U. Shrinivas’s music technique was too stylish to accept

Saint Tyagaraja has composed many songs on the art of music of which two are significant: One ‘Sogasuga Mridanga Talamu’ (music accompanied with gentle mridanga nada) and the other ‘Maddala Tala Gatula Teliyagane Mardinchuta Sukhama’ (accompanied by mridanga pounded with deafening sound). The sensitivity of sangita relates to which guidance is accepted.

The performance of Mandolin Srinivas, in the company of the mridangam player B. Harikumar, inclined to the latter. His kutcheri technique was too sophisticated to accept for he chose to draw inspiration from the second of the Sadguru’s guidelines.

It is not as if Srinivas was uninformed of the higher values of music. He is capable of deploying his gift of play to fathom the depth and appeal of ragas and songs in layers of serenity and sensitivity. In the day’s presentation wonderful lyrical cadences and his musical nuances were palpably afresh. Aggressiveness supplanted delicacy of expositional management. The main culprit in this situation was the tempting exhilaration of grandiose mridanga korvais in swaraprastaras.

Harikumar’s laya vidwat was beyond criticism but on occasions like the environment created by Mandolin Srinivas, his normal accompanying balance got disturbed, leaning towards the state of mind of Srinivas. At the end of the performance what was left was a bunch of songs with scattered moments of joy and major disappointment.

‘Sri Ganapathi’ (Sowrashtram), ‘Sarasiruhasana Priye’ (Nattai), ‘Vaanchathonu’ (Karnaranjani), ‘Sankari Neeve’ (Begada) and ‘Varanandu’ (Gurjari) were the numbers played by Srinivas. Except the Gurjari song the others were peppered with exhibitionistic exuberance. Brief alapanas of Karnaranjani, Begada and Hemavathy, Mohanam and Kalyavavasantam (taken up for Pallavi) were oasis of peace and tranquillity.

S.D. Sridhar, the violinist, in his solo versions of the raga gave a distinctly authentic quality of quiet music representing sound sensitivity. The thani led by Harikumar with his teammates – N. Guru Prasad (ghatam) and G. Guruprasanna (ganjira) progressed like rolling thunder from horizon to horizon. The beats on the ganjira matched the challenging patterns posed by Harikumar.