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Music Season
The Chennai December Festival

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Music Season

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Soothing strains from the strings


Both Athira and N.R. Vedavalli provided a sumptuous fare on the violin and the veena respectively.

Photos: K.V. Srinivasan

Exquisite: Athira Krishna.

It is sometime since this writer came across a thavil-mridangam combination in a concert and the volin solo of L. Athira Krishna provided this opportunity. She started her concert with the all time favourite, ‘Viriboni,’ the Ata tala composition of Pacchimirium Sree Aadiappaiyer. She presented it in all three kalas in chathusra and thisra. Both Thiruvallikkeni Sekar on the special thavil and A.V. Manikandan on the mridangam gave spirited and lively support. T he soft touches of the mridangam came off better than the thunderous beats of the thavil.

Her next selection was ‘Varasikhivahana’ of Tyagaraja. Athira succeeded in delineating the full depth and range of raga Supradeepam. She then dwelt on Nadhabrahma, a composition of Misu Krishnaiyer in the raga Nadabrahmam. Misu Krishna Iyer’s compositions were very popular in the 1930s and 40s. Incidentally, Alathur Venkatesa Iyer had composed the chittaswara for this wonderful piece. Next came a nice Nalinakanti sketch and Tyagaraja’s ‘Manavyala Kinchara.’ Thavil was comforting in the pallavi. The Andholika piece ‘Raga Sudha Rasa’ was exquisitely sketched on the violin.

Bilahari, the main raga was given a superb and unrestrained treatment. All its hues and shades in all three octaves were presented with ease and grandeur. ‘Dorakuna…’ was the song. The absorbing thani of thavil and mridangam was an engaging exercise in complex rhythmic patterns.

N.R. Vedavalli.

The tail was long. ‘Meera bhajan Paayoji Mein Ne’ was attractively presented in Misra yaman, the Yadukula Khambodi piece, ‘Karuna Cheivan’ on Lord Guruvayurappan (Irayimman Thampi’s composition in Malayalam was popularised by Chembai.) Originally, it was set in Sri raga, a Hamsanandi Thiruppugazh, the Behag Javali of Maharaja Swati Tirunal and Papanasam Sivan’s Madhyamavati piece on Karpagambal provided the most appropriate and harmonious finale to Athira’s top class recital. She has the confidence and capacity to reach the top very soon.

It is indeed sad that the excessive importance given to vocal music has resulted in the total neglect of the veena and other instruments. It was a welcome change to listen to a good veena performance by N.R. Vedavalli, though afternoon 12.30 p.m. was hardly the appropriate time for it. Nevertheless Vedavalli provided a sumptuous fare to the ears and to the receptive minds.

Starting with Muthaiah Bhagavathar’s ‘Gam Ganapathe,’ she went on to ‘Naadha Thanumanisam.’ The Nalinakanti kriti ‘Manavinala kinchara’ brought to the fore her total grip on Laya. In this, both ‘Suri Upendra Narasimhan’ on the mridangam and Arul on the ghatam provided ample support.

The well-admired Saveri kriti ‘Muruga Muruga Enral’ came off with some soothing swaraprastara in Misra Chapu. She then chose Tyagaraja’s ‘Anupamagunambudhi’ in Atana. This Khanda chapu kriti was short and sweet. Hemavathi was the main piece. After raga delineation, she rendered the Thanam which was traditional in form. The swaraprastara and the thani were enjoyable.

Vedavalli concluded her brilliant performance with Annamacharya’s Behag piece, Narayanathe, Papanasam Sivan’s ‘Naanoru Vilayattu Bommaiya’ and ‘Saanthi Nilava Vendum.’ It is hoped that the sabhas would encourage veena artists, so that this lovely instrument would not slip into oblivion.

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Music Season

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