Shringeri Nagaraj’s concert had a vision, and within the scholarly fold, he unfurled a mood that integrated different levels of the developments of the piece at hand
Shringeri Nagaraj sang at Ganabharathi, Mysore, accompanied by C.N. Thyagarajan (violin), P.S. Shridhar (mridanga) and S. Manjunath (ghata). His voice resonates coping fully with his extempore and remains stable in all required levels of the octaves. One of the most satisfactory factors that characterises his singing is the amount of attention he pays to uphold the dignity of the lyrics. Be the selected composition in any language, this element of pragmatic competence infuses the desired mood, helping listeners appreciate both the lyrical grandeur and the import therein.
To have a better view, consider how he interpreted Vasantha and the composition, ‘Hari Hara Putram’ (Muthuswamy Dikshithar). The pattern of developing Vasantha had all the signs leading to the particular composition well beforehand. Characteristic articulations structured in the original notations (for example – those corresponding with Murali Bheri Vaadyadi, Phalguna Maasa and Pandya Keraladi) in matters of amplitude of the gamakas, nature of the oscillating movements and configurations of the phrases, provided a fine groundwork on which the singer imaginatively expatiated the raga, giving it a concrete expression. Within such a vision and scholarly fold, unfurled a mood that integrated different levels of the developments of the number — raagalapana, sahithya, neraval and swarakalpana. Neraval was at the anupallavi, ‘Muraharadi Mohita Shouri’ flourishing on clarity in pronunciation, emphasis on accentuations and apt stresses on both meaning and sentiments. He framed the kalpanawaras passing through various speeds keeping in view their relevance to the text, the overall mood, and consequential impact on the listeners.
The above merits apply without reservations to other numbers like ‘Panchamathangamukha Ganapatina’ (Malahari – Dikshithar – featuring alapana and swarakalpana), ‘Vinarada Na Manavi’ (Devagandhari –Thyagaraja), ‘Parandhamavati’ (Dhaamavati –Dikshithar – with a neraval at ‘Paranjothi’) and ‘Ranidhiradu’ (Manirangu – Thyagaraja).
Now, to some of the shortcomings. Though the voice was rich and resonating, there was a deficiency of fine intonations. The general fluency suffered for want of smooth articulations. A simpler approach would have advantageously rendered the passages smooth-flowing, enhancing melody. For the above observations, raga-taana-pallavi in Jothiswarupini (posing challenges to any vocalist) served as a tenable example. The learned singer presented it with admirable brilliancy; yet, it served more to display scholarship and competence than to create a deep and lasting impression or pleasing experience. Pallavi was ‘Bharathi Ganabharathi Veena Vaadhana’, and the complexity in raaga sanchara did not allow satisfactory emergence of the intended sentiments nested in the pallavi.
The accompanying artistes closely followed the lead artiste’s style and elevated the concert to an acceptable degree winning wholehearted appreciations.