The well-designed adherence to tradition was a high point of Prof. Mavelikkara Subramanyam’s recital.
If one had the fortune of listening to Prof. Mavelikkara Subramanyam during this music season, the credit should go to Sri Rama Bhaktha Jana Samajam (K.K. Nagar), which is conducting its 14th Sangeethothsav. Subramanyam’s voice exhibits firm tonal quality that also has its soft side. This element surfaced periodically and was used sensibly and judiciously. The faultless and uncompromising order in which sangatis came up as the songs progressed mirrored the credo that resides in him.
This fidelity to patanthara was further exemplified in the manner in which Gopikrishnan, who provided vocal support, sang along in the most unified way. Going by his performance, in the next five to 10 years success is bound to come Gopikrishnan’s way.
The ever-elusive Janaranjani had a dignified alapana from Subramanyam. The raga contours were defined with finely distilled phrases, and what was in store was Harikeshanallur Muthiah Bhagavathar’s ‘Ganapathe Suguna Nidhe,’ with a compact chittaiswaram. Then the kriti, ‘Sogasuga Mridanga Thaalamu’(Tyagaraja, Sriranjani), saw the word, ‘Navarasa’ (charanam – ‘Drakshaarasa Navarasa’) being split into monosyllables (na va ra sa) and sung at a quiet pace, with swaras being etched tidily around it at different speeds.
‘Ninnujoochi’ in Sourashtram (Patnam Subramanya Iyer), though it took the place of a filler, was rendered in a well-patterned style that fell soothingly on the ear. The unhurried musings of Gaanavardini (‘Dhaya Joochudakithi Velara,’ Tyagaraja) that helped traverse the ragas path admirably, followed by a short and crisp announcement about the raga’s janya were welcome. The alapanas for Sriranjani, Poorvikalyani and Bhairavi (which formed the main, the song being ‘Ikanannu Brova’ by Pallavi Seshayyar) brought home the fact that experience in all its variations is the guiding force in forming strong raga constructs.
The swaras for Bhairavi again had superb arrays and revealed a strong personal style, and refrained from making swaraprastaram an altogether mind-sport activity. The Poorvikalyani kriti, ‘Ninnuvina’ (Syama Sastri) and ‘Sri Parthasarathi’ (Suddha Dhanyasi, Dikshitar) lent fluidity to the concert both in terms of raga and tala.
V. V. Ravi as the violin accompanist had his heart and soul in the alapanas of Sriranjani and Poorvikalyani with crowning ‘izhaippu’ prayogas. His overall accompanying style had a charming confidence about it. Trivandrum Vaidyanathan’s capacity as an accompanying mridangam player was proved in no small measure by his style that had lilting nadais, especially for the Gaanavardini kriti. His thani had compact arudis and the final korvai had a grandness of its own.