T. M. Krishna's concert for Poona Sangeetha Sabha
It is not merely a fertile manodharma, but also a mellifluous voice capable of actualizing every figment of the mind's imagination, that makes the audience feel totally gratified at the end of T.M.Krishna's concerts. His concert for the Poona Sangeetha sabha on the 26th of January at Nehru memorial hall, Pune was no exception to this. The kambhoji ata-tala varnam 'sarasijanAbha' marked a sprightful beginning setting high expectations in everyone's mind for what was to follow. The neatly and intelligently woven swaras that punctuated the climax of dikshitar's 'shrI mAtrubhUtam' (kannaDa) were a heart-warming treat to the audience on the cold winter evening. Seldom does the singer fail to remind one of his guru semmangudi srinivasa iyer with his clever swara prasthanas.
The heavily bhava laden alapana of varALi that preceded tyAgarAjA's 'eTi jenmamIdhi' followed by a short four line composition of dikshitar's 'vINAbhEri' in the raga AbhEri, assured the audience of Krishna's absolutely composed and unhurried approach to music. The raga AbhEri traditionally is supposed to be rendered as a janya of naTabhairavi with shudha dhaivatam and not chatushruti dhaivatam as is sung today (The raga rendered with chatushruti dhaivatam is actually karnATaka dEvagAndhAri and the 2 names are used synonymously these days) and krishna aptly illustrated this fact through his rendition.
DhanyAsi was the raga chosen for the day. An expert both at modulating his own voice and using the mike effectively to reflect the mood, Krishna 's expansive alapana illustrated every subtle nuance of the raga. Amrita Murali's essay on the violin was equally creative. The krithi chosen was tyagarAjA's ‘dhyAname varamaina', in which the saint declares dhyAnam (meditation) as the only way to cleanse the mind, followed by nereval and kalpana swaras. Mannarkovil Balaji's well crafted tani on the mridangam was greeted with a thunderous applause. Both the accompanists offered consistent support throughout the concert.
A short and brisk 'Parama purusha' (Vasantha - swati thirunal) started and ended like a lightning, as though a prelude to the impending downpour of bilahari. Despite the time constraint Krishna did full justice to the raga taken up for ragam tanam pallavi, although a little more clarity in the racing brighas could have added more sheen to the picture. The neatly executed pallavi in tisra triputa tala was followed by ragamalika swaras in amrutavarshiNi, garuDaDhvani and surutti. Krishna reminded the audience of the occasion of republic day by giving a classical interpretation to our national song 'Vande mAtaram', caressing every sangathi with subtle anu swaras, imparting it a rare aesthetic charm. The audience stood up with respect when he concluded the concert with an unusual rendition of our national anthem 'jana gana mana'.
Sri.Saiganesh, the author of this review is a software engineer passionate about carnatic music. He hails from chennai and is presently based at Pune.