Music

Festival ragas

Enchanting strains: T.V. Gopalakrishnan

Enchanting strains: T.V. Gopalakrishnan   | Photo Credit: V_Ganesan

The annual 12-day music and dance festival to celebrate the Jayanthi of the royal composer Swati Tirunal had a melange of concerts that included vocal and instrumental music.

Neyveli R. Santhanagopalan's concert on the seventh day was noted more for the musicality of the compositions than their sahitya. He began with a Begada varnam and followed it with Ponnaya Pillay's ‘Mayatheertha Swarupini' in Mayamalavagowla. After an elaborate raga vistaram he rendered ‘Pankaja Lochana' in Kalyani.

Electrifying exchanges

The tani that followed saw some electrifying exchanges between Parassala Ravi (mridangam) and T.V. Vasan (ghatam). H.N. Bhaskar accompanied the vocalist on the violin. Santhanagopalan also rendered a ragam tanam pallavi in Dwijavanti that was set to thisrajati jhampa tala khanda natai. The tana swaras were followed by the pallavi ‘Sree Padmanabha Chintane.'

K.N. Ranganatha Sarma's vocal concert stood out for the speed with which he performed. He began with the Todi varnam ‘Yeranapai' and followed it with ‘Paraakela Nannu' in Kedaragowla, a Syama Sastri composition. Swati's Darbar piece ‘Smara Manasa Padmanabham' was preceded by a brief exposition of the raga.

The main piece of the evening was Swati Tirunal's ‘Rasa Vilasalola' in Kambhoji, which he began in a slow tempo. The rendering was preceded by an elaborate raga vistaram. The rendering stood out for the lasya bhava the vocalist imparted to it. It was interspersed with bols on the mridangam. The manodharma swaras that followed added charm to the kriti.

The taniavartanam performed by Salem Sreenivasan (mridangam) and Uduppi Sreedhar (ghatam) was short and sweet. Sarma concluded his concert with ‘Smara Janaka Subha Charita,' a Swati Tirunal composition in Behag followed by a tillana. V.L. Kumar gave able support on the violin.

Madurai G.S. Mony's vocal concert was more like a lecture demonstration. He began with an Ada tala varnam ‘Sarasijanabha' composed by Vadivelu in Kambhoji. Next to follow was Dikshitar's ‘Swaminatha Paripalaya' in Nata.

After a brief alaap, he rendered ‘Mamava Sada Janani' in his baritone voice. He also took time to elaborate on Sudha Sarang and to show its difference with Hamir Kalyani. ‘Samodham Chinthayami,' a Swati Tirunal composition in Sudhadhanyasi and set to chappu tala, exemplified smooth swara sancharam. On request from the audience, he presented a delineation of Vagulabharanam, a rare raga.

Swati Tirunal's ‘Jaya Jaya Padmanabha Murare' in the form of ragam tanam pallavi in Sarasangi began with Mony bringing forth the subtle nuances of the raga and followed it with the tanaswaras num tha tha num tha. It was ably picked up by the violinist Mullaivasal G. Chandramouli.

Towards the end, the vocalist offered a ragamalika comprising Vrindavan Sarang, Kapi and Bageswari. The taniavartanam was performed by Palladam Ravi (mridangam) and Adichanalloor Anilkumar (ghatam).

Veena recital

A. Ananthapadmanabhan's veena recital, which began late by almost an hour, opened with Tyagaraja's ‘Sobhillu Saptaswara' in Jaganmohini, set to Rupaka tala. ‘Enalu Urake' in Subhapantuvarali set to Misra chappu tala was followed by a ragam tanam pallavi in Kambhoji that was set to adi tala. A quick rendering of the piece did little to portray the essence of the raga.

The other notable items he played included ‘Chinnam Cheru Killi' of Bharathi, which saw shades of Peelu and Vasanta. He ended his one-and-a-half hour concert with a Madhuvanti tillana. T.V. Gopalakrishnan accompanied on the mridangam and Tripunithura Radhakrishnan on the ghatam.

Scaling octaves

Mridangam vidwan T.V. Gopalakrishnan's (TVG) vocal concert started off with the vocalist paying his respects to his guru, Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar. TVG began with ‘Chalamela,' an Ada tala varnam in Sankarabharanam. Then came ‘Sarasijanabha Mampahi' in which he showed how the three octaves are scaled. He was often reminded the sahitya by Devi who gave him vocal support.

Then he rendered a short piece ‘Shambho sathatham' in Varamu. One of his Guru's favourites ‘Sarasaksha paripalayam' in Pantuvarali reminded listeners of the speed with which Chembai used to sing the swaras. A lilting melody ‘Ambojanabha' and ‘Mohanam Thava' in Mohanam began with an elaborate ragavistaram. Though Amritavarshini was chosen as the main raga of the day, he did not elaborate on it. Only the pallavi ‘Jaya Sree Padmanabhadasa Rajavamsha Jayati' was sung. A quick tani by B. Harikumar (mridangam) and Tripunithura Radhakrishnan (ghatam) came in for much appreciation from the vocalist. T.V. Ramanujacharlu gave violin support.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 7:55:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/Festival-ragas/article16302117.ece

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