Sanjay Subrahmanyan showcased Mayuram Viswanatha Sastri, composer, who tuned Tiruvalluvar's couplets.

Sanjay Subrahmanyan, it was obvious, had done a great deal of “data mining” to bring out Mayuram Viswanatha Sastri's “hidden gems”. Jaya TV's Margazhi Mahotsavam this year saw him make a beginning for this season with this theme – Sastri's songs. As is his wont, he discreetly avoided the oft-heard ‘Jayathi Jayathi Bharatha Matha' and ‘Sonnadhai Seidhida Saagasama'.

This was not disappointing as there was a rich fund of songs - all “paperless renditions” - that brought out the breadth of vision this composer had and also displayed how well Sastri had mastered the many forms of compositions that were in existence during his period. The beginning Gowlai varnam (‘Gananadha Nin Ponnadi') was followed by ‘Kadavul Vazhthu' from Thirukkural and what was on offer was value, as this composer has won a special place in history by becoming arguably the first tunesmith to put Thirukkural in ragas. Sanjay interestingly began with the second line ‘Bhagavan Muthatre Ulagu' in Hamsadhwani, which did not disturb the prosody. There were two notable alapanas for Khamas (‘Jaalame Seivadhu Azhagaguma') and Amrithavarshini (‘Mayilvahana').

Astute laya exercise

The Khamas song had a laya structure that alternated between chathusram and thisram - sung faithfully, and could be considered as a laya exercise astutely built into the kriti.

The Thodi delineation that came next in order fitted the Swarajathi (‘Sarasadhalanayana') that was taken up. Sanjay put his heart and soul into it making the Swarakshara format at its ideal pace. Tirukkural resurfaced in the form of verses from Ozhukkamudaimai (comprehensive discipline) in Kalyana Vasantham. The other songs were ‘Vaa Vaa Velmuruga' (Sindubhairavi) and ‘Bharatha Samrajaya Sukhi' in Desh.

Varadarajan on the violin accompanied applying his mind unwaveringly when following these rare songs which was reflective of his fine artistic vitality. His alapanas helped sustain the tempo of the concert. Neyveli Venkatesh on the mridangam provided rhythmic support that had a self-contained balance and his thani had as its highlight a long and continuous combination of idadhu prayogas inserted at the right places in his korvais that were presented in various kalams.