Nedunuri's concert focused on Sadguru Rasanubhava. This was preceded by his talk on the decreasing number of the bard's kritis in today's concerts.
In his acceptance speech after receiving ‘Sri Tyagaraja Seva Ratnam' award at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Nedunuri Krishnamurthy made a pertinent point. To quote him: “It is sad Sri Tyagaraja's kirtanas are not in circulation in today's concerts.” Coming as it does from a top-ranking musician with six decades of experience behind him, his words carry weight and deserve respectful introspection. The sentiment was not expressed to suit the occasion.
Nedunuri's is not a lone voice in this respect. We have CDs of live concerts of veteran vidwans of an earlier era. We can hear for ourselves the contents of their performances and the place they assigned to the songs of the saint. All of them cannot be dubbed blinkered vidwans routinely rendering Tyagaraja's compositions without taking in their programmes the items of other vaggeyekaras. They did include a few songs. But if the primacy was given to the bard of Tiruvaiyaru it was born out of their firm conviction that it was Tyagaraja who conferred on their concerts the lordly stature which they were able to maintain for five decades and more.
The supreme objective of every artist is the achievement of success in his/her effort. So they frame the programme with this end in view. Today there is widespread concern about dilution of standards with contemporary fads and novelties exerting a baneful influence on the minds of musicians. Each one strives to be one-up in this race. While in one respect the glory of classical Carnatic music is holding the attention of the world, it has also fallen a prey to the lure of world music eroding the pure classicism of Carnatic music's unique identity. Will the anguish of Nedunuri Krishnamurthy, speaking on behalf of great vidwans who are no more with us, fall only on deaf ears?
Nedunuri's concert at the end was ‘Sadguru Rasanubhava.' The first two items Sangita sastra gnanamu (Mukhari) and Ika kaavalasini demi manasa (Balahamsa) were preceded by a brief summary of the message of the songs. Then the programme took on the conventional concert pattern.
It covered Rama nee samanamevaru (Kharaharapriya) and Mohana Rama (Mohanam) with a brief alapana with his characteristic twists and turns in alapana technique.
G.J.R. Krishnan was on the violin, very sedate in responding to the vocalist. K.V. Prasad (mridangam) whose deft fingers gifted with pure percussive nadam provided most soulful laya soothing, subtle and sound-sensitive. B.S. Purushothaman (ganjira) was taken along by K.V. Prasad.