Classicism to the fore
- Dr. M Surya Prasad, Bangalore

December 5, 2011

The annual award function and the five day music festival of the prestigious Academy of Music now led by Dr. C Veeresh and Subbaraj Urs held at the Chowdaiah Memorial Hall was a grand success with overwhelming responses from the audiences, artistes and scholars. Academic sessions throwing light on various aspects of music and dance were rewarding.  Noted singers TN Seshagopalan and Rudrapatnam Brothers were awarded the national and State level KK Murthy Memorial and Chowdaiah Award respectively.

Blessed with rich and melodious voice, a highly talented vocalist, scholar, writer Dr. KS Vaishali in her lucid lec-dem underscored the niceties of the aesthetics of Hindustani music. Though it surprised me to see her confining herself to the Thaat system of Hindustani music, within the limit she did full justice to the subject matter. She dwelt in detail on the aspect of melody and its manifestations and explained the mnemonic formula of the Thaat prakaras like Bhairavi, Bhairav etc. She sang alaps, lakshana geets, khayals and so on to illustrate her points.
Next day, a versatile Kuchipudi natya artiste, organizer, choreographer and presently the president of the Karnataka Sangitha Nrithya Academy, Vyjayanthi Kashi delineated the laya and bhava specialties of her dance form. It was interesting to watch her along with her disciple Ramya Suraj’s vocal support present the poorvaranga with 3-4-5-7-9 pattern jathis and nritta), Vanibhavani, Ardhanareeshwaram, Mohiniavatara, Mallikamoda and her own choreographic works including jathis with beejaksharas.

Expert vocalist and research scholar Srikantham Nagendra Sastry opened up a delightful world of shrinagara oriented javalis. He enlisted and expounded rare javalis in rare ragas like Huseni, Navarasakannada, Gowla, Ramaamanohari, Saveri and others. He tickled the audience with his articulated diction and singing.

Accompanied by Guruprasanna (khanjari), Prof. V Krishna enthralled the audience by exposing the subtleties of the aesthetics of mridanga play. He referred and demonstrated on his mridanga the five gaits, varieties of mukthaya, nadaibedhas, korvais teermanas, korappu, solkattus etc. He also demonstrated the beauty of the introduction of silence (karvai) in intelligent and appropriate places. He took the names of pioneers of the mridanga and khanjira play and their contribution in enriching the field of laya.

In the early evening concert series of the above festival featuring young and highly talented musicians, Vitthalrangan exhibited his extraordinary skills with his aesthetic mastery over the violin and artistic hold over his medium. He was melodious and laya perfect in his rendition of Sogasugamridangatalamu (Sriranjini with swaras), a crisp Pashupathipriyaraga (Sharavanabhava, with chittaiswaras), a detailed Charukeshi (Kripayapalaya, swaras without neraval was surprising), Baaro Krishnayya and Sindhubhairavi tillana established an intimate rapport with the rasikas. Prashanth (mridanga) and Bhargava Halambi (khanjira) were excellent.

Seasoned Rudrapatnam Brothers (Thyagarajan and Taranathan) impressed the listeners with their classical and traditional duet singing. Starting with Nattakuranji varna, as usual they treated the rasikas with Saranga (Sri Sharade), Taapagane (Shuddhabangala alap by Taranathan with mixed results and with shared swaras), Ardhanareeshwaram (Lalitha), Atukaadani (Manoranjani), Harikamboji (Chinitodi), Chandrakauns (Hari Hari) and Khamach tillana. Chandrasekhar (violin), Sanjay Taranathan (mridanga) and MA Krishnamurthy (ghata) excelled in their accompaniments.

Dr. M Surya Prasad is a renowned musicologist, columnist and art critic. He is a Professor and Head of the Dept. of Hindi at Vijaya Degree College, Bangalore. He is the editor of Gunagrahi, a journal in English on music and dance.