With the accompanists playing perfect, Sanjay offered a sumptuous fare.
Sanjay Subramanyan's concerts have an element of innovation that bestows on them a self-sustaining quality. The RTP in Nagavalli, at the HCL Concert Series, held at the TTK Auditorium, the Music Academy, may not have been technically complex, but what was intriguing was the choice of the raga and the lyrics. The Tirukkural couplet, “Kuzhalinidhu Yaazhinudhu,” became the pallavi with the raga alapana and thanam, witnessing astute and expert handling.
Nagavalli takes ‘Sa Ri Ma Dha Ni Sa' and ‘Sa Ni Dha Ma Ri Sa' for its scale from the Kharaharapriya melam, which is not one of the easiest to negotiate, grammatically and musically. The ragamalika swaras in Hindolam, Nagaswaravali, Hamsanadham and Behag exhibited raga-control and raga-assimilation. Nagai Muralidharan on the violin relished every moment and responded with alacrity making it one of the most fulfilling phases of the concert.
The violinist's raga vinyasams and swaraprasthara replies adhered to the ethics of accompaniment. While Sanjay's Kannada alapana (Geethi Chakra, Dikshitar) retained smoothness in its gait, Thodi (Enneramum Oru Kaalai, Marimutha Pillai) was painted on a wider and larger canvas with all its effervescence.
Sustains chowka kalam
This kriti by itself has an assigned pace, the composer asking and answering questions on Lord Siva's seemingly permanent dance-pose. Sanjay maintained the kriti's chowka kalam. The initial swara sequence, sans the “Pa” (Pa-varjyam) that was attempted, was challenging.
The concert took off with the Rupaka Tala Pada-varnam in Kedaram (‘Saami Nee Rammanave,' Thiruvotriyur Tyagarajar) and was followed by the song ‘Parama Paavani' in Atana (Annasami Sastri).
‘Haridhasulu' (Tyagaraja, Yamuna Kalyani) and Thikku Theriyaadha Kaattil also featured and had their customary slots. Guruvayur Durai (mridangam) in tandem with K.V. Gopalakrishnan (ganjira) followed the vocalist like a shadow and their thani saw the elaborate use of karvai-laden sollus that were held in happy contrast to tightly sequenced phrases. It was enjoyable although the duration of the thani drew murmurs of disapproval from some members of the audience.