The audience marvelled at the various aspects that made Prince Rama Varma's recital memorable

There were several factors which made Prince Rama Varma's recent vocal recital at the Vinayaka Temple in Besant Nagar a memorable exercise in excellence.

Playing the mridangam was veteran T.V. Gopalakrishnan. The three primary sources of Rama Varma's inspiration are his guru, Balamuralikrishna, his idol, the late maestro M.D. Ramanathan and his mentor TVG, who himself is known for his very special rapport with Balamurali now and MDR then.

On the violin was S. Varadarajan, an outstanding disciple of TVG, who has not only learnt the subtler techniques of playing the violin from his many-sided guru, but also assimilated the latter's compelling spirit of give-and-take among performers.

When these three musicians got together in front of a highly enthusiastic audience in the sacred ambience of the Vinayaka Temple, perhaps it was inevitable that the performance should have a monumental quality.

The twin towers that cast a deep spell on the audience were Shyama Sastri's swarajati, ‘Kaamaakshi,' in Bhairavi -- strongly reminiscent of MDR's majestic rendering of the same composition -- and Balamuralikrishna's soul-stirring song ‘Omkaara Aakaarini' in the intriguing raga Lavangi, invented by himself.

These were preceded by fine versions of ‘Vaataapi Ganapatim Bhaje' (Hamsadhwani, Dikshitar) and ‘Jayalakshmi Varalakshmi' (Lalita, Annamacharya).

All three performers seemed to be at their very best, revelling in one another's company. The mridangam sounded melodic, not only in the solo session, but throughout the concert. Watching maestro TVG perform and recalling his many valuable contributions to Carnatic and Hindustani music, one couldn't help wondering why the Music Academy hasn't yet conferred the Sangita Kalanidhi on him.