Aishwarya Vidhya Raghunath and T.N.S. Krishna… they are two young minds from very different banis but have the similar drive to excel.

Krishna became this rasika’s envy. Whatever musical qualities one would have wanted -- perfect sruti unison, holding notes and staying on them at will, no sagging of energy, a flair for the pallavi and a judicious use of concert space and time -- was there in abundance. His remarkably original pallavi in Lalitha set in Khanda Jathi triputa tala had the lyric: ‘Sadha Arultha Sulalitha Magaamaatha Thaamaaga Kaakka Thaamadhama,’ which if written and construed in Tamil, would convey that it was an intelligent exercise in swarakshara (except for a couple of words). This pallavi, his own, includes the name of the raga also in its arrangement. The raga alapana’s graph here and at Vachaspathi (‘Pahi Jaga Janani,’ Swati Tirunal) was replete with its exhilarating crests and well-modulated nuances. The niraval at ‘Samalajaatam Vaaraya Saadhujana’ had good sahitya appreciation that meshed well with required technical soundness. He had also applied his mind in reciting musically the tribute to Andal (‘Anna Vayarpudhuvai Aandal Arangarku’) before beginning the Tiruppavai, ‘Notru Chuvargam Pugugindra’ in Thodi.

‘Siddhi Vinayakam’ (Harikeshanallur, Mohana Kalyani), ‘Kamalamba’ (Ananda Bhairavi, Dikshitar) and ‘Vandanamu’ (Sahana, Tyagaraja) served to make the concert all-inclusive with respect to composers. One concedes that Krishna, as he is establishing himself is no common soldier. Still, he should learn to rely less on limitlessness as his great belief and avoid working up galloping crescendos for every song at the expense of audience exhaustion. Maturity will certainly catch up with him.

Mullaivasal Chandramouli’s violin support was praiseworthy. His swara rounds had a relaxed approach with its expected degree of accuracy, while playing both for the songs and the pallavi. Thanjavur Subramaniam on the mridangam cast himself well providing an accompanying style that was on a par with the concert’s standing.

AISHWARYA’S concert became an all-Tyagaraja treat, and began with ‘Sri Ganapathini Sevimparare’ (Saurashtram). Her elaboration of Sankarabharanam began quietly and had its own distinguishing mettle. The kriti ‘Endhuku Peddala’ had a meaningful niraval at ‘Vedha Sastra Thathvaarthamu,’ where the word ‘Thathvaarthamu’ was handled with care to hold its meaning aloft.

Panthuvarali (‘Naradhamuni’) also had a short niraval at ‘Naradhamuni Namamulanu,’ and an alapana that was of mentionable standards. ‘Nadhupai’ (Madhyamavati) and ‘Varanaradha’ (Vijayasri) were the other kritis of the Sadguru that were sung.

Aishwarya possesses a voice that is shrill and sharp and communicates well. Her stop-and-start positions had its momentary sruti issues. One observed a self-acknowledging and self-critical attitude in her which would lead automatically to self-correction.

Rahul on the violin glowed with the depth of his bow and played a Sankarabharanam that was punctuated with phrases of sterling quality. Sankaranarayanan’s accompaniment on the mridangam was delicate for the songs and his thani though brief was well-packed. The concert had a miscellaneous section in which the javali ‘Parulanna Maata’ (Kaapi, Dharmapuri Subbarayar) figured.

(sivakumar2004@gmail.com)