Nirmala Rajasekhar's raga alapanas and swaraprastaras were impressive.

It does require enormous expertise to bring out the exact hues of Begada. The Nishadha is very delicate. You can get the prayogas only by constant practice. Certainly, in different sancharas, two slightly different Nishadas get in, to give it the true flavour. The subtle usage of the bigger ‘Ni' comes into play, according to this critic's limited knowledge.

Nirmala Rajasekhar on the veena sketched a magnificent Begada. Her mantrasthayi prayogas were soulful. M. Rajeev on the violin too offered a neat raga alapana. Ramaswamy Sivan's ‘Kadaikkan Vaiththennai' in Misra Chapu was the chosen kriti. The composition is an illustration of excellent aesthetic structure. Ramaswamy Sivan (1839-1897), a prolific composer used the signature (Mudra) ‘Guhadasan.'

Nirmala Rajasekhar's main piece was ‘Meenakshi Memudham Dehi,' in Purvikalyani, or Gamakakriya in the Dikshitar school. In the raga alapana, in the Mantra sthayi, even without plucking or with a little pluck, she could produce several sancharas. She went on to the tara sthayi shadja and it was decidedly musical too. She rendered the Thanam in ragamalika in which she played a splendid Khambodi. Tanam had exquisite rhythmic support. Niraval and swaras were at ‘Meenalochani.'

The thani by V. Srinivasan on the mridangam and Srirangam S. Ravikrishnan on the ghatam had to be short in view of the fact that the concert had by then exceeded the two hours allotted. I wish there was better time management.

Earlier Nirmala offered a detailed alapana in Shanmukhapriya, soft and gentle. ‘Sidhdhivinayakam Anisam' in Rupakam was rendered well. The swaraprastara was exceptionally impressive.

Nirmala Rajasekhar commenced the concert with the Kannada varnam of Patnam Subramania Iyer. The ‘Mapala Velasiyika’ of Tyagaraja, in which there is a rare madhyama kala prayoga, was well rendered. So was the Kalavathi of Dikshitar.

On the whole, it was a musical experience of a high order.

(ramakrishnan.h@gmail.com)