The Saveri alapana was a major effort from Madurai T.N. Seshagopalan. What confers on him the status of an outstanding vidwan is his deliberate adventurous approach often embroidered with flamboyance. Sometimes he let incisive bursts, making the raga sparkling in patches.

What confers on Madurai T.N. Seshagopalan the status of an outstanding vidwan is his deliberate adventurous approach often embroidered with flamboyance. It is a testament to his vidwat that he opens up brave, new worlds with more bounce than beauty. This objective was kept in view when each bit was expressed in his performance for Krishna Gana Sabha. Not concerned with real aesthetics, vocal display and dismantling of sahityas in kirtanas were passions that nudged him to interpretative exuberance. It was imbalanced incompatibility between substance and style.

Krishna Ganam being the theme of the concert, Seshagopalan chose good songs ‘Rajagopalam’ (Mohanam), ‘Cheta Sri Balakrishnam’ (Dwijavanti) and ‘Sri Rajagopala’ (Saveri) as the main items to let loose his ostentatious instincts. In the meandering flow of Dwijavanti alapana at wearisome length, he tried to capture the ‘sookshama’ of the raga that was eluding him, which brevity would have helped him achieve. He had tonal tactical sense that back up the compositional framework of the raga. The kirtana carried profundity with glitzy access. His tempting technique was very much visible at the pace in which his presentation was couched. It very well served the specific purpose of proclaiming his stature as a vidwan with an uncommon bhani.

The other major effort was Saveri alapana. He wanted to register his class so keenly that he put enormous pressure on his voice. His confidence and competence carried the vinyasa. Sancharas with warmth moved through the octaves, precise and disciplined. Sometimes he let incisive bursts, making the raga sparkling in patches. The way Saveri progressed, the noteworthy aspect, was the depth he imparted.

The infusion of excellence in the kirtana ‘Sri Rajagopala’ by Dikshitar, too rich in musical depth and substantial in sahitya gowravam helped the expository technique of Seshagopalan. The other items were ‘Brindavana Lola’ a Tyagaraja piece in Thodi and a Jayadeva Ashtapadi in Pantuvarali that served as appetisers.

V.V. Ravi on the violin was very cautious to preserve the dignity of the ragas in his solo, not exceeding the appreciable threshold. His Dwijavanti version faithfully followed the blue-print of the kirtana. Vellore Ramabhadran stood firm in his accompanying ideology — the lesser the better. With Purushothaman on the ganjira, the thani ended even as one realised it had begun.

Lyrical radiance - K. Gayatri

Hearing K. Gayatri’s concert at the Krishna Gana Sabha, it was evident that she has understood that the ability to grasp nuances and improve on them counted as much as talent with which she is blessed. Based on the strong foundation of her tutelage, her voice control, concept of raga rakti and emphasis on quality were striking features of her music. Her raga alapanas, gamakas, karvais and speedy passages were harmonised to speak highly of her expressive inclinations. It was not a miscellany of spur-of-the-moment techniques. Her intention was to synchronise her manodharma with clear articulation. Her straightforward approach to vinyasas helped her get a feel of the musical substance of ragas such as Kalyani, Kiravani (ragam, tanam, pallavi) and Ritigowla which formed the main thrust of the recital.

Ritigowla, the first raga effort, defined her course of raga development and also her familiarity with its lyrical radiance. In format, expression, and sanchara movement, the play of light and shade was well handled. The kirtana, ‘Mama Hrudaye Vihara Dayalo,’ a composition of Mysore Vasudevachar, was neatly presented.

The Kalyani picture was detailed and dense. The grandeur of the raga was imaginatively conceived and the sancharas, particularly in the tara sthayi were laid out in varying patterns. Her tonal manipulation was at its best in this sector. The music spread in the alapana and the kirtana, ‘Nijadasa Varada’ was uniformly pleasing.

Though short for ragam, tanam and pallavi, her Kiravani was addressed to refinement. The alapana was built sharply to a higher level of ripeness. It abounded in perceptive musical sentiments meant to focus on Kiravani’s beauty.

Kandadevi Vijayaraghavan (violin) provided a balanced response in his solo versions. There was gentle clarity in his presentation blending well with Gayatri’s form. He gave snapshot images of the three ragas. B. Sivaraman, the mridangist, exhibited enormous frenzy in accompaniment but his speedy percussive thrust needed to be tempered to the voice level of the vocalist. He had good understanding with the ganjira player K.V. Goapalakrishnan.