The Carnatic vocal concert was audience oriented and lacked introspection
T.M. Krishna sang under the auspices of SPVGMC Trust, as part of Ganesha festival concert series. M. Sundareshan (violin), K.V. Prasad (mridanga) and Sukanya Ramgopal (ghata) accompanied.
Of the two main components of music - material and melody, the former took a significant lead throughout the concert. In the present context, the concert prompted an analysis, in the first instance, pertinent to the quantum of the nature of the material contents, and in the second, relevant to the compositions under interpretation.
Consider the overall planning. Two varnas gained prominence, one in the beginning and the other acting as the main number. The accomplished artiste liberally appended Tiruvottiyur Thyagayya's "Sami Dayajuda" with passages of sprightly kalpanaswaras, which seemed redundant, the varna on hand already being provided with sufficient such passages.
Vanajakshi "Ninne Kori" (Varna-Kalyani-atta taala- Pallavi Gopalayya) received all his attention, at the same time drawing the attentions of the listeners too: it was something like setting a new trend serving well as a subject of utmost curiosity. Unhindered vivacity, under the spell of the gushing extempore, rendered the progressions relatively aggressive, unawares.
Alapana in Kalyani, spanning over the three sthayis, demonstrated the artiste's vocal capabilities, though atitara sancharas proved stentorian: of course, not a comforting feat. Moreover, the artiste could have preferably elaborated the raga analytically, advantageously dispensing with flashy labyrinthine articulations, (which are mainly devised as tools for training the chords).
At full tilt, the artiste expanded the lyrics at "Ma Kasthuri Rangasami" (as a substitute for a pallavi). The long passages delivered in single breath most of the time resulted in conditions where the singer had to run out of breath (suthkaari) disturbing the smooth flow. This was particularly so in swarakalpana sections and alapanas.
The general trend led to a deduction that the singer was predisposed to treat the audience through lavishly showered swara-rhythm combinations. Surprisingly, the accompanists of high calibre too followed the same path.
On the other hand, in Muttuswami Dikshitar's "Vadaanyeshvaram" (Devagandhari), he met the requirements of a connoisseur who longed for solace in the intellectual aspects of classical music. The pattern and the pace he tread while framing the swaraprastara, amply complemented the mood inherent in the composition; and this comforted the mind to some degree. Yet, the lyrics in Sanskrit warranted more crispness and clarity for a pronounced impact.
Apart from the above, another acceptable presentation was "Marivere Dikkevarayya" (Shanmukhapriya- Patnam), featuring an elaborate alapana, neraval at "Sannutanga" and brisk kalpanaswaras.
Liberally delivered intricate swarakalpana buoyed up the listener to a state of ecstasy - a stimulating climax rather than of an ethereal sublimity: and more so, the tone of the lyrics - that of submission would not admit any movement that would stimulate the mind. The accomplished singer could have chosen a different approach, more pleasing and truly introspective.