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Priceless gems

Madhavi Ramkumar
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REVIEW Pancharatna kritis rendered by 25 violins was a true treat

A n instrumental ensemble comprising 25 violinists, headed by renowned artiste A. Kanyakumari and including her disciples, accompanied by K.V. Prasad (mridanga), Purushotham (kanjira) and B. Rajasekhar (morsing), rendered the Pancharatna Krithis of Saint Thyagaraja as part of the second music festival of the Bharatiya Samagana Sabha, Bangalore, recently.

The recital presented each of the five krithis, of which “Jagadanandakaraka” in Natta raga and aditala is the first, in sequential order. The magnificent structure, the richness of the raga bhava, and the unique appeal of the swara patterns inherent in the compositions were highlighted to telling effect. “Dudukugala” in Goula, “Sadhinchene” in Arabhi, “Kanakana Ruchira” in Varali and “Endaro Mahanubhavulu” in Sri raga, all set to adi tala, were rendered in ideal and steady kalapramanas, underscored by adherence to an identical pathantara, unison and cohesion in bowing, and scrupulous adherence to the purity of the classical idiom, augmented and complemented by superb percussion support from the seasoned accompanying artistes.

One of the outstanding features of the performance was the perfect balancing of the multitude of instruments. While the violins synchronised mellifluously, each stroke of percussion was audible clearly, without, however, overshadowing or drowning the melodic component. The organisers enhanced audience appreciation levels by prefacing the compositions with brief introductions emphasising their spiritual and philosophic significance, and concise explanations of their import, with vocal renditions of the pallavi telescoping into the orchestral version. References were also made to various episodes in the life of the composer which led to the creation of specific krithis, providing interesting and informative interludes. For instance, a narration of the circumstances that culminated in the krithi “Nidhichala Sukhama” in Kalyani raga and mishra chapu thala was supplemented with a vocal presentation of the pallavi. Other compositions such as “Bhavanutha” in Mohanam and “Venkatesha Ninnu” in Madhyamavathi, legends pertaining to his tryst with Narada and the treatise “Swararnavam”, and his devotional outpourings to various deities during pilgrimages, were also touched upon. Above all, the focus of the programme was on the great saint composer's philosophy of life, his unswerving devotion, and his musical genius as exemplified in the five priceless gems.

Madhavi Ramkumar


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