Artistes from the music fraternity — both Carnatic and Hindustani — paid rich tributes to violin exponent M.S. Gopalakrishnan, who passed away here on Thursday. Terming his death an irreparable loss to the world of music, they reflected on different aspects of MSG’s music and personality.
Senior musician M. Balamuralikrishna pointed to the rich tone of MSG’s violin. “It was so pitch-perfect that one would not even require a Tambura to maintain Shruti . He was one violinist who got his instrument to obey him – he could simply execute any musical idea using his fingers,” he said. MSG has accompanied Mr. Balamuralikrishna in hundreds of concerts. “We have travelled so much together. I like his style of accompaniment very much and his spontaneity would inspire me while on stage. I always saw MSG as an extension of the violin itself. His passing away is a huge loss.”
According to veteran musician T.V. Gopalakrishnan (TVG), who is also an exponent of both Carnatic and Hindustani traditions, MSG stood out in his “no compromise approach” to music. “His music was marked by purity, irrespective of the genre he was playing. The tone was particularly beautiful,” he said. The two musicians were office-bearers at the Guild of Music that TVG founded in 1972. “I was the secretary and he was the treasurer. He was an apt choice for the post – absolutely straightforward and professional,” Mr. Gopalakrishnan said.
Senior Hindustani musician Ajoy Chakraborty, who has been associated with MSG for 25 years, said he was an unparalleled genius in many respects. Observing that it was unfortunate that the national media did not adequately recognise the value of such musicians, he said: “He was so versatile. Whenever my disciples needed some clarification in technique, I would guide them to MSG. He was a fatherly figure who would willingly share his knowledge with others,” said Mr. Chakraborty, adding that MSG belonged to a generation of musicians that was magnanimous and open-minded. He could appreciate other artistes without any reservation, the musician observed.
Mr. Gopalakrishnan concurred, emphasising MSG’s “unbiased, generous outlook”, with which he trained several disciples.
“To him, it didn’t matter if he was teaching his own children, or other students. All that mattered was music. He did not have any time for networking or promoting himself – he was too busy practising.”
Artistes also pointed to MSG’s policy of presenting the best to his audience. He insisted on proportion and perfection – and that is why his concerts were well balanced, they observed.
Kalapini Komkali, Hindustani musician and daughter of the legendary Kumar Gandharva –Vasundhara Komkali, said the music world had lost a “creative genius”. “He was highly regarded among Hindustani musicians as well. “Few artistes have the perspective that MSG-ji had. It is, indeed, a great loss,” she said.
Mr. Gopalakrishnan also recalled MSG’s rather simple outlook to life. “I insisted that he learn to drive the car and he did. Oh, and his driving was just as smooth as his playing,” he said.