Intellectual flourishes

commanding voice Captivating, yet short of sublime moments Photo: V. Ganesan

commanding voice Captivating, yet short of sublime moments Photo: V. Ganesan  

MUSIC Sudha Raghunathan's concert had a scholarly disposition to it

T he Mysore Music Association had arranged a vocal concert by Sudha Raghunathan, an accomplished singer of acknowledged talent and rich repertoire. B.V. Raghavendra (violin), Palladam Ravi (mridanga) and R. Raman (morsing) accompanied the singer. The programme was in memory of Jayachamaraja Wadiyar, a composer of high eminence.

Energetic flow at all levels characterised the show: the numbers replete with brilliant flow of manodharma: yet, some felicitous some superfluous. Further, the numbers trod faster paces than was necessary. As a direct consequence, the movements suffered with lack of such experience, which could usher the listeners into a state of quietude, expected in such circumstance where a singer of her calibre was in picture.

Relatively, the only composition potent enough to cast a bewitching mantle over the listeners was Dikshitar's “Renukadevi Samrakshamam” in Kannada Bangala. Her commanding voice fortified with fine timbre suffused with emotive expressions fully treated the lyrics sublimating into the desirable mood of Bhakthi, the presentation deriving a share of its sheen from the very nature of the raga too.

The selected compositions had spiritual subtleties ingrained in them in addition to the element of devotion common to the art form: and such compositions warranted reasonable understanding about and deep insight into the nature of their contents, which set apart such compositions from the ones of sentimental significance.

Now, observe Jayachamaraja Wadiyar's compositions – “Shri Jaalandharam” (Gambhiranata), “Chintayami Jagadambam” (Hindola), and “Paripahimam Shri Varalakshmi” (Shubhapantuvarali). In them, one invariably finds references to the significance of Shatchakra-s in the process of spiritual practices.

In the same light, consider Thyagaraja's – “Swara Raga Sudharasa” (Shankarabharana), which once again reiterates the depth of the principal objectives any musician has to dive into in order to comprehend the full import of the composition. When that cardinal element is belittled by any means, the expressions turn out to be abstract tunes, though they may appear superbly exhilarating to the senses. On this score, the present concert painted a bleak picture.

The general pace adapted in reciting lyrics (Sanskrit) could not support the expected clarity and impost. Considering the gravity of the subject matter under interpretation, the emphases were more on scholarly sophistication than on disseminating the expected subliminal contents.

Further, a softer approach while developing the alapana and framing the swarakalpana would have animated them with marveling musical delicacies, in addition to an atmosphere of wonderment the learned singer was able to create instantly.

Had the artiste trod a simple path, Hindola would have shone with captivating grandeur and fascinating sweetness, the exceptional voice and the ardently acquired competence of this singer was unswervingly capable of materialising. This measure would have completely prevented sudden gushes of bhirkas executed under the spell of the surging extempore.

Other interesting numbers constituting the concert were “Maathe Malayadhvaja” (Daru - Muthayya Bhagavathar), “Shri Maha Ganapathim” (Atana - Jayachamaraja Wadiyar), “Mangalavaradayaki” (Kadanakuthuhala – GNB), “Bhaavayaami” (Yamuna Kalyani – Annamacharya) and so on.

V. Nagaraj

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