Gift of raga delineation
IF T. N. KRISHNAN'S solo violin concert is always distinctive, it is because he goes beyond the platitudes of exposition, to go into the heart of ragas in his alapana to fathom their resplendent bhavas. The fascination of any raga delineation is contained not so much in the way he sheds light on its beauty as on how aesthetic beauty evolves at his hands. This gift defines his mellifluous tonal brilliance contributing to perceptive lyrical articulation.
With these qualities at his command, Krishnan's performance for Nadopasana was musically elevating to an admirable degree. His delineation of the ragas, Dhanyasi (Sangita-gnanamu), Mukhari (Entanine-Varnintunu-Sabari-Bhagyam) and Kapi, towards the end of the recital was marked by imagistic brevity and overall vividness. The sancharas came alive lovely, sensitive and deep.
The selection of the kirtanas had much to do with the high quality of the concert. ``Enduku-Nirdaya'' (Harikambhoji) ``Bandureeti'' (Hamsanadam) and ``Nanu-Paalimpa'' (Mohanam), besides the Dhanyasi and Mukhari items, were played with hallowed respect to the vaggeyakara, Sri Thyagaraja. It looked as if Tiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam (mridangam) and T. N. Krishnan were made for each other. There was much of harmony and balance between the violin and mridangam. Srirangam Kannan's touches on the morsing peppered the percussive support.
In their performance for Sarvani Sangeetha Sabha, Ranjani and Gayatri proclaimed that they drew inspiration from composite Carnatic music culture paying homage to the musical resources and sahitya wealth of Sri Tyagaraja as the anniversary festival was dedicated to the Bard of Tiruvaiyaru.
These two aspects were presented through the song, ``Karu-Baaru'' in Mukhari with its uplifting message of Rama Rajya nand by the Sahana raga exposition of Gayatri which breathed graciousness and charm.
The kirtana was ``E-Maanadichchevo.'' The Mukhari kriti without any alapana and the Sahana piece without any swaras served to underline the emotional base of the compositions. It is the over-elaboration of the ragas and unrelenting swaras that normally contaminate the pure springs of the compositions of great vaggeyakaras. For this reason, the two items of Ranjani and Gayatri deserve to be praised.
There was passion and attraction in the sancharas of Sahana which exerted stupendous appeal. The same cannot be said of their effort in Madhyamavati alapana and song ``Rama-katha-Sudharasa.'' It suffered from alapana excess resulting in repetitive phrasings. The earlier part of the programme consisting of ``Jagadaananda-Karaka'' (Nattai Pancharatnam), ``Thulasidala'' (Mayamalavagowla) ``Neevaada-ne-gana'' (Saranga) served as appetiser to the Mukhari and Sahana kritis. Akkarai Subbulakshmi (violin) kept her wing at a competent level.
S. Kalyanaraman (mridangam) and Guruprasad (ghatam) lent energetic and vigorous percussive backing.
The three violinists M. S. Anantaraman and his sons M. A. Sundareswaran and M. A. Krishnaswamy, revealed that they never wavered in their conviction that the guidelines set by Parur Sundaram Iyer were the surest way to great achievement. They rendered the kritis, carefully structured and admirably concise.
The swaraprastharas and raga delineation dazzled with excellent craftsmanship. In the alapanas of Mohanam and Hamirkalyani, the two sons of Anantaraman were rapturous in unfolding their fingering and bowing virtuosity.
The Aarabhi pancharatnam, ``Sadin-chene'' and the Kalanidhi kriti, ``Chinnanaadena,'' were stately in appeal and nippingly delightful with precision of expression by the three artistes. ``Guruleka'' (Gowrimanohari), ``Evarura'' (Mohanam) and ``Rama-Ninne-Namminanu'' (Huseni) were the other items that contributed to the intensely vigorous recital. In tune with the mood of the violinists Madirimangalam Swaminathan (mridangam) and S. V. Ramani (ghatam) provided accompaniment with percussive flashes with brilliant pharans.
With his heavy voice, not malleable to felicitous expression, Alleppey Venkatesan made his concert weighty. Music's movement was unhurried, quite distinct from today's performing ideals, and on that score welcome.
This aspect could not inject liveliness and added to that, non-alignment of his voice with sruti was a disturbing factor.
To make amends for the want of briskness, the swara part was given importance. The raga alapana of Ritigowla (``Cheraravademi") was over-stretched and that of Devagandhari (``Namoralakimpa") failed to define its succulent flavour. In both, the violinist M. A. Sundareswaran was more successful in expressive shapeliness. For the swara part, Mannargudi Easwaran (mridangam) with Papanasam Sethuraman (kanjira) gambolled with frisking laya patterns. The programme list included ``Bhajana-Seya'' (Kedaram) ``Visalakshi'' (Pantuvarali) and ``Ambarame'' (a Tiruppavai piece in Kalyani).
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