Graceful articulation marked the concert of Vijayalakshmi Subramaniam, held as part of the Tyagaraja Rasaanubhava series

At the Sri Thyagaraja Rasaanubhava recital at Krishna Gana Sabha, Vijayalakshmi Subramaniam appropriately chose the theme of Nadopasana as enunciated by the Saint. The distinguishing aspect was the way she awakened the concept of abstract nada that carried with it the means to practise it. To those who fully understood the import of the relevant songs she sang, the ethereal basis of sangita as the vehicle of devotion would have become explicit.

Chaste expressions

The attractive facet of the performance was the graceful articulation of the sahityas. What constituted the essence of the exposition was her fervour for chaste expression to bring out the immense beauty of the kirtanas -- particularly the two monumental pieces, ‘Mokshamu Galada’ (Saramati) and ‘Naadopasana’ (Begada). These were pretty gems in her programme, though every one of Sri Thyagaraja’s compositions is the language of his soul.

In these two kirtanas she touched the appreciative chords of rasikas towards inward contemplative anubhava. She subjected her felicitous voice and vision of rasaanubhava to impart serenity to the sahityas. The other items were ‘Sogasuga Mridanga Taalamu’ (Sriranjani), ‘Naada Sudha Rasa’ (Andolika) and ‘Sobillu Sapta Swara’ (Jaganmohini). The clearer the clarity of the pieces, the more fascinating they were in the matter of sahitya bhava.

The rendering had both smoothness and depth in full measure. Right through, the succession of songs was a mix of style and substance.

Augmented by conventional foundation her exposition added an extra dimension to the understanding of the discourse on nada from the days of Sangita Ratnakara. The spirit of the theme stirred her voice and kutcheri experience to rise up to the task on hand and enhance aural pleasure. The rendering standard was appropriate to the grandeur of the theme of nada she had chosen to deal with.

Though alapanas were kept to the minimum, elaboration of Sriranjani and Begada provided respectable picturisation. They contained well-tuned sancharas.

Violinist H.N. Bhaskar’s solo versions had clear layouts reflective of the mood of the vocalist. In a rasaanubhava concert the percussion wing has very little scope to exercise its presence. This was well compensated by the vibrant tani by J. Vaidyanathan (mridangam) and B.S. Purushothaman (ganjira).