Friday Review » Music

Updated: April 11, 2013 19:48 IST

Scored on raga vinyasam

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Raga Ratnakaram
The Hindu
Raga Ratnakaram

Nedunuri Krishnamurthy offers elaborate portrayals of Sahana, Begada, Thodi, Bilahari, Surutti and Bhairavi.

Raga alapana is the acid test for Carnatic vocalists and instrumentalists and it is in the exposition of ragas that the individuality and maturity of the musician finds expression. Raga vinyasa is manodharma sangeetham which can make the musical sensitivity of the artist paint a glorious image of the melody.

Nedunuri Krishnamurthy is well known for his multi-faceted talents as a vocalist, tunesmith, teacher and a researcher. His raga expositions have adhered to classical values. Nedunuri offers elaborate portrayals of Sahana, Begada, Thodi, Bilahari, Surutti and Bhairavi in this triple disc album. The names of the accompanists are not mentioned but the experienced ears can easily identify the mesmerising quality of Lalgudi Jayaraman’s accompaniment in the third disc for ‘Sri Venkatagirisham.’ His alapana of Surutti and highly intellectual kalpanaswaras are a sheer delight to listen to.

The first disc opens up with an impressive handling of Sahana which is followed by a brisk 'E Vasudha ' (Tyagaraja) with attractive solfa passages. The popular chittaswaram associated with this song is not vocalised. The majestic raga Begada is given a scholarly treatment by Nedunuri in which the brigas and karvais shine with swarasthana purity. Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar's ‘Anudinamunu’ is a popular song for which the singer offers a chaste niraval at the charanam opening ‘Kanakana Ruchi’ with sparkling sarvalaghu swaras.

Thodi, the king of Carnatic ragas, has been over the years essayed by all the vidwans in different hues as per their individual manodharma. That just the swarasthanas do not constitute a raga, can be felt and experienced by the listeners while they listen to the alapanas of this great melody by seasoned vidwans. Nedunuri's wide canvas exposition of Thodi is a judicious mix of time-tested phrases coupled with his unique manodharma. The weighty raga colours come to the forefront in the vocalist's essay. Syama Sastri's bewitching kriti ‘Ninne Namminanu’ is sung with an authentic patanthara with Nedunuri reserving his manodharma for the niraval and kalpanaswaras. The swara replies by the unknown violinist fall short of expected standards during the course of this song.

The K. Chapu Tyagaraja creation ‘Tolijanma’ is prefaced with a fairly long exposition of Bilahari which is engaging. During the swara singing the vocalist resorts to using the phrase ‘SRNSDN’ on a couple of occasions, which may raise a few eyebrows.

The third disc has Nedunuri in his elements and features a scintillating alapana of Surutti followed by Muthuswami Dikshitar's ‘Sri Venkatagirisam.’ A ragam, tanam, pallavi suite also finds a place in this disc. The Bhairavi vinyasa precedes an energetic tanam followed by a pallavi in Tisra Jampa talam in K. Nadai. Nedunuri scores in all his raga versions which prove that raga alapanas are the main ingredient of a Carnatic music concert.

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