Shashank shone with his displayof dexterity. The violin-venu-veena recital showcasedsound training. SVK
The notes that emerged from Shashank’s flute were marked by lyrical and tonal beauty. The depth and appeal of his playing sprang from layers of silences and cadences.
These aspects in his performing technique were abundant in the alapanas of Denuka (‘Teliyaleru Rama’) and Surutti (‘Geetaarthamu’).
Though Shashank revealed an incredible mastery when it came to precision and variation of sancharas, this came to the fore only in the tranquil segments in madhyama kala. But in the breakneck speed of the fingering, it was more a display of dexterity rather than of delicacy.
The elegant style of presentation was based on felicitous flow, quite irresistible, but in a raga such as Dhenuka crispness would have served better. The same cannot be said of Surutti. The raga was compactly sound, suggestively elevating, with classical dignity and sensitive spontaneity. It was from a master at the height of his prowess. The coverage in mandhara sthayi outlived the glorious shades in dulcet tones. In the rendering of kirtanas ‘Evarani Nirnayinchirira’ in Devamrithavarshini, and ‘Geetartamu,’ the excellence was as much due to the interpretative ideal held in view as the grandeur of the compositions. After all, his programme was built mainly on three Tyagaraja kirtanas.
All good things carry a bad streak as well. With a gift of such serene playing, why should Shashank succumb to the tyranny of prefabricated arithmetical swaraprasthara cultivations?
The pakkavadya dharma compelled violinist Akkarai Subbulakshmi to toe the line of the vocalist. This necessity erased her natural instincts for sweet stringed and refined presentation of raga images. It was all wrapped up in the same fingering display as that of Shashank. Swaras for every song in different jatis and kalapramanas provided a field day for Mannargudi Easwaran on the mridangam and K. Gopalakrishnan on the ganjira. In their technique, there was passion for percussive profundity not crossing the decibel tolerance level. There lay their deceptive quality of excellence.
What made the violin ( H.K. Venkatram), veena (Aswin Anand) and flute (G. Ravikiran) recital gratifying was the selection of kirtanas. The perfect co-ordination reflected the stress they laid on the sahitya, which was clear even though it came from their instruments. The list of the kritis included ‘Sri Venkata Gireesam’ (Surutti), ‘Sobillu Saptaswara’ (Jaganmohini), ‘Annapoorne Visalakshi’ (Sama) and ‘Nidhichala Sukhama’ (Kalyani). The kutcheri was compact and dominated by perfect discipline among the artists. Though the competence of the three instrumentalists was noteworthy, the easy grace of Aswin Anand on the veena especially hen exploring Surutti was enviable. The contemplative, felicitous, gamaka sweet sancharas and the raga development progressed with soothing musical warmth. The concentration on the ragas bhava and swaroopa was an indication of his musical finesse. The sound from the strings reiterated the gentleness of the meettu.
Weighty vistara of Bhairavi spoke of Venkatram’s solid endowments. His exposition was a happy blend of the moorings of Carnatic music and his impulses for dignified imaging of the raga. The alapana focussed on the beauty of the raga.
The grandeur of the kirtanas was well conceived and expressed. Preserving the sampradaya pattern, their rendering stressed on the fact that that was the way music gained strength and solidity. Overall the disciplined recital brought out the result of early training and methodical maturity.
Neyveli Narayanan (mridangam) and K.V. Gopalakrishnan (ganjira) registered their class in accompanying proficiency.