BOOK REVIEW

Versatile composer

H. Ramakrishnan

MUTHUSWAMY DIKSHITAR: Veeyesvee; Varam, an imprint of New Horizon Media Pvt. Ltd; 33/15, Eldams Road, Chennai-600018. Rs. 75.

MUTHUSWAMY DIKSHITAR, the most versatile of the Carnatic music composers, had early exposure not only to other forms of music, but also to several languages including Sanskrit. While many details of the life of Thyagaraja are well known, it is not the case with Dikshitar.

Dikshitar was born after his parents performed austerities at Vaitheeswarankoil. Muthuswamy, along with his two wives, accompanied a saint named Chidambaranatha Yogi to Kasi, where the Yogi initiated him in Sri Vidya and other esoteric methods of worship and the essence of the Vedas. While at Kasi, Dikshitar was drawn towards Hindustani music as well. While he took leave of the Yogi, Goddess Saraswathi is believed to have blessed him with a Veena. As per the Yogi’s direction, he came to Thiruttani, where an old man dropped a sugar candy into his mouth and disappeared.

Dikshitar burst forth into his first composition “Shrii naathaadi”. He then went on a pilgrimage visiting several temples and composing on different deities.

Practitioners and connoisseurs of music will find the book invaluable, as it offers sharp insights into rare incidents in Dikshitar’s life and the context and meaning of many of his compositions.

Veeyesvee, himself a noted music critic, has succeeded in creating a garland so rich in colour and flavour, any reader would be astonished by its spontaneous beauty and splendour.



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