In spite of the detractive elements, Seshagopalan's Atana and Kedaragowla scored over conventional development. The sheer strength and depth of his voice explained his mastery. His musical vision saw ragas in a range beyond the grasp of the average musicians.
Combative interface between run away manodharma and explosive exposition marked the concert of Madurai T.N. Seshagopalan for this sabha. The sheer strength and depth of his voice explained his mastery. His musical vision saw ragas in a range beyond the grasp of the average musicians.
The direction and dimension of his creativity were awesome. The sheer effort he put into his singing prowess has to be acknowledged. It is these qualities that make his presentation of ragas and kirtanas a cut above the rest of the musicians. Himalayan vidwat is one aspect. Ennobling music was a compassionate face too. It is the former that was engrossing to him.
Like Janus, he has two faces – the exquisite and the exhibitionistic. In the two ragas – Atana (‘Ela Nee Dayaradhu') and Kedaragowla (‘Saraguna Palimpa') in the ground-clearing early part he revealed an acute sensitivity to the aesthetic composition of the rakti of the ragas. He sang in such a way as to make the glow seep into the consciousness of the listeners.
But came the exhibitionistic infatuation. Briga profligacy leaped from the mandhara sthayi to the Ati tara sthayi with high speed erasing the earlier ennobling impression. The development of the ragas at this stage was dominant, domineering, zooming with pride. These expensive indulgences, fabulous and not mild mannered, were inebriating and not such as to speak of sobriety in such a vidwan as Seshagopalan.
The mark of maturity in a musician is to control the passion for glamorous techniques. As against a scalding tempo, rattling off sancharas and quantitative measurement, it has to pay heed to qualitative motivation. Seshagopalan has this in him, but easily succumbs to temptation. For good music vocal strength is not enough. It is delicacy that is called for.
In spite of the detractive elements, his Atana and Kedaragowla scored over conventional development. The gently swaying sancharas initially wore a reflective relationship between what Atana and Kedaragowla he had in mind and the performing expression. If only he had stopped at this level, the raga portrayal would have been stupendous. Segment by segment, sanchara by sanchara would have brought alive enchantment. The same cannot be said of the way he interpreted the kirtanas. He pushed, punched, squeezed the sahityas to bow to his method of enrichment. Preservation of the format of kirtanas as the vaggeyakaras visualised them is a way of respect to their greatness. Besides ‘Ela Nee Dayaradhu' and ‘Saraguna Palimpa,' he sang ‘Needhu Mahima Pogada' in Hamsanandi and ‘Dayajoochutaku' in Ganavardhini. More significant and relevant was the composition ‘Sangita Gnana Viheenulaku Mokshamu Galada' in Saramathy.
M. Chandrasekharan, the violin accompanist, lived up to his propensity to introduce raga in his solo with a kirtana line with sahitya detached. Exuberance in pressurised bowing got the better of making the violin sound sweet. Guruvayoor Dorai (mridangam) and T.V. Vasan provided laya support. Seshagopalan and Dorai revelled in calculative manipulation.