Gurucharan’s template was wisely designed to reap the benefits of observing the cardinal ‘P’s.

Sikkil Gurucharan’s vocal recital (for AIR’s Isai Saral series at the multi-track auditorium) with V. Sanjeev (violin), J. Vaidyanathan (mridangam) and Pudukottai N. Ramachandran (ghatam) as accompanists drew an appreciative audience. Mysore Vasudevachar’s varnam ‘Vanajaksha’ in Mandari set the ball rolling in a composition that combined charm with sprightliness. Perennial favourite ‘Govardhana Girisam’ (Muthuswami Dikshitar) wafted the fragrance of Hindolam. A single extended kalpanaswara sequence was sung with passion and a marked feel for aesthetics. Sprinkled with absorbing vignettes, the Begada alapana blended scholarly concepts with appealing sancharas. While Sanjeev’s exposition aptly echoed the tone and mood of the vocalist’s version, prayogas reflecting his own insight lent interesting shades. Koteeswara Iyer’s ‘Isan Kanakasabesan’ carried punch and supported swarakalpana that scored with vadi-samvadi touches and a korvai that did not sacrifice melody for math.

A rarely heard ‘Sada Madindalathugadhara’ (Tyagaraja, Gambhiravani) surfaced as a filler before the main raga, Natabhairavi. Here, the dhaivata-nishadha and the tara sthayi rishabha suite yielded rich dividends. Niraval at ‘Maamava Sadaa Sivakumara’ in Papanasam Sivan’s ‘Sri Valli Devasenapathe’ was concise, with kalpanaswara in two speeds, the melkala swaras steered with fluidity to the kuraippu at the panchama.

J. Vaidyanathan nurtured sahitya and boosted swarakalpana with his rhythmic expertise. N. Ramachandran’s strokes on the ghatam stood out with sharpness and marked clarity, the vibrant tani sparkling with evenly matched repartees.

A live AIR concert presents its own set of demands that require a delicate blend of exactitude and spontaneity from the artist, with one eye on the clock. Within a specified time frame which must be accounted for to the last second, an artist must make spot edit decisions about the content to be retained and the content to be pruned. Gurucharan’s template was wisely designed to reap the benefits of observing the cardinal ‘P’s – planning, proportion and precision. The result was a well-rounded presentation that exuded maturity in conception and dignity in execution.