Friday Review » Music

Updated: December 22, 2009 19:52 IST

Richness of ragas unfolds

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Vijayalakshmi Subramaniam
Photo: R. Ragu
The Hindu
Vijayalakshmi Subramaniam Photo: R. Ragu

Vijayalakshmi Subramaniam showcased the majesty of Dhavalambari.

Dhavalambari is the 49th Melakarta raga and Kotiswara Iyer has composed a kriti in this rare raga. Dr. Balamuralikrishna has also composed a kriti. In Dikshitar's system, this raga is known as Dhavaangam or Dhavaangi. For Kotiswara Iyer, it was no easy task to compose in this raga. He had to do so, with just the arohana and avarohana swara outlines, as he had no lakshana geetas.

His composition ‘Karvaya Kanda,' in Rupaka Tala was Vijayalakshmi Subramaniam's choice for her recital. She effortlessly formed melodious musical phrases, bhava and sancharas with rakti prayogas for this kriti, as a Guru Dakshina to S. Rajam. In the alapana, she delineated the delicate contours of the raga with ease. Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi's delineation on the violin was equally melodic and sharp.

The main kriti that Vijayalakshmi rendered was Syama Sastri's ‘Palinchu Kamakshi Pavani' in Madhyamavathi. The raga alapana brought out the appealing sweetness of this rich raga. Traversing the three sthayis, she developed the raga and gave it a lovely shape, without ever repeating a single phrase. She showcased its majesty effectively. The violinist too responded with equal skill and proficiency. In kalpanaswaras too, both the Vijayalakshmis made full use of all the available permutations and combinations, without compromising the raga's elegance.

This critic is unable to recall any thani in the recent past that was as gripping as the one presented by Neyveli Skandasubramaniam on the mridangam and N.Guruprasad on the ghatam. Their rhythmic exchange, a healthy competition, was riveting. Skandasubramaniam has evolved into a top class artist. Though the downpour tried to play spoilsport, Vijayalakshmi commenced the concert on the dot, with the Sahana varnam, followed by Dikshitar's ‘Pancha Mathanga Mukha Ganapathini' in Malahari, set to Rupaka tala.

Saint Tyagaraja's ‘Anupama Gunambudhi' in Atana was as breezy as it was regal. The atheetha prayoga in kalpanaswara was indeed superb. Another Tyagaraja kriti that she rendered was, the ever-green ‘Marubalga' in Sriranjani. This composition is the very definition for the raga.

The modulations that she used in the alapana were a treat to listen to. The swaraprastara was wholesome. She also rendered a Purandaradasa kriti, the Begada javali ‘Saramaina' and a Kabir bhajan.

Vijayalakshmi Subramaniam, who left her illustrious career in order to dedicate herself to music, is undoubtedly one of the leading vidushis of Carnatic music.

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