Facets of classicism
WITH THE conference president, Vidushi Sikkil. V. Kunjumani in the chair, the morning sessions of the 76th Conference of the Music Academy, got under way as the Brihad Kalyan Group of Brihaddhwani rendered Sri Ganesa Ghana raga Panchaka kritis of Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar with devotion. Dr. V. V. Srivatsa, Convenor of the morning conference, welcomed the gathering and introduced the theme of this year's conference ``Classicism in Carnatic Music."
The first presenter of the inaugural session was Dr. Pramila Gurumurti of the Department of Indian Music of the Madras University, who gave a lecture-demonstration on the contribution of Tamil to classicism in Carnatic music.
Musical references from ancient Tamil literature, the in between period devoid of a clear musical system, the Tevara and Divya Prabandham period, which led to major culmination music and literature were all explained by the speaker with suitable illustrations, establishing both the musical and literary contribution of Tamil to classicism. Prof. S. R. Janakiraman, member, Advisory Council and the conference President made their observations.
Under Dr. V. Raghavan Sashtiabdapoorti Endowment, a dance lec-dem was presented featuring Margi Sathi in Nangiar Koothu, an integral part of Kudiyattam, the Sanskrit theatre tradition. The presenter, who has worked with some of the doyens of the tradition like Maani Madhava Chakyar, has made her own new choreography and performance manual (Aattaprakaram) for the traditional theme of Ramayana, titled, ``Sree Ramacharitam Nangiar Koothu." In her lecture (read by Margi Rama Iyer), Sathi explained the methodology, choreography, Nirvahana (Enactment) and the different nuances of the technique. She demonstrated a Nirvahana of Sree Krishna charitam and a detailed enactment of a Sanskrit verse from Sree Rama Charitam, focusing on the Swayamvara of Sita.
The second day's session began with the rendering of Oothukkadu Navaavarana Kritis by Kanakamma Natarajan Group.
The first lecture was delivered by Dr. Radha Venkatachalam, Faculty of the music department, Delhi University, on the subject of Raga Aalapana techniques.
At the outset, the speaker gave the definition of the term Alaapana and outlined its characteristics. Textual references relating to the technique, application of the technique for different ragas, and other details like the durational aspect of Aalapana were discussed at length by the speaker.
Dr. Gnanambikai Kulendran, Professor Emeritus, Department of Music, Tamil University, Thanjavur, made the second presentation of this morning, under an Empowerment Nachimuthu Gounder Rukmini Ammal Trust. Dr. Gnanambikai, focused on the uniqueness of the compositions of Sirkazhi Moovar. Muthu Tandavar, Marimutha Pillai and Arunachala Kavirayar musical trinity of Sirkazhi and their musical output, the devotional content of their own positions were dealt with by the speaker in detail with illustrations. The third day's session began with devotional music by Geeta Nivedana Trust, consisting of the compositions of Sri Sadasiva Brahmendra.
The first lecture of the morning was by K. N. Srinivasan on Swaraantya Ragas (Brinda Varadarajan Memorial Endowment by Dr. M. G. Varadarajan) followed by a Sanskrit Harikatha exposition of the Dasavatara, by the students of the Sarvaraya Harikatha Patasala, under the Endowment of P. B. Sarvarayulugaru .
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