Prarthana Sai Narasimhan’s strong musical foundation was evident in her recital.
An essential characteristic of a disciple training under a guru is his grasping of the importance of the depth in exposition. In the process, sahityas of great composers are aids both in raga development and in gaining classical maturity. A disciple so trained will soon realise the quiet force of dedicated music, if he also sticks to tradition.
In the concert of Prarthana Sai Narasimhan held in memory of vidushi Mani Krishnaswamy at Ragasudha Hall, these features were plainly conveyed.
The package of songs — Bhairavi Viriboni varnam, ‘Kari-Kalaba-Mukham’ (Saveri), ‘Siva-Siva-Siva Enaraada’ (Pantuvarali) and ‘Rama-Neeyeda’ (Kharaharapriya) — showcased her performance objective. She made it clear that she realised vidwat needed tender protection and tuned her mind to strip all superficialities.
Saveri, Pantuvarali and Kharaharapriya were chosen for alapana. Each sanchara in these ragas was articulated in a deliberately preferred musical idiom. Of the three, Kharaharapriya was given primacy. The simple straight-forward presentation was familiar, but the solidity it carried was noticeable. Prarthana painted an expanded Kharaharapriya in which musical fervour permeated every sanchara. The whole picturisation would have gladdened the heart of her guru.
The other two ragas — Saveri and Pantuvarali — were more modest and brief. The rendering of the kirtanas was compact and dignified. ‘Rama-Neeyeda’ was replete with many sangatis not often heard, but perhaps traditional. The niraval at the point ‘Tana-Sowkhyamu’ was offbeat and painstakingly defined on sampradaya lines. The swaraprasthara pattern was an expression of her apt control over laya intricacies.
Experienced accompanists – Vittal Ramamurthy on the violin, Vellore Ramabhadran on the mridangam and Purushothaman on the ganjira — elevated the stature of the concert gently, but firmly. The violinist’s solo version of Kharaharapriya was in full flow. His concert maturity transformed the raga into a pleasurable listening experience. Ramabhadran in association with Purushothaman chiselled the laya support. It was the hallmark of Ramabhadran’s unique style and substance.