'Neat' is the word that best describes Maharajapuram Srinivasan's concert.
Maharajapuram Srinivasan thrilled his audience with Shanmukhapriya that was rich in both melody and imagination. It began on a brisk pace and the singer, with the solid support of the veteran violinist M.A. Sundaresan, kept the tempo through the alapana. Dikshitar’s ‘Ekambraesa Nayaki’ was well delivered with a neat set of swaras at its tail.
Srinivasan began with the Saveri varnam following which he presented Tyagaraja’s ‘Aparama Bhakti’ (Pantuvarali), without an alapana, but with long string of swaras. Then came a thoroughly enjoyable Hindolam (Tyagaraja’s ‘Manasuloni’), followed by Sankarabharanam (‘Rama Ninnu Vina,’ Tyagaraja). The Pantuvarali and Sankarabharanam were neat, but, being more of the stereotype, lacked the brilliance of Shanmukhapriya.
Srinivasan should understand that as long as he has the ‘Maharajapuram’ prefixed to his name, the world will expect a certain standard from him. For sure, Shanmukhapriya was outstanding, but the rest of the concert can only be described as ‘neat’. Even the choice of ragas appeared to be defensive, for ragas such as Pantuvarali and Sankarabharanam can be sung just as good by anyone. A Maharajapuram scion should not shy away from experimentation.
After the Shanmukhapriya essay, Srinivasan produced some Maharajapuram-ish thukkudas, including ‘Yarige Vadhuvaaguve’ of Purandaradasa.
Thanjavur Kumar played his part well on the mridangam.