Music

The sublime and the pedestrian

Trio Violin Concert by Villivakkam S.Raghuraman (second right), Melakaveri K.Thiagarajan (third right) and Govindapuram Balaji (right) at the 62nd Vardhanti celebrations of Bharati Tirtha Swamigal at Sri Saradambal Temple in Coimbatore. Photo:K.Ananthan.

Trio Violin Concert by Villivakkam S.Raghuraman (second right), Melakaveri K.Thiagarajan (third right) and Govindapuram Balaji (right) at the 62nd Vardhanti celebrations of Bharati Tirtha Swamigal at Sri Saradambal Temple in Coimbatore. Photo:K.Ananthan.  

Concerts had more variety, as musicians, both eminent and up-and-coming, rendered kritis of different composers, in their distinct style.

G.R.S. Murthy's pleasant and compact veena concert, to the accompaniment of Suryanarayanan (mridangam) and Subramanian (ganjira), began with ‘Vallabha Nayakasya' (Begada) followed by Dikshitar's ‘Kalavathi Kamalasana Yuvathi.' It was joy listening to Tyagaraja's ‘Ninnuvina' (Navarasakannada). His inspired playing of ‘Theliyaleru' (Dhenuka) and ‘Sri Kanthimathi' in Hemavathi delighted the rasikas. The percussion support was good throughout and particularly in the thani.

Pliable voice, sahitya gnanam, commendable choice of compositions and commitment to refinement confer elegance to a kutcheri. Sowmya's delectable start of ‘Vathapi Ganapatim' with niraval and swaras ensured a good beginning for the rest of the session. Her mapping of the contours of the raga for the kriti, ‘Saraswathi Namosthuthe' and ‘Pahimaam Raja Rajeswari' (Janaranjani) were precise. Elegant Anandabhairavi for the kriti, ‘Marivere,' marked by felicitous flow of sancharas, was handled with dexterity. The niraval and swaras were rooted in the emotion of rakti. ‘Idudano Thillaisthanam' was presented forcefully. ‘Bhajare Yadunatham' was evocative. Sreeramkumar's (violin) delineations of Hemavathi and Anandabhairavi raga structures (violin) were neat bringing out their beauty. Narayanan (mridangam) displayed exemplary precision and control.

V. Sankaranarayanan's performance was admirable with Sanjeev (violin) and Narayanan (mridangam). With his heavy voice and competent handling of the compositions, he was able to maintain the tempo of the session throughout the concert. He began with ‘Saraswathi Namosthute.' Kritis ‘Brovabarama' (Bahudari) and ‘Janani Ninnuvina' (Ritigowla), that followed, signalled that a fine variety was in store.

The Kalyani raga vinyasam for the kriti, ‘Ammaravamma' began with the raga's signature phrases and he developed them with effortless ease to present a brilliant picture soaked in classicism but for swara slippages through the octaves. The niraval and swaras had an engaging variety. ‘Annapoorne' (Sama), ‘Akhilandeswari' (Dwijavanti) and ‘Brahmamokate' were neat. Sanjeev (violin) proved his mettle in the solo versions and swara responses. Narayanan (mridangam) lent vitality to a quality concert.

Mala Chandrasekhar produced an enchanting melody in her recital. After a lilting start of ‘Maha Ganapathim' with swaras, her raga portrayal of Abheri for the kriti, ‘Bhajare Lokaguru,' composed by H.H. Bharathi Theertha Swamigal, was rendered with bhava. Her delineation of Mohanakalyani for ‘Bhuvaneswareem' was admirable. Papanasam Sivan's ‘Mahalakshmi Jaganmatha' (Sankarabharanam) was rendered with full verve and vigour.

Raghuram (violin), Prakash (mridangam) and Suresh (ghatam) gave adequate support.

Their thani had compact arudis and the final korvai was majestic.

The violin recital by the trio – Raghuraman, Thyagarajan and Balaji – was a pedestrian affair. Harmony was at a discount at several places with no coordination among them. Mridangam support by Suryanarayanan was the only saving grace.

Gurucharan focussed on aesthetic finesse in his performance and his vidwat was evident from the start of the Thodi varnam, ‘Eranaapai.' ‘Sarade Viharade' (Arabhi), ‘Sujana Jeevana' (Khamas) were aesthetically presented. The highlight of the kutcheri was the RTP in Shanmukhapriya, the pallavi being ‘Devi Shalini Manjubhashini Sringerinivasini.' His alapana of the raga and the cohesively sequenced swaras were a rich aural treat for the rasikas. The other numbers included ‘Ramanai Bhajithal' and ‘Eppo Varuvaro.' Sanjeev's (violin) expertise was revealed in his deft handling of the ragas and swara sallies. Skandasubramaniam (mridangam) soft-pedalled with right tenor and decibel level on the percussion wing.

The devotional hymns sung by Kadayanallur Ganapathy Thukaram Maharaj and party set the mood for bhakti among the audience. Satyanarayana Bhajan Mandal's mahila vibhag rendered soul-stirring bhajans.

Rajhesh Vaidya's veena recital with accompanists, Mohanram (mridangam), Paramasivam (ganjira), Subramanian (ghatam) and Chandrajit (tabla), was a contrast to all the other concerts held in the series. It was not sowkhyam music but western jazz with full of sound and fury signifying nothing. Except for the opening Navaragamalika varnam in two speeds, the rest of the numbers disappeared in the din and decibel level caused by the team. The members vied to out beat each other and thus spoiled the serenity of the session. The vainika's constant sign to the man in charge of the sound system to increase the sound was irritating. Even the last number ‘Bho Shambo,' played in the same manner met with similar fate. The organisers will do well not to have such recitals in future.

Juniors slot

Vani Ramamurthy (disciple of Ranjani and Gayatri) exploits her captivating voice to the fullest and endears herself to the listeners with her wholesome package of compositions. After an impressive delivery of ‘Sri Saraswathi Namosthuthe,' her Kalyani raga delineation for the kriti, ‘Amma Raavamma' and Saveri for ‘Sankari Sadguru Chandramukhi,' in a voice delving with ease into the manthara sthayi and an expansive niraval and kalpanaswaras for the latter, revealed her skill. revealed her unity of vision linked alapana Raghuram (violin) and Manikandan (mridangam) were the accompanists.

Amrita Sekhar's interpretation of Kamalamba Navavarna kritis in the nine ragas was an aural treat for the audience. Raghuram (violin) and Sekhar (mridangam) accompanied her.

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Printable version | May 21, 2020 1:51:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/the-sublime-and-the-pedestrian/article3283624.ece

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