Delhi audiences heard recitals in homage to two significant personalities — M.S. Gopalakrishnan and ‘Thiruppugazh’ A.S. Raghavan.
The music that reverberated in the concert hall was truly reminiscent of late M. S. Gopalakrishnan — MSG — who passed away on January 3 this year. Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha and the India Habitat Centre recently organised a tribute concert in memory of the legendary violinist who mastered both the Carnatic and Hindustani music. MSG’s daughter and prime disciple, Dr. M. Narmadha, rendered a violin solo recital for about two hours on this occasion.
Narmadha started her recital with the Saveri varnam in Adi tala. The opening piece which she played effortlessly in two speeds provided a brisk start. Her next piece, Kotteswara Iyer’s “Varana mukhava” in raga Hamsadhwani, contained scintillating fast paced swaraprastaras towards the end. Tonal quality and clarity of notes even in the fast paced formats was not only delightful but also bought to the fore the depth of Narmadha’s creative talents.
MSG learnt the violin from his father, late Parur Sundaram Iyer and through his vast research on playing techniques he further improvised the Parur style of playing the violin into the Parur-MSG style, whose special features were delightfully demonstrated in Narmadha’s concert. Narmadha’s next item was Muthuswami Dikshitar’s “Subrahmanyena” in raga Shuddha Dhanyasi, which was preceded by a fine delineation of the raga. The lively presentation of Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer’s “Raghuvamsa” in raga Kadanakutoohalam provided a fillip to the proceedings.
After presenting Muthuswami Dikshitar’s “Ardhanareeswaram” in raga Kumudakriya, Narmadha took up Tyagaraja’s “Pakkala nilabadi” in raga Kharaharapriya for detailed presentation, displaying her talents in raga alapana, neraval and swaraprastaras — all the three spheres of improvisational techniqe.
In the latter part of the recital she included a song based on Hindustani music and Rajasthani folk style, besides a small piece based on Western classical music, which she announced that her father used to play in his solo violin concerts. On the whole, it was a fulfilling experience for both those who had heard MSG live and also those who heard had a chance to hear his music only on this occasion through the agency of his daughter. Kumbakonam N. Padmanabhan on the mridangam and N. Harinarayanan on the ghatam provided good support.
Elsewhere, at the Uttara Swaminatha Swami Temple (Malai Mandir), the Thiruppugazh Anbargal paid their homage to late A.S. Raghavan, known as Thiruppugazh Guruji, , who passed away on May 7 this year. Guruji, as he was fondly addressed by his disciples, taught the ancient Thiruppugazh hymns in the Capital for more than five decades. It was an emotional moment for many of Guruji’s disciples, who paid their homage by singing the Thiruppugazh hymns they had learnt from him.