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Friday Review » Music

Updated: May 13, 2010 19:35 IST

Lyrical improvisations

G. S. Paul
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Dr. Narmadha's violin solo in Thrissur. Photo: K.K. Najeeb
The Hindu Dr. Narmadha's violin solo in Thrissur. Photo: K.K. Najeeb

Dr. M. Narmadha's violin solo transported listeners to a world of melodic excellence.

Rasikas in Thrissur were spellbound when M. Narmadha, scion of the ‘Parur-MSG school of violin vadan' presented a recital at Chetana Music College in Thrissur.

Granddaughter of Parur Sundaram Iyer and daughter of M.S. Gopalakrishnan, Narmadha proved how she had inherited all the nuances that these maestros had contributed to enrich classical music and also how she had turned into a noteworthy heir of their unique style.

In her element

Although a violin solo is strenuous for the main musician, there was no compromise on any of the parameters of a concert as she stuck to the traditional format. Dr.Narmadha appeared to be in her element right from the Nattakurinji Adi tala varnam with which she began the concert.

Dikshitar's much-sought-after composition in Chamaram (Shanmughapriya, roopaka tala) – ‘Sidhdhivinayakam anisam' – was unusually sweet. A short but neat alapana preceded Tyagaraja's ‘Anupama gunam budhi' in Atana, Khanda chapu tala. The musician's dexterity in handling the instrument and so also the intricacies of the raga was fully revealed in this piece. A short sanchara through the lower octave provided an extra dimension to the aesthetic appeal of Atana.

The ambience of the concert was totally changed as she switched on to the Kathanakuthoohalam raga, ‘Raghuvamsa sudha,' Pattanam Subramania Iyer's composition. The musician maintained the tempo notwithstanding the racy movements the raga, an invention of the composer himself, demanded.

The virtuosity of the musician in building up the concert was evident when she resorted to a slightly longer alapana of Hamsanadam. There were some breathtaking strokes when Narmadha's finger on the first string nearly touched the bow while scaling the athi-thara sthayi.

Her rendering of ‘Bandureethi kolu viyyavayya Rama,' a Tyagaraja composition, captured the romance of the kriti that depictsRama and Sita, seated side by side, in an amorous mood.

The composition selected for the major raga of the evening was ‘Enthuku peddala valebudhiyavu,' also a Tyagaraja kirtana in Adi tala. The near-infinite gamut of Sankarabharanam was portrayed through an extended alapana during which ‘Anthara Gandhara' was exploited to the hilt. If the leitmotif of the sahithya is ‘nada vidya,' the recital was an eloquent expression of the same. The tani tagged to it by Jayakrishnan on the mridangam and Vellaattanjur Srijith on the ghatam was neat and appropriate.

‘Swagatham Krishna,' a composition of Oothukkadu Venkata Subbayyar in Mohanam, Adi tala, stood out for the change of the nadai – chathurasra and tisra – it entailed for depicting the gaits of Krishna. Soothing was the Sindhubhairavi, ‘Ramachandra prabhu,' a Swati composition. Melodic improvisations were really fabulous, especially since the composition is tuned in the typical Hindustani style of which Dr. Narmadha is an exponent.

A commendable aspect of the concert was that Dr. Narmadha chose to explain the niceties of each raga and the import of the sahithya.


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