The legendary saint composer Tyagaraja seems to have captured a special place in the hearts of music lovers of the Capital. In two different events this past Sunday, the Delhi Tamil Sangam and Sri Tyaga Bhrama Gana Sabha, New Delhi, organised Tyagaraja Aradhana in which group singing of the Pancharatna kritis of Tyagaraja took place. At both places it was K. Vageesh who led the group singing. Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha conducted a three-day music festival titled Tyagaraja Music Festival 2013, which featured seasoned as well as young musicians from Chennai. In the well organised festival, popular vocalist Sanjay Subrahmanyan was given the Sabha’s Nada Kalanidhi award. In the past, the Sabha has given away a few more awards in the junior category, as also to dancers. Delhi-based artistes were also included. This year there was only one award. One wonders if there is any dearth of deserving artistes in these categories.
The Malladi Brothers who were to participate in the Tyagaraja Music Festival of the Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha did not come due the demise of their guru, Sripada Pinakapani. Saketa Raman who took up that slot at very short notice, did present a scintillating vocal recital. But he did not do full justice to the composer Tyagaraja in whose memory the festival was organised. Though there would not have been any compulsion to confine himself to Tyagaraja alone, one expected at least one composition of Tyagaraja to be taken up for detailed presentation. Ootukadu Venkatasubbaiyer’s “Thaye Yashoda” in raga Todi and a ragam-taanam-pallavi in Khanda jati Ata tala came in for detailed presentations. The pallavi composed in three different ragas — Revati for the first laghu of the tala, Sahana for the second laghu and Sivasakthi for the two drutams — was admirable, though it was not quite a smooth execution. “Sarasa Sama Dana” in the raga Kapinarayani and “Kanugontini Sri Ramuni” in raga Bilahari were the only two songs of Tyagaraja that Saketa Raman sang in his entire recital. M.R. Gopinath on the violin and Manoj Siva on the mridanagam provided very good support.
All India Radio, in its National Programme last Saturday, broadcast select recordings of the legendary Carnatic musician Sripada Pinakpani, who passed away recently. He was 100. Though a medical doctor by profession, he gained proficiency in Carnatic music too. Apart from a successful performing career, Pinkapani’s contributions to the Carnatic music field include his several books on Carnatic music and preparing disciples like Nedunuri Krishnamurthy, Nookala Chinna Satyanarayana, Srirangam Gopalaratnam, Malladi Suri Babu, and the Malladi Brothers.
The recordings from the early 1980s were taken from the archives of AIR. The one-hour broadcast consisted of five items rendered by the veteran (Dikshitar’s “Kshitija Ramanam” in raga Devegandhari, Tyagaraja’s “Sujanajivana” in Khamas, Vanamamalai Jeeyar’s “Mathimdehi” in Kalyani, a padam in raga Bhairavi and a javali in Poorvikalyani). Another highlight of the recordings was the mridangam accompaniment by yet another legend, late Palghat T.S. Mani Iyer. AIR’s quick and thoughtful gesture of broadcasting the recordings is laudable.