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Updated: March 14, 2013 17:03 IST

Riveting classicism

Aasish Venugopal
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O.S. Thygarajan during a concert in Thrissur. Photo: K.K. Najeeb
O.S. Thygarajan during a concert in Thrissur. Photo: K.K. Najeeb

O.S. Thyagarajan’s recital in Thrissur was akin to a homage to Tyagaraja, as the concert was composed of kritis by the saint-composer.

Every composition in O.S. Thyagarajan’s vocal concert in Thrissur was handled in the right proportion of the kutcheri format. His voice was consistent through the registers and always effortlessly controlled. And the selections in the pre-tani session were brilliant.

He opened his concert with one of the Ghana-raga Pancharatnams in raga Arabhi – ‘Sadinchane’. Though a little elaborate, with adjacent notation and lyrical interpretation, it did not feel like a lengthy one for an opening piece here, as it is in ‘allegretto vivace’ of Adi tala. The highlight of the recital was the mridangam accompaniment by maestro Guruvayur Dorai.

Other parts of the ensemble were entrusted to Edappally Ajithkumar (violin), Tripunithura Radhakrishnan (ghatam) and Uzhavoor Babu (second mridangam).

For a good change in the scale, the vocalist took up ‘Vidamu seyave nannu’ in Kharaharapriya and Adi. Dorai encouraged the vocalist by introducing high decibel strokes on both sides of the instrument simultaneously.

Radhakrishnan kept pace with the mridangam. ‘Seethamma Mayamma’ in Vasantha and Roopakam was rendered with crisp niravals and swaras in doublets at ‘Dharanija Bhagavathagre…’. The one and only composition set to ‘adagissimo’ in raga Kapi is the saint-composer’s ‘Inthasoukhya mani ne’, Adi. It was not until he entered into a relatively prolonged delineation of the raga that one could realise this would be the sub-main for the evening. The alapana was well treated, projecting all the richness of the raga. With the sublime sobriety of the raga, swaras were sung at ‘Swararagalaya sudharasamandhu…’ in two degrees of speed.

That compositions set to Khanda Chapu in any raga can prelude a main item is a laudable feature of the tala. ‘Amma Ravamma’ in Kalyani was with niraval and swaraprastharas at ‘Thamarasadalanethri…’.

Within the framework of Kambhoji, which is a non-linear scale, he painted a beguiling portrait of the raga in alapana, traversing through all the essential phrases in three octaves. And he sustained a bit longer in the upper registers. The leitmotif was Tyagaraja’s ‘Evarimatta’ in Adi. The point where niraval and swaras were delivered was the charanam ‘Bhakthaparaadheenudanuchu…’.

Dorai and Radhakrishnan carved out a good tani, but, perhaps due to the veteran’s advanced age, his fast-paced fingerings were not executed deftly. Though Babu followed his seniors briskly in the avartanams, his ideas were not expressed with clarity in accompanying.

Ajithkumar had an excellent rapport with the vocalist. Thyagarajan wound up his session with ‘Sankara sreegiri nadaprabho’ of Swati Tirunal in Hamasanandi and Adi and ‘Manathil thurannathu Murugan roopam’ in Sindhubhairavi and Adi.

The concert was conducted under the aegis of Sree Thyagabrahma Sangeetha Sabha, one of the oldest sabhas in Thrissur.

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