Quintessence of melody
Violinist T. N. Krishnan and his son Sriram performing at the Music Academy. - Pic. by K. V. Srinivasan.
IT IS the keen and penetrative perception of the rakti swaroopa of ragas and kirtanas that sustains the greatness of violinist T. N. Krishnan whose musing melody is sukham incarnate. His recitals are heart-felt by the rasikas and not just enjoyed. The remarkable feature in his playing technique is his effusive sensitivity. His alapana journeys start with subtleties of manodharma, ending with a rhapsodical portrait of the raga leaving a lingering luxuriance of meditative exposition. What is music, if not mellifluous streams, which in the case of Krishnan spreads all over the auditorium.
The melodic rendering of songs at his hands provides the pleasurable anubhava in understanding the creative depths of vaggeyakaras. They represent the cream of Trinity culture. The question that often arises is: "Wherefrom has Krishnan got this brilliance?" The spartan grooming by accompanying giant musicians, particularly Ariyakkudi, is the thread that connects him to musical finesse and the flavour of Papa Venkataramaiah's nuances is radiantly reflected in the richness of his art. Krishnan sets his own lofty standards by which he expects his rasikas to rate him. The shared experience between the listeners and Krishnan marks the unique quality of his concerts. Nothing he plays which is not aesthetically and classically blessed.
Krishnan's Music Academy concert on the New Year Day was illumined by his reverential vision of the ragas Sahana, Atana, Todi, Suruti and Devagandhari, and invigorated and sublimated by brevity. His presentation transcended the limitations of scales, swaras and sancharas. It was a pervasive excellence of melodic dominance. It epitomised the profound power of his intuition and a limitless capacity for creating an aura of contemplative exaltation.
The cutcheri went beyond sheer expression in total surrender to the call of Sri Tyagaraja. For, how else would the rasikas have felt after hearing the kritis "Giripai", "Anupama Gunaanbudi", "Koluvamaregada", "Gitaar Tamu" and "Ksheerasagara Sayana". It was not just musical receptivity, but a revelation. There was nothing in them to indicate petty gains or ephemeral satisfaction, but a devoted response to the impulse of the core of Carnatic music working steadily towards a supremely sublime consummation. If great music casts a spell of a feeling of the precious moments of solitude, Krishnan conveyed it in a good measure. In the company of his equally gifted son Sriram, the programme was intense, glowing and exceptionally exquisite and hovered all the time over ecstatic realms. Like flower and fragrance, father and son provided meticulous, melodious classicism. The strains of the strings in full joyous flow drew admiration and envy at the same time. What more evidence was needed about the power of Krishnan's music than the totally subdued gentle way Tiruvaroor Bhaktavatsalam handled the mridangam along with Vaikkom Gopalakrishnan (ghatam). The tuneful resonances of his beats chimed well with Krishnan's lyricism.
The comment by a few rasikas leaving the hall after the concert: The Music Academy can arrange Krishnan's concert on New Year Day every year as a fitting finale to the festival. In the afternoon concert, the contents of the programme of Vasundara Rajagopal were marked by maturity. The raga pictures of Ananda Bhairavi, Kalyani and Nattakurinji in her mind and their characteristic appeal were laid before the listeners in telling expression.
The smooth and open-throated flow of her voice facilitated her to give attractive shape to her musical imagery. No inclination to gimmicky was to be discerned in her musical make-up. The plus point was the restraint she observed in alapanas and swaras. The dignity of the concert was preserved by the items _ "Swaminatha" (Nattai), "Entaraani" (Hari Kambhoji), "Marivere" (Ananda Bhairavi), and "Etaavunaraa" (Kalyani) rendered without vocal extravagances. T. Hemamalini (violin) and Koviladi Madhava Prasad (mridangam) accompanied without hurting the flow of Vasundara Rajagopal's musical process.
Chinmaya Sisters' strong point was methodical rendering of the kritis, "Siddhi Vinaayakam" (Mohanakalyani), "Seshachala Nayakam" (Varali) and "Evarimata" (Kambhoji). Varali and Kambhoji were chosen for alapana on predictable lines without any feeling for the raga bhava. V. Srikanth (violin) and G. K. Ganesh (mridangam) kept the accompanying wing carefully.
Saveri formed the main item in the recital of Mambalam Sisters Vijayalakshmi and Chitra. Making it as attractive as possible seemed to be their main objective by the way they racily rendered the kirtanas "Sri Jaalandara" (Gambira Nattai) with unnecessary swaras when a lilting chittaswara adorns the song) and "Sri Paartha Saaratina" (Suddha Dhanyasi), "Sri Kama Koti Stithe" (Saveri) was well rendered. Jyotsna Srikanth on the violin and Sankaranarayanan on the mridangam were co-operative.
Geetha Rajasekhar's quiet approach to cutcheri pantha did not go well with the present day trend of pace and punch. "Tyagaraja Yoga Vaibavam" (Ananda Bhairavi), "Biranavara" (Kalyani) and "Ninne Bhajana" (Nattai) were the weighty items she presented. She had to carry the cross of the violinist Meera Sivaramakrishnan. Kallidaikurichi Srikumar (mridangam) and S. V. Ramani (ghatam) were adequate. Jayaprada Ramamurthy (flute) impressed with her smooth blowing. Both training and her own understanding contributed to the fairly decent level of presentation.
"Ninne Nammiti" (Simhendramadhyamam) and "O! Rangasayee" were the main kirtanas with Kambhoji raga alapana well managed. Mohana Krishnan played the mridangam
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