Marked by precision
M. S. GOPALAKRISHNAN, aided by his daughter Narmada, played with warmth and precision in his concert for the Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha. With his superb wielding of the bow and nimble fingering, he added colour and variety to his rendering. His broad articulation gave a lilt to alapanas and interpretation of kirtanas. There was a fine feeling of relaxation as he riveted the start of the performance with the Kambhoji Ata tala varnam and later the Kedaram piece of Sri Tyagaraja ``Rama Neepai Tanaku''. In beauty and resplendence, the brief sancharas of Kanada and Kedaram stood out in the whole recital. The melodic salience of the kirtanas of Kedaram and ``Ramabhirama'' in Durbar was well stressed.
The first major raga taken up for elaboration was Poorvikalyani by Gopalakrishnan. Step by step, he unfolded the vistas of the raga, his bowing technique revealing the light and shade of Poorvikalyani's landscape. The song ``Parama Pavana Rama'' that followed was rendered with felicitous finesse. The success of this piece was due to the lucidity with which he laid before the rasikas its essential structural beauty and the throbbing chittaswaram. It was not merely the sound pattern that was fascinatingly presented particularly waraprastharas and raga lines, but also the chords of refinement that they contained.
Narmada was given the chance to delineate Sriranjani raga in detail. Packing the alapana with well visualised sancharas, Narmada made the raga picture attractive. Proper accentuation of moorchanas with uniformly full-blooded notes, her creative talents subserved her professional expertise. The gem of Sri Tyagaraja in that raga, ``Sogasuga Mridanga Talamu'', gained extra lustre at the hands of Gopalakrishnan. Where Mannargudi Easwaran is the mridangam accompanist, there is always eloquent rich tonal brilliance. The rhythmic patterns both for the kirtanas and for Gopalakrishnan's swaraprastharas came out with vigour and firmness. The way he built the laya support enhanced many times the lyricism of the kirtanas, especially ``Rama Neepai Tanaku'', ``Paramapavana Rama'' and ``Sogasuga Mridanga Talamu''. What Easwaran was to Gopalakrishna, the ghatam artiste N. Govindarajan was to Easwaran.
(Courtesy The Hindu Newspaper, Dated Friday, September 17, 1999).