That Nedunuri Krishnamurthy is a musician non-pareil was witnessed at this concert.
At the outset, it should be stated that reviewing a kutcheri of the legend Nedunuri Krishnamurthy is superfluous. He is truly beyond the realm of review. All the same, it is for the sake of record that his 55th concert at the Music Academy is being written about here.
Rasikas were treated to an equable melody right from ‘Vanajakshi’ (Kalyani) varnam till ‘Aadideva Paramathma’ (Annamayya) in Sindhubhairavi… it was all a grand fare. His famous sishyas, Malladi Brothers, kept him company and assisted him through the mid-platform conversations. (Or, were they consultations?) The concert was not only for the benefit of his sishyas, but for all those who learn the great art at the feet of their gurus. If it was educative for students of music, it was entertainment for the large number of rasikas who sat glued to their seats in the packed auditorium.
Nedunuri's voice was thin but had its effect when he scaled heights in raga vinyasa of Purvikalyani (for ‘Paraloka Sadaname’) and Yadukulakhambodi (for ‘Adi Kaadhu Bhaja Manasa’). For the kriti ‘Paraloka Sadaname’, he did not resort to niraval but the swarakalpanas were soft and soothing. Where he employed niraval in the Madhyamavathi kriti ‘Nadupai’, for the line ‘Ajanubahuyugha Sri Janakipathi’, his manodharma was in prominence. Added to this lustrous niraval, his euphonious swaraprastara drew applause at every stage. Earlier, in his Natakurinji kriti of Dikshitar, ‘Parvatikumaram Bhavaye' the modulation of his voice enhanced the appeal of the lyrics.
Tyagaraja had a lion's share in the concert schedule and it was a pleasure to listen to compositions in ‘Sundara Telugu’ from the veteran. Swati Tirunal's ‘Sapasya Kausalya Vishnu’ in Jaunpuri and the Khamas kriti ‘Adigumanasu Nilajunade’ padam were lighter pieces, yet they were treated with solemnity. He delighted the rasikas with the mellifluous viruttam of ‘Ramam Rajasikhamanim’ in the enchanting ragas Shanmukhapriya, Mohanam and Kapi. The maestro chose to sing ‘Adideva Paramathma’ (Annamacharya) in Sindubhairavi that would linger on forever.
Violinist Sriram Parasuram, an artist of high calibre, rose to the occasion to sail in the company of the vocalist smoothly, in solo raga alapanas, niravals and swaraprastaras. Where he excelled was at the end, when Nedunuri left his indelible stamp with lilting ragas. The high point of the whole concert is the percussion support of mridangam vidwan Tiruchi Sankaran and the young ganjira vidwan B.S. Purushothaman. It was mesmerising mridangam play all through while Sankaran accompanied the kritis. What a thani it was! B.S. Purushothaman's ganjira play too was praiseworthy, as he collaborated well with poise and enthusiasm.