/* START Google Analytics Code*/ /* END of Google Analytics Code */ A home called "Parvathi": "A blend of Vocal, Veena and Nagaswaram" : Violin Maestro M. Chandrasekaran

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"A blend of Vocal, Veena and Nagaswaram" : Violin Maestro M. Chandrasekaran

[Photo: Courtesy http://www.carnatic.com/people/cs-violin.html ]

"... he will always be 'Chandru' to me, as I affectionately used to call him... he first performed in "Parvathi" all the way back in 1965... since then he has performed so many times with all the Veterans for many of the festivals in the house..."

"...as you know, from birth he has always been physically challenged and it was a great comfort for me to see that he was always accompanied on his travels by either a disciple or family member...those were the days you had to change trains twice, from Madras to Bangalore and then from Bangalore to Mysore...now, once, to my great astonishment and shock 'Chandru' arrives all alone for a concert! When I worriedly questioned him he said coming to "Parvathi" was nothing new to him... and he says all of that in that beautiful innocent demeanor of his...I advised him never to venture out like that again...and I saw to it that he was safely escorted back all the way home..."

-K. Srikantiah's Recollections

On Dec. 15, 2009, the inaugural concert of the season at the Music Academy in Madras (Chennai) featured three Sangeetha Kalanidhis. Vidwan T.N. Seshagopalan was accompanied by two other greats, Vidwan M. Chandrasekaran and Vidwan Vellore Ramabhadran. They were the recipients of the Sangeetha Kalanidhi title in the years 2004, 2005 and 2006 in the reverse order.

The Hindu, in a tribute on 1 Dec. 2005 to Sangeetha Kalanidhi designate M. Chandrasekaran, quoted Dr. Pinakapani, “Chandrasekaran's style of violin playing is a blend of vocal, veena and nagaswaram."

2009 also marked the sixtieth year of concert performances for the violin maestro M. Chandrasekaran. He had received his first award in the Music Academy in 1950, just a year after he started performing in public at the age of eleven. Vidwan Chandrasekaran has gone on record that he owes everything to his mother, who dealt with his visual impairment at the age of two and undaunted, taught him music, as well as Braille. He has founded a trust in her memory, the Charubala Mohan Trust, to encourage young artistes.

The art of violin accompaniment is like walking on the edge of a razor. Carnatic music, when amplified through the mike system, poses challenges to artistes and audiences alike. It is difficult to balance the instruments and yet preserve the fabric of the original music. In addition, the violinist has to keep up the accompaniment throughout the concert, getting a respite only during the tani avarathanam. After a marathon swara cycle, the main artiste often takes a break, but the violinist is impelled to respond. The main artiste has the advantage of planning the concert ahead, and playing in his zone of comfort. But the violinist has to deal with the unknown, preserve and embellish the manodharma of the main artiste, and improvise in his solo passages without excess or digress. The dialogue during alapana, neraval and swara passages has to be harmonious, eschewing one-upmanship. On many occasions, the main artiste may slacken a bit and lose his grip on the proceedings. Then the violinist has to raise the flagging tempo and rekindle the main artiste. All this is asking a lot. And without the important eye-contact, the challenge is all the greater.

We must remember these aspects when we listen to Vidwan Chandrasekaran. He has made hundreds of concerts unforgettable by his indefatigable artistry as an accompanist. Of course he is a great soloist, and noted as a composer and even vocalist. But he will always be remembered as the crown prince among accompanists.

The Parvathi concert series posted here bear ample testimony to Vidwan Chandrasekaran's talents. We have featured his recording in a double violin concert with T.N. Krishnan as well as in violin accompaniment for Balamuralikrishna, Madurai Somu, Doreswami Iyengar, Ramani, and M.D. Ramanathan already. In every concert, we can hear his frequent “Aahs” of spontaneous appreciation for the main artiste. When his turn comes, he has excelled in improvisation. In his solo passages, he has reminded us of the Shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan. He has cooed the lovely sounds of rakti ragas with Ramani. He has embellished the majesty of the veena. In MDR's concert, when he plays to the words, “Veeram Dhanurbhanjane”, MDR is spurred by his forceful play to exclaim, “Oh, you're yourself armed with the bow!”

We feature a concert recording here from 1999, his fiftieth performing year. It is a violin duet with his daughter Smt. G. Bharathi, who we are informed has an active musical career in the USA.

'Parvathi' March 30, 1999

[Photo: Courtesy http://www.hindu.com/ms/2005/12/01/stories/2005120100120200.htm ]

M. Chandrasekharan & G.Bharathi (Violin Duet)
T.A.S.Mani ----(Mridangam)
M.A.Krishnamurthy ---(Ghatam)

[ 1. Naa Jeevaadhaara – Bilahari- Thyagaraja (partial) 2. Durmargachara- Ranjani – Thyagaraja 3. Nannu vidachi – Reetigowla – Thyagaraja (vocal) 4. Manavyalakinchara – Nalinakanti – Thyagaraja 5. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Simhendra madhyamam (& Ragamalika) 6. Baro Krishnayya – Ragamalika ( Maand, Misra Piloo, Jaunpuri) – Kanaka Dasa 7. Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma – Madhyamavati – Purandara Dasa ]