayeni’.

Expert percussionists K.V. Prasad (mridangam), K.V. Gopalakrishnan (ganjira) and V. Krishna Kishore (K.V. Prasad’s son) on the rhythm pad had a big role to play in the success of this novel effort. Their thani session was grand and Krishna Kishore made an additional impact by producing sounds of the ghatam, mathalam, morsing and drums out of his rhythm pad.

Sanjay Subrahmanyan’s inspired delineation of Khambodi and the much-loved composition, ‘Thiruvadi Charanam’ will remain etched in the minds of rasikas for long. He began with the Saveri varnam, ‘Sarasooda’ and presented ‘Sri Raghukula’ in Hamsadhwani, by Tyagaraja. The refreshing song, ‘Jaadhiyile, Madhangalile’, advised people to remain united in the path of sanmarga. ‘Vihara Maanasa Raame,’ a rarely-heard composition by Swati Tirunal took the main seat. A delectable depiction of Kapi preceded that. The niraval and swaraprastara session earned Sanjay thunderous applause.

Tamil songs ruled the lighter session. He rendered a few stanzas from Periyazhvar Thirumozhi, beginning with, ‘Vanna Maadangal Soozh Thirukkottiyur’ in ragamalika and moved on to a viruttam, ‘Maalon Maruganai’. ‘Vaa Vaa Vel Murugaa’ by Mayuram Viswanatha Sastri gave the concert a lilting finish.

Violinist Nagai Muralidharan’s manodharma, mridangam player Thanjavur Murugabhoopathi’s mastery of laya and K.V. Gopalakrishnan’s pleasing ganjira added vitality to Sanjay’s performance.