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Festival full of variety

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MELLIFLUOUS MUSIC Sudha Raghunathan at a concert.
MELLIFLUOUS MUSIC Sudha Raghunathan at a concert.

B.R.C. IYENGAR

A music fest that showed a range of presentations and perception.

Lalgudi is a household name. It virtually means violin as played by the maestro Jayaraman, a style that has come to stay and can be celebrated as inimitable. The carriers of this tradition are his disciples G.J.R. Krishnan and Vittal Ramamurthy. In their performance on the third day of the Sharada Trust Festival, they proved the conviction in word and spirit. But the concert did not have the usual glamour perhaps because, Krishnan's sister Vijayalaksmi could not come to accompany. Vittal is an equally able substitute and by himself a great artist. The uniqueness of the style, as was evident on the day, was the technique adopted, particularly while playing the kalpanaswaras. The art consists in choosing extempore, imaginative gathis and jathis adding thrill to the exercise. Among the items the duo played, Varrnam (Charukesi), Srimahaganapai (Gowla), Brovabharama (Bhaudari) Hechcharikagarara (Edukula kamboji), a composition of Lalgudi in Bhairavi Shankarabharanam (Endukupeddala), the last covered, major part of time, but yet it fell short of usual ecstasy. Besides Vittal's contribution, D.S.R. Murthy on the mridangam was exotic and gripping. Sudha Ragunathan is a crowd-puller and so, the hall was filled to capacity. Her conquest victoriously repeats; powerful is her intellect when it is invested with the glitter of her musical affluence. The captivating voice in its precision plunges the listener into that sudden perplexity which is designed to predominate through the whole episode, even if other vital norms may not effectively work. She knows her audience and serves their interest in earnestness; they respond to her with vociferous applause. Her delicate voice, the right perception of presentation, portentous and prophetic approach all add up to her strength. Critically speaking, the esteem of erudition and the stateliness of creativeness, verve and vivacity of imagination were not so salient. Among the list selected by Sudha, it was Thodi that carried the audience. The raga was elaborate and convincing. The krithi, Jesinadella Marachitivo was emotive. In terms of swarakalpana and neraval too, she struck gold. The song, Evaritho in Manavathi was a sparkler from the archives. The rest of the items, Mahaganapthim in Naatai, Ragasudharasa in Andholika, Bhavayami Raghuramam (Ragamalika ) also ran. Raghavendra Rao on the violin contributed his share admirably and Skanda Subramaniam on the mridangam was at ease with the madhyamakala format.

Rich in scholarship

The vocal concert of Raji Gopalakrishnan had some handicaps in the sense the gathering was dispiriting, the contrast in the voice of the artist, however good by itself, stood nothing in comparison with that of Sudha. Nevertheless, the concert was rich in scholarship, spirituality and rendition. The selection too was satisfying and carried the audience in good spirit. A Varnam in Ranjani, Sarasiruha in Naatai built up the needed tempo, Sri mahalakshmi (Sri) added stature. Juthamu Rare in Arabhi was quick and pleasant. It was followed by elaborate alapana of Vachaspathi and the krithi Kantachudumi. The krithi, Marugelara led the way for detailed ornamentation of the raga Mohana; the song Mohanan Rama was well rendered. Raji was accompanied on the violin by richly experienced Narayana and on the mridangam by Arvind. One of the top class concerts in the festival was the vocal music of Geetha Ganeshan. Given the right opportunities and encouragement, she will outshine all other women artists. What poise and relaxation (visranthi), what elegance and learning. The success is partly because she first enjoys her own music and then offers it to others. The highlight of the concert was the alapana of ragas, Kalyani and Madhyamavathi, the moving presentation of the krithi of Dikshithar in Lalitha , a composition of Muthiah Bhagavathar in the rare raga Vijaya Saraswathi, Chethasri in Dwijavanthi , and Dinamani Vamsha in Harikamboji . It is pretty hard to accompany such a richly classical presentation. Dwaram Satyanarayana reacted with alacrity on the violin and Ramachandran decorated it on the mridangam . Abhishek Raghuram's vocal concert was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. The nephew of mridangam maestro Palghat Raghu has an animated style that immediately captivates the mind of the common listener, not knowing why. Abhishek has adopted a language and style of his own, and calls upon rasikas for admiration. All those who do not have insight of this riddle applaud and those who make out their intrinsic meaning sit silent. It should be noted that every swara (note) has at once a harmonic and also a melodic functional meaning; this important aspect was not reflected. The concert however, had the unprecedented glory of Raghu playing on the mridangam, particularly in the thani that was long and illustrious.


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