Margazhi Festival

Melody took the back seat

Pattabhiram Pandit’s vocal concert for Mudhra at their 20th Fine Arts Festival, held at Infosys Hall, Ramakrishna Mission school campus. Photo: R. Ravindran

Pattabhiram Pandit’s vocal concert for Mudhra at their 20th Fine Arts Festival, held at Infosys Hall, Ramakrishna Mission school campus. Photo: R. Ravindran   | Photo Credit: R RAVINDRAN

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There was vigour, erudition, virtuosity and creativity in Pattabhiram Pandit’s vocal concert for Mudhra at their 20th Fine Arts Festival, held at Infosys Hall, Ramakrishna Mission school campus. The distinguished ensemble of accompaniments comprised Varadarajan (violin), Mannargudi Easwaran (mridangam) and Vaikom Gopalakrishnan (ghatam), all of whom chimed in cheerfully to strike a note of quality music. Pattabiram Pandit began with the Saveri varnam followed by Tyagaraja’s ‘Sripate’ in Nagasvaravali, desadi in speed and a sedate ‘Evarani,’ grandly impressive, with no elaborations of kalpanaswaram of ‘Sripate.’ The swift and smart exchanges between voice and violin lent dynamism, which propelled the concert to the first major item, in Purvikalyani. Pandit explored and extracted every note, phrase and nuance of the raga with patience and expertise.

The acoustic output of Varadarajan’s violin was loaded with rich harmonics resonating in every sanchara with perfect swarastana. In the kriti that followed, ‘Jnanamu Sakarada,’ Rupakam, Mannargudi Easwaran spun several original clusters, high in aesthetics and suiting the mood and spirit of the passage. Gopalakrishnan vied with Easwaran in the sollus. The niraval at the charanam lines, ‘Paramatmudu Jeevatmudu’ was soulful, with the vocalist having an edge over the instruments because of the sahityam. The violin and the percussions cast a divine spell on the audience. In the kalpanaswaras turned tumulees (the attraction of the repeated sequence sa-ri-ga Sa-ri-ga, was lost on this listener), in the four-minute marathon kuraippu executed by the vocalist, melody took a back seat. Tyagaraja’s ‘Mokshmu Galada’ (Saramati, Adi) lent dramatic relief, with the violin sounding similar to a double reed harmonium or a tubor particularly at manthra sthayi. ‘Paritanamichite,’ Bilahari, Khanda Chapu, of Patnam Subramania Iyer, an apt liaison between ‘Mokshami’ and the main piece, Bhairavi ( Swati Tirunal, misra champa) was elaborated through raga, niraval and kalpanaswara for 30 minutes. The 10-minute tani avartanam was an enterprise in sheer joy.

With all that, Pandit’s efforts were marred by an excessive dosage of nasal singing at the cost of melodic quality, the volume was not modulated. For instance, in the preface virutham to ‘Saramaine’ (Swati Tirunal’s javali) only a few words could be identified. The concert was wrapped up with Swati Tirunal’s thillana in Kapi, Adi. One wished Pandit could eschew the practice of singing through his nose and bestow more attention to sahitya suddham. It is regrettable that such fine music goes unnoticed.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 10:23:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/chennai-margazhi-season/pattabhiram-needs-to-focus-on-sahitya-suddham/article6693941.ece

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