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Impressive repertoire

Ramakrishnan Murthy in concert in Thrissur

Ramakrishnan Murthy in concert in Thrissur   | Photo Credit: KK Najeeb

Ramakrishnan Murthy presented a well-crafted concert in Thrissur

At a time when musicians, especially the young, have a proclivity to break away from tradition, it was heartening to listen to Ramakrishnan Murthy. His 90-minute concert in Thrissur recently was proof that it was possible to create soulful music even while sticking to tradition. He has a voice that reminds one of stalwarts of yore and his delivery was open-throated.

The concert began with Tyagaraja’s ‘Entharo mahanu bhavulu, andariki vandanamulu’ in Sree, Adi. Murthy’s métier was evident from this number — the extra emphasis on sangathis. The fact that they were for select lines underscored his concern for sahithya. Every syllable was pronounced with clarity too.

While the mood of the composition was felt throughout, repetition of ‘Entharo’ followed by ‘mahanubhavalu’ towards the end, that too in a soothing tone, attracted applause from the audience.

He chose two more compositions of Tyagaraja’s. They reflected the saint-composer’s grievance towards the Lord’s indifference towards him. ‘Dinamani vamsha, tilaka lavnya’ in Harikamboji, set to Adi, was specially noted for the avalanche of swaras rendered, strictly in adherence with the kalapramana. It was laudable to hear how the musician switched instantaneously between sthayis and rendered the brigas with consummate ease.

Thodi, the main raga in the concert, was resplendent for the aesthetic way he built it up. It was followed by the kriti, ‘Dacuko valena Dasarathy nidu daya’, a sought-after composition of Tyagaraja’s. Murthy’s alapana showcased his penchant for rendering long notes, an ingenious way of making the raga alluring. Even as it was elaborate and scholarly, L Ramakrishnan gave a faithful thani, that too in the right proportion, on the violin. Bangalore V Praveen on the mridangam and V Suresh on the ghatam presented the thani that was rich in variety without playing to the gallery. If Neelambari is a soothing raga, one could experience it as Murthy sang the Swathi padam, ‘Kanthanodu chennu melle’ in Roopakam. Coming after the heavy main raga, it showed the musician’s virtuosity in planning his repertoire.

The rarely-heard ‘Sa pashyat Kausalya’, a composition of Panchapeksha Sastri in Jonpuri, was inspiring. The kirthana describes Kausalya’s vision of the child to be born. Thillana in Ragesri was the last number of the evening.

As the concert was organised by the Department of Culture in connection with the distribution of Swathi Puraskaram to TV Gopalakrishnan, one felt that the musician could have opted for at least a couple of the composer’s works.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 8:46:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/reviews/ramakrishnan-murthy-presented-a-well-crafted-concert-in-thrissur/article28878521.ece

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