Vijayalakshmi Subrahmanyam’s concert shone with purity of thought and emotion
Vijayalakshmi Subrahmanyam sang under the auspices of Ganabharathi accompanied by B.K. Raghu (violin), Tumkur B. Ravishankar (mridanga) and P.S. Shridhar (ghata). It was a part of Shri Krishna Jayanti celebrations organised by the Sabha at Veene Sheshanna Bhavana, Mysore. Records say Veene Sheshanna (1852-1926) was the first to conduct music concerts of high order in Mysore in celebration of Krishna Jayanti.
Vijayalakshmi started her concert with Patnam’s “Evari Bodhanavini” (varna in Abhogi) and presented it in a simple, neat and scholarly pattern — pleasing and convincing, devoid of any ostentatious display of virtuosity.
The learned artiste’s commitment to music has prompted her to project the essence of it, rather than to bring her own charisma to the fore. On such an ideal musical platform, the numbers she presented shone with sentimental purity reinforced by competence.
Diction was another factor that influenced the concert. She would take every care to recite the lyrics clearly with proper pauses and accentuations so that the numbers would convey the meanings of those lyrics in furtherance of the emotive contents as conceived by the composers. The general pace, falling between madhyama and vilamba kaalas, fully favoured her lyrics-oriented melodic expressions.
In testimony of the above observations came compositions such as “Ganamurthe” (Ganamurthy - Thyagaraja - preceded by an expatiation of the raga and followed by tuneful swarakalpana-s), “Pankajalochana” (Kalyani - Swathi Thirunal - embellished with alapana and swaraprastara) and “Sarasa Saama Daana” (Kaapinaarayani - Thyagaraja - composed and meaningful narration not succumbing to any temptations for quick march).
Succulent voice, carefully groomed to effect modulations to meet her intuitive demands, enriched the above numbers with fine graces and imaginatively figured articulations. Tonal qualities remained consistent in matters of both timbre and volume irrespective of the octaves the chords spanned.
Focus of the concert was “Baalagopala Palayaashumam” of Dikshithar composed in Bhairavi. Tastefully complemented by the melody accompanist, the singer developed Bhairavi analytically and methodically in different speeds to conform to the standards laid down by the accepted authorities. As the progressions were predominantly in the vilamba and madhyama kaala-s, the movements were melodious and absorbing.
Likewise, neraval at “Neela Neerada Sharira” carried forth the mood that she created while presenting the main body of the composition. The pattern of weaving the kalpanaswaras harmonised with the overall mood culminating in an artistic whole. This number included a tani avarthana.
Immense was the contribution from the percussionists in aiding the lead artiste to emerge with soothing brightness the audience expected.
Other inclusions were “Vinayaka Ninu Vina” (Hamsadhwani - Veena Kuppayya - carrying a few passages of kalpanaswaras), “Kangalidyathako” (Sindhubhairavi- Shripadarajaru), “Re Re Maanasa Gopalam Bhaja” (Dhvijavanti – Narayana Thirtha — prefaced with shlokas sung in Hamsanandi, Shahana, Valachi and Behag) and “Kurai Onrum Illai” (Rajaji - Ragamalika).