T.N.S. Krishna’s vocal recital displayed superb improvisational skills, voice control and relentless grip over laya

A vocal recital by T.N.S. Krishna, accompanied by C.N. Chandrasekhar (violin), B.S. Prashanth (mridanga), and Vyasa Vittala (kanjira), was part of the three-day music festival conducted recently by the Mysore Sri Vasudevacharya Sangeetha Sabha, Bangalore.

The concert, which was delayed by a good one hour, got off to a brisk start with “Eranapai”, the adi thala varna in Thodi, extended by kalpana swaras affixed to the charana. The tempo and vitality were maintained in Deekshithar’s “Mahaganapathim” in Natta, which was also supplemented with kalpana swaras at “Maha Kavyanatakadi”.

Dharmavathi was elaborated next with a focus on the softer aspects of the raga. A liberal use of the plain gandhara and nishada featured in the gradual ascent to the thara sthayi, which was punctuated with briga oriented phrases.

Mysore Vasudevacharya’s “Bhajanaseyarada” in rupaka thala, was ornamented with a neraval at ‘Dharanija Manoharuni’ and kalpana swaras, several of which led to the sahithya as a logical conclusion of the rhythmic and melodic patterns featured in them.

A sloka in Saveri, beginning “Amba Shambhavi”, encapsulated the essence of the raga and served the purpose of a compact alapana. But appellations such as “Bhairavi”, “Bhagavathi” and “Shambhavi” required more precision and clarity in the articulation of the bilabial syllables.

A penchant for speed was discernible in the rendition of Shyama Shastri’s “Shankari Shankuru”, pervading the entire exercise including the complex neraval and intricate kalpana swaras at “Shyamakrishna Sodari”.

A slower tempo with more emphasis on the bhava would have imparted a greater sense of repose. The item however bore testimony to the artiste’s superb improvisational skills, voice control and relentless grip over laya.

Subtly nuanced

A subtly nuanced sketch of Yadukulakamboji preceded “Namoralagimpave” in khanda chapu thala. “Kripa Nidhe”, Muthaiah Bhagavathar’s composition in Hamsanadam incorporating the shatshruthi dhaivatha, was succeeded by “Yochana Kamalalochana” in Durbar, also presented at a tremendous pace that did not quite do justice to the krithi.

Mohanam was taken up for a detailed alapana that was mellow, smooth and melodious, studded with some glittering fast passages drawn from a vast reservoir of manodharma. Use of plain notes, especially the gandhara and dhaivatha, rather than heavy gamakas, was pronounced.

An exquisite rendering of “Rara Rajeevalochana Rama” in adi thala was accentuated with an expansion of the pallavi sahithya and kalpana swaras. Outstanding violin accompaniment reflecting the style and intent of the lead artiste, and excellent percussion support were highlights of the concert.