Guru-shishya pairs charm
VOCAL RECITALS of two guru-shishya combines attracted the attention of music lovers on the first two days of the five-day Swati Tirunal Sangeetotsavam 2002, organised jointly by the Kerala Fine Arts Society, Kochi and the Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Akademi, Thrissur, in association with South Zone Cultural Centre, Thanjavur.
The first concert was presented by Neyyattinkara Vasudevan and his favourite disciple Sreevalsan J. Menon. Thodupuzha Manoj Kumar (violin), Pandalam Jayaprakash (mridangam), Tripunithura Radhakrishnan (ghatam) and Payyannur Govinda Prasad (mukharshankh) accompanied the duo.
To the surprise and dismay of the audience, Swati Tirunal krithis did not get the attention it deserved. Deekshitar's `Vathapi Ganapathim Bhaje... ' in Hamsadwani was a perfect warm-up and was followed by Thanjavur Ponniah Pillai's `Ranganathude... ' in Saurashtram. The third piece was Swati Tirunal's `Jaya jaya Padmanabha... ' in Manirangu and it was beautifully rendered by the duo. Two Tyagaraja krithis were chosen for detailed raga alapana, `Samaja Vara Gamana... ' in Hindolam and `Nanupalimba... ' in Mohanam. Vasudevan, Sreevalsan and violinist Manoj Kumar combined well to extract the irresistible charm of Hindolam and Mohanam in alapana and swaraprasthara. The thaniavarthanam was made lively by the three-man percussion team.
The performance was certainly pleasing. But, since this was Swati festival, the choice of krithis like `Padmanabha pahi... ' and `Paripahimam... ' would have been more appropriate.
However, the guru-shishya combine rightly concluded the concert with two Swati krithis - `Bhogindra sayinam... ' in Kunthalavarali and the popular thillana in Dhanasri.
On the second day, Aryanad Sadasivan and Aryanad H. Raju surprised listeners by choosing just one Swati krithi for the concert. Nellai Viswanathan played the violin, while Kadanad P.K.Gopi (mridangam), Ennakkad Maheswaran (ghatam) and Trikkakkara Y.N.Shantharam (ganjira) provided the percussion support.
The only Swati krithi chosen for the concert, that too for a short rendering, was `Mamava sada Janani... ' in Kanada. The opening piece was Navaraga Varnam by Pattanam Subramania Iyer. `
`Mahaganapathim... ' in Natta by Deekshitar followed this. Two krithis chosen for raga elaboration were `Brovabarama... ' in Bhahudari and `Sivakameswari... ' in `Kalyani'. In between, there was `Dinamani vamsa... ' in Harikamboji.
The two vocalists and violinist Nellai Viswanathan joined hands to make the alapana of Kalyani a memorable experience. The thaniavarthanam also provided ample enjoyment.
The most pleasing experience on the second day was of course `Nadalaya Pravah', an instrumental ensemble presented by Thrissur R. Mohan and his team. Mohan, the mridangist, is a disciple of many stalwarts like Palakkad Mani Iyer and Umayalpuram Sivaraman. Mohan's two sons provided vocal presence in the ensemble. The two violinists, Edappally Ajay Kumar and Manjoor Ranjit, played the dominant role in the ensemble. Low-key playing of Revathy, a raga ideally suitable for mantra recitals, filled the atmosphere with a touch of divinity. But the star attraction was a ragamalika dominated by Sankarabharanam. Other ragas chosen included Mohanam, Abheri, Sivaranjini, Maand, Dwijavanthi and Reethigowla. The concluding piece was Swati's `Bhaja Bhaja Manasa... ' in Sindhu Bhairavi. Percussion support was provided by mridangam, ganjira etc. Number of playing instruments was limited. Many would have longed to listen to the orchestra at its full strength with the inclusion of flute etc.
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