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Music Season
The Chennai December Festival

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Music Season

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MYLAPORE FINE ARTS CLUB

Presented in an interesting format

H. RAMAKRISHNAN

What Charulatha Mani offered was a concert-cum-lec-dem.

PHOTO: K.V. SRINIVASAN

EDUCATIVE: Charulatha Mani.

Charulatha Mani provided a totally different fare when she chose to make it a concert-cum-lecture-demonstration. Chembai, MDR and even Semmangudi in his later days used to interact with the audience. The conservative among the music lovers would not allow such liberties.

Charulatha frankly confessed that she could not help it, especially after her foray into the musical journey programmes that she has been conducting. Either before or after every piece, she not only sang the arohana-avarohana of the raga, but also demonstrated a few raga phrases and sancharas. She presented the pallavi of several compositions in the same raga. The audience enjoyed the fare, a few even finding it educative. Charulatha chose Papanasam Sivan’s Rithigowla composition ‘Thathvamariya Tharama’ as the opening piece after a brief virutham, ‘Paalum Theli Thaenum.’ The niraval was at the usual ‘Mathisekaran makane.’ The credit goes to Madurai Mani Iyer for popularising this song.

She went on to delineate Bindumalini, a janya of Chakravakam. It was indeed a river flowing in a mountainous terrain. She presented a few breath-taking swara sancharas. Tyagaraja’s bhava-laden ‘Entha Muddo Entha Sogaso’ came out with all its supple charm. The saint has chosen this particular raga for this composition not without reason. ‘Who can describe your beauty and magnificence, O Rama?’ Tyagaraja wonders.

While V. Suresh Babu on the violin offered a brief but excellent exposition of the raga, S.J. Arjun Ganesh on the mridangam provided soft support to the piece.

Muthuswamy Dikshitar has sung in praise of the numerous temples that he had visited. One such is the Pasupatheeswara temple in Kashmir. He had chosen Siva Panthuvarali, popularly known as Subha Panthuvarali for this kriti. She explained the Dha-Ga prayoga that gives an element of poignancy to the tune. She gave glimpses of ‘Ennalloorage’ of Tyagaraja and ‘Sri Sathyanarayanam’ of Dikshitar too. The madhyama kaala lines ‘Soaka Haram Subhaphalapradhakaram’ was selected for niraval and kalpanaswara. She will do well to curb the inclination to use higher decibels in the upper notes. Kulsekhara Azhwar’s ‘Sediyaya valvinaikal theerkkum’ provided the prelude for Ambujam Krishna’s ‘Enna Solli Azhaiththaal’ in Kanada. She then gave glimpses of ‘Sukhi Evaro,’ ‘Sri Narada’ and ‘Alai paayuthe.’

Syama Sastri’s Bhairavi Swarajathi was the main piece. She didn’t forget to demonstrate Koluvai, both the Upacharamu kritis, ‘Balagopala’ and ‘Yaro Ivar Yaro’. Charulatha need not have switched between lower and higher octaves for the first two swaras and sahityas. Taking such liberties may not be the means to showing respect to the great composer. ‘Syamakrishna Sodhari’ was taken up for niraval and kalpanaswara.

Arjun Ganesh followed each phrase meticulously. He began the Mishra chapu solo in the difficult Thisra nadai, but with superb laya control. Charulatha Mani concluded the concert-cum demonstration with a thillana.

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