Music Nada Prabha organised a discourse on the life and works of Thyagaraja.

Nada Prabha known to conduct programmes differently, featured Chaganti Koteswara Rao, a great scholar to explain the gist of each kriti of the Thyagaraja, Shyama Sastry and Deekshitar in discourse mode. The fest was held at Lalitha Kala Thoranam, Public Gardens.

Chaganti commented on the inner meaning of the charanas. He explained the inbuilt theme of the krities composed by the Vaggeyakara trinity — Thyagaraja, Shyama Sastry and Dikshitar. The large turnout of audience, a rare sight at concerts, was due to this great scholar’s presence.

The inaugural event featured vocalist Pemmaraju Surya Rao. He was accompanied by O. Rajasekhar on the violin and Karra Srinivasa Rao on the mridangam, besides two of Surya Rao’s disciples. This was preceded by a mini discourse on Thyagaraja. Changanti’s scholarship pervades a number of kavyas and treatises written by scholars from Adi Sankaracharya to Pothana.

Surya Rao is a disciple of M. Lakshmi Narasimha Sastry, who in turn is a disciple of Parupalli Ramakrishnayya Pantuluof Thyagaraja Parampara. This was not just another concert with raga and swara, but a simple kirtana rendition. The purpose being to enlighten the audience about the spiritual knowledge each kirtana carries. Chaganti explained the beauty and purpose of what Thyagaraja intended when using certain words. He compared the musical trinity to the divine trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara.

While giving a brief of Thyagaraja’s life, he said that it was Ramakrishnananda Swamy who first initiated him by teaching the ‘Kshana Kshani Mantram’ that made Thyagaraja focus on Srirama. Contending Vigraharadhana (idol worship) is part of Hindu culture, he recalled how Thyagaraja proved it again by composing Nanupalimpa Nadachi Vachitiva in Mohana.

Surya Rao opened his concert with Kamalaptakula in Brindavana Saranga that revealed his musical sense and raga adherence.

Other numbers included Bagayanayya in Chandrajyothi, Alakimparadate in Nalinakanthi, Enatinomu Phalamo in Bhairavi, Yetavunara Nilakadaneeku in Kalyani and Mokshamugalada in Saramati. He sang with perfect sahitya import. The charanas in the compositions were subjected to critical scrutiny by Chaganti, receiving applause. One wonders how Thyagaraja thought of all these elements while composing songs.

G.S.