The versatility of Lalgudi Jayaraman as a composer of orchestral music has been successfully passed on to his offspring G.J.R. Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi. Besides being popular solo artists, the siblings live up to the expectations as orchestral composers. Various moods of ragas as per their manodharma are portrayed in this disc. The music is soothing and makes the listener sit up and grasp the rhythmic variations and ornamentations. that finely blend with the melodies.
The opening number titled ‘Dance of Rain’ is aptly set in Amritavarshini. One can get the feel of the initial drizzle that leads to a heavy shower. The supporting artists on various instruments and vocals have performed to perfection. which is synonymous with the Lalgudi school. There is a brief sruti bhedam exercise in Amritavarshini, employing an anya swaram which results in raga Vasantha, conveying that spring follows the rainy season. The imaginative skills of the composer come to the fore in this segment. and is mesmerising.
Kalyana Vasantham is the chosen raga for the piece named ‘Spirit of Butterfly.’ The raga’s current popularity is due to Lalgudi Jayaraman’s versions of the two Tyagaraja kritis, ‘Nadaloludai’ and ‘Kanuluthakani.’ which have come under his magical wand. Krishnan who has scored the music for this number reveals his imaginative skills. The following piece ‘Melody of March’ is majestic using raga Nattakurinji.
The tonal shifts are used generously in this number, which opens to the strains of the nagaswaram with a Mallari in Gambiranattai. Vedic hymns and the blowing of the conch add to the gripping orchestration.
Nilambari turns out during the tonal shift and has the soothing lullaby phrases of ‘Aararo Aariraro’ pleasingly vocalised by female voices. To choose a raga such as Ahiri for orchestral music requires mature musical thinking.
The colours of the raga Ahiri without compensating on the gamakas on which the raga thrives, come out with great clarity, without any dilution in ‘Peek a boo magic.’
Repeated for effect
Kosalam (71st Melakarta) is the base melody for the orchestration of ‘Ethereal Hues’ and a raga christened as Ekantham for the piece ‘Ode to Solitude.’ Ekantham employs the notes of Kamavardini (Panthuvarali) and for a while the scale of SRGMDS-SDMGRS is adapted. Composer D. Pattammal in one of her compositions has termed this scale as ’Shantamurti’. Vijayalakshmi who takes the credit for scoring the music for this piece has set the opening to repeated patterns with the notes SRGM, played on the piano. This glides to the sound of the violin and the voice. The fiery start of this piece mellows down to convey a feeling of bliss and solitude. The repetitive phrases are suggestive that life is a journey of emotions which get repeated.
Two light ragas Brindavani and Sindhu Bhairavi are portrayed in the final numbers ‘Joyscapes’ and ‘Odyssey of the Magic Carpet’. A serene finish to the Brindavani piece has the vocalisation of the verse ‘Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu.’ The Sindhu Bhairavi employed orchestral section is majestic with Tilang appearing in the sruthi bhedam shuffle.
Special mention has to be made of the excellent music on the piano by Ramesh Vinayakam, which enhances the total effect of this enjoyable disc. The team of supporting artists comprises of Balasayee (flute), Padma Shankar and B. Raghavendra Rao (violin), Bhavani Prasad and Anantanarayanan (veena), Sivaramakrishnan (sitar), Durgaprasad (gottuvadyam), Injikkudi E.M. Subramaniam and Mambalam Siva (nagaswaram), U.P. Raju (mandolin), Patri Satish Kumar, Ramakrishnan and Poongulam Subramanian (mridangam), Chanderjith Ranjith (tabla), Anirudh Athreya (ganjira), Guruprasad (ghatam), Sriram Parthasarathy, Vijaya Sankar, Shilpa Gopalakrishnan and Mathangi (vocal) and Biju (keyboard and strings).