Speakers highlighted his commitment and generosity.
The sudden demise of Prof. T.R. Subramaniam has left the music fraternity with a sense of loss, as was evident at the homage meeting convened at Ramana Kendra, Mylapore. Senior musicians shared the platform to pay tribute and speak of the long association they had with the high-profile maestro.
Starting the proceedings with an invocation by Boothalingam and Varalakshmi Anandakumar, the former, also secretary of Ramana Kendra, expressed his sentiments as a friend of TRS, whose music he loved. He mentioned specifically TRS’s magnanimity in appreciating youngsters with his usual refrain ‘Kodi, Kodi’ with his thumps up sign.
Vidushi R. Vedavalli spoke of TRS’s courage, laya control and his passion for teaching the younger generation. She marvelled at the way TRS made his swara matrices in Kalyani for the kriti ‘Ethavunara’ decades ago. Vedavalli also mentioned that TRS was influenced by GNB, P.S. Narayanaswami highlighted TRS’s self-confidence, affection and, frankness. PSN emphasised that TRS never cared much for titles and money, his mission being propagating Carnatic music.
Mridangam vidwans K.S. Kalidas and Mannargudi Eswaran explained how his laya expertise made him compose exceptional pallavis and varnams in rare ragas and talas. Without exception everyone recalled the zeal with which TRS went about arranging concerts for all Carnatic musicians, wherever he was, especially in New Delhi and Andhra.
Cleveland Sundaram, a close friend of TRS and his family explained how he impressed the Cleveland University academicians and taught the American students to play ‘Telisirama’ on an Indonesian instrument. His great fancy for pallavi only initiated the Advanced Pallavi Competition in Cleveland, even now, a programme which draws huge participants and crowds.
SAFE Ramabhadran described TRS as a colossus and remembered how Voleti Venkateswarlu admired the young TRS. It was clear that even when challenged by adversities, TRS never compromised his commitment to Carnatic music.
With the speeches making inroads into the concert time, Padma Seshadri Sisters and Salem Gayatri Venkatesan presented brief recitals. The lilting Behag Varnam ‘Vanajaksha’ by TRS, ‘Sriguruguhamoorthy’ (Dhenuka), ‘Pahi Jagajjanani’ (Vachaspati) and Bageshree Tillana of Lalgudi Jayaraman, popularised by TRS, were the highlights of the concert of the Padma Seshadri sisters. Gayathri’s concert featured a special Ragam, Tanam and Pallavi, in (‘Velai Panivathae Nam Velai, Adhi kalai Avan Kaalai’) lyrics with alliteration, an expertly composed Kapi varnam (‘Nee Manasu Emani’) and ‘Nigama Veda Vedyam’ in Hamsadhwani apart from ‘Samagana Lolae’ in Hindolam. Melakkaveri Thyagarjan and Nellai Balaji played on the violin and mridangam. Both concerts had the TRS stamp of verve and vivacity.