Even the subtle notes came across with clarity.
Veena becomes powerful in the hands of Mudicondan Ramesh. He sets the tone to a higher sruti than the instrument is usually tuned to and the electronic attachment gets across the subtle notes clearly through the amplifiers. His selection of songs that evening at a concert for Indian Fine Arts Society provided variety.
Opening his concert with the vibrant ‘Nammamma Sharade’ of Kanakadasa decorating it with brisk swaras, Ramesh moved on to Tyagaraja's ‘Janaki Ramana’ in Suddhaseemanthini, again adding kalpanaswaras.
The sparse audience did not dampen the vainika’s spirit. He played a gently paced ‘Durmagachara’ of Tyagaraja following a graceful Ranjani raga alapana. He touched many facets of the raga within a short duration. The kalpanaswaras ended with brilliant swara korvais in every avartana.
Another Tyagaraja's composition, ‘Marugelara’ in Jayanthasri was rightly set to a fast tempo, being sandwiched between two slow renditions. Khambodi, main raga of the morning, came out as a magnificent presentation. It was stunning to hear the long karvai of a vocal phrase in a single strum on the instrument.
His rendition of ‘O Rangasayee,’ one of the Sriranga Pancharatnams composed by Tyagaraja, was suffused with vivid characteristics of the raga and the expression of compassion in the kriti. His playing of the kalpanaswarams gave the effect of an instrumental duet.
Another striking feature of the concert was the percussion support from Ganapathiraman and Madipakkam Murali, who followed the main artist like a shadow. While Ganapathiraman's melodious playing was remarkable, Murali kept to the limits of playing the ghatam, especially for veena.
A short tani in madhyamakala was sober and there was not a single moment of dullness.
Ramesh concluded with Adi Sankara's ‘Bhaja Govindam’ in the ragamalika version popularised by M.S. Subbulakshmi and Kamaleshavittaladasa's composition ‘Karadare bara barade’ in Janasammodhini.
The absence of harsh plucking sounds through the contact mike was a relief. It was remarkable that Ramesh adhered to the traditions of playing the veena, yet was innovative in rendering the raga alapanas and swaras. Inclusion of a tanam, which is considered the epitome of the instrument, would have been another gem in the glittering crown.