The violinist took Carnatic music to new heights
Others played the violin. Lalgudi G. Jayaraman coaxed lucid lyrics and a pitch-perfect human voice out of the instrument. The violin maestro, whose chiselled rendering elevated Carnatic music to new heights, died here on Monday.
He was 82 and is survived by his wife, son G.J.R. Krishnan and daughter G.J.R. Vijayalakshmi, both violinist-exponents of the Lalgudi bhani (style) evolved by their father.
Jayaraman was born at Lalgudi in Tiruchi district of Tamil Nadu. He learnt music from his father Lalgudi Gopala Iyer and gave his first concert in 1942 at the age of 12. He went on to accompany the great maestros of the past including Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, M.M. Dhandapani Desikar, G.N. Balasubramaniam, Madurai Mani Iyer and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer.
His accompanying, while unobstrusive, often elevated the concert. Lalgudi, as he was affectionately called by music lovers, said he listened to radio performances of noted musicians and imbibed their music. “There was a loudspeaker in the panchayat office and I would not miss their concerts. So when I started accompanying them I had a feeling I had played with them for a long time,” he would say.
Whether the tough pallavis of the Alathur Brothers, the briga-laden music of GNB or the mellifluous music of Madurai Mani Iyer and the fast-paced rendering of Madurai Somu, Jayaraman always rose to the occasion. As a solo artiste, his style was pleasing and, to many, awe-inspiring.
A prolific composer, he taught and inspired several of his disciples to excel in violin and vocal music. He declined the Sangita Kalanidhi award of the Music Academy as he thought it came late, though the institution honoured him with a special lifetime achievement award.