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Pedantic performance

Ranee Kumar
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Music Vageesh Iyyengar presented rare kritis with a good grip over grammar and ‘manodharma’. Ranee Kumar

He reminded one of old-timers whose repertoire was vast with all technical intricacies set to a rigid framework unmindful of melody or emotion by way of tone and tenor. Vageesh Iyyengar (DDG-AIR Delhi) presented us with rare kritis in rarer ragas with a good grip over the grammar of music, especially in the field of manodharma. His exploration of any raga he took up was tremendous and so was his extensive swarakalpana be it Malayamarutham (Sri Rama Jaya Rama), where he elongated the Nishadam (Kaisikha) note and the Shadjam, immediately laying stress on the Shudda Rishabham with expertise, or the Hindolam where he took up Annamacharya’s Deva devam bhaje… in which the sangathees for Rajavarashekaram ravi kula sudha were underlined in such a manner as to describe lord Rama’s glory in myriad ways or for that matter, the elaborate alapana for Rishabhapriya delved deep into the raga highlighting its finer shades.

Brilliant textbook rendition should not be bereft of key aspects called bhava and sahitya. The former needs tonal modulation along with intuitive involvement by the musician; the latter demands absolutely right diction failing which the essence of the entire composition is simply lost.

And this is where the veteran ought to have taken care, especially since he is addressing the present day audience whose lifestyle urges for tranquility for which music (classical or otherwise) is the best medicine. A Malayamarutham should gently caress the heart like zephyr and by doing so need not lose out on its classical brilliance either. Muthaiah Bhagavatar’s sharanam Vijaya Saraswati maaye… in the raga Vijaya Saraswati replete with intensity was given its due as also Mysore Vasudevacharya’s Mahatmule teliyaledu nee mahamahima… where the mitram was a rhythmic exercise with Jaya Bhaskar providing the right stress on his percussion. Undue stress on syllables like for instance at the neraval ravana sura vairi… in the Hindolam sounded harsh on the ear.

The Bilahari alapana had a loyal and pleasant following in B S Narayanan’s violin. Sogasuchuda tarama… (Kannadagowla) went its way in a straight rendition. In the RTP, the Kambhoji was explored sans its innate melody but the vocalist gave an excellent exposition of the tanam which ended in an impromptu pallavi in keeping with the title Guru Parampara the organization under whose aegis the recital was organized in Ravindra Bharathi.

His exploration of any raga he took up was tremendous and so was his extensive swarakalpana


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