The ragas essayed by T.R. Subramaniam reflect his exquisite manodharma.
A brilliant vocal concert of T.R. Subramaniam held in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1972 has been brought out by Swathi Soft solutions in a set of three compact audio discs.
Apart from having been a successful performer and a very generous teacher, TRS has also been one of those few vidwans who have greatly encouraged the younger generation of artists by attending their concerts irrespective of the bhani which they follow. In this winsome recital TRS begins with the Nattakurinji varnam ‘Chalamela' in Adi tala of Moolaiveetu Rangaswami Nattuvanar. The rendition is brisk and is sung as a tana varnam sans the sahityam for the muthaippu and ethugadai swara passages.
The ragas essayed by the vocalist in this performance are clearly reflective of his exquisite manodharma, his analytical thinking and his profound lakshana gnanam. The alapanas are a veritable treat and warrant repeated listening.
‘Varanamukhava' of Koteeswara Iyer is preceded by a crisp outline of Hamsadhwani which reveals that a good concert is in the offing. The solfa passages are delightful and cover sarvalaghu, poruthams and kannaku. TRS makes use of the phrase ‘SGPS' in his kalpanaswaras for this song which has the sanction in the Patnam Subramanya Iyer varnam ‘Pagavari.'
The violinist Tirupparkadal Veeraraghavan is more comfortable in his Hamsadhwani raga portrayal than in his swara replies.
It is a difficult task for this scribe to mention as to which of the raga essayed by TRS in this concert is the superior one. All the melodies sung come out like shining jewels.
Sriranjani (‘Sogasuga,' Tyagaraja, Rupakam) is the first raga vocalised followed by the kriti rendition and the kalpanaswaras sung at three different points flawlessly. The violinist makes a sincere attempt to arrive at the destinations without much success.
A Malayalam composition of Swati Tirunal ‘Kantha Thava' in Atana is a refreshing one preceded by a very convincing portrait of the raga by both the vocalist and violinist.
The second disc opens with a vinyasa of Dharmavathi which is presented well on voice and strings. Another Koteeswara Iyer creation ‘Kandha Bhaktha Chintamani' follows with due importance being given to the lyrics. A spirited ‘Manavyala' of Tyagaraja in Nalinakanti peps up the proceedings with the raga lakshana intact.
Bhairavi is a gamaka rich presentation which gives way to ‘Enati Nomu' (Tyagaraja). The highlight of this concert is the Kalyani raga presented on a wide canvas and the thanam which has a novel beginning.
The percussionist Kamalakar Rao (mridangam) is a perfect match to the vocalist and accompanies with gusto. TRS concludes his concert with the charming Desh tillana of Lalgudi Jayaraman.
The suddha rishaba note appears, for the first time, in the mangalam of Narayana Tirtha in Pantuvarali. The aural pleasure of listening to this concert lingers for a long time.