CONCERT S.A. Shashidhar’s flute concert was mellifluous and skilful

Suswaralaya College of Music, Bangalore, celebrated its 13th anniversary with a series of performances, lecture demonstrations and concerts spread over five days. A flute recital by S.A. Shashidhar, who was awarded the title ‘Swaralaya Shrunga’ by the organisation, was part of the celebrations.

He was supported by Nagarathna Shashidhar (veena), S. Supradeep (flute), S. Sughosh Pavan (violin), H.L. Shivashankaraswamy (mridanga), and G. Omkar (ghata). A lilting madhyamakala rendition of Mysore Vasudevacharya’s varna in Nalinakanthi set to adi thala, set the tone and tenor of the concert.

While the following krithi, Muthaiah Bhagavathar’s ‘Gam Ganapathe’ in Hamsadhwani raga, adorned with a few avarthanas of kalpana swaras that included a few ending at the nishada, was lively and mellifluous, a raga with a different set of swaras would have had greater impact.

The desired contrast was effected through a mellow presentation of Thyagaraja’s ‘Bagayanayya’ in Chandrajyothi raga and adi thala. Sriranjini was taken up for a methodical alapana that illumined the inherent sweetness of the scale, with a veena solo following that of the lead artiste.

Thyagaraja’s ‘Sogasuga Mridanga Thalamu’ in rupaka thala, played in a sedate tempo, emphasised the beauty of the composition and the aesthetic development of the sangathis within its structure.

Kalpana swaras by each of the instrumentalists in turn were imbued with verve and colour, ornamented with rhythmic patterns, and included a stint of diminishing tala cycles ending at the tara sthayi rishabha.

A brisk ‘Tolijanmamu’ set to Bilahari raga and khanda chapu thala led to the main item of the concert, a raga tana pallavi in Shanmukhapriya.

Raaga and bhava

The unhurried alapana was suffused with raga bhava and the build up to the tara sthayi shadja was beautifully crafted, as was the subsequent elaboration by the supporting flautist and violinist.

The thana on the veena was compact, soft and evocative, though the volume seemed rather muted. The pallavi, set to adi thala, was expanded individually by each of the artistes, and collectively during the mandatory tempo variations.

A spate of kalpana swaras in two speeds also included a modicum in the ragamalika format, with diligent violin accompaniment and exemplary percussion support in conformity with the chosen compositions and the improvisational inputs of the lead artistes.

Skilful co-ordination, synchronisation, understanding and timing were notable features of the concert, and the confluence of two flutes, a veena and a violin, and two percussion instruments, at times produced the sumptuousness of a full fledged orchestra.

Madhavi Ramkumar