Friday Review

Display of musical ingenuity

T.M. Krishna in concert in Palakkad. Photo: Special arrangement   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

There cannot be two opinions on T.M. Krishna’s superlative creativity, his vast musical acumen, rich repertoire, reverberating voice and superb sense of sahitya. But his transgressions of the time-tested and accepted tradition of concert pattern in recent years have raised many an eyebrow. He has been deviating from the conventional ‘kutcheri’ format in several ways.

Krishna may argue that there is no written rule or codified procedure stating that all musicians should adhere to a specific pattern. The counter point is that this practice has been adopted, accepted and followed by the great maestros of yesteryear as well as present-day musicians. Customs and conventions, not only in music, but in many other fields of activity, are deep rooted and carry conviction.

Krishna’s concert on the inaugural day of a fete in Palakkad had numerous positive and enjoyable features in spite of some deviations from the traditional pattern of Carnatic music concerts. The vocalist’s perfect sruti alignment and admirable ingenuity were clearly noticeable in all his renditions.

He began majestically with Muthuswamy Dikshitar’s gem of a krithi on Vinayaka – ‘Kari kalabhamukha’ in Saveri. Clever manipulations in the niraval and intricate swara patterns captured the rasikas’ attention. No alapana was there for the next raga Hamsadhwani. Instead, he presented an elaborate thanam, adorning it with phrases of sparkling shades and blends. His expansive placements in the manthrasthayi were sheer magic. The powerful rendition of ‘Vaatapi Ganapathim’, another popular Dikshitar piece, was followed by scintillating swaraprastharas in vilambakala.

His refined artistry was visible in the delectable sketches of Kanada, Kambodhi, Lathangi and Sindhubhairavi in the soul-stirring sloka ‘Moulam Ganga’, a favourite of Semmangudi. It was succeeded by ‘Visweswara’, the evocative composition of Swati Tirunal in Sindhubhairavi. At this juncture, Krishna announced that the concert was not yet over (as the above song is usually rendered towards the end of the recital).

As suggested by the vocalist, violinist H.N. Bhaskar then played an enchanting Begada, embellishing it with classical sangathis. Without elaborating the raga, Krishna chose to render the Tyagaraja kriti ‘Lokaavanachathura’, with a splendid articulation of the sahitya. He followed it up with a lucid niraval and stopped at that, without any swarakalpanas. Taking up Reethigowla, he delved deep into the inherent bhava of the raga, exploring fully his deep manodharma. Charismatic sancharas lent depth to the alapana.

The spiritual content of Tyagaraja’s ‘Dwaitamu Sukhama’ was projected admirably in his marvellous interpretation. The racy ‘Ilalo Pranathaarthiharuta’, Tygaraja’s composition in Atana, suffixed with mindboggling swara clusters , received thunderous applause. He rounded off with a melodious Hindustani bhajan in Misra Khamas and the aesthetically rich ‘Karunarasa’ in Yamuna kalyani, which is on the Kanchi Paramacharya.

With all the above positive aspects, the connoisseurs still felt that the concert was not a full fledged one, for obvious reasons. Bhaskar gave a tremendous boost to the concert, with his brilliant display. His sweet raga portrayals and swara sallies bore the stamp of authenticity.

B. Sivaraman’s (mridangam) soft and subtle beats were a pleasure to listen to. His tani in Adi tala, beautified with intricate thisrams, was a grand show of percussive eminence. Trichy Krishna (ghatam) rose to the occasion with his dexterous strokes. The concert was organised in connection with the Kumbhabhishekam cultural festivities of the Sree Prasanna MahaGanapathy Temple, Chathapuram, Palakkad.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 8:35:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/superlative-creativity-in-tm-krishnas-fete-in-palakkad/article7301544.ece

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