From vocal to accompaniment, it was a swing between extremes. G. Swaminathan
T.M. Krishna's vocal concert was a physically vigorous, vocally challenging, musically inspiring and intellectually stimulating exercise. That does not mean that others’ concerts do not fall in this category; only that all the aspects were visible in this one.
When there is a widespread view that there is not enough time for an exhaustive pallavi in today's concert scene, Krishna set aside more than an hour for the RTP (Natakurinji) followed by a blazing thani avartanam.
So what exactly were the contents? ‘Appan Avadaritha’ of Papanasam Sivan in Kharaharapriya was the preparatory kriti which itself was fizzy rendered with a supersonic speed swara exchange between Krishna and violinist Mysore M. Nagaraj.
A concise Thodi and Tyagaraja's ‘Dasu Kovalana’ came as the next item with a high voltage niraval at ‘Sowmithri Tyagaraju’. Swaras? No way!
Brindavanasaranga had a breezy start and later spread out with Hindustani flavour. Adopting a sedate pace, Krishna traced many well rounded phrases. Dikshitar's ‘Soundararajam Aasraye’ offered further scope to reveal nuances. After this rather exhaustive presentation, Krishna provided a relief with GNB's Amrutha Behag kriti ‘Kamalacharane’. Then started the marathon exercise of RTP. After a brief preface in the middle level, Krishna offered the stage to Nagaraj.
Krishna picked up the alapana again and Nattakurinji unfolded through innumerable sweeps, eddies, karvais and roll ons. In short, Krishna painted a magnificent picture of the raga. But then, one could not help feeling that the musician was projecting himself rather than showcasing Nattakuranji.
The tanam went on with many repetitions with the vocalist's usual breathless-one-stroke attempt and landed on a four-kalai pallavi in tisra triputai. It was indeed a testing task and he came out successfully in the niraval, trikalam, raga malika swaras for the pallavi ‘Kanaga Sabesan Darisanam Endrum Nidarsanam’. Krishna should realise that it is a thin line between aesthetic effort and overkill.
Nagaraj’s violin also swayed between two extremes, from the plain and simple to the flashy and excessive. Now guru Karaikkudi Mani had been sitting nearly jobless for more than an hour! He swung into action in the pallavi in the company of Bangalore N. Amrit on the ganjira and what followed was a thunder storm tani avartanam.
Well, Krishna is precocious and swings between excess and sobriety. His concerts have become rollercoaster rides, nevertheless lapped up by the audience. This one was no exception.