Sruthi Sagar is a talented flautist and young enough yet to learn the concert logistics. Hope he does.

Sruti Sagar began his flute recital with ‘Nadatanumanisam.’ Next came Bilahari Raga Alapana which was quite a competent presentation, but it was a little too long. Rahul’s effort was short and sweet. Tyagaraja Kriti ‘Tholijanma’ was accompanied by a short spell of Kalpanaswarams. A fast paced ‘Puraharanandana’ in Hamirkalyani was followed by the main item Thodi, preceding Dikshitar’s composition ‘Sri Subrahmanya Mam Rakshatu.’ The alapana, though impressive touching all the major nuances of the raga, was very long. And thus could not avoid repetition of ideas. A much shorter version by Rahul made it more attractive. The niraval and swarams again took more time. Srivatsan on the mridangam proved he was a talented artist by presenting a short thani as well as his support through the concert. The final item was ‘Madhava Maamava’ in Neelambari.

Sruthi Sagar is a talented flautist and young enough yet to learn the concert logistics. Hope he does. In a 90-minute concert his main item Thodi occupied more than 60 minutes. He received a grace time of extra 10 minutes because the violinist for the next programme was delayed. It would have been more pleasant had he played at a lower pitch. It was too shrill and hurting the ears. On the other hand the violinist Rahul played at the lower octave and it was indeed very soothing to listen to.

Sashank very politely asked the audience’s opinion about the level of amplification after the initial Bhairavi varnam ‘Viriboni’ and complied with reducing the amplification for thavil. The mridangam accompaniment was provided by Parupalli Phalgun. Very often mridnagam was pushed to the role of a Upa-pakkavadyam.

After the varnam there was ‘Manavyala’ in Nalinakanti with imaginative swarakalpana, which could have been shorter. Nagai Sriram was impressive too. The Ritigowla raga rendition was unhurried and soulful as was the kalpanaswaras for ‘Janani Ninnuvina,’ particularly when Sashank played at a lower octave with the longer flute. One could not find fault with Sriram’s effort in any of the alapanas or niraval and swaras though in comparison to the deep sound of the flute the violin sounded somewhat metallic. This item was preceded by Dikshitar’s ‘Sarasijanabha’ in Nagagandhari and followed by the Navarasakannada kriti ‘Ninnuvina’ of Tyagaraja.

Sashank offered a choice of Purvikalyani or Pantuvarali to the audience and the latter was chosen for the main item RTP. Again when he played at the lower octave and brought out some prayogams peculiar to the flute, the offering could indeed be called ‘sowkyam.’ Tanam too was aesthetically appealing. Here Sashank played with the long flute the top and low octaves alternatively in quick succession, showcasing his mastery of the instrument. Be it the raga or tanam, as one was getting deep into the soul of the melody, there would come a sudden burst of gimmicks, spoiling the intense beauty achieved thus far. Granted, it takes a lot of skill and practice to accomplish the gimmickry, but why spoil the soothing effect with such needle pricks? The Pallavi was set to Adi Tala, two kalai. A string of ragas found place during the swarakalpana played at super-speed along with both the percussion instruments and it became rather noisy. A very lively thani was provided by Kaliyamurthi and Phalgun. They also played a very supportive role through the concert.

‘Krishna nee Begane Baro,’ ‘Chinnanchiru Kiliye’ and ‘Raghuvamsasudha’ were the concluding items.

The raga alapanas of Subhapantuvarali and Bilahari were the highlights of the concert of Sumitra Nitin. Her application were commendable bringing out the characteristic aspects and the result was appealing. B. Ananthakrishnan on the violin was good at both ragas upto a point and suddenly seemed to lose control. Sumitra presented Tyagaraja’s ‘Ennalu’ in Subhapantuvarali. The swarakalpana did not sound like as if it was entirely extempore. The main item was Bilahari with the Swati Tirunal kriti ‘Smarasada.’ The niraval and swarams for the pallavi were quite good. B. Sivaraman on the mridangam was as always supportive and his thani was rather brief. Sumitra’s rendering of ‘Angaraha’ the Navagriha kriti in Surutti and ‘Sri Parthasarathi’ in Suddhadhanyasi lacked depth and felt fluttery. ‘Enguparthalum’ in Devagandari sounded very similar to ‘Enneramum’ of Gopalakrishna Bharati. Towards the end the ragamalika pieces, ‘Sri Jagadamba Kadamba’ and ‘Enakku Un Irupadam’ were refreshing to listen after a long time. The final song ‘Sri Godanayaki’ in Sri was full of devotion and was pleasing.