R.S. Ramakantha’s recital was scholarly
The inaugural concert of the Vidyasagara Prof. M.P.L. Sastry Music Festival conducted recently by the MES Kalavedi, Bangalore, was by R.S. Ramakantha, accompanied by Nalina Mohan (violin), M.T. Rajakesari (mridanga), Karthik Mani (ghata), and Manasanayana (vocal support).
Mysore Sadasiva Rao’s adi tala varna in Kamavardhini was followed by a succinct sketch of Todi, the Dikshithar krithi “Mahaganapathim Vande” and a few kalpana swaras, the relaxed treatment of all of which stressed the gravity of both raga and lyrics. Dikshithar’s “Shri Shukra Bhagavantham” in Paras raga and khanda jathi atta tala, entirely appropriate for a Friday concert, preceded a condensed alapana of Reethigowla that rested on vital notes such as the madhyama and nishada, and etched its distinctive melodic structure in alluring phrases. The Ramnad Sreenivasa Iyengar composition “Sadguru Swamiki” in adi thala was ornamented with a round of kalpana swaras in two speeds.
Thyagaraja’s “Emidova” in Saranga and adi tala heralded a relatively concise elaboration of Kalyani, though perhaps a krithi in a raga with more of a contrast would have had a better impact. The vocalist’s masterly style was explicit in the brisk, yet smooth navigation of the three octaves in Kalyani, while “Eesha Pahimam” in rupaka thala, also by Thyagaraja, featured a neraval and kalpana swaras at the pallavi sahitya, with the occasional take off at “Jagadeesha Pahimam” imparting extra verve to the endeavour. The recital, which included some comparatively uncommon compositions, was supplemented by the faithful and expert responses of the accompanying artistes, culminating in the short, but well proportioned tani avartana.
T.V. Ramaprasad, accompanied by S. Seshagiri Rao (violin), K.K. Harinarayan (mridanga), and Ranganatha Chakravarthy (ghata), presented a vocal concert as part of the same festival on Sunday.
The artiste’s resonant voice and traditional approach were manifest throughout the performance, beginning with “Sarasijanabha”, the ata thala varna in Kamboji, and “Siddhivinayakam”, the Dikshithar krithi in Shanmukhapriya and rupaka tala, embellished with kalpana swaras at “Prasiddhagananayakam”. Thyagaraja’s “Brova Barama” in Bahudhari and adi tala was followed by a brief alapana of Kalyani and Swathi Thirunal’s “Pankaja Lochana” set to mishra chapu thala. Though there was a fleeting lapse of memory at the beginning of the charana, the item incorporated an unusual expansion of part of the pallavi sahithya, ascending the scale with each instalment and concluding with a long spell covering the entire gamut. The kalpana swaras were however omitted.
The lustrous facets of Dwijavanthi were illumined in a mellow exposition of Dikshithar’s “Akhilandeswari” and in the modicum of kalpana swaras that succeeded it. Bhairavi was next taken up for detailed treatment, with long and bhava-inducing rests at, and plentiful sancharas around, the panchama, tara stayi shadja and rishabha, touching on the gamaka-endowed gandhara and descending quickly thereafter. Arunacahala Kavi’s evergreen composition “Yaro Ivar Yaro”, rendered with an imposing neraval and kalpana swaras at “Chandrabimba Mukha”, was rounded off with a skilled thani avartana. The absence of undue haste in the presentation of both manodharma and kalpitha components, and meaningful support from the violinist and the percussionists, were among the notable features of the concert.MADHAVI RAMKUMAR