Vocal concerts by stalwarts and a plethora of music-based programmes were the highlights of Nadopasana 2010, at Annamanada.

Marathon programmes, including vocal concerts, discourses and lecture-demonstrations on varied aspects of Carnatic music, were the main features of a three-day cultural event, Nadopasana 2010, at Annamanada.

T.M. Krishna opened with Pattanam Subramania Iyer's Keeravani composition, ‘Varamulo sakhi' in Roopakam. Prolonged succession of kalpana swaras in both tempos heightened the beauty of the rendition.

A neat Sriranjini was presented through ‘Bhuvinudasudane perasache,' a Tyagaraja kriti, Adi. Krishna stayed mostly in the thara sthayi while elaborating raga Kalyani. But he also took care to glide over the three sthayis, effortlessly touching the thara sthayi shadjam and mandra sthayi shadjam. The composition was the sought-after Swati ‘Pankacha lochana' in Misra chapu.

Slow and stately

After Dikshitar's ‘Swaminatha Paripalayamam' in Natta, Adi, he took the main raga Yadukulakamboji for an extended elaboration. The Tyagaraja composition ‘Hecharikkara Sreeramachandra' in Khanta chapu was specially noteworthy for the vilamba kala he chose to sing the composition. Purandaradasa's composition in ragamalika, ‘Sancharidathare' was followed by the ‘Nottu swara' kriti of Dikshitar, ‘Ramachandram Rajeevaksham.'

It may be remembered that Dikshitar had composed it on the lines of the English song, ‘Let us lead a life of pleasure,' invariably presented by the British military band in Chennai during his days. Krishna wound up the concert with the Kamas number ‘Ramajogi' of Bhadrachalaramadas.

The tone of the electrified violin of T.H. Subramaniam left much to be desired. Paruppilly Phalgun (mridangam) and Vellattanjur Sreejit (ghatam) provided able support to the vocalist.

Vintage essays

The ‘soukhyam' that Parassala Ponnammal's concert provided was memorable. The compositions and the ragas of her choice were evocative of the rich tradition she has inherited as the first female student of the Swati Thirunal College of Music in Thiruvananthapuram. ‘Paripahi ganathipa bhasuramoorthe,' a Saveri composition of Swati, Adi, was followed by the Natta number ‘Pahi nikila jananee,' again a Swati composition set to Adi tala.

Anandabhairavi received a short but crisp elaboration for the Syama Sastri composition ‘Marivere gathi evaramma' in Misra chapu. Disregarding the constraints of age she essayed the raga Poorvikalyani, the main raga of the concert.

Two more kritis of the royal composer followed including ‘Kanthanodu chennu melle' (Neelambari, Roopakam) and ‘Devadeva kalpayami' (Nathanamakriya, Roopakam). She wound up with ‘Vande matharam' in Sindhubhairavi.

Excellent teamwork by the accompaniment artistes made Ponnammal's concert a notable one. The credit goes to Viju S. Anand (violin), Paruppilly Phalgun (mridangam) and Payyannur Govinda Prasad (morsing).

In a change of schedule, Matangi Sathyamoorthy turned up on the second day. The Kamboji Ada tala varnam with which she opened the concert was well received by the audience. GNB's ‘Karimugha varada' in Natta, Adi tala, was embellished by chitta swaras. The Gourimanohari number in Khanta chapu was the popular Tyagaraja composition ‘Gurulekha yeduvati.' A penchant for upper sthayi and fast tempo appeared most glaring in the concert thereafter. The main raga was Kharaharapriya and the composition, the lovely ‘Pakkala nilabadi' of Tyagaraja in Misra chapu. Avaneeswaram S.R. Vinu's avartanam on the violin was splendid.

An excellent tani was played by Nanjil Arul on the mridangam, Perukavu Sudheer on the ghatam and Payyannur Govinda Prasad on the morsing.

O.S. Thyagarajan's quest for melody was evident in the two-hour concert on the last day. A sterling performance noted for propriety and discipline, the concert also stood out for the role of mridangam, played by Umayalpuram Sivaraman, in augmenting the melodic content of raga.

Quest for melody

OST began with the Bhairavi Ada tala varnam ‘Viriboni' in the typical format of a concert. The Panthuvarali number (‘Sundarathara deham,' Adi, Tyagaraja) that followed was rich in niravals, and the rhythmic beats of Umayalpuram that filled the gaps aesthetically were awe-inspiring.

The pre-main raga Kalyani found expression in ‘Isha pahimam' in Roopakam. By all counts the most memorable one was ‘Chakkani raja,' the Tyagaraja composition in Kharaharapriya. Rendered in two ‘kala' of Adi tala, it also witnessed how Umayalpuram could provide the scope for manodharma of the vocalist. Edappilly Ajit rose to the occasion by bowing mesmerising phrases. Both in sruti alignment and tone, B. Sundarkumar's ganjira made its presence felt.

‘Nadupai,' the Tyagaraja composition in Madhyamavathy, was a fitting finale to the festival organised by Agni Cultural Academy.

Keywords: Vocal concerts