/* START Google Analytics Code*/ /* END of Google Analytics Code */ A home called "Parvathi": GNB on "Sound Iyya"

Sunday, August 2, 2009

GNB on "Sound Iyya"

The two great maestros GNB and Chowdiah used to have a great regard for each other in terms of their music and also shared a deep friendship with one another. Invariably, they would be joined by K. Puttu Rao (and a younger K.Srikantiah) who would host GNB whenever the latter came into town (Mysore).

In this respect we quote some words from the original article by B.V.Shastry, published in Gayana Samaja Volume 7, 1996 and which currently reposits in http://www.gnbalasubramaniam.com/ArticleBani.htm.

"My friendship with late G. N. Balasubramaniam started in peculiar circumstances - with a friction. During early
1950s I started writing a column entitled 'Musings on Music' in the Deccan Herald. One week it carried a review of an AIR broadcast of GNB's recital wherein I had criticized his off key singing. I knew that there would be protests by some GNB fans and I did not mind because I was living at a safe distance, at Mysore city, from where I was filing the reviews. A couple of months later Balasubramaniam visited Mysore and gave a concert at the Sri Prasanna Sitarama Mandiram (Bidaram Krishnappa Rama Mandiram). I attended the concert but left early because it was a long drawn one due to the Radio relay starting only at 9.30 p.m. I had to trudge a long distance to my home.

Next morning the President of the Rama Mandiram, K. Puttu Rao, a respected advocate of Mysore, came to my place. I was surprised and when he said “I say what have you done to GNB? Yesterday night after the concert I took him home for Dinner and he scarcely touched the food saying repeatedly that gentleman has done me an injustice,” referring to you. What is the matter?” I was taken aback. I did not realise that the review which I had almost forgotten had hurt Balasubramaniam as to spoil his appetite even several months after its publication. Then I decided that during my next visit to Madras to meet GNB in person and have a straight discussion about this subject, as to what points did really hurt him etc., because after my talk with Puttu Rao I had dug up that review and found nothing wrong.

During the December Musical festival I went to Madras. But I could not meet him. Next year I visited Madras again during the music season. This time I met Balasubramaniam through my friend M. A. Narasimhachar. GNB was very cordial and invited us to the AIR station where he had assumed charge as the Deputy Producer of Karnatic Music recently. During the following three or four days I met GNB several times, at his home, at AIR, Music Academy. We discussed various topics related to music and musicians. But GNB did not refer to my review of his broadcast even once. Finally I raised the subject myself and asked him “Balasubramaniam, I was told that you were hurt by my review of your Radio broadcast sometime back. May I know what part of it did hurt you?” GNB said "Let us forget about it Sir. It is not an important matter." But I was not convinced and persisted. Finally he said "No doubt I was hurt like any musician when unfavourable remarks are made about him or his music. Besides I was also a bit concerned abut the effect the review would have on the organisers of my concerts. After all I am a professional musician. I was unwell on the day of the broadcast and could not cancel the broadcast at the last minute. That is the reason for my off key singing, which of course you could not know". I retorted "Balasubramaniam, you are an established musician and a highly popular figure. Even if unflattering reviews appear in the press every day for a whole year they will not affect your concert opportunities in any way. But you must remember that you are almost a cult figure especially for the young musicians, who try to emulate you. And if they hear your off key concerts, they will certainly follow giving 'apasruthi' concerts and point at you in case anyone criticised them.

Anyway after this heart to heart talk we became close friends. "

GNB was always regarded so highly in "Parvathi" that it is not a mere coincidence that both Musicologist Cheluvarayaswamy and Chowdiah mention him in their speeches (in Kannada, audio posted).

Reproduced (below) is an article, from yesteryears, of what GNB had to say on Chowdiah. We found the article from an old magazine belonging to the famous Carnatic Organization of Kolkata, Rasika Ranjani Sabha.

(click on the pages below if you need to obtain magnified images)