Ageing can also be a boon to the depth of a classical musicians singing repertoire, more so for the worldly wisdom, he/she could use to enhance the scope of a composition. It was this emotional depth coupled with the inherent sweetness in N C Rangacharyulus voice that won the hearts of a limited audience at a concert held in Saptaparni. The Kodad-based veteran musician, a medico by qualification, was in town to perform for Sangeetha Ksheera Sagarams monthly musical series recently.
One neednt always rely on long delineations to explore the various facets of a ragam precision and brevity can be equally impactful too, proved the musician during his two-hour succinct concert. Packing in over 10 compositions by multiple vaggeyakaras, the precise swara prastharas, innovative manodharma and neraval made the evening an educative experience for many in the music fraternity among the audiences.
Opening a concert with a Saranga ragam kriti can be empowering for a rasika, especially in the case of Enta Bhagyamu for the brisk pace in which it is set. A composition where Thyagaraja calls himself privileged to be a devotee of Rama, the singer presented the bhakti rasa with impressive sincerity. A delightful sketch of the Sri Ranjani ragam dovetailed wonderfully into the rendition of another Thyagaraja composition Brochevarevare Raghupate. The manodharma with the various swara phrases leading to the opening line was a true testimony to the musicians skill.
Siddhi Vinayakam, a work of Dikshitar that explores the glory of the Shanmukhapriya ragam to the fullest, is a great showcase of artistry for the way it explores bhakti in various contours and speeds. Thyagarajas Sobhillu Saptaswara in Jaganmohini ragam also creates a similar effect with its intriguing pace. Both these works demand an honesty that emanates from the soul and Rangacharyulu was all heart in letting the beauty of the composition come into the forefront, trusting the work without going overboard.
The importance of a familiar composition to sustain the momentum of a concert is often underrated it felt like a homecoming when the seasoned vocalist took to Thyagarajas Bantureeti Koluvu in Hamsanandam, consolidating on a solid start with the neraval Ramanamamane. The mood turned into that of vairagya, with Mokshamu Galada in Saramati ragam (also by Thyagaraja) the vocalists experience working just right for the compositions emphasis on immortality, purpose to life and beyond.
Pantuvarali ragam became the point of focus with Thyagarajas Ninne Nera Namminanuraa, furthering a similar impact created by the previous composition. The heavy phase in the concert made way for some pleasantness, thanks to the charm of the Begada ragam unveiled in the form of Dikshitars Vallabha Nayakasya. Several interesting literary devices within the piece (the alliteration, the rhyme scheme) were alluringly revisited through the soulful rendition.
The penultimate phase of the concert could have done with more medium/briskly paced numbers to ensure a holistic musical flavour to the evening. Nevertheless, Sri Narada Nada in Kaanada ragam wasnt without its element of charm. Narayanathe Namo Namo got the audiences humming with the vocalists and the disciples. Its this simplicity that has always been an asset of Annamayyas works, the Behaag ragam doing its bit to adorn the poets lyrical charm this time.
N C Rangacharyulus singing through the evening was memorable for its accessibility to the amateur music learner and an accomplished musician alike. The three generations from the vocalists illustrious clan were present on the stage including his son (N C Sundara Varadacharyulu on mridangam) and grandchildren (and disciples as co-musicians), portraying their love for the classical form. N C Anantha Krishnas adaptive violin advances contributed to the musical appeal.