TVS regaled the audience with his expertise and experience. Superb time management marked Vijayalakshmi Subramanium’s concert.
If someone wants to enjoy the archetypal flavour of classicism in today's milieu, they need to attend T.V. Sankaranarayanan's recital. Torch-bearer of the genre and technique of the famous Madurai Mani Iyer, more specifically in the swaraprastara which was Mani Iyer's tour de force, it can be recalled whenever TVS regales the audience with his expertise and experience.
Khambhodi, a favourite of TVS (and Mani Iyer too) shared the limelight with Shanmukhapriya for RTP. The open-throated articulation (Khambodi demands it!) coupled with energised traversing through all the regions set TVS's singing style apart from other vidwans. The Khambodi alapana and the popular Tyagaraja kriti ‘Ma Janaki’ with a luxuriant niraval and spectacular swaras at ‘Rajaraja vara’ enticed the rasikas completely, as was evident in the roaring applause he received for this item.
The RTP in Shanmukhapriaya was set in Misra triputa and the pallavi was ‘Saravanabhava Guruguha Shanmuga Swaminathane’. This was yet another attestation that TVS could pack the beauty and intricacies of the raga in a capsule form and present it. The entire concert was full of vigour and the bright ‘Vinayaka Ninnuvina’ of Veenai Kuppier with several layers of swaras came as the initiating number.
Following the devotional ‘Kamalambamsam’ in Anadabhairavi by Dikshitar, a sketch of Kanada with ‘Neeyallalini Yaar Ennai Kappar’ by GNB, an enticing Mohanakalyani for ‘Bhuvaneswariya’ of Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavathar, a fresh and youthful Kapi presented by Sankaranarayanan’s son Mahadevan for ‘Meevalla Guna Dosha’ by Tyagaraja were important inclusions of the concert.
The imposing parts of the offerings were always the complex swaraprastara where the jandai and dattu swara combinations leapt out with consummate ease and accuracy interspersed at times with linking phrases as fillers. Young Mahadevan’s voice carries an impressive tenor and his participation in raga essay and swaraprastaras showed that another promising vocalist is on the horizon.
Mysore V. Srikanth was in line with the veteran's expectations, giving suitable responses in raga, swara and niraval. He created a good impact in the raga essays and swaras in Mohanakalyani, Kapi and Khambodi. Veteran Srimushnam V. Raja Rao joined hands with young K.V. Gopalakrishnan on the percussion front and delighted the audience, matching the genius of the main artist.
A well designed and smartly executed concert will always be a pleasing experience; Vijayalakshmi Subramaniam’s concert belongs to this category. Her time management was the greatest plus point as many creative persons invariably lose track of time, thus either skipping some intended item or rushing through a few important numbers.
While in many programmes, Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi is given a raw deal, Vijayalakshmi took special care to make this important facet of a performance with a different rhythmic structure Gati Triyam of Kanda Roopakam with three different nadais (chatusram, misram and kandam), the pallavi ‘Ninadu Paatham’ set in Natakurinji; though short, it was interestingly complex and the pallavi was credited to musicologist B.M. Sundaram. The raga essay, in two parts, was not too exhaustive and was followed by a comprehensive tanam and pallavi which had the regular niraval, trikalam and swaras in ragamalika (Saraswati, Lalitha and Durga). This section was well nurtured by the supporting artists V.V.S. Murari on the violin, Madirimangalam Swaminathan on mridangam and A.S. Krishnan on morsing. Undoubtedly, Vijayalakshmi deserves appreciation for this admirable exercise.
The concert had a host of kritis including two in heavyweight ragas Kalyani (‘Ammaravamma’ by Tyagaraja) with swara adjunct at ‘Tamarasadalanetri’, and Khambodi (‘Vaangum Enakku Irukkai’ by Oothukadu Venkatakavi) once again with a swara medley at different points on the second line ‘Mayilerum Vadivel…’.
To counter the heavy ragas was the Kiravani raga treatise with Tyagaraja's ‘Kalikiyundegada’. The raga alapana of Keeravani and earlier Nalinakanti (‘Nee Padamegati' of GNB) showed more maturity than overzealous demonstration of knowledge. While Nalinakanti was given a lighter touch and lilt, Keeravani was properly stated with evenness.
The kalpanaswaras for Keeravani was lined with the pallavi itself and the extension was centred on panchamam and the kuriappu was directed with control and correct vision.
The closing section carried a Tamil viruttam with a logical link to the melody ‘Arul Seyya Vendumayya’ in Rasikapriya by Koteswara Iyer. An unfamiliar composition of Tyagaraja found place in the agenda ‘Leela Ghanu Jooche’ in Divyamani also referred to as Dhundubi.
V.V.S. Murari is an understanding violinist; he played raga expositions and swara exchanges with clear perception. The percussionists Swaminathan and Krishnan were alert throughout and their thani was commendably compact.