FRIDAY REVIEW

Semmangudi album

Kosmic 0492C/0502C/0512C/0522C (4 albums) - Carnatic Classical Vocal - Master Piece - Semmangudi R. Srinivasa Iyer - Rs. 200.

IT IS mentioned in the leaflet that the live concert of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer 43 years ago under the auspices of the Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai, has been released in a four-pack album for the benefit of young musicians of today and also for the older generation to take an enjoyable musical trip down memory lane. The accompanists are veterans M. S. Gopalakrishnan on the violin and Vellore Ramabhadran on the mridangam. The sale proceeds of this album will be in aid of the Sri Krishna Gana Sabha building fund.

``Vatapi Ganapathim," Dikshitar's evergreen kriti in Hamsadwani with its soothing imaginative madhyama kala swaras and energy charged dhurita kala sequences create the mood for an idyllic cutcheri setting. Tyagaraja's ``Mosabogu" in Gowlipantu sporting a pratimadhyamam with a spate of refreshing solfa chains and ``Kshinamai" of Tyagaraja, the much-favoured kriti of Semmangudi in Mukhari, were invested with superb, musical quality. The brief Begada essay, the song ``Lokavanachatura" and the Semmangudi hallmark of sarva laghu swaras are all peaches and cream.

Maharaja Swati Tirunal's compositions owe much to Harikesanallur Muthiah Bagavathar and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. The vidwan's delineation of Pantuvarali, Swati Tirunal's ``Sarasaksha," the niraval and the swaras are imposing efforts, perhaps not within the reach of many. MSG's expansion on the violin is a sublime exercise.

The enchanting elaboration of Salagabhairavi with light and classical shades, brilliant fast phrasings covering even the tara sthayi dhaivatam has a majestic aura. ``Padavini" of Tyagaraja and Dikshitar's ``Govardhana gireesam" in Hindolam are superb kriti versions. Sankarabharanam developed with gem like sancharas in the various sthayis evoke nostalgia. ``Enduku Peddala" of Tyagaraja receiving sophisticated treatment, the moving niraval for the lyrical sequence ``Veda Sastra" and the mesmerising slow and fast swara patterns with a variety of landing notes have a stamp of authority. The kalpana swaras for ``Dwaitamu sukhama" in Ritigowla and detailed raga vinyasa of Kiravani, the melody chosen for the ragam, tanam, pallavi segment are testament to a supreme artiste in total communion with his music. The tanam with verve and vigour, the neat pallavi in misra triputa, the impromptu swaras with rapier like precision and the ragamalika garland of Atana, Varali, Natakurinji, Narayanagowla and Kannada leave the rasika on cloud nine.

Semmangudi's viruttam in Hamsanandi, Mayamalavagowla, Bilahari and Shanmukhapriya is a virtual torrent of melody. Lilting javalis of Dharmapuri Subbarayar and Ramnad Srinivasa Iyengar, a Sivan composition in Shanmukhapriya and ``Sapasya Kausalya" by Panchapakesa Sastri comprise the rest of the programme. The percussion support by Vellore Ramabadran is immaculate. The name of the ghatam vidwan is not mentioned.

Semmangudi may have joined the rank of musicians in the cosmic world, but his rich, proud musical legacy will surely find an eternal niche in this earthly planet.

S.P.