Lakshmi Rangarajan’s soft, unhurried approach was steeped in classicism.

The two prime aspects of Carnatic music have been composition and exposition. In practice, the composer takes a back seat, for, the composition reaches the rasika, as interpreted by the artist. A vaggyeyakara is at once a skilful wordsmith and an inspired musician. One such composer is Subbarama Dikshithar, grandson and adopted son of Baluswami Dikshithar, who was the youngest brother of Muthuswamy Dikshithar.

Lakshmi Rangarajan rendered his magnum opus, ‘Sri Sankaracharyam’ eliciting its rapturous melody blended with the words of exquisite poetry.

This piece has two sub-pallavis, a rarity. The supple, but expansive Sankarabharanam alapana was soaked in classicism. The sancharas in the higher octave were especially charming.

On the violin, Dr. R. Hemalatha was equally bright in her elucidation. The neraval at the charanam, Paramagnana was followed by spinning swaras, concluding with an impressive korvai. Mannarkoil J. Balaji (Mridangam) and K.V.Gopalakrishnan (Kanjira) offered a captivatingly crisp thani.

Mention must be made of Mannarkoil’s excellent playing technique. He is an asset to any concert. He specialises in using the feather-touch pattern. Very rarely does he indulge in beats! In his company, Gopalakrishnan was ultra-soft.

Lakshmi Rangarajan too was melodiously soft throughout. She was in no hurry either. This approach enhanced the elegance of the ragas she handled. In Ritigowla, after a detailed alapana, she rendered Subbaraya Sastri’s ‘Janani Ninnuvina’ with fluent swaras at pallavi. Her Devagandhari alapana for the rarely heard ‘Sri Thulasamma’ ( Tyagaraja) was a fine exposition. Hemalatha too gave a creative interpretation. Lakshmi Rangarajan’s soft approach brought out the quintessence of Sri Raga in Dikshithar’s ‘Sri Varalakshmi.’

Pallavi Seshayyar occupies a prominent role among the composers in the post-Tyagaraja period. Lakshmi Rangarajan rendered his Urmika kriti, ‘Enthani Vinavinthura’. This is her guru TMT’s favourite. The chitta swarams in thisra nadai are very elegantly composed.

She commenced her absorbing concert with a lilting Begada varnam. For Andal’s ‘Azhimazhai Kanna’, she rendered a ragamalika Viruttham in Bilahari, Saveri, and Varali. The only breezy (by her standard) piece was Tyagaraja’s ‘Raga Sudha Rasa’. All good things must come to an end and Lakshmi Rangarajan concluded her recital with ‘Eppo Varuvaro’. Her talent in making full use of the mike is worth emulating by a few of the artists.

(ramakrishnan.h@gmail.com)