LINEAGE Maharajapuram Ganesh Viswanathan handled ragas and kritis with maturity. H. Ramakrishnan

I t was an imposing, yet sublime Kharaharapriya. How else could it have been when the artist is the fourth generation vocalist of the great Maharajapuram clan? Maharajapuram Ganesh Viswanathan, performing for Rasika Fine Arts, created poetry with unmatched skill in his sound presentation touching every contour of this grand raga. And the rendition of the kriti was grander still.

In ‘Soumithri Bhagyame Bhagyamu,' Tyagaraja recounts the good fortune of Lakshmana in serving Lord Rama. The song will continue to linger in the minds of those who were lucky to listen. Though in his early twenties, the youngster's mature manodharma stood by him. And, he was in no hurry. Kanyakumari's young disciple M. Rajeev's delineation of the raga on the violin was equally inspiring. The niraval and swaras at ‘Bhavukavintharaaga' had rich variety.

The thani offered by the veteran Thanjavur Kumar (mridangam) and Venkataraman (ganjira) was truly classical. The tisram was simple, but magnificent. The way the vocalist joined with swaras in the complex concluding korvai was marvellous.

Earlier, Ganesh Viswanathan opened the exquisite concert with N.S. Ramachandran's Sunadavinodini varnam, followed by Gopalakrishna Bharati's ‘Saranaagathamendru' in Gowlai. The latter was a favourite of KVN. The brief swaras added beauty to the piece. Ganesh rendered Tyagaraja's kriti on Lord Krishna, ‘Gaanamurthe.' The alapana was impressive and the swaras, tunefully melodic. Equally bright was the Hindolam piece, ‘Manasuloni.'

Devagandari was presented in all its original beauty in ‘Karunasamudra.' The Pantuvarali alapana for the impressive ‘Apparaamabhakti' in Rupakam was of a high quality, with niraval at the anupallavi, ‘Thrippatalanu.' Rajeev on the violin too excelled. Syama Sastri's lilting Punnagavarali piece ‘Kanakasaila' created a serene mood.

‘Neerajadalanayana' of Mannargudi Sambasiva Bhagavatar in Maand was awesome. The story goes that Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer requested his disciple, the Bhagavathar, to pen a piece on Lord Krishna while they were travelling together in a train, which the latter did before reaching the next station. And, the doyen rendered the song in that evening's concert!

Ganesh Viswanathan concluded his concert with the Basant Bahar tillana of his grandfather (on Kanchi Paramacharya), and a Tiruppugazh, ‘Mathiyal Vitthaganaaki.'

(ramakrishnan.h

@gmail.com)