Margazhi melodies Chennai

Remembering Lalgudi, the incurable romantic

Anil Srinivasan (piano), Lalgudi G.J.R. Krishnan (violin), and B.S. Purushotham (kanjira) performed at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha on Thursday   | Photo Credit: Handout_E_Mail

Lalgudi G. Jayaraman was deeply inspired by the beauty he saw in nature and his compositions reflected that, said speakers at ‘An Incurable Romance’ — a lecture concert dedicated to the memory of the violin maestro and his wife Rajalakshmi — held on Thursday.

His son and violin artist, Lalgudi G.J.R. Krishnan, pianist Anil Srinivasan and kanjira artiste B.S. Purushotham, along with author Lakshmi Devnath, who penned An Incurable Romantic, the authorised biography of Lalgudi, presented different facets of the musician-composer to a rapt audience at the packed Sri Krishna Gana Sabha hall.

Reading out excerpts from the book, Ms. Devnath said Lalgudi would tell his students not to abruptly abandon a musical phrase. Like a creeper that descends gracefully, the notes too should fall gently, he would insist.

The artistes began with a charming medley of varnams, composed by Lalgudi, combining ragas Bahudari, Shanmukhapriya, Athana, Mohana Kalyani, Valaj, Nalinakanti and Charukeshi.

Recalling his experience recording the Dikshitar masterpiece ‘Meenakshi memudam dehi’ — for a now-popular album — with his father at HMV studio many years ago, Mr. Krishnan said, “We had taken ‘jamakalams’ from home to pad up the studio for better acoustics. We had to switch off the airconditioner because it made noise. We literally sweated it out to record that song.”

Mr. Krishnan, with sensitive accompaniment from Mr. Srinivasan and Mr. Purushotham, played snatches of compositions popularised by Lalgudi, such as ‘Nadaloludai’ in Kalyanavasantam, ‘Needayarada’ in Vasantabhairavi, ‘Sabhapatikku veru deivam’ in Abhogi, evoking spontaneous applause from a delighted audience.

Mr. Srinivasan highlighted certain parallels between great musicians in the Western tradition and Lalgudi with crisp demonstrations.

He played a few phrases from ‘Spiegel im Spiegel,’ the structure of which, he said, neatly corresponded with Lalgudi’s Nattaikurinji composition ‘Kandan seyal andro’.

Mr. Srinivasan also pointed to an essay, ‘Perspectives on New Music,’ by composer Arvo Part, where he says: “To understand complexity within a simplistic essence, listen to the music of South India... Specifically the rendition styles of T.R. Mahalingam or Lalgudi Jayaraman.”

The concert ended with a rendition of Lalgudi’s Desh tillana.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2021 6:48:59 AM |

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