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TN Krishnan Concert

Attended the TN Krishnan-Viji Krishnan violin concert on Sunday at Fort High School Grounds as a part of the Ram Navami festival. Incidentally, TN Krishnan was awarded the annual KV Narayanaswamy Rao Memorial (named after the founder of the festival). Interestingly, the first recipient of this award was MS Subbulaxmi, and TN Krishnan was the eight recipient, and in a brilliant quirk of fate, responded that he was the higher Shadja (Sa)(8th note in the octave scale) to receive it as against MS being the first!!!.

The concert began in customary fashion, with the traditional ‘Vatapi Ganapathim’ in Ragam Hamsadwani. The highlight of this rendition was the elaborate neraval during the charanam, where TN and Viji had a very interesting exchange ably assisted by the percussionists. There was this small passage of play, where, TN and Viji were playing off each other, which was I guess a meeting of two traditions. TN being schooled in the old school and Viji being a part of Gen Next of Carnatic Music,

There was also some tender fatherly admonition by TN, during certain parts of the concert, which were accepted graciously by Viji. I was particularly pleased to watch TN, as it completes the pantheon of old school violinists whom I have had the pleasure of watching. The only people missing are N Rajam and L Shankar (who continues to elude yours truly)

The RTP in Ritigowlai was the highlight of the concert, with beautiful swara alapana. TN, in fact exploited every nuance of this fine Ragam (okay, I am biased towards Ragams which are based in Kharaharapriya!!!).

The Thani Avartanam was crisp, and was done neatly. As an aside, a familiar grouse I have with Carnatic musicians who were a part of the Golden Age of Carnatic music, are that they do not explain the Ragams they are performing, or the nuances of the Ragam etc. This is a very disturbing trend, because, it makes listening to music an elitist experience, as only hardcore connoisseurs of Carnatic would be able to identify the myriad Ragams that exist. Besides, there is a certain degree of snobbery involved, because, on listening to the recordings of these artistes, held outside India, there is an effort made to inform the Western audiences of what an RTP is, besides, explaining the raga, the fundaes behind the name etc. In India, it is felt that by doing the same, it would be taken as an affront to the audiences. U Srinivas and also Ganesh-Kumaresh, however, have bucked this trend, and make it a point to explain the Ragams as also the scale.

Tailpiece: An important lesson to take way from these artistes is the humility with which they carry themselves. Humility as a virtue is something we tend to forget in today’s Dog eat Dog world, but it is a very important ingredient in defining a person.

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