Music

The flawless five

(From right to left) Nikhil Narayanan, Tiruvarur S. Swaminathan, Prapancham Balachandran, L.V. Mukund and B. Muthukumar. Photo: K.V. Srinviasan   | Photo Credit: K_V_Srinivasan

The contribution of Dr. N. Ramani to music and, in particular, to flute is immeasurable. His Academy of Flute presented a distinctive concert of five flutes recently. It was an inspiring and stirring ensemble. The stellar performance was a spectacular example of what music a professional group can produce.

The hall was overwhelmed with the melodic woodwind. The pitch-perfect tone of the five flutes in D sharp was clear and its intonation pure. Five competent disciples of Dr. N. Ramani began the concert with a regal Kambodi varnam in ata tala, regal, also because it was by Maharaja Swati Tirunal!

It can be christened the Pancha Murali or the Prapancha Murali as it was led by Prapancham Balachandran. It was followed by a short sketch of Hamsadhwani for GNB’s ‘Varavallabharamana’. The swarams at pallavi were played by Nikhil Narayanan, Tiruvarur S. Swaminathan, Prapancham Balachandran, L.V. Mukund and B. Muthukumar in the order in which they were seated from right to left. V.V.Srinivasa Rao, on the violin joined in often in the swaraprasthara.

Then, they took us on a journey to Tiruvaiyaru, through the Gowla Pancharatna kriti of Tyagaraja. Balachandran and Swaminathan played the swara segment, while the others played the sahitya portion. On the mridangam, R. Ramesh was spectacular and added a rich dimension to the concert.

In the Simhendramadhyamam alapana, led by Balachandran, each artist took it forward by turn. The transition was smooth and seamless. They had a perfect landing at the concluding shadja. ‘Ninne Nammithi’ of Mysore Vasudevachar in misra chapu was the chosen kriti.

The niraval and swaras at Pannagendra was led by Balachandran and each one by turn contributed. They also gave enough space to the violin as well.

The concluding Korvai, enthusiastically played by them, was very pleasing. ‘Thelisirama’ of Tyagaraja was rendered jointly.

The main raga was Madhyamavathi and the piece de resistance was Tyagaraja’s ‘Ramakathasudha’. The alapana, which the flautists rendered by turn, was splendid. So was the violin elucidation. The swarakkuraippu by the five was a manifestation of their versatility and the expansive harmonic structure they could create.

The thani by R. Ramesh (mridangam) and E.M. Subramaniam (ghatam) was a celebration in rhythmic exercise. The thisra nadai of Ramesh had a maestro’s touch.

They concluded their delightful concert with ‘Enthamuddo’ of Tyagaraja; ‘Karunai Deyvame’ of Madurai T. Srinivasan and the Nalinakanthi tillana of their guru, Dr. N. Ramani, who was present to hear, appreciate and bless them.

(ramakrishnan.h@gmail.com)


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Printable version | Jun 12, 2021 4:21:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/The-flawless-five/article11483883.ece

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