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Touching tranquil heights


NOT MANY take note of the fact that music has a silent dimension. On the face, music is woven around the audible range of sonic vibrations. But at its highest level, music is a harmonious blend of the audible and inaudible sonic ranges. It is often the built-in silent component that converts music concerts in to a blissful experience. In a way, it is a trek on the Advaitic track. Only maestros can do it imbibing the integral concept that music springs from silence, passes through silent interludes and melts into silence.

In the present generation of musicians, violin maestro T. N. Krishnan is one of the few instrumentalists who can provide this experience to listeners and create in their minds nostalgic memories of a bygone era.

It is rarely that a brother and sister occupy one of the top slots in Carnatic and Hindustani music at the same time. T.N Krishnan, along with Lalgudi Jayaraman and M.S Gopalakrishnan, fills the void created by the exit of maestros Mysore T. Chowdiah, Kumbakonam Rajamanickam Pillai and Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu. His sister Dr. N. Rajam, is unquestionably one of the top violinists in Hindustani music. Kerala can take pride in the fact that the musical talent of this violinist blossomed in the backdrop of Thripunithura and Ernakulam. Homecoming seemed to have infused a nostalgic mood in Krishnan's violin concerts at the Kalikota Palace, Thripunithura and the Bhavan's Auditorium, Kochi, last week. In both these concerts he was accompanied on the mridangam by K. M. S. Mani and on the ghatam by Thripunithura Radhakrishnan.

At the warm reception accorded to him by the Sree Poornathrayeesa Sangeeta Sabha, Thripunithura, Krishnan ruminated on his childhood in this little town. "I cherish a great attachment and regard for this place. I remember playing my first concert at the `oottupura' of the Poornathrayeesha Temple," he recollected. " In the 1930s my father used to teach at the Radha Lakshmi Vilasam School, presently the R.L.V. Music Academy. He was a strong source of motivation for me. As a young boy, I remember walking up to the temple with my father where we used to buy the `neyyappams,; which was one of the offerings to the Lord. In those days we used to get 16 `appams' for just four annas. The taste still lingers in my mouth."

After the felicitation function, he captivated the audience with his soul-stirring performance. Starting with `Gajananayutham... ' in Chakravakam, he went on to play `Naada thanu manisham... ' in Chittaranjini and `Janani ninu vina... ' in Reethigowla. Tyagaraja's Utsava Sampradaya krithi in Yadukula Khamboji and a ragam thanam pallavi in Thodi, `Mamavasada janani... in Kanada and `Virana brovayethe... ' in Kalyani filled up a sumptuous treat.

At the concert held under the aegis of Rasikapriya, Krishnan's violin delved deep into the minds of the listeners, bringing together the musician and listener to a sort of metaphysical plane.

This concert started with a piece in raga Natakurinji, which provides ample scope for injecting silent interludes. Deekshitar's `Vathapi Ganapathim bhaje... ' and Swati Tirunal's `Paripalayamam... ' in Reethigowla were marked by a brief alapana maintaining the leisurely tempo of the concert. But it was the Tyagaraja krithi `Swararagasudha... ' in Sankarabharanam, which raised the level of the concert to rare heights. In the alapana, niraval and swara vinyasa, Krishnan skilfully blended the inaudible ranges for spotting the inner soul of Sankarabharanam.

Krishnan's choice of ragas too was ideally suited to create a mood of tranquility. After `Swararaga Sudha' Krishnan turned to `Vandanamu Raghunandana... ' in Sahana and `Ka Va Va... ' in Varali. After a bit in Tharaka Bhairavi, the stage was set for ragam, thanam, pallavi. The piece was Kaapi-centric but in alapana, Mohanam, Kanada and Neelambari added to the diversity of tranquil flavour.

The last three pieces, `Krishna nee begana baro... ' in Yamuna kalyani, `Alarsara parithapam... ' in Surutti and `Venkitachala Nilayam Vaikundha puravasam... ' in Sindhu Bhairavi maintained the tranquil tempo.

The memories of these two concerts, with Mani and Radhakrishnan imparting a harmonious flavour, are bound to linger in the minds of those who listened to them for a long time.

M. K. BALAGOPAL & VANAJA VARMA

Photo by Mahesh Harilal

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