Concerts in New Delhi that celebrated the legacy of Maharaja Swati Tirunal as well as Tyagaraja.
To showcase the contributions of Maharaja Swati Thirunal in the field of music, Delhi-based Rasikapriya organised a two-day event, “Swathi Smriti – 2013”, as part of the bi-centenary celebration of the composer at the auditorium the Delhi Tamil Sangam recently. On the first day, M.K. Sankaran Namboothiri gave a vocal recital. Sankaran’s approach seemed to be showcasing his own creative talents rather than the musical genius of the composer. Moreover, he could have avoided the hurry with which he presented the songs of the composer in the initial phase of his concert, particularly during the kalpana swaras at the end of the first three songs (“Pahi Sripathe” in raga Hamsadhwani, “Padmanaba pahi” in Hindolam and “Mamavasada janani” in Kanada). The hurry could have been partly due to the reduced time at his disposal — a result of the delayed start of the programme and the lengthy inaugural session. Neelash on the violin, K.N. Padmanabhan on the mridangam and N. Harinarayanan on the ghatam provided good support.
Elsewhere, in the “Tyagaraja Music Festival 2013”, organised by the Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha, recently, youngster Bharat Sundar’s vocal recital was very impressive. After a neat presentation of the Adi tala varnam in raga todi in two speeds, Bharat sang Muttuswami Dikshitar’s “Swaminatha” in raga Natta prefixing some crisp kalpana swaras. Bharat then went on to take three compositions of Tyagaraja for detailed presentation. While taking up “Manasa etulo” in raga Malayamarutam, he presented a nereval of a phrase followed by kalpana swaras. “Ammaravamma” in raga Kalyani was preceded by an excellent alapana of the raga and ended with neraval and kalpana swaras. “Dwaitamu sukhama” in raga Reetigowla too was preceded by an unhurried and fine alapana of the raga and ended with kalpana swaras. While handling these improvisation techniques (raga alapana, neraval and kalpana swara), Bharat’s creative talents came to the fore and one could see the hard work of the youngster in these areas. M. Narmadha on the violin and Mannarkoil J. Balaji on the mridangam provided excellent support.
In another concert in this series, Sangeetha Swaminathan’s vocal concert too was delightful. Endowed with a very good voice, Sangeetha started her concert very impressively with Tyagaraja’s “Ramabhakthi” in raga Suddhabangala and ended with a scintillating Tamil composition “Maruthi varuvan”. Tyagaraja’s “Guruleka” in raga Gowrimanohari was handled well, which included a neraval of a phrase and swaraprastaras that flowed with rich creativity. While presenting two more Tyagaraja compositions, “Bagayanayya” in raga Chandrajyoti and “Ennalu urake” in Subhapantuvarali, Sangeetha brought out the emotive contents of the lyrics to the fore. The latter song also came in for detailed rendition with a fine alapana of the raga, neraval and swaraprastaras. Sangeetha was ably assisted by young and a promising K.P. Nandini on the violin and Manoj Siva on the mridangam. In the series organised by the Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha in memory of the legendary saint composer Tyagaraja, in most concerts the upapackavadyam (secondary percussion instruments) was conspicuously absent. At least for the senior and seasoned artistes this could have been provided.