Song of Surrender

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Outstanding concert

By Venkat
 
Ramakrishnan Murthy’s concert at the Ramana Kendra on 16th December, was outstanding. He was accompanied by R. Raghul on the violin and L. Subramaniam on the mridangam.
 
Ramakrishnan Murthy began his concert with Tyagaraja’s Jayantasena kriti Vinatasuta vahana. He then took up Sahana as the submain raga, weaving intricate and layered details throughout. His sancharas bore fidelity to tradition yet seemed fresh and new. He took up Tyagaraja’s Ee Vasudha at a sprightly pace with wonderful niraval-swaras in the charanam line “daasa varada tyagaraja hridaya”. Murthy has not only been trained very well by his guru-s, he has also taken the pains to understand the aesthetics of stalwarts like Ramnad Krishnan, K.V. Narayanaswamy and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. His Sahana alapana bore glimpses of Ramnad’s electric phrases. In moulding his voice and exploiting its strengths, he has taken after KVN. His voice is not robust, yet his musical ideas and their execution are robust indeed. His rendering of Syama Sastry’s Devi Brova in Chintamani was filled with the bhava aesthetics of KVN and I felt quite overwhelmed with emotion during some of the heart-wrenching sections of the song.
 
A brisk Bantureeti of Tyagaraja (Hamsanadam) with brief and brisk swaras at the pallavi was an apt interlude. Then came the magnum opus of the evening, Sankarabharanam. Murthy, along with Raghul on the violin, coaxed and cajoled Sankarabharanam into a thousand hues, at once arresting, at once mellow. Ramakrishnan Murthy was in his element, singing his heart out. The brilliant ecstasy of Sankarabharanam just burst forth in his raga alapana. He packed the raga essay with layers upon layers of depth-filled phrases. The main kriti was “Dakshinamoorte” of Muttuswami Dikshitar. His kriti rendition was neat, with a few graceful flourishes peppered amidst the more austere ones. His chosen line for niraval was “nirvikalpa samaadhi...” in the charanam. He built his niraval essay on the lines of classic Semmangudi techniques, building up the niraval to a crescendo. However instead of going to the madhyama kala niraval, he gave a neat finish in samakalam and moved on to swaras. Nevertheless, it was a masterly attempt.
 
The swaras woven both in the first and the second speeds did full justice to the expansiveness of Sankarabharanam, while at all times adhering to aesthetic boundaries. This is one point where I feel Murthy scores over most other young vocalists today. He has been assiduously trained in the tradition of restraint in music, a very important aspect that most have forgotten. His concert planning, the time he assigns to manodharma vinyasa, the amount of time to be taken by sub-main and main pieces, judicious time assigned to tukkadas, and despite all this finishing the concert on the dot - these are traits that every sangeetha vidyarthi must learn from Ramakrishnan Murthy. He never overdoes any sanchara or idea, yet paints a holistic picture, at all times giving the feeling of fullness, never a lack. Off late there is a slight roughness in his voice in the tara sthaayi sancharas and he would do well to take more care of his voice, limiting the number of concerts he accepts.
 
Raghul on the violin played the perfect shadow to Ramakrishnan Murthy. His sancharas in Sahana and Sankarabharanam were delectable. I have been watching Raghul grow over the years from strength to strength, and it is amazing to watch this young violinist create magic every time with his violin. In the ragamalika shloka section, he wove his way through all the raga-s covered by the vocalist with equal aplomb and crisp brevity. Raghul is an asset to any concert in which he accompanies.
 
Subramaniam on the mridangam is a student of KS Kalidas. While being trained in the vintage techniques of the Palani school, he still lacks the maturity to accompany songs. He should study song accompaniment, even study some vocal music, to augment his accompanying skills. He plays in a very loud manner that drowns out all the other music. His tani was well executed but he was meandering too much, taking far too much time to come to the point.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with all your observations about this young lad. His Music Academy Concert was outstanding.Be it structuring of the concert;time management & most importantly he has understood that a sense of proportion & restraint are essential for achieving the aesthetic goal.Another aspect which merits mention is he uses Akaram & not mm,hari,nu,vee as many youngsters are doing. He has a dignified stage presence. A little more attention to Sruti fidelity will make it highly satisfying to serious listeners of Carnatic Music.

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