Blending the subtle with the rich

THE ACCURACY of a raga alapana or the rendering of a kirtana is not the main task that a sensitive and refined musician keeps in view. Such a one sings or plays, if he is an instrumentalist, addressing himself to the specific beauties of a raga or a composition. By the way he builds the cutcheri he reveals to the listeners his inherent musical perspective. At such a concert the rasikas can distinguish the genuinely good from the general mediocrity. The spontaneity of the exposition awakens the higher purpose of music. To a great extent, the performance of violin solo by Sriram Parasuram at the Krishna Gana Sabha exemplified these norms. Music blended with delicacy and dexterity, subtle lines and rich tone, a lyrical mode of expression, sanitised purity of raga lines formed the main features of his play. The way he breathed life into the ragas and songs showed that his concert vichara was closely woven with sangita vichara. His understanding of the place of gana-naya in music contributed to the delights of his handling. He saw to it that each sanchara had a purpose set to accomplish the aim kept in view.

The raga alapanas of Mohana Kalyani, Dwijavanti, Atana, Hamsanadam and Abheri stood out as regards musical values. With such competence a rasika could not expect him to keep away from show of speedy fingering fecundity now and then. While in general alapanas provided melodic variety, his image of Dwijavanti took a turn to a contemplative mode. The song list included "Siddhi Vinayakam" (Mohana Kalyani), "Cheta Sri" (Dwijavanti), "Anupama Gunaambudhi" (Atana), "Banduriti" (Hamsanadam) and "Nagumomu" (Abheri) in the first one-and-a-half hours of the concert. They were racily played. One aspect, if it can be called a drawback, is that no major raga or song found a place during that duration to lend grandeur and nobility to the concert. Secondary ragas took the stage.

Guruvayur Dorai (mridangam) was perhaps over-stimulated to make his beats sound like thunderclaps. H. Sivaramakrishnan (ghatam) was a poor onlooker.

In her performance for Sri Thyagaraja Seva Samiti on Bahula Panchami day, Nisha Rajagopal never erred on the side of over-indulgence in alapanas and swaraprastharas. In her expository effort the crystal clear pleasant voice in the higher reaches lent a touch of shimmering lustre with not a speck of flamboyancy. The silken smoothness of her sancharas in Ritigowla ("Dwaitamu Sukhama") was melodically upbeat and aesthetically fluent. But the pride of place in the whole recital went to her short and charming Devagandhari image followed by an unfamiliar but highly elevating kirtana, "Sri Raghuvara." Hearing again and again the over-worked "Ksheerasagara," the new kirtana she introduced was refreshingly mind-gripping. In this respect, Nisha's effort is commendable.

Earlier, "Gurulekha" (Gowrimanohari), "Rama Bhakti" (Suddha Bangla) and "Eevaraguchu" (another lilting but neglected Sankarabharanam song) gave a flying start to the recital.

What a contrast of utter incompetence was presented by violinist R. Satish Kumar. Nellai Balaji on the mridangam was fully in tune with the delicate style of Nisha Rajagopal.