Kasturirangan’s style may be robust but he adheres to classicism. SVK

With a deep-toned, gamaka-rich voice that obeys the dictates of his manodharma, S. Kasturirangan’s concert was set on a racy course with few moments of composure. Imitating the singing style of a guru can sometimes cause stagnation. Emulation leads to improvement. Kasturirangan has yet to learn this truth.

His alapana brimmed with vibrant phrases but a self conscious display of his ability often led to leaping through octaves. The frenzied phrasings and pace in the tara sthayi were more to startle than soothe.

Kasturirangan’s kirtana base, ideology and values have to be assessed in the context of present day expectations – more liberal in interpretation than adherence to tradition.

The strength of his style in this respect was robust, appearing to be aggressive but tied to classicism. There was compulsive depth in raga and kirtana presentation with a streak of ostentation.

The Ritigowla kirtana ‘Janani Ninnu Vina’ ”was rich with vocal articulation. The song progressed leading to the deepening of anubhava. He had the good sense not to tarnish the loftiness of the piece with kalpanaswaras.

The two Tyagaraja compositions – ‘Bhaagayanayya’ (Chandrajyoti) and ‘Vidamu Seyave’ (Kharaharapriya) sailed with swiftness.

The main item was “Nannu Paalimpa’ (Mohanam). In the preceding alapana, the sancharas from the adhara shadja swirled to the top octave in a jiffy. The intrinsic beauty of the kirtana could stand his accentuated profundity.

The violinist R. Raghul was wise enough not to go all the way with the vocalist. In his solo versions of the raga, his individuality prevailed.

The percussion wing managed by M.S. Varadan (mridangam) and N. Narasimhan (ghatam) had sparkle and substance in enriching the interpretative process of Kasturirangan