Graceful raga essays
The concert by Bangalore V Balakrishnan organized by Sathguru Sangeetha Sabha at Padmasree Kalyana Mandapam in Kozhikode provided an opportunity for rasikas to listen to pristine classical music.
The concert was an added bonus for music enthusiasts in the city as they were already treated to sumptuous concerts during the Navaratri festival.
Opening of the concert with Tiruvottiyoor Thyagayya’s varnam Ento Premato Ne Pilachite in Raga Surutti, Balakrishnan followed it up with Muthuswamy Dikshithar’s SreeMahaganapathi Ravathumaam in Raga Gowla. After setting the mood of the concert with Saint Thyagaraja’s Sujana Jivana Rama Suguna in Raga Khamas, Balakrishnan sang Shiva Shiva Shiva Ena Radha in Raga Pantuvarali and rendered it with finesse. Ambalappuzha Pradeep did justice to the raga in his delineation. His retorts, during the Kalpana Swaras that were sung with full bhava, were classy.
The Pancharathna krithi Sadinchane O Manasa in Raga Aarabhi was rendered with panache.
Dikshithar’s Akhilandeswari Rakshamam in Raga Dwijawanthi was sung with devotional fervour. In the Krithi, Dikshithar asks goddess Akhilandeshwari at Thiruvanaikaval, who is proficient in the traditions of ‘agamas,’ to protect him.
Thyagaraja’s Vasudevayani Vedalina in Raga Kalyani was taken up as the next item. Balakrishnan’s exposition of Kalyani brought out the different facets of the raga in full measure. The alapana was noted for its astonishing virtuosity and bhava. Ambalappuzha Pradeep could have enhanced the appeal of the raga in his delineation by giving more pauses in between the raga phrases.
Balakrishnan ‘s rendering of Kavave Kanyakumari, a krithi composed by the legendary Carnatic musician Balamuralikrishna in Raga Sahana, was soaked in piety.
Patnam Subramanya Iyer’s Marivere Dikkevaraiya in raga Shanmukhapriya was rendered as the sub-main piece of the concert. Balakrishnan’s exploration of the raga was brilliant. The neraval and swara prastharas were imaginative.
Balakrishnan sang Dikshithar’s Kayarohanesam in raga Devagandharam before taking up the main item, Bala Gopala, Dikshitar’s weighty krithi in Raga Bhairavii. This was also the piece-de-resistance of the concert. Balakrishnan gave due respect to the raga in his alapana. The depth and possibilities of the raga were fully brought out by the vocalist. Ambalappuzha Pradeep’ delineation showcased the essential lakshana sancharas of the raga. Sadha Enna Hrudayadalli in Raga Behag was the only item in the post-main section before the traditional mangalam.
VR Narayana Prakash and SVSN Viswanathan provided soulful accompaniment on the mridangam and ghatam respectively. The Thaniyavarthanam by the duo was vibrant.
Narayana Prakash’s take in the third line of the pallavi of Vasudevayani enhanced the melodic quotient of the krithi. Prakash’s appropriate pauses and soft touches also enhanced the grandeur and charm of the Dwijawanthi krithi Akhilandeswari.
The discerning listener felt that the sound engineer should pay a little more attention in balancing the sound levels, as the sound of the mridangam was not up to the required decibels during the concert.