Energy dilutes melody
Vijay Siva laid too much emphasis on vocalism at the cost of subtlety.
Musicians sing fairly competently these days, but what distinguishes one from the other is the amount of tonal pressure exerted without sacrificing depth. Energetic exposition has to be tempered with vocal inflection to bring about gana-naya to make music soft and subtle.
In the kutcheri of Vijay Siva, organised by the P.S.N. Disciples Forum, the focus was on over-emphatic vocalism. This was the striking feature in his style of presentation of ragas and kirtanas. It was highly pressurised classicism. The full force of this aspect was to be sensed in the Khambodi alapana, particularly in the tara stayi sancharas. It was, of course, fertile manodharma with animated articulation and expressional dazzle. The kirtana was "Sri-Raghuvaraaprameya".
"Entanine" (Mukhari) ``Ambikaayaa" (Kedaram with similar alapana method as in Khambodi) were sung enthusiastically and exhaustively. "Eppadi Manam Thunindado" (Hasini) was soothing.
The violinist, Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi, responded with the same impulses as that of the vocalist with the difference that the strings could not be given the same pressure as the vocal chords.
Mannargudi Easwaran (mridangam), however, matched with his percussive punch without making the beats aggressive.
The tendency of artistes today, in the name of tempo, is to sing with speed, particularly raga alapanas, so that they give listeners time only to listen and not to savour either raga bhava or the delicate nuances. Malladi Brothers Ravikumar and Sri Ram Prasad, with all their gnana fell into this trap as their kutcheri at the Indian Fine Arts Society's Tyagaraja Aradhana revealed.
Asaveri is a raga that can hardly be enjoyed with swirling sancharas. It was left to violinist S. Varadarajan to capture its aesthetic mood with chiselled, short phrasings, each one illuminating the raga's poise. The kirtana ``Samayamu-Telisi" was also similarly punch-marked.
Another inclination is to mount sangatis in songs, their own, to see them register well among the listeners. One such attempt was "Ragaratnamalikache" in Ratigowla. Being Tyagaraja Kirtanas they could stand any amount of such padding. Impact was gained, but the beauty of the kirtana suffered.
Poorvikalyani (``Paraloka-Sadaname") and the main item Khambodi (``Sri-Raghuvaraaprameya") were elaborated, more ornamental with overpowering brigas. Again, it was Varadarajan who with smooth evenness outlined the moorchanas. The Malladi Brothers have reached a stage when they can afford to lay emphasis on the subtleties of sangita rather than on expository impressiveness. "Kotinadulu" (Todi) was briskly rendered.
P. Satishkumar (mridangam) was intent on demonstrative percussive erudition while accompanying songs and more so in his tani. E. M. Subramaniam (ghatam) responded equally well.
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