Chamber Music concerts are probably the answer to the dire lack of concert platforms for Carnatic musicians in Malaysia.
This most intimate concert space usually arranged by music lovers at their homes is now rightfully being provided by dance and music schools in the country.
Musicians participating in such concerts express their satisfaction of the interaction that comes with being so close to the audience. Also the fact that the invited audience comprises those appreciative of classical music.
Senior Carnatic musician Prof. Venkateswaran Somasundram who last Saturday performed in one such concert describes his experience such:
Dear Music Lovers:
The first segment of the Rasanubhava Chamber Concert Series, initiated by Suvarna Fine Arts, led by well known Malaysian Bharathanatyam Dancer Shri Ajith Bhaskar , commenced with my vocal concert on Saturday, 3 June 2023 at 7.30 p.m. at the Suvarna Fine Arts Studio in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
The co-Artistes were Manikantan Gurunathan of Singapore (Disciple of Vidwan Ramanathapuram M.N. Ganesa Pillai) on the violin, my talented nephew Aditya Rajkumar (Disciple of Vidwan V. Rajasekar of Chennai) on the mridangam, Aravind Sharma (Disciple of Vidwan Tajsharma Guruji ) on the kanjira, with vocal support provided by my students, my sister Dr. Jayalakshmy Rajkumar and Srimathi Thevasaina Vellakannu .
The concert began with the Varnam “Samininne” in Raga Shankarabharanam, Tala Adi, composed by Veenai Kuppaier.
The krithi “Gajavadhana Karuna Sadhana” in Raga Sriranjani, Tala Adi, composed by Papanasam Sivan in praise of Lord Vinayaka, followed.
The krithi “Jutha Murare”, in Raga Arabhi, Tala Rupakam, composed by Thyagarajaswamy, was rendered as an invocation to Lord Renganatha and Lord Rama.
This was followed by the Navagraha Krithi, “Dhivakara Thanujam”, in Raga Yadhukula Kambodhi, Tala Chathusra Eka, composed by Muthuswamy Dikshitar, in praise of Lord Saneeswara.
Manikantan played a beautiful Alapana of Raga Anandha Bhairavi, incorporating the innovative use of the anniya swaras, andhara gandharam (G3), suddha dhaivatham (D1) and the kakali nishadham (N3) of the Raga. The krithi “Marivere Gathi”, in Tala Misra Chapu, composed by Shyama Sastri, followed.
The krithi on Lord Nandhikeswara, “Nandhikeswara Upasmahe”, in Raga Karaharapriya, Tala Adi, composed by me, was rendered next. Aditya and Aravind played the chittaiswaras of this krithi in the form of mridanga jathis like a mini Thani Avarthanam, where the first tala cycle was sarvalaghu nadai, the second tala cycle was tala kuraippu (half and quarter) and the third tala cycle was a short laya korvai.
The krithi “Muruga Muruga”, in Raga Saveri, Tala Misra Chapu, composed by Periasamy Thooran, followed. Saveri being a rakthi raga, the krithi was rendered at a relaxed pace to effectively bring out the melodic characteristics of Raga Saveri.
The main item of the concert was Ragam, Thanam, Pallavi in Raga Kalyani, Tala Adi (half tempo) with the take off point (eduppu) set at zero base (samam). The Pallavi, UMAPATHIM DHAYANIDHIM VARAMARULVAAI / VAIDYANATHANE, has been composed by me in honour of my revered Guruji, Violin Maestro Padma Shri Dr. Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan. In keeping with the carnatic tradition in Kerala, the Thanam segment was rendered with percussion accompaniment.
Aditya and Aravind played a wonderful Thani Avarthanam, complete with innovative Tala kuraippus incorporating Kanda, Thisra nadai laya korvais.
The krithi “Kuzhaloothi Manamellam” in praise of Lord Krishna, in Raga Kamboji, Tala Adi, composed by Oothukkadu Venkatakavi, followed the Ragam, Thanam, Pallavi.
The krithi “Idathu Patham” in Raga Khamas, Tala Adi, composed by Papanasam Sivan, was rendered to bring out the close relationship between nrithya (dance) and geetham (music).
The krithi “Vellai Thamarai” in Raga Bhimplas, Tala Adi, composed by Subramania Bharathiar, was then rendered in praise of Goddess Saraswathi.
The three-hour concert concluded with the Thiruppugazh “Erumayileri”, in Raga Hamsanandhi, Tala Kanda Chapu, composed by Arunagirinathar, followed by Mangalam.
It is a rich musical experience that we will remember for a very long time: the wonderful musical ambiance, the highly receptive audiences (most of whom are music teachers and students of the Temple of Fine Arts, Johor Bahru and Suvarna Fine Arts).
Our very special thanks to Shri Ajith Bhaskar of Suvarna Fine Arts, Manikantan Gurunathan (Violin), Aditya Rajkumar (Mridangam), Aravind Sharma (Kanjira) and to Dr. Jayalakshmy Rajkumar and Srimathi Thevasena Sithambaram (Vocal Support) for their invaluable encouragement and cooperation. Shri Gurubhyo Namaha.