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Cream of composers

To present a concert based on the compositions of great composers is not an easy task, but the ongoing Crème of 20th Century Composers Music Festival has tried to do it with some success, says VENKATESAN SRIKANTH



Syamala Venkateswaran performing at the CrŠme of 20th Century Composers Music Festival in New Delhi.

AT THE ongoing 19-day Creme of 20th Century Composers Music Festival, organised by New Delhi's Music Education Trust, in collaboration with Shri Shubha Siddhi Vinayaka Temple Society, Mayur Vihar, Phase I, at the temple's hall, rasikas have reasons enough to rejoice. For, either the organisers or the artistes themselves enlighten the listeners about the composers during the concerts. And each concert in the festival is devoted to composers that include such names as Mysore Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, Muthiah Bagavadar, Papanasam Sivan, Mysore Vasudevacharya, Tulasivanam, Ambujam Krishna, Tanjore Sankara Iyer, Koteswara Iyer, N.S. Ramachandran, etc. At the end of each concert, besides enjoying some good music, rasikas gain some theoretical knowledge too. These organisations deserve to be complimented for such efforts. To design and present a concert based entirely on the compositions of these composers is not an easy task.

Colourful Start

The festival had a colourful start, marred though by poor audio effect. It began with the concert of M.S. Sheela, presenting compositions of Mysore Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar. "Sri Jaalandhara" in the raga Ghambhira Nattai, as well as "kamakshi" in the raga Janaranjani were appealing. Apart from making a fine presentation of "Durga Devi", in raga Dharmavati, Sheela also presented a scintillating alapana of the raga. The niraval of the phrase, "naragatirava sarabeshwara priya", later, revealed her imaginative mind. It also reminded rasikas of her recordings in which she has rendered "Sri Lakshmi varaaham" (with a scintillating alapana of the raga Abhogi). K.V. Krishna (Hyderabad) on the violin, Delhi's M.V. Chandrasekhar on the mridangam and Nanganallur Sriram (Chennai) on the morsing provided good support throughout.

In another concert in this festival, Syamala Venkateswaran (Chennai) presented compositions of Madurai T. Srinivasan, which ranged from a varnam, "parvathy Nayaka" in the raga mohanam and set to tala mishra jaadhi tripuda to a tillana in the raga Sumanesa Ranjani. Her rendering of "Om yenum pranava nathane" in the raga Nattai, along with some kalpana swara formats towards the end was well laid out and appealing. "Sadhha Sivanai ninai maname" in the raga Poorvi Kalyani, "kaana iru kangalum" in the raga Karaharapriya and "yethanai dharam sonnalum" in the raga Todi were heart warming. Her alapana of the ragas Poorvi Kalyani and Todi along with Niraval of the phrase "kanda kamandalam udan katchi alitthava" in the latest presentation and swaraprasthara displayed her creative talents.

The trio, Avaneesvaram S.R. Vinu (Thiruvananthapuram), on the violin, Thiruvananthapuram Vaidyanathan on the mridangam and Nanganallur Sriram on the morsing, who provided accompaniment support to Syamala and in at least half-a-dozen other concerts of this festival, was enthusiastic and good.

In yet another programme, Gayathri Fine Arts and India International Centre organised a flute concert of G. Raghuraman at the IIC auditorium in memory of Carnatic flute maestro, T.K. Radhakrishnan. The 90-minute concert, which was well structured with judicious selection of compositions, turned out to be a memorable one. Gayathri Fine Arts also chose this occasion to distribute prizes to the participants in their 2005 Thyagaraja Kriti competitions. Their prestigious `Kamala Kannan memorial tanpura' prizes went to Reshmi Ramesh and Sweta Balan. This organisation deserves to be complimented not only for organising concerts in the capital at regular intervals, but also for promoting classical Carnatic music through such competitions.

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