The second concert that I was privileged to attend in the last few days was Gayathri Venkataraghavan’s for Madhurdhwani at the Arkay Convention Centre (the first was Dr. R.S.Jayalakshmi’s very nice veena concert for Parivadhini). Kotiswara Iyer’s vAraNamukhava set the tone for the concert. After that for me, it was nice to listen to Tyagaraja’s rAmabhirAma (Darbar) after a long time. I reminded myself to ‘dust-this-kriti-off-the-shelf-and-revise’ so to speak!
Papanasam Sivan’s ANDavanE came next, preceded by an elaborate Shanmukhapriya alapana and one of Gayathri’s fortes, the exhaustive niraval for the anupallavi line ‘tANDavamADum’ unsurprisingly and justifiably drew applause from the houseful auditorium.
The concert’s pièce de résistance was the main item – the finely detailed Natakurinji alapana followed by that really REALLY exquisite Syama Sastri masterpiece mAyamma nannu brOva. Gayathri’s interpretation and rendition of the relatively less-known but extremely powerful kriti was something else again. The way she sang every line, every sangati, every nuance – her superlative pATAntaram was completely showcased in full glory – and her care to ensure that every idea behind each nuance and each subtle point was put across most transparently. And all this was done with full control, with complete ease and abandon. She added beautiful touches here and there – the caressing of the word ‘kAmAkshi’ and repeating the madhyama kAla passage being one such.
VVS Murari’s Shanmukhapriya and Natakurinji alapanas were very good. In addition to that, one instance must be mentioned in particular where the role of the violinist as a team member in a concert was superbly demonstrated. As Gayathri, during the alapana, did vinyaasam around the madhya sthaayi dhaivatam and nishaadam in Natakurinji, Murari instead of repeating what Gayathri sang, chose to play the flat dhaivatam note and at the same time ensured the bow crossed two strings simultaneously. The effect was instantly synergistic and for me in the audience, nothing short of thrilling. It was truly an ‘aha’ moment.
Of course, Trivandrum Balaji and K.V.Gopalakrishnan’s thoughtful playing embellished the concert! For the crisp and concise tani, Balaji went straight to the tisra nadai and he and KVG finely executed the kuraippu in khanda nadai, tautly maintaining the kAlapramAnam. The final korvai was delectable – Balaji, request you to recall and post in “Korvais”! 🙂
The ending of the concert, well, for me it was rather tame as I had to rush out after the tani – I was already late for a meeting with someone!!!!