Where violin and vocal were well-matched

TODI IS not only the most easily identifiable raga but it also offers immense scope for alapana, provided the artiste has imaginative prowess. Mohan Santhanam exploited this raga to full advantage and after step-by-step alapana sang Dikshitar's matchless ``Shri Krishnam bhajamanasa'' in the correct patanthara, at his Hamsadhwani concert. Violinist Sanjeev gave added glamour to the vocalist's exercise with beautiful phrases, and the duel worked up great interest with the rasikas giving a big hand at the end. This was followed by a tani avarthanam by the U.S. based Kumar Kanthan (a disciple of Karaikudi Mani). His laya prowess was in full flow.

Mohan Santhanam's Sahana alapana for Tyagaraja's ``Raghupaterama'' was quite moving, heightened by the violinist's matching response. The speedy swara duel between the vocalist and the violinist in Tyagaraja's ``Tatvameruga'' (Garudadhwani) was quite exciting and served as a good launching pad for the reposeful Dikshitar kriti.

One of the current favourites for a galore of sangatis is Vyasaraya's ``Krishnanebegane'' in Yamuna Kalyani. Mohan Santhanam received applause most deservedly for bringing out the emotional fervour of the composer. ``Paramatmudu'' (Tyagaraja- Vagadeeswari) ``Bagayenayya'' (Chandrajyoti), ``Gajavadana'' (Purandaradasa-Hamsadhwani), ``Dikkuteriyadakattil'' (ragamalika), ``Kanavendamo'' and Lalgudi's Bagesri tillana registered well.

It was vintage music all the way at veteran musician-musicologist Rajalakshmi Santhanam's concert at the Tyagaraja Sangita Vidwat Samajam. With a none too co-operative voice (due to age) she managed it very skilfully and with zest, concentrating on her alapanas in the lower octave with bhava-laden phrases, especially in Kharaharapriya and Shanmugapriya and songs chosen in these ragas were Tyagaraja's ``Korisevimparare'' and ``Vaddanevaru'', which are not frequently heard.

The former is the third of the Kovur pancharatnam kritis and the artiste sang swaras in the style of yesteryear musicians. In the Shanmugapriya kriti her neraval and swaras at ``Dariteliyu'' were praiseworthy. The alapana in Nasikabhushani as well as the song ``Maaravairi'' revealed sound technique. This was an all- Tyagaraja concert and Rajalakshmi who began with ``Ninnebhajana'' (Nattai) followed it up with ``Nannukannatalli'' (Kesari). A few chic swaras for ``Nadasudharasambilanu'' (Arabhi) added verve. She concluded her recital with a ragamalika homage to his guru Tyagaraja by Manambuchavadi Venkatasubba Aiyar and the bard's heart-moving ``Tavadasoham'' in Punnagavarali for a fitting finale.

Jayanthi Keshav (violin) and Thirupoonthurthi V. Viswanathan (mridangam) gave good support.