AIR paid tribute to M.S. Gopalakrishnan by broadcasting his recordings.

M.S. Gopalakrishnan, eminent violinist in both the Carnatic and Hindustani styles, passed away last week in Chennai. In a thoughtful gesture, All India Radio, in their weekly National Programme Music last Saturday, broadcast recordings of the veteran. The recordings, sourced from the archives of All India Radio, contained two sessions, one of Carnatic music and the other Hindustani.

In the short Carnatic session of about 45 minutes, the recordings started with Muttuswami Dikshitar’s popular “Vathapi Ganapatim” in raga Hamsadhwani. After the delightful swaraprastaras, Gopalakrishnan moved on to play Tyagaraja’s “Tera tiyaga rada” in raga Gowlipantu. The session ended with Gopalakrishnan playing, in a detailed manner, yet another Tyagaraja composition, “Appa Ramabhakti” in raga Pantuvarali. The magical touch and the resultant melodious music that flowed from the very first stroke was a treat to the ears. It is to be hoped that AIR will play more such recordings of the maestro. MSG, as he was known popularly known, learnt the art of playing the violin from his father, the late Parur Sundaram Iyer, the famous violinist who had exposure to both the Hindustani and Carnatic systems. MSG learnt both systems and gave his first performance with his father when he was eight. He soon turned out be a top-ranked violinist of the country, playing both Hindustani and Carnatic music. Through vast research on playing techniques, he further improvised the “Parur bani” (style) of violin playing, and it came to be called the “Parur-MSG” bani.

M. Narmadha, daughter and disciple of MSG, is a leading exponent of the Parur-MSG style. In an earlier chat, she explained the hallmark of the bani as one that incorporates fingering of international standards and approach beyond time, making every stroke of the bow an enchanting appeal to the mind of the listener. The technique stands for perfection in bowing and fingering based on scientific methods for complete mastery over the violin. One-finger playing and a longer bow are some of its special attributes. The bowing and fingering incorporate complex gamakas of Carnatic music, the meend of Hindustani music and the lovely taanam patterns.