This year, Rajaram and Ganesh Viswanathan, two enthusiastic blossoming performers participated in concert series that was held at Jaigopal Garodia Vidyalaya, Anna Nagar, under the auspices of Shi-ba Sangeetha Sabha.
Rajaram, a disciple of Mayavaram Saraswathi, presented a flute concert that lasted for a little more than an hour. The intensity of his absorbing skill was evident when he presented a convincing alapana for Nasika Bhushani and followed it with Tyagaraja’s ‘Maravairi Ramani.’ Songs have their customary pace, and his approach to ‘Yelara,’ (Khambodi,Tyagaraja) and ‘Sri Krishnam’ (Dikshitar, Thodi) merited attention for their right rendering. ‘Sarasamukhi’ (Gowdamalhar, Harikesanallur) was a resourceful choice after ‘Pranamamyaham’ (Gowlai, Dikshitar).
The depiction of ragas had a silken effect though they tended to be a tad brief, considering the magnificence of the ragas. He could have done more justice to this segment by possibly reducing the number of songs. The final korvai had some errors in its punctuation, but what was pleasing was his blowing, which always showed a sense of ease even while playing, ‘Nenarunchinanu’ (Malavi, Tyagaraja), which travelled at its own accepted velocity, and the tukkadas that followed the thani.
One had to marvel at the sheer power of Maharajapuram Ganesh Viswanathan’s voice. His eduppu had a habitual serenity, which suffused the songs with enough bhava. His alapanas for Hindolam (‘Manasuloni’ -Tyagaraja) and Dharmavathi (‘Bangaru’- Annamayya) were marked by an artistic approach, which saw the gradual unfolding of the many aspects of the ragas. They were modelled on manodharmic style that followed the tradition he is heir to. Two songs of Tyagaraja – ‘Ra Ra Thodu Ra Ra’ (Atana) and ‘Dasaratha Nandana’ (Asaveri), Santhanam’ s favourites -- had the audience feeling immense satisfaction as they seemed to take them to a past era.
An afterthought -- Ganesh should stay away from the intoxication he derives from his nuances (nelivu-sulivu) as the tendency leaves certain words in the lyrics unintelligible. His brigas also need to journey alongside the lyrics so as to capture the full import of the kritis. His swara-springs were imaginatively worked out. It is strange that neither artist sang a niraval.
Sundareswaran (violin) and Thanjavur Kumar (mridangam) -- senior vidwans -- were the accompanists for both the artists. They exercised moderation and thereby helped the audience focus their attention on the up and coming performers. The violinist’s alapanas had glimpses of bow and playing techniques that were carried out without overdoing to the many swaraprastharams. Kumar intelligently adjusted his style. He made his playing compatible with that of the main artistes and his style for the flautist was different from the playing he adopted for the vocalist. He restricted himself to two compact thanis of quality.