RECAP The Hindu's coverage of Palghat Mani Iyer was extensive. Excerpts of a few articles…
Palghat Mani Aiyar thrills world audience
EDINBURGH, Sept 13, 1965: Palghat T.S. Mani Aiyar, the renowned mridangam player, established himself as a great world artist when he thrilled an international audience with his wizardry for an hour and a half here, last Wednesday.
The packed hall repeatedly applauded the Indian percussionist's performance, the second Indian item in the Edinburgh Festival.
The magic of Mani Aiyar's hands was evident from the start of the recital in which K.V. Narayanaswamy provided vocal music, Lalgudi Jayaraman violin accompaniment, and Mani Aiyar's son Rajamani second mridangam.
Proficiency in music: Palghat Mani Aiyar's plea
MADRAS, Dec 18, 1966: In his presidential address, Mr. Mani Iyer referred to the methods of learning music and said that one should be put under a teacher even before he attained 10 years. And he should never take to it with a view to acquiring wealth.
The period of training should last for 10 years at least. He should acquire a listening habit and must cultivate an ear for good music, by attending top-class performances for at least five years.
Music Academy honours Palghat Mani Aiyar
MADRAS, Jan 1, 1967: The title and insignia of Sangita Kalanidhi were today conferred on Sri Palghat Mani Aiyar at the Music Academy sadas. A number of musicians and musicologists felicitated Sri Mani Aiyar on the honour done to him by the Academy.
Mridangam maestro Palghat Mani Aiyar felicitated - NMN
MADRAS, Feb. 15, 1973: The mridangam maestro Palghat Mani Aiyar made his advent in the field as a boy nearly five decades ago when it was ruled by giants and stunned audiences wherever he went not only by the enormous prowess he showed but by the fight and fire he displayed in matching up to the giants.
Now he is past 60 and with his dedication and artistry undiminished, can look back on a career during which he has made history both by his amazing techniques and creative musicianship which have projected the mridangam as a dynamic unit of the concert ensemble in a manner never heard of before him.
Mani Aiyar was felicitated on his Shastiabdapoorthi at an impressive function by an influential committee of leading rasikas and musicians on Tuesday at the Krishnamurthi Centre, Adyar.
Take it from me, it's the musicians' low pitch which is the culprit - NMN
MADRAS, Jan 22, 1978: With his rich experience of Carnatic concert music, Palghat Mani Aiyar, the great mridangam vidwan, in an interview, presents his frank comments on the contemporary standard of classical music.
In his opinion, Ariyakudi Ramanuja lyengar combined in him all the virtues of an ideal gayaka. He is firm in his view that the lowering of the pitch is the basic reason for the poor showing by performing vocalists.
According to him, the mike is the culprit luring classical singers away from the painstaking path into the lethargic comfort of low and lack-lustre pitches. They desperately seek the amplification “rebound” creating a false atmosphere on the concert platform in which it is difficult for clarity to survive.
Greatest of all mridangists
MADRAS, May 30, 1981: For over 50 years, Palghat T.S. Mani Aiyar, the man who had held rhythm in his fingers, remained unequalled. He had accompanied several front-rank singers, helping them embellish their performance. He had boosted the quality of several concerts. His touch on the instrument was feathery but glittering.
Shocked at the sudden demise of one of his contemporaries and close associates, Sri Semmangudi Srinivasa Aiyar said: “The world of music and particularly the science of Laya, has lost a stalwart I feel so lonely now.”
During his visit to the United Kingdom Mani Aiyar stunned the audience which gave him a thunderous ovation wherever he played. Yehudi Menuhin, described him as “the greatest of all mridangists.”
He started at the top and stayed there - S.Y. Krishnaswamy
Madras, June 7, 1981: Palghat Mani Aiyar, like the late Tiger Varadachariar and Veena Dhanammal, was one such artiste to whom a period of study was merely a technical preliminary for the expression of an inherent creativity. Mastery and control over an instrument is one aspect of an art. It provides the grammatical background of it. But in the hands of a genius it recedes into the background and in fact, is taken for granted, and becomes nothing more than a medium for the display of a vast treasury of musical wealth.