Carnatic music has not dried up in the Delhi summer, thanks to All India Radio.
AIR-Delhi deserves credit for its valuable store of recordings and broadcasting them from time to time. On its its national programme “Ravivasriya Akhil Bhartiya Sangeet Sabha” this past Sunday, one had a chance to hear a concert by Carnatic vocalist Maharajapuram S. Ramachandran recorded at the Chennai studio. In a delightful hour-and-a-half, Ramachandran included one composition each of the Muttuswami Dikshitar, Tyagaraja and Shyama Sastri, besides one of Ambi Dikshitar and a tillana composed by his father, late Maharajapuram V. Santhanam.
Ramachandran's opening piece was Ambi Dikshitar's “Varasiddhi Vinayakam” in raga Nattai, which contained crisp and creative swara formats towards the end. Dikshitar's “Nagalingam Namami” in raga Mohanam, a song not frequently heard, was his next item and well presented. Here too, swara formats flowed with rich creativity.
Shyama Sastri's “Kamakshi” in raga Varali and Tyaragaraja's “Dinamani vamsa” in Harikambhoji came in for elaborate rendition. In detailed raga alapanas, Ramachandran brought out the features of these ragas. The lyrical value also was emphasised While alapana and kalpana swaras received their due, the very brief neraval of the phrase “Shyama Krishna Pparipalini Amba” in the Varali composition seemed to serve no purpose. Since this was the only neraval in his recital, Ramachandran should have given it a better treatment, which it certainly deserved.
Ramachandran concluded his concert with a tillana in raga Sivaranjani. M.A. Sundareswaran on the violin, K.V. Prasad on the mridangam and Nerkunam Sankar on the kanjira provided good support. Sundareswaran's sketch of Varali and Harikambhoji were delightful. The tani-avartanam (percussion interlude) in Adi tala was riveting.
In another programme, AIR-Delhi's Rajdhani channel recently broadcast an enjoyable concert of veteran Carnatic vocalist P.S. Narayanaswamy. In this recital, about an hour long, Narayanaswamy's central item was Tyagaraja's “Dwaitamu sukhama” in raga Reeti Gowla, which he presented in a masterly manner, bringing out the emotional contents of the lyrics in his powerful voice. In a detailed alapana of this raga he brought out its nuances. The swaraprastaras were a treat to the ears.
After opening with Muttuswami Dikshitar's “Srimahaganapati” in raga Gowla, Narayanaswamy took up Papanasam Sivan's Tamil composition “Ksheerasagara” in raga Poorvikalyani too for a somewhat detailed rendition. In the post tani-avartanam session, he included yet another Tamil song “Murganin maru peyar”, a composition of Guru Surajananda in raga Behag. V.V. Ravi on the violin, Mannargudi A. Easwaran on the mridangam and V. Nagarajan on the kanjira provided excellent support.