T.V. Sankaranarayanan’s vocal recital on the inaugural day of the 84th annual conference and concerts of the Music Academy was an energising and enjoyable experience. There has always been a feeling among the critics that Sankaranarayanan exerts himself vocally in his presentations with an inclination towards storming swaras.

True, but invariably these are what his rasikas expect of him and he delivers what they want. In this concert one could see a Sankaranarayanan who served his usual style of music but with an extra measure of aesthetics coupled with sobriety, without allowing the proceedings to sag.

There was another pleasing bonus; his son Mahadevan supporting TVS not just vocally but sharing TVS’s forte of swaras with his young, robust and attractive vocal prowess. There was no overstepping the limits but the swara sallies shared by TVS, Mahadevan and T.K.V. Ramanujacharlu were nothing but sheer treat in Mohanam, Poorvikalyani and Charukesi.

It is superfluous to comment on the computational skills of TVS in swaras; yet, the way he shaped them on ‘dhaivatam’ in Mohanam in the starting number ‘Gajaanana Mampalaya’ by Tulasivanam gave a positive push to the concert. A short yet strong base was laid on Poorvikalyani for the not so often heard kriti of Walajapettai Venkataramana Bhagavatar ‘Vadarasane Sri Guruprabhavam.’ The niraval followed by swaras on ‘Rama Nama Sudha Rasa Paripoorna’ created greater expectations. Charukesi opened up in the Madurai Mani Iyer style of raga exposition covering many tasteful layers of raga phrases. Interspersed with spells of repose, TVS used power-packed phrases to expand the raga.

Tyagaraja’s ‘Aadamodi Galada’ was his choice as everyone anticipated. The brief niraval pepped up by swaras in the charanam once again created the Mani Iyer’s aura through his famous refrain of ‘ga ma pa ma ga-ri ga sa ri ga’.

Towards the end, TVS provided a succinct Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi in Simhendramadyamam. The Pallavi ‘Unathu Paadam Thunaiye Oraru Mugane’ showed an emotionally charged Sankaranarayanan going for varied combinations in his niraval.

Ramanujacharlu’s violin accompaniment was full of grace and poise. His replies on raga alapana and swaras in Poorvikalyani, Charukesi and Simhendramadyamam were testimonials of his musical wisdom by which he offered a perfect blend of aesthetics and emotion. It should be a pleasure for the percussionists to accompany a vocalist like TVS. B. Harikumar on the mridangam and Coimbatore V. Mohan Ram on the ghatam visibly enjoyed every moment of their support to the veteran. Their ‘tani avarthanam’ was precise and electrifying.

For the leisurely feel there was ‘Kamalambam Sam’ in Anandabhiravi by Muthuswami Dikshitar and for vigour ‘Kaala Kaalan Kayilai Nathan’ in Atana by Thooran.