Ramachandran used his facile voice to maximum benefit.
Maharajapuram Ramachandran, who accompanied his late father, Maharajapuram Santhanam during his best days, does know a trick or two about what made his father’s concerts tick. He employed these in good measure in his concert for Narada Gana Sabha. With a strong voice that travels low and high with ease and with uniform girth, Ramachandran packed both songs popularised by the Maharajapuram school and his own musical mind in the concert.
There were two parts to the concert. The first hour formed the steady but non-experimentative phase. Beginning with ‘Enakku Vendum Varangalai’ in Nattai (Subramania Bharati, Misra Jampa) and some warm-up swarams, Harikhambodi (‘Undethi Ramudu,’ Tyagaraja) set the Maharajapuram mood. Niraval at ‘Kshema Karudu’ was perhaps too simplistic.
‘Brihadambikayai’ (Vasantha, Misra Chapu, Dikshitar) on the goddess at the Big Temple in Thanjavur is rarely heard and Ramachandran sang it with sobriety and faithfulness, always a good concert tactic. It seemed like a pilgrimage as the concert travelled to Nagapattinam for ‘Soundararajam’ (Brindavana Saranga), rendered without any superfluities and then to Tiruvanmiyur (‘Thaye Tripura Sundari’, Suddhasaveri, Periasamy Thooran).
In the manodharma sequel, Ramachandran sang ‘Enneramum Unnamamum’ (Purvikalyani, Syama Sastri), one of the few Tamil kritis of the composer. Ramachandran knew the right proportion of familiar and novel sangatis in the raga alapana – Santhanam too had his finger on the ball on this facet. The song and the niraval at ‘Anbudan Unnai’ were dealt with as a matter of fact, without leaving much to savour.
The RTP in Varamu (‘Abhaya Varade Sarade’) in Adi was presented well, with a melodic raga alapana and tightly packed trikala niraval and swaram, with engaging responses from the violin.
Balu Raghuram was in perfect alignment with the vocalist’s theme and his raga alapana of Purvikalyani had glowing shades. Mannargudi Eswaran led the percussion side with elegance and skill. One felt that the vocalist perhaps missed another trick of his father – vibrancy and velocity.