Lustrous veena recital
Excellence of the performance of Veena E. Gayatri was a conscious process of creativity aimed at optimisation by professional expertise. A glowing and radiant veena tone constantly lent lustre to her precise and fluent flow of music in her Musiri Chamber concert. There was not even a faint suggestion of faltering or minimal sag in tonality. Korvais, loops, gorgeous sancharas in alapanas enhanced the mood of the ragas. There was no aspect of good music which she held back from listeners.
Pursuit of idealism in music is itself a sadhana. Music culture is refinement that implies diligent cultivation which was very much present in the way Gayatri played ragas, kirtanas and swaras. Of the three alapanas of Kanada, Todi and Hemavathy, the Kanada elaboration, short and sweet, was an expression of spontaneity with crisp and aesthetic sancharas.
She did not handle the raga just for its scale, but to provide an entire image of bewitching beauty. Studded with sensitively visualised phrasings, her Todi vinyasa carried emotional richness. The strains of the strings succeeded one another in comely sequence as a testimony to her well-cultivated discipline.
A lyrical mode of expression paid homage to pauses, tonal subtleties and her soft but firm meettu imparted eloquence to her rendering. There was sedate dignity in the way she placed the alapanas before the discerning listeners.
In the kirtana part of the programme, Gayatri nourished the Surati piece, ``Geethaartamu,'' articulating the sahitya with poetic intensity. Her interpretation of the song ``Ninne-namminaanu'' (Todi) brought out the brilliance of the composition unfolding its majesty.
Whether it was an alapana sanchara or rendering of a kirtana there was a ring of melodic authenticity revealing her conceptual comprehension of the subtleties of Veena nada. A rasika could very well sense on hearing her concert that realisation of sugam sangita deepens as it advances from the gross to the subtle. It was the dignity of veena music undiluted with silken smoothness and continuity. On the whole a concert dedicated to elegance and grace.
In the mridangist Madirimangalam Swaminathan and the ghatam artiste E.M. Subramaniam, Veena Gayatri had equally sensitive percussionists to embroider her songs with subdued sound pattern.
For Balaganamrutham, Gayatri Girish gave a vocal concert presenting herself as one falling between two schools - gradually abandoning her original moorings and pursuing a new style that is eluding her grasp, necessitating contrivance of voice. Beyond the thara sthayi shadja, the musical movements in her alapana of Hamsanadam, Sahana and Bhairavi were over-strained.
The phrasings darted back and forth without coming to grips with raga swaroopa except in the handling of Bhairavi (Tanayuni-Brova). Raghavendra Rao (violin), Melakkaveri Balaji (mridangam) and Purushottaman (kanjira) pursued their independent inclinations.
The performance of Gayatri Venkataraghavan for Naada Inbam was intensely vigorous, but all the same marked by serenity in interpretation. Swati Tirunal's songs were rendered.
She elaborated Vachaspati (Paahi-Jagat-Janani), Todi (Panka-Jaaksha) and Charukesi (Kripayaa-Paalaya), classical in content with tapering cadences enhancing the raga swaroopas.
The emotion and intrinsic feelings of each raga were revealed as her voice fondled them. It gained in sparkle as sancharas were layered in strata from the madhyama sthayi to the tharaya sthayi. Her technique showed she has a keen eye for subtleties of tone and as the alapanas progressed the rasikas could discern that Gayatri Venkataraghavan's main concern was the exposition of the pure beauty of the ragas and not any other consideration.
Her performance was far superior in quality to those of some men and women artistes who have gained fortuitously immense popularity with very little of noteworthy musical finesse to their credit.
It was rather difficult to assess the contribution of the vocalist and the violinist Akkarai Subbulakshmi. The visage of Vachaspati, Todi and particularly Charukesi was enchanting at the hands of the violinist.
The delineation of the ragas was admirably concise, carefully structured and feelingly expressed. B. Ganapathiram on the mridangam was a picture of poise with his rhythm balancing equally with the artistry of the main artiste.
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