Hyderabad N. Subbalakshmi’s recital in Thrissur was composed of rough and smooth edges.
Hyderabad N. Subbalakshmi began her vocal concert at Sahithya Akademy hall in Thrissur
with an Adi tala pada varnam in Nattaikurunji. ‘Mahaganapathim’ in Natta, which followed, had swaras in the pallavi.
Then she took up Tyagaraja’s Pancharatnam in Sri. The composer has treated the charanam with chitta swara – sahithya style. The exchange of swaras and the adjacent lyrics between the singer and violinist Trivandrum Sampath was a novel experience for the audience. When handling the lyrical portions, Sampath enhanced the charm of the composition through the occasional transposition of octaves for the corresponding swaras.
Subbalakshmi was accompanied by Cherthala Krishnakumar and Manjoor Unnikrishnan on the mridangam and ghatam, respectively. For the Tyagaraja composition ‘Bantureethi kolu’ in Hamsanadam, Krishnakumar played accurately for the sangathis. Improvisations were at ‘Rama Namamanu Vara Khadgamivi’. When Subbalakshmi tried out in higher octaves, it sounded very thin.
Until a subdued ‘Chalamelara’, Tyagaraja kriti in Marga Hindolam, Adi, the concert followed a thumping tempo. The sudden lag in tempo could have been avoided if she had chosen a variation in the tempo of the concert prior to this number.
An alapana of Panthuvarali led to ‘Sarasaksha’, a Swati kriti in Panthuvarali, Adi.
When Subbulakshmi sang swaras for this, she was slightly out of tune with the sruti and that led to a wrongly sung Gandhara which led to a mistake in Shadja as well.
However, while resorting to open-throated singing, she was not careful with vocalising techniques for by the time she commenced the main piece, her voice seemed exhausted. ‘Ninne Namminanu’ in Thodi, Misra Chapu, set to tune by Syama Sastri, had improvisations at charanam with a flurry of kanakkus.
Soon after a crisp and dazzling tani by Krishnakumar and Unnikrishnan, the organisers announced the demise of Lalgudi G. Jayaraman. A sheer co-incidence, Subbulakshmi rendered ‘Enna Thavam’ in Kapi, Adi, a Papanasam Sivan composition.
Once when the violin maestro played this in front of Sivan, he had complemented Lalgudi Jayaraman saying that “it looks like I had composed this kriti for you only.” She rounded off with ‘Sreenivasa Thiru Venkata Munaya’ in Hamsanandi and Adi.
The concert was organised by Rasikapriya as part of their bi-monthly programme.