The highlight of the concert by Prof. T.N. Krishnan and son, Sriram Krishnan, was the freshness in the presentation.
There was no scramble for seats. The audience maintained utmost silence. The sruti was on well before the concert. A recorded concert of some veteran being played from a cell phone was the only disturbance. This writer had to request the owner of the cell phone to put it off. Everything about the concert was totally natural. Prof. T.N. Krishnan (TNK) at this age has got nothing to prove to the world. Yet his performance alongside his son that evening was a prototype on concert presentation. This may be attributed to several years of accompanying Ariyakkudi and the grooming by his father. The raga alapanas did not stretch beyond five or six minutes other than the main. The brevity of the fare created a positive impact. It was a state of ecstasy for the discerning audience. Not that they were listening to these kritis and ragas from the maestro for the first time. The highlight was the freshness in his presentation.
After the traditional varnam in Kanada followed by ‘Maha Ganapathim’ (Nattai-Adi-Dikshitar), the rendition of ‘Everani’ (Devamruthavarshini-Adi-Tyagaraja) was an exhibition of the thick and thin phrases that added value. The landing phrases leading to the pallavi line after the anupallavi and charanam using plain notes were beauties. The first raga of the evening, Khamas, was again a treatise on raga alapana. The very first line depicted the raga swarupa to keep the rasika at comfort that was followed by high strung sketches.
Sriram toed his father’s line without meandering. The rendition was at a breezy pace. The announcement had come in the papers the previous morning about K.V. Prasad (mridangam) being made the fellow of Sangeet
Natak Academy. That evening his playing proved that he is worthy of the coveted selection. Sans any hard beats and complicated arudhis his was an exhibition of deft touches on the chapu, simple tekkas going with the mood of the chief of the evening. The swara segment saw Professor adapting Chembai’s style towards the end
that added variety. Half way through the next raga Ritigowla this writer could perceive ‘Janani Ninnu Vina’ (Mishram-Subbaraya Sastri) coming at a distance and it did follow. That was again a lesson on how to structure a raga depending on the kriti to follow. Yadukulakhambodi – a classic raga that has not found favour with vidwans in the recent past was taken up next.
TNK virtually merged with his violin and dived to his fourth string. It was sheer bliss. His coaxing and caressing the instrument with passion resulted in rakti phrases following each other with rests in between. He maintained the same tempo for ‘Hecharikaga Ra Ra’ (Kandam-Tyagaraja). A brief alapana of Hamir Kalyani lead to the
Tiruppavai ‘Thoo Mani Maadathu’ More was to come - RTP in Thodi. Within ten minutes he presented the raga with all its hues and colours that was outstanding and same was the case with the last item in Sindubhairavi alapana. K.V. Prasad and Vaikkom Gopalakrishnan presented a lively thani.