Masterworks NCPA archives: Balamuralikrishna

A treasure trove

The digitally mastered CD has vintage Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna in his heyday.

The inimitable genius has a voice to match his masterstrokes! And the ten pieces on this CD which runs for an hour plus, mirror his style of rendition and are like a treasure trove for Balamurali fans. Right from the varnam in Nattai (Nata ragam) Ee naadamu… to his trademark tillana in Kuntalavarali, the tone and tenor are a steady flow of the classical, the Balamurali way. More than the traditional kritis in ragas Ananda Bhairavi, Hindolam and Sri, it is the Punnagavarali, Chenchuruti and Chandrajyoti that stand out in melody, rhythm with tilting cadence inherent in the raga itself. It is such ragas that get an exceptional treatment by Dr. Balamurali and bear out his brand of rendition. So too the Madhyamavathi Nagumomu gala vaani…which is associated with many a concert of his. The improvisations and alapana (prefacing) are far and few and hardly allow us a glimpse into his creative output. That is, if the listener is also a learner! The brief on each raga in the jacket of this CD by Mahadevan R is like a ready-reckoner to the uninitiated. The attempt to capsulate a cross section of ragas that were treated by this maestro by Sony Music is laudable. The output is clarity personified with the nuances of the mridangam by legendary late Dandamudi and violin by Annavarapu Ramaswami, also a maestro in his field, well captured. Kudos to NCPA for bringing out the archives collection with latest technology. The CD is priced at a reasonable Rs. 199.