Delight of twin legacy
M. R. Subramaniam
IT IS not very often that audiences are as eager at the close of a kutcheri. This was one such special moment for young M. R. Subramaniam who obliged the rare gathering of Hamsadhwani's rasikas with many evergreen devotional songs. Nor does one ordinarily come across two distinguished styles of singing co-existing in one individual. Subramaniam, a disciple of P. S. Narayanaswami, keeps the Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer legacy alive. But he also represents the formidable heritage of Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Iyengar, thanks to his tutelage under late K. V. Narayanaswamy.
When Subramaniam began "Irakkam Varamal Ponadenna Karanam En Swami,'' after a mellifluous alapana in Behag, it was as if he was just beginning all afresh and raring to go.
Again, "Ramanai Tharuvai Jagathrakshaka,'' the Arunachalakavi song in Sindhubhairavi and the Tyagaraja kriti in Varali, "Eti Janmamidira,'' were imbued with passion. "Jagadoddharana," "Male Manivanna'' and the Gopalakrishna Bharathi kriti, "Enneramum Undan Sannidhiyile'' in Devagandhari were sung with great conviction and devotion at the tail end of the performance.
It was the Kalyani varnam, "Vanajakshi'' which set the tone for Subramaniam's recital that evening. He followed it with "Ramabhakthi Samrajyam" thereafter with swara prastharams in brisk short spells. The undergraduate student of engineering soon gave evidence of his range and supreme confidence in traversing the higher octave. Panthuvarali was given a grand treatment during the raga exposition and the momentum was just right for the Tyagaraja song set to roopaka talam. The neraval on "Vedasastra Purana Vidyalache'' was a reassurance that Subramaniam indeed understood the nuances of what he sang.
The Tiruppavai in Hamirkalyani was an interesting interlude between Panthuvarali and Sankarabharanam. Again, "Devi Jagad Janani Dehi Krupaya Mama," the Swati Tirunal composition bore the hallmark of a highly trained and imaginative young musician. The rapid phrases in the alapana gave the impression that he was perhaps excessively conscious of the time factor. But then, endowed with a flexible voice, the grandson of Ayyalore Krishnan (a rising star in the Carnatic horizons decades ago), could bring home the impact of free-flowing gamakam and kalpana swaram on listeners.
R. Ambikaprasad on the violin, though tentative in patches, provided able support on the whole. The percussion solo of M R Srikrishnan on the mridangam was an impressive display of skill and temperament.
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