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Friday, August 7, 2015

Enriching Carnatic Music through Emulation

Flute Ramani – Parvathi Ramanavami Concert 1981

An Appreciation from R. Sachi

It is not for the first time that we are sharing a wonderful concert of Vid. N. Ramani with our rasikas. A much-loved flautist in the Carnatic idiom for several decades, he stands for pristine music with an enchanting appeal and a wide repertoire. His several collaborations over the years with other great musicians have also resulted in unforgettable concerts. His innumerable recordings are cherished by collectors world over

[ Cover illustration from an HMV album ]

In this 1981 concert, the music is simply ethereal. The emanating melody in some of the items makes us close our eyes and wonder if this is how probably Sri Krishna's divine music would be.

This concert took place when Vid. Ramani was at the peak in his career. Of course,Vid. Chandrasekharan on the violin here is at his usual best, elevating the concert with his accompaniment. Vidwans Srimushnam Raja Rao and MA Krishnamurthy have lent good percussion support.

In the rich repertoire shared here, there is the Begada classic, ‘Shankari Neeve”. Its composer Sri Subbaraya Shastri (1803-1862) was the second son of Sri Shyama Shastri, one of the glorious Carnatic trinity. Subbaraya Shastri is reputed to have studied music not only under his father, but also under Saint Thyagaraja and Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar. He was an expert in many languages and had learnt even Hindustani music from famous Maratha vidwans residing at that time in Tanjavur. He could play with felicity the violin and a rare Indian bowed instrument, sarinda.

Sri Subbaraya Shastri’s compositions are greatly cherished by connoisseurs of Carnatic music. They are known for their musical enrichments- of raga, swara sahitya and laya. Dr. V. S. Sampathkumaracharya (Karnataka Sangita Vishaya Vishwakosha) makes many interesting observations. Sri Subbaraya Shastri’s krithi, “Vanajasana vinuta” in Shriraga eschews the note dha, emulating the approach of Saint Thyagaraja in “Endaro mahanubhavulu”. His composition, “Venkatashaila vihara” in Hamir Kalyani is modelled on the structure of Dikshitar’s compositions. His compositions, “Janani ninnuvina” (Reetigowla) and “Ninnu Sevinchina” (Yadukula kambhoji) show the influence of his own illustrious composer father, Sri Shyama Shastri. Sri Subbaraya Shastri has shown also great expertise in swara-akshara sahitya in many of his compositions.

Thus, we can see that apart from their own innumerable musical gems, the Carnatic trinity have extended their abiding influence on Carnatic music through the enriched compositions of vaggeyakaras like Sri Subbaraya Shastri who have emulated their compositional ideas.

Apart from Begada, this concert has many very enjoyable delineations – Kapi and Bhairavi to name just two. Come, let us enjoy the musical feast from Vid. N. Ramani and team.

Concert Details

N.Ramani ---------------- Flute
M.Chandrasekharan --- Violin
Srimushnam Raja Rao --- Mridangam
M.A Krishnamurthy ------ Ghatam
on 19-4-81 at "Parvathi" Ramanavami festival

Song List

01. Pranamamyaham-Gowla-Vasudevachar *** 02. Dinamani vamsa-Harikamboji- Thyagaraja *** 03. Entamuddu-Bindumalini-Thyagaraja *** 04. Begade Raga *** 05. Shankari Neeve- Subbaraya Shastri *** 06. Kapi Raga *** 07. Inta soukhya-Thyagaraja & Tani *** 08.. Evaritho –Manavathi- Thyagaraja *** 09. Bhairavi Raga *** 10. Tana-Pallavi- swaras (Bhairavi and Mohana) *** 11. Na naati bratuku-Revathi- Annamacharya *** 12. Ashtapadi-Mohana, Rageshri,Yaman, Sindhu bhairavi- Jayadeva*** 13. Venkatachala nilayam-Sindhu bhairavi- Purandaradasa*** 14. Magudi *** 15. Tillana-Dhanasari- Swathi Thirunal *** 16. Thiruppugazh–Kuntalavarali *** 17. Mangalam***