The festival of instrumental music, Nada Sudhe, was packed with excitement

“Nada Sudhe”, a festival of instrumental music organised by the Academy of Music, Chowdaiah Memorial Hall as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations featured three memorable Hindustani classical instrumental concerts. It was a mesmerising sitar jugalbandi performance by the twin brothers Ustad Rafique Khan and Ustad Shafique Khan. a sarangi recital by Harsh Narayan, the son of eminent sarodiya Pandit Brij Narayan, who also played. Another laudatory feature of these three concerts was the truly awe inspiring, magnificent tabla accompaniment by the two tabla virtuosos, Pandit Arvind Kumar Azad and Pandit Rajendra Nakod.

Ustad Rafique Khan and Ustad Shafique Khan commenced with Marwa, a ‘Sandhiprakash’, hexatonic raga of the twilight time. During the course of the meditative ‘alap’ in this sombre, plaintive melody, the brothers ingeniously created brief melodic phrases called ‘mohra’, closely resembling the ‘mukhda’ in a ‘khayal’ in double speed at the end of every musical statement to mark the finish of a melodic progression or exploration. The ‘jod’ section where the players resorted to a series of pulsations creating alluring permutations of the notes in a rhythmic manner was followed by an intoxicating ‘jhala’. The ‘jhala’ played in a fast tempo provided a thrilling end to this unmetered section. The slow paced gat had ‘alap avartans’ which showed the perfect aesthetic synthesis and amalgamation of the ‘gayaki’ and ‘tantkari’ sensibilities. An array of complex and richly melodious ‘taans’ played at a breath taking velocity generated a sense of awe and astonishment. The soulful ‘alap’ in the ‘gat’ composition set to roopak taa in raga Charukeshi was followed by speedy gamak taans and tihais in the lilting drut ek tal composition in the same raga. Ustad Rafique Khan and Ustad Shafique Khan were supported by the brilliant Pandit Arvind Kumar Azad on the tabla. The rigour and finesse of the Benarasi style of playing the tabla was brought out effectively in Pandit Arvind Kumar Azad’s rendition for the Dadra composition.

Harsh Narayan’s impeccable musical credentials were discernible in his rendition of Raga Saraswati. In his Raagvistar, Harsh Narayan transposed the mode of kKhayal gayaki onto the Sarangi. The solemnity of this beautiful Carnatic Raga unfolded through unbroken sweeps of sound indicating a steady movement that gave his delineation its continuity and fullness. The ‘meends’ were supple and graceful. The composition in teen tal was followed by swift ‘taans’ in the drut teen tal piece. Accompanying him on the tabla, Pandit Rajendra Nakod imparted an infectious enthusiasm and vitality to the entire performance .

The resplendent finale of the instrumental festival was the sarod recital by Pandit Brij Narayan. He began his recital with the grave and stately melody Raga Multani. The pliable tonality of his sarod re-created the nuances of vocal music, thereby endowing the profoundly contemplative alap-jod-jhala intensely captivating. The exuberance of Pandit Rajendra Nakod’s tabla accompaniment with his dazzling technique and agile imagination enhanced the magnetic appeal of the music. Pandit Brij Narayan’s rendition of a pleasing night melody Kaunshi Kanada was marked by sensuously captivating ‘meends’ astounding ‘gamaks’, sparkling ‘sapat and vakra taans’, thundering high speed climaxes which took the connoisseurs to sublime heights. Pandit Brij Narayan concluded his recital with the masterful rendition of a light classical piece in raga Misra Shivaranjini in roopak tal, poignantly capturing the infinitesimally delicate hues and shades of the romantic melancholy of thumri gayaki’.