94 ‘royal kritis' bound in a single volume

Monday will mark the beginning of the 93rd birth anniversary celebrations of the last maharaja of the princely state of Mysore, Jayachamaraja Wadiyar.

The occasion will be a milestone for Karnataka's fine arts and culture as S. Krishnamurthy's (grandson of Mysore Vasudevacharya) compilation of the maharaja's 94 ‘kritis' would be formally released in the book Srividya Gaanavaaridhi at Jaganmohan Palace in Mysore.

For Mr. Krishnamurthy, his years of association with Jayachamaraja Wadiyar, during the king's music classes under composer Vasudevacharya, proved rewarding. Mr. Krishnamurthy's knowledge of Western classical music brought him closer to the king, a gold medallist in Western classical piano at the Trinity College, London.

Struck a cord

“As I had also studied piano at Trinity [College], I was conversant with the Western notations. In every music class, I would convert the Carnatic notations to Western staff notations for the king as he played them on the piano and later learnt them vocally,” recalled Mr. Krishnamurthy. Mr. Krishnamurthy was also a musician at the palace orchestra, playing the piano and Jal Tarang. “As the king presented his compositions to Vasudevacharya and discussed the lyrics, ‘sangatis' and ragas, I would sit at a distance noting every minutia. I would meticulously present myself the next day, while the king would further revise it and give the composition a final shape,” he recalled.

What made Wadiyar's work rich was his chaste Sanskrit lyrics embedded in ragas and talas, noticeably different.

Jayachamaraja Wodeyar died in 1974. Even though Mr. Krishnamurthy's compilation of the kritis with notations were invaluable authentic versions prepared as and when they took shape, it wasn't available as a collective single source.

Wadiyar's son-in-law Raja Chandra took up the massive initiative of publishing this as homage to the royal composer and for Mr. Krishnamurthy's endeavour.

  • S. Krishnamurthy's compilation of Jayachamaraja Wadiyar's ‘kritis' to be released in Mysore today
  • Wadiyar's son-in-law Raja Chandra took the initiative to publish them

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