The highlight of the concert by the Lalgudi siblings was their attempt to depict a gender concept in a ragamalika pallavi.P.S. Krishnamurti
The violin concert of Lalgudi Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi, to the accompaniment of Tiruchi Sankaran on the mridangam and Suresh on the ghatam, at Mylapore Fine Arts Club took off with a lively start with Mysore Vasudevachar's ‘Pranamaami-aham’ in Gowla, Adi talam.
The highlight was the Bhavapriya number of Tyagaraja ‘Srikaanta Neya’ in Desadi. Though the whole package of alapana and kriti lasted for only 10 minutes, it did not fail to hold the audience’s attention. The three pieces that followed, Anandabhairavi (‘Tyagaraja Yoga Vaibhavam,’ Dikshitar), Charukesi (‘Aadamodi Galade,’ Tyagaraja) and Bhairavi (‘Swarajati’ of Syama Sastri) had their grammar, patantaram and technical usage, all in place. However, the element of anticipation left something to be desired. Every sangati, karvai and pause was predictable. Besides, they were all in vilambam. Perhaps this was the cause for the fall in punch after the starting tempo.
‘Maara Vaira Ramani’ of Tyagaraja in raga Nasikhabhushani, Rupakam, played on request from the audience, was refreshing and pleasant.
Nearly 150 minutes from the start of the programme, Krishnan launched the RTP phase with a leisurely start of alapana in raga Mohanam. Vijayalakshmi took over and after a few sancharas in the same, branched off into a totally contrasting Dhanyasi. The siblings continued to weave a colourful pattern, before ushering in a short but an enjoyable string of tanam clusters. Krishnan announced they would attempt to depict a gender concept in a ragamalika pallavi, counterpoising ‘male’ and ‘female’ ragas. Such theses are common enough in expression through talam and layam, but to evoke masculinity and femininity through appropriate selection of ragas and playing them accordingly, one would imagine, calls for not only musical knowledge but an excellent psyche too. Above all, it must sound credible as well. The audience, particularly this writer, were easy buyers of this idea. The alternations between the different ‘couples’ Nattai/ Ranjani, Kedaram/Aarabhi, Rasikapriya/Kaapi, Hindolam/ Hamirkalyani were convincing, and the way they were played facilitated the image sought to be projected. Playing a structured pallavi this way is even more challenging, and it was brought out very effectively.
Sankaran and Suresh gave competent support with appropriate rejoinders to their kalpanaswaras and pleasant rounding up of arudis at different points in the kritis. They delivered a pleasant, if brief, main thani and a much briefer thani after the pallavi. What was notable about the latter was an effort to import the same concept of the dual gender in the solkattus and teermanams.