K.V. Krishna Prasad’s rendition of Thyagaraja compositions was nuanced and meditative
The BTM Cultural Academy, Bangalore, conducted its 22nd Aradhana Sapthaha recently with a series of concerts, each of which was dedicated to a particular composer. A vocal concert by K.V. Krishna Prasad, consisting entirely of Thyagaraja compositions, was held on the penultimate day of the festival. The accompanying artistes were Mysore Srikanth (violin), C. Cheluvaraju (mridanga), Bhargava Halambi (kanjira) and Dayananda Mohite (ghata).
The performance began with “Adamodi Galade” in Charukeshi raga and aditala, to which were appended a cascade of kalpana swaras, followed by a brief but intensely evocative alapana of Bindumalini. The rendition of the krithi “Entha Muddo Entha Sogaso” in aditala was uncluttered, finely modulated and suffused with the unearthly beauty of the scale. A swift “Makelara” in Ravichandrika raga and aditala effected a quick change of pace and tenor.
The succeeding elaboration of Reethigoula opened with mellow meditative phrases that touched the mandra sthayi madhyama repeatedly. A delectable blend of intricate sancharas and simple, smooth passages, the alapana dwelt extensively on each of the crucial notes, such as the madhyama, nishada, the thara sthayi shadja and madhyama. A bhava laden and subtly nuanced “Nannu Vidachi” in mishra chapu thala, was adorned with kalpana swaras restricted to the first speed. ‘Sada Madini’ in Gambhiravani raga and adithala led to a quick exposition of Varali. “Karuna Elagante” in aditala was sung in an accelerated tempo and accentuated with an energetic neraval at “Paramatmudu Jeevatmudu” without kalpana swaras.
A sedate “Ramabhakthi Samrajya” in Shuddhabangala raga and adi thala led to the main raga of the evening, Shankarabharanam. Each of the notes was emphasised with a plethora of phrases replete with individual touches and mellifluous overtones, without being detrimental to the traditional identity of the raga. Remarkable voice flexibility, discernible in the alternating soft and bold strokes, perfect alignment to sruthi in elongated notes such as the panchama and thara shadja, and unfettered improvisational prowess, were the hallmarks of the exercise. The ensuing inclusion and illustration of different types of thana with full percussion support was an impressive display of control and stamina. The krithi ‘Enduku Peddalavale’ in aditala was augmented with a sumptuous neraval at “Veda Shastra Tattwarthamulu”. A few rounds of kalpana swaras in the first speed were followed by those in the second speed that immediately launched into a cycle of diminishing tala cycles around the gandhara. Though the item seemed slightly rushed, especially in view of the leisurely treatment of pieces in the first half of the concert, immense talent and assiduous training were explicit in the various manodharma components. Outstanding violin accompaniment and superb percussion support enhanced the efforts of the lead artiste, contributing significantly to the success of the performance.