An ace all the way


Presenting a three-pack set of an old violin concert of Lalgudi Jayaraman and Srimathi Brahmanandam.

An excellent violin duet concert performed decades ago by Lalgudi Jayaraman and his sister Srimathi Brahmanandam, has been brought out by Swathi Soft Solutions as a three-pack audio CD. The duo has been accompanied by the legendary Palghat Mani Iyer on the mridangam. Mani Iyer’s son Palghat Rajamani provides the second mridangam accompaniment.

The selection of songs is a judicious mix of popular and rarely heard ones. The raga chaya of Sri Ragam gets established with just the rishaba note with which Lalgudi commences the phrase of the melody before embarking on the Karur Devudu Iyer varnam (‘Sami Ninne’) rendered in two speeds. The manner in which the violinists play the varnam assures the listener that a delectable treat is in store.

The obstacle remover Ganesha is invoked with the Muthuswamy Dikshitar composition, ‘Sri Maha Ganapathi’ (Gowlai-Misra chapu). Kalpanaswaras are not played, as the artistes choose to render the sollukattu chittaswaram in a combination of three speeds.

Energetic rendition

Begada is a brief essay which displays the rakti raga in its full splendour within a short span. Tyagaraja is the chosen composer for the next five songs which follow. ‘Brochevarevare’ in Sriranjani is an energetic rendering with the kalpana swaras alternating between the gandharam and daivatham notes which are played for the opening lyric of the pallavi.

Swara playing is highly aesthetic and is reflective of the duo’s manodharma and meticulous approach. Brisk renditions of ‘Sarasiruhanana’ (Mukhari-adi ) and ‘Ide Bhagyamu’ (Kannada- Misra Chapu ) come galloping in majestic style.

The Kannada composition is a rarely heard piece. The kalpanaswaras for the Kannada kriti which includes a kuraippu is a sheer delight to listen to. Amazing swara patterns are woven in the solfa excercise for this song, and it does create a symphony effect as mentioned in the inlay card.

The first disc comes to a close with the ‘Pornasadjam’ song, ‘Lavanya Rama.’ The lesiurely vinyasa of Natakurinji is arresting with time tested phrases in abundance. ‘Manasuvishaya’ is a weighty kriti and is played with its lilting sangatis and kalpanaswaras for the pallavi. The tani avartanam is expectedly of a very high order.

Both the mridangams have a very similar tonal quality and sound like accompaniment by a single artiste. The ‘vallinam’ and ‘mellinam’ playing during the tani avartanam with total sruti adherence offers listening pleasure.

The sruti of the mridangams is never adjusted during the entire concert which speaks volumes of the attention given to the maintenance of the instruments and the deep sruti gnanam of the percussionists.

Lalgudi has a special liking for the compositions of Garbapurivasar ands has been heard to play quite a few of the composers’ creations. In this recital, ‘Koniyadatharama’ (Vakulabharanam-Adi) is played without the raga sounding like a mixture of Mayamalavagowlai and Thodi.

The individual hue of Vakulabharanam comes out crystal clear. Tyagaraja in his Balahamsa composition, ‘Viraaja Turaga,’ requests Lord Vishnu to help him maintain a pure physique and righteous living. The chittaswara appendage to the composition is a masterly creation. ‘Bhairavi,’ is the raga offered on a wide canvas preceding the crisp thanam and the intricate pallavi in misra rupakam. Ragamalika swaras in the lullaby raga, ‘Nilambari,’ and the raga of dawn ‘Bowli’ are followed by solfa passages in ‘Bahudari’ (with a gopucham ending), Kuntalavarali, Ranjani and Hindolam.

A Thirupugazh in ragamalika and a tillana in Behag are the final numbers of this enjoyable concert.

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