It was an interesting concert by M.S.N. Murthy with Pantula Rama as accompanist.

Madhuradhwani, an annual music festival dedicated to the violin, conducted by Shanmukhapriya, featured an interesting concert by M.S.N. Murthy of Visakhapatnam. Interesting because wife Pantula Rama gave him violin support. Rasikas know Pantula Rama as an accomplished vocalist and Murthy as her accompanist. For once, Pantula played second fiddle, in the true sense!

Subdued approach

The atmosphere got set with a two speed rendition of Navaragamalika varnam followed by Bhupalam, the first raga essay of the evening. The inherent volume in Murthy’s fingers added to the weighty presentation.

The raga was well negotiated with plain notes. Pantula followed with a more subdued approach making it even more emotional. ‘Sadachaleswaram’ (Adi-Dikshitar) gave enough scope for the duo to unleash swaras at varying speeds.

Saranga was really a refreshing selection (‘Neevadanay Gana’ - Tyagaraja). ‘Raghuvamsasudha’ (Kadanakuthuhalam-Adi-Patnam Subramania Iyer), which has gone out of fashion even with instrumentalists let alone vocalists, was presented next in all its lilt and gaiety. J. Vaidyanathan (mridangam) had a field day. Murthy then proceeded with a lengthy kriti by Tyagaraja ‘Rama Neeyeda.’ It was a bit of a surprise when Nalinakanti was chosen for the RTP segment.

Nevertheless, the couple did enough justice to the raga that gave ample scope for improvisations both during the ragam and tanam phase. The pallavi ‘Sri Raghu Rama Charu Tulasidala Dhama Sringara Rama’ set in tisra tripudai with eduppu in Samam was composed by his guru Sriman Krishnamacharyulu, it was learnt. The couple is known for their adroit handling of pallavis, however complex their structuring may be and that evening they lived up to their reputation.

Vaidyanathan’s anticipation was satisfying. Varali and Vaasanthi were the other ragas that featured in the ragamalika swaras.

J. Vaidyanathan’s playing, a combination of telling blows and deft touches, has reached the next level which is becoming evident in every concert he plays.

In the company of Anirudh Athreya (ganjira) the thani he presented was quite captivating with speed variations.