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Divine Mandari

M. RAMESH

Prapancham Sitaram’s concert proved that the best of Carnatic music still lies with the old school.

Photo: s. r. raghunathan

TRADITIONAL APPROACH: Prapancham Sitaram.

Dr. Prapancham Sitaram’s concert for Thiagaraja Sangeetha Vidwat Samajam could serve as an excellent example for those who believe that the best of Carnatic music still lies with the old school.

A flautist of over half a century of experience, Dr Sitaram played a divine Mandari for his audience.

His style is one in which the alapana ends in phrases that progressively grow smaller and milder until the notes merge into silence.

Elaborate alapanas

Mandari, a derivative of Panthuvarali, which skips the daivatam is a tricky raga and a mis-step could lend the artiste in either the mother raga or Amruthavarshini.

But veteran Sitaram, in his elaborate alapana, did well to avoid any shades of Panthuvarali though a mild suggestion of Amruthavarshini could not be avoided.

Tyagaraja’s ‘Paralokabhaya’ was taken up and was played superbly, though, presumably owing to paucity of time, there was no niraval.

M.A. Sundareswaran on the violin played with enthusiasm. In keeping with the atmosphere of the temple dedicated to Tyagaraja, all but one (‘Yare Rangana’ of Purandara Dasa in Hindolam) of Dr Sitaram’s presentations, were of the saint composer. Tyagaraja.

Earlier, Dr Sitaram played an enjoyable Bilahari (‘Tolijanmamu’ of Tyagaraja).

The focus of the artist seemed to be to provide the essence of the raga without embarking on an exploration mission into its depths.

Notable among the other presentations were the pancharatna kriti, Saadinchina and Evarikai avataramu in Devamanohari.

With two other veteran accompanists, Thanjavur Subramanian on the mridangam and Prof. N Govindarajan on the ghatam, the concert turned out to be a splendid one.

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