S.Rajam’s (Music Appreciation notes)

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Muraliganam full of Empathy

The Concert Scene
By R Narayanan

AS Murali's impassioned concert with VV Ravi, Sivakumar and Sunil Kumar could well be summed up as a niraval master classwithout pedantry. In his two hour performance, the first hour could be called a precise and competent demonstration of kalpita sangeetam from a Kalakshetra guru to the good number of his students who were there in the hall.

The second half saw Murali soar to the heights of manodharma sangeetam in which the depth and passion of the self-effacing artist took over from the teacher, paving the way for the  niraval master class. 

Niraval is all about empathy.That is why it is the highest form of manodharma-unique to our music—empathy of the artist today for the composer of ages ago. If there is a great composition with an even greater passage,rest assured that the birth-pangs were not without pain and anguish. To bring back the birth-pangs, soaking that sahitya in the ragarasam in a vinyasam today, the artist needs to put himself into the heart and soul of the composer. When that kind of empathetic niraval   occurs, your eyes close and, on occasions like today, even tears well up in your eyes.

Murali chose the Appar tevaram on Tiruvannamalai in Keeravani yesterday; the second and seventh verses of the 5th decad, immortalised on concert platforms by TM Thyagarajan's notations and KV Narayanaswamy's niraval. And,Murali sang all eight lines beginning"வானனை மதி சூடிய மைந்தனைத்தேனனைத் திருவண்ணாமலையனை..." with deep understanding all the way. Then the niraval came at வீரனை விடமுண்டனை விண்ணவர்தீரனைத் திருவண்ணாமலையனை.

From the very first vinyasam,Murali zeroed in on with empathy"விடமுண்டனை"  as the crux of Appar's whole agony over Lord Siva consuming Aalakaal visham! 

There was no looking back as the niraval from lower to middle to upper octaves rolled on for a full 20 minutes of supplication soaked in gorgeous Keeravani, just made for that emotion. Even the final trikalam was no mere crescendo but soaked in raga-sahitya. Swarakalpana followed without disturbing the serenity of the moment.

The tour de force was possible largely because of V V Ravi's reassuring presence on stage. Ravi's violin these days has taken on the contours of Upanishad-like brevity, all frills eschewed, only the purest essence offered. As Ravi soared together with Murali in mel shadjam and beyond  during the niraval, the rasika's cup was full to overflowing.

Sivakumar and Sunil Kumar provided high quality percussion support throughout.

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