S. Srinivasan's playing brought out the inherent melody of a raga with telling effect.
S. Srinivasan, who belongs to the Karaikudi school, presented a sparkling veena performance. The artist brought out the distinct timbre of the instrument sans effort. Srinivasan has a genuine technique, rather than just mechanical skill and clever manipulation. Every piece that he played had depth and rhythmic details.
He chose Thodi as the main raga. If the delineation brought out every shade (the sancharas sans panchamam were truly melodious), his powerful tanam displayed the dexterity of his fingers. It would have been even more musical had the tanam been accompanied by the mridangam and the ghatam. Syama Sastri's ‘Ninne Namminaanu Sadhaa' was beautiful. The niraval was at ‘Kamakshi Kanchadalaayadhaakshi.'
The thani by Serthalai Ananthakrishnan (mridangam) and Trichy K Murali (ghatam) was perfect and engaging. A tala artist on the stage would have proved helpful.
Srinivsan's Reethigowlai alapana confirmed his strong musical foundation. Tyagaraja's ‘Dwaithamu Sukhama' was the chosen kriti. The sound from his veena has an almost vocal tone. Kalpanaswaras might have added to the beauty of the piece. His Ranjani elucidation was sheer power-play. In the Rupaka tala krithi ‘Durmaargacharaadhamulanu,' Tyagaraja says he is unable to heap praise on those who follow the evil path. The swaras including the concluding korvai were so smooth and flowing that they sounded like they were part of the krithi. Until not long ago, tanam was a must after every raga alapana on the veena. That could be revived. Muthaiah Bhagavatar's Kathanakuthuhalam piece ‘Giripriyam' was breezy.
Earlier, Srinivasan began his concert with ‘Sri Jalandhara' in Gambhiranattai by Sri Jayachamaraja Wodeyar. Incidentally it was the Mysore Maharaja who declared the MFAC building open in 1959. ‘Ranganathude' in Sourashtram of Ponniah Pillai in rupaka tala and ‘Entha Muddho' of Tyagaraja in Bindumalini were neat. S Srinivasan concluded with ‘Eppadi Padinaro', ‘Karadare Bara Baaradhe' and a Lalgudi thillana in Kanada. Adherence to tradition is the hallmark of Srinivasan's unique style.
Contact mike for the veena is indeed welcome. However, unless it is handled well, there is a strong possibility of the plucking noise interfering with the melody. In Srinivasan's case, it happened on a few occasions.