Vocal Mohan Santhanam's alapanas were marked by strict adherence to grammatical requirements.S. Sivakumar
Swagatham Margazhi Sangeetha Vizha hosted by Bharath Kalachar at YGP Auditorium, T. Nagar, featured Mohan Santhanam in a two-hour vocal recital.
Mohan has a voice that rests and traverses at the lower registers without any element of ambiguity. His innovative mind was in fine action as he gave a few-phrased alapana in Garudadhwani for Tyagaraja's ‘Tathvameruga' and then followed it up with swaras that were arranged in both kalams that retained the essence of the raga.
His alapanas for Nattakurinji and Thodi (‘Sri Krishnam,' Dikshithar) were marked by strict adherence to grammatical requirements.
The Nattakurinji song, ‘Naa Chey Vidavaku Raa' (Mysore Vasudevachar) was a kriti not much known or sung and Mohan showed a sufficient degree of confidence in rendering it, with a niraval at ‘Deva Deva Sri Vasudeva Maha Deva Vinutha.'
Mohan has a tendency to compress his voice which probably causes misalignment with the sruti at times. He can possibly pass over this difficulty by some open-throated practice exercises that could contribute positively.
His other songs were ‘Gam Ganapathe' (Harikeshanallur, Hamsadhwani) sung at the beginning which was followed by ‘Theliyaleru Rama' (Dhenuka, Tyagaraja).
Gopinath showed that he is an accomplished violinist by presenting alapanas of stature for Garudadhwani - that came as a challenge - and later for Nattakurinji and Thodi and stuck to the pattern of swaras that were adopted by the vocalist.
Srimushnam Raja Rao on the mridangam played with keen music sense from the beginning and his embellishments for the many pre-coded sangatis for the line ‘Thatvamasiyani Vaakyaarthamu' (Garudadhwani) deserve special mention. With Ramani on the ghatam, he gave a thani that was built around careful constructs that had an element of novelty in handling avarthanams with a judicious mix of all types of sollus.
The wisdom of holding a vocal concert prior to a group dance event is now in question.
The parents, well-wishers of the dancers kept coming in and going out merrily, doing all that they could, except listening. This deplorable audience indiscipline, affected the concentration of serious listeners who were present. Can the organisers think of a better schedule that would allow those on stage to perform in peace? Literally, the curtains came down on this concert, rather suddenly, the moment the thani avarthanam came to an end.