Swaramurthi V.N. Rao Memorial Trust, released a set of 10 audio CDs of Veene Seshanna's compositions, that covers nearly 40 compositions, out of his 54 gems. At the recent seminar organised by the Trust along with Gayana Samaja, Seshanna's compositions were discussed and presented in both vocal and veena.

Vocalist R.K. Srikantan demonstrated jathiswaras by Seshanna, including Manawathi, Neelambari and Kambodhi, while M.S. Sheela chose Saveri, Jhalavarali, Purvi Kalyani varnas for her demonstration Seshanna was known for his tillanas D. Balakrishna in his veena recital demonstrated some of them like Hindusthani Kaapi and Kaanada. Reputed musicologist Pappu Venugopala Rao presided over the seminar.

The CD directed by the vainika's great-grandson and critic, Mysore V. Subramanya, has leading musicians rendering Seshanna's swarajathi jathiswara, varna, kirthane and tillana reflecting the maestro's ingenuity in ragas, talas, daatu-swara prayogas and gamakas (peculiar to the veena). D. Balakrishna (veena), Rajalakshmi Thirunarayanan (veena), M.S. Sheela, Rudrapatnam Brothers (R.N.Tyagarajan and R.N. Taranathan), Mambalam Sisters (R.Vijayalakshmi and R. Chitra), R.K. Srikantan, R.K. Padmanabha, Sukanya Prabhakar, Jayanthi Kumaresh (veena) and Nagaraj and Manjunath (violin-duo) have done justice to the Mysore composer in the 10 CDs.

Swarajathis, varnas and tillanas that Seshanna excelled in feature in the CD. In Carnatic music swarajathi is prominent and informative, known for its literary value and swara, jathi, and structure. Comparing it to the jathiswara, it also has devotional sahitya passages while the rendition generally includes both swara and sahitya in interchanges.

The same ragas have been chosen by different artistes. For instance, D. Balakrishna and M.S. Sheela render Shankarabharana swarajathi in sankeerna triputa tala for nearly 30-odd minutes. It showcases Veene Seshanna's ability in the form itself with the charanas retaining musical value despite the intricate rhythm structure. The Bhairavi and Behag ragas dealt by R.K. Srikantan reveals the composer's deft patterning.

Rare ragas were the Mysore maestro's forte, and this is reflected in Maanavati that R.K. Padmanabha and Mysore M. Nagaraj and Manjunath have taken up in the swarajathi. Jhalavarali rendered in a varna by Jayanthi Kumaresh is replete with wholesome creativity and it is ever a treat as the raga unfolds in aesthetic layers. Gamanashrama (scales as Poorvikalyani and Hamsanandi are derived from this mela) for Seshanna's kriti “Ubhaya Kaveri Ranga” rendered by R.K. Srikantan is another example of the exemplary composer. Raga Gaanamurthi for kriti “Shreepathe” chosen by Rudrapatnam Brothers and Rajalakshmi speak for lyrical and musical deftness.

Several brisk tail-enders of Seshanna's tillanas in Behag, Hindustani Kapi, Kaanada, Kamach, Pharas and Jinjhooti is what most of the musicians have attempted. D. Balakrishna works out every technique in the typical Mysore style, reminding the listener of his father Veena Doreswamy Iyengar.

Kannada compositions of Seshanna are about five and Sukanya Prabhakar has handled all in significant sahitya clarity. Many of Seshanna's kritis are in Telugu too. Seshanna dedicated his varnas and tillanas to his royal patrons Chamaraja and Krishnaraja Wadiyar.

Veeneya Bedagu,

Set of 10 Audio-CD

Cost: Rs. 80 (each)

For copies call, 98444 78762