With efficient support on the wings, the concert by O.S. Thyagarajan had a lasting impact.
O.S. Thyagarajan has a voice that is heavy but it has a kind of richness that arrests the listeners’ attention. He stays away from sensation and restrains himself from overdoing either in alapana or niraval. There is a kind of proportion that he adopts in his rendering of alapana, kritis, as well as, swarakalpanas. His robust voice has a special appeal that makes the rasika enjoy his aesthetic music. Added to these qualities, he has vidwat to make the concert click. The very fact that OST sang for a packed hall revealed how he was rated and respected by his fans.
It is not enough if the vocalist is in fine fettle. His co-artists should also be in fine form and mood to make the recital a success. OST had the excellent violin support of Nagai Muralidharan. His was a faithful following, mirroring the vocalist’s manodharma in alapana, but he was on his own, when it came to niraval or swara sallies, without exceeding his limits.
The concert acquired a special status, as the mridangam accompaniment was none other than Tiruchi Sankaran. It was, therefore, a bonus for the entire audience. None moved out of the auditorium during the tani avartanam and it was a tribute to the mridangam maestro for his artistry. Sankaran was at his best and encouraged and enthused ghatam vidwan V. Suresh in his percussive support. Sankaran never resorted to heavy beats, but yet made a lasting impact on his audience with different patterns he wove on the nadais and the sollus were distinct. The nadham of the instrument was pleasing.
The jam packed hall reverberated with thunderous applause whenever O.S. Thyagarajan concluded his alapanas of Varali (for ‘Kamakshi Amba Nannu Brovave’) or Kiravani (for ‘Kalikiyunte’ ) or Kalyani (for the Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi), as he revealed his extraordinary imaginative skill in presenting the respective ragas with a rare kind of brilliant sangatis. His method was no doubt orthodox but it was packed with classicism to the core. That OST’s sonorous voice indeed carried the show all through is a fact. His niraval on ‘Sukha Syamale Sivasankari’ for the madhyamakala kriti of Syama Sastri and the swaras that followed were a real treat. However, it was for the swaraprastaram of ‘Baghuga Sriragu Ramuni’ in the Kiravani piece ‘Kalikiyunte Gatha’ that fetched resounding claps for the vocalist. OST began his concert with a preface of Thodi to base his Varnam ‘Era Napai’ followed by ‘Nee Bhakti Bagyasudha’ in Jayamanohari.
After the short Revagupti kriti ‘Saravana Bhava Guruguha Bhajeham’ of Muthusamy Dikshitar, OST only drew a picture of Kalyani, for his RTP, which was a very brief essay of the raga. The Pallavi line ‘Tharaka Brahma Swarupini, Thamarasa Vilochani’ was over in less than ten minutes that included a short niraval and swarakalpanas. True enough, OST’s planning suffered here, as he had hardly twenty minutes left to present his mandatory RTP. The concluding song of the recital was ‘Endraiku Siva Kripai Varumo’ in Mukhari which was indeed moving. The rasanubhava one derives from a concert depends solely on the main artist and OST contributed to it in no small measure in the company of an able violinist and two stalwart percussionists.