Music

Coming back with credentials

MAESTROS IN TANDEM: Ravikiran, Delhi Sunderrajan, Thiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam and E.M. Subramaniam.

MAESTROS IN TANDEM: Ravikiran, Delhi Sunderrajan, Thiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam and E.M. Subramaniam.  

Accompanying Ravikiran at a recent concert for Hamsadhwani, Delhi Sunderrajan, the ace violinist, proved that he is in form.

It happened some 25 years ago, in New Delhi. The Mavlankar Auditorium in Rafi Marg, not far away from Parliament and the President's Estate, was overflowing with rasikas eagerly waiting to hear a solo violin recital by maestro T.N. Krishnan, who was to be accompanied by his gifted young son Sriram on the violin. But Sriram was missing, and many of us in the audience couldn't identify the very young teenager who sat in his place. As the concert progressed, the youngster played the violin with such supreme confidence and echoed the master's phrasings so faithfully that he caused quite a sensation. TNK himself was so impressed that at one stage he impulsively seized the microphone and said that he was glad his son couldn't come over from Madras for this concert, because his absence had created a wonderful opportunity to put the local boy through his paces.

In exalted company

That was how Delhi Sunderrajan caught the limelight originally and went on to make rapid strides as a violinist, in the exalted company of many leading vocalists visiting the Capital.

In due course, Sunderrajan settled down in Madras and was poised to emerge as one of the leading violinists in Carnatic music, when he was involved in an accident in which the index finger of his left hand was critically injured, seriously affecting his progress as a performing artist. But he overcame the adversity with enormous fortitude, turning into a vocalist and also a very successful teacher, and gradually making an impressive comeback as violinist on the concert platform. One was glad to see him playing the violin superbly in the company of Chitravina Ravikiran at Hamsadhwani recently and to note that his credentials to belong to the top league are still very strong.

Accompanying the young chitravina maestro on the mridangam was Tiruvarur Bhakthavatsalam, who is so energetic and looks so youthful himself that it is difficult to believe that one has been seeing him perform for 40 years or more! And he seemed anxious to prove that his touch can be as subtle and delicate in the company of Ravikiran as it can be aggressive when accompanying certain vigorous vocalists. E.M. Subramaniam's ghatam added an unobtrusive percussion element.

Chitravina Ravikiran's concerns are many-sided and global; but hearing his serene recital at Hamsadhwani, one would never guess that he has a hectic lifestyle, constantly visiting the U.S., via Europe (where his destinations include exotic spots such as Slovenia!).

The highlight of the concert was a reposeful ragam-tanam-pallavi in Shanmukhapriya, with a lovely Tamil line -- ‘Paadame Thunai Ena Pani Maname, Sadaasivanin Pon Paadame...' -- composed by the maestro himself. He sketched the phrase vocally to start with, and let the chitravina echo it eloquently. The improvised swara sequences were in ragamalika, with Ravikiran painting bright colours of Anandabhairavi and Ranjani and Sunderrajan striking a classical note with Begada and Mohanam.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 7:28:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/coming-back-with-credentials/article2949800.ece

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