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An atmosphere of tranquillity

THE OUTSTANDING impression that T. N. Krishnan, in his solo concert for Nadopasana, created was that his heart and soul were in establishing linkages with the aesthetic ideals of the past. This objective he realised by holding up to the listeners how a vaggeyakara like Sri Tyagaraja has moulded the ennobling values of the Carnatic music culture. When his effort was directed on these lines, it resulted in his intuitive perception being well matched by the aesthetics of expression. The music atmosphere was enveloped with Tyagaraja aradhana and so Krishnan composed his concert with Tyagaraja kritis.

What exactly is Krishnan's musical strength? He is a master in presenting any raga he takes up for alapana in striking profile - grand in sweep if it is a major raga and exquisitely tender and lyrical if it is a rakti raga. The directness of approach in grasping the swaroopa of a raga helps him achieve the objective he holds in view. Sankarabharanam and Bhairavi, coming one after another, were marked by amplitude of melody imparting sensitive identity to each. As sancharas progressed more and more of the beauteous facets of the two ragas unfolded. The way he handled Nilambari, Abheri and Desh, the graciousness of expression conferred an atmosphere of tranquillity. What is Carnatic music if it fails to confer peace? That music is richly appealing which provides a sound full stop after each sanchara in raga alapana to induce listeners to enjoy the lurking beauty of a raga. Krishnan's method is full of this characteristic. In the Nilambari, Abheri and Surati (Gitartamu) elaboration, Krishnan appeared to be conversing with his instrument underlining the fact that true musical exposition is not flaunting technical competence.

``Merusamana'' (Mayamalavagowla), the first song of the concert indicated the refinement that was to follow. ``Nenuduvedakuthura'' (Carnataka Behag) and ``Teliyaleru Rama'' (Dhenuka), Tyagaraja's melodies of intense pathos, were presented with contemplative preciseness. So was the Nilambari song ``Neeke Dayaraka'' with all its emotional depth. When he played the two major kirtanas ``Manasu Swadina'' (Sankarabharanam) and ``Koluvaiyunnade'' (Bhairavi), it was clear that Krishnan was conscious of the magnificence of the pieces.

The violin by Krishnan and mridangam by T. K. Murthy were co- operative handmaidens to the total aesthetic glow of the cutcheri, the string contributing sweetness, the percussive patterns illuminating laya perceptions. Harishankar (kanjira) tried to absorb the mental process of T. K. Murthy in the tani.

Hamsadhwani organised a function to felicitate its secretary, R. Ramachandran and Nithyashree Mahadevan on receiving the ``Kalaimamani'' award. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, N. Ram, V. V. Sundaram, A. Natarajan and Nalli Kuppuswami Chetti spoke in great detail about the way Ramachandran built up the sabha and the rapidity with which Nithyashree has shot up as a luminous star in the music firmament.

The theme of the speeches was their amazing accomplishment in a short span and in the process referred to the rejuvenation taking place in Carnatic music, thanks to the services of music sabhas like Hamsadhwani and younger artistes like Nithyashree. Ramachandran in his response listed the names of all those who have been of great help in building up the stature of the sabha. Nithyashree, in a similar vein, referred to the encouragement she has been receiving from all those interested in the promotion, propagation and popularisation of Carnatic music here and abroad.

Following the function, in the short duration at her disposal, Nithyashree gave a concert comprising mainly the items ``Gajananayutham'' (Chakravakam), ``Smarane Sukhamu'' (Janaranjani) and ``Pakkala Nilabadi'' (Karaharapriya).

Understandably, the last item was given the most favoured treatment by way of passionate elaboration of the raga Karaharapriya to justify the epithet Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer conferred on her as one with a ``24 carat golden voice''. The song was well rendered. She was ably accompanied by M. A. Krishnaswamy (violin) I. Sivakumar (mridangam) S. Karthick (ghatam) and A. S. Krishnan (morsing).

- SVK.

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