This concert of T.M. Krishna was reminiscent of the early days of his career. Gayatri Girish was a picture of poise.
Beyond expectation, surprisingly the concert of T.M. Krishna was reminiscent of the early days of his career. From the start, there was a sense of musical continuity. The raga images were an epitome of his manodharma, which, of late, seems to meander. His voice caressed the ragas with grace and elegance, replete with refined sancharas.
In alapanas and rendering of songs, Krishna’s technique highlighted the subtle nuances. The selective list of Tyagaraja kirtanas hgave him enough space to explore their sanctified core.
In ‘Endukku Peddala’ (Sankarabharanam), the expression blended with the subtle shades of the sangatis to bring out the richness of the emotion.
Starting with this kirtana, the other items stuck a perfect balance between the dignity of the sahityas and their majestic hold. Though the pace of the kirtanas was somewhat of uniform kalapramana, the interpretation showcased their deep essence, beauty and quietude.
Among the kritis presented including ‘O Rajeevaaksha’ (Arabhi), ‘Nannu Paalimpa’ (Mohanam) and ‘Chinna Naate Naa’ (Kalanidhi), his angle of handling the Poornashadja kriti ‘Laavanya Rama’ emphasised the character lines ‘Nee Manasu Nee Sogasu Nee Dinusu Verey’, which was portrayed with a fine eye for the nuances.
So much for the better part of the performance. His recent waywardness too stamped its presence. He elaborated Bhairavi with beautieous echoes. This was followed by two songs in succession ‘Upachaarumulanu’ in Adi and ‘Upacharamu Jese Vaaru’ in Rupakam. The tukkada with which he closed the recital was ‘Chakkani Raja’ (Kharaharapriya).
H.N. Bhaskar, on the violin, in his solo versions of the ragas, held the mirror up to Krishna’s musical behaviour. B. Sivaraman (mridangam) and Guru Prasad (ghatam) had little work to do in the song session, but let themselves free in the tani to bring forth their laya grounding.
Befitting the spirit of the aradhana, Gayatri Girish enveloped the initial concert series with reposefulness. There was a balance between raga alapanas and kritis with regard to time allotment. Nothing was in excess.
There was no tonal exaggeration or vidwat exhibitionism. The clarity of the intonation of sahityas lent an enjoyable edge to rasika appreciation. But one thing passes understanding. What is the rationale behind shifting one of the Pancharatnas to the middle of the programme? When it was decided to include it why not as the first item? ‘Duduku Gala,’ the Gowla Pancharatnam was the third item.
‘Ra Ra Maa Intidaga’ in Asaveri placed Gayatri’s vividness as to her frame of mind regarding the composition of the whole concert – loyalty to the saint’s songs. Dignity and gracefulness formed the texture of her interpretation.
‘Dinamani Vamsa’ (Harikhambodi) lent liveliness giving enough evidence of her interpretative scholarship. Without making it tempo-driven, it was smooth-flowing, her felicitous voice making the item energetic.
Varali raga preceded the kirtana ‘Karuna Elagante.’ Sancharas in the alapana emerged with depth. She confined her elaboration to essential segments with clever adjustment of vocal modulation. The rendering of the song was presented with sharp sahitya precision.
The major plank of the recital was the Sankarabharanam vinyasa and the emotion-rich kriti ‘Enduku Peddala.’ The main charm in the alapana was the brilliance of restraint in the tara stayi exposition. She endowed on the raga all the solid grandeur without making it obese. The bhava of the song was well conceived, invoked and experienced. The programme in the main was intensely gentle and tranquil.
When such was the atmosphere that Gayatri Girish created, the accompanists R. Hemalatha (violin) B. Sivaraman (mridangam) and K.V. Gopalakrishnan (ganjira) moved on the same wave length. The overall reposefulness of the concert conferred incredible control over the behaviour of the voice, violin and percussion.