Ramanathan's rendition of kritis reminded one of his guru, Kadri Gopalnath.M. Ramesh
Apart from providing the sparse audience a thrilling experience, Saxophone Ramanathan's concert underscored how apathetic Carnatic rasikas are towards solo instrument music today.
Richly endowed artists remain in low profile throughout their career, something that endangers the art itself. Kadri Gopalnath or Mandolin Shrinivas represent rare success in generations of gifted instrumentalists lost to listeners' apathy.
Ramanathan, son of T.V. Gopalakrishnan and disciple of Kadri Gopalnath, is obviously a gifted saxophonist.
The instrument is not designed for producing gamakas, which are fundamental to Carnatic music - and the artist has to exert himself more to get that effect on the Western instrument. In this, Ramanathan is pretty much following the footsteps of his guru.
Sandwiched between two elaborate renditions of Lathangi and Kapi was Muthiah Bhagavatar's Niroshta piece, ‘Raja Rajaaradhite.' Kadri Gopalnath plays the lively composition frequently and Ramanathan's selection of it brought the name of his guru to the mind.
While the entire concert was good, the Niroshta, though short, should be called the highlight of the concert because of its liveliness. Both Lathangi (‘Pirava Varam' of Sivan) and Kapi (‘Entha Sowkhyam' of Tyagaraja) were brilliantly played, the latter more so than the former.
Violinist Karaikal Venkatasubramanian played well and except a single occasion when sudha rishabham rang out in his Lathangi, his entire play was mature. Padmanabhan on the mridangam proved his mettle.