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Santhanam's sober Shankarabharanam

Maharajapuram Santhanam
Vol 2
Violin: Lalgudi Jayaraman
Mrudangam: Vellore Ramabhadran
Rs 45

This tape records the second part of a concert at the famous Fort High School in Bangalore. Some of the greatest musicians have graced this platform during the annual Ramanavami season, in March-April. Unfortunately the date of the concert is no where mentioned.

The first composition is Manasu swadeenamai in Shankarabharanam, tala Misra Chapu, by Tyagaraja. The pace is dignified and it unfolds in majestic style. The kalpana swaras match the pace of the kriti. There is no tendency to hurry or sing fast swara prasthara. Jayaraman on the violin matches the mood of the main artiste.

Thanks to this tape being a live recording, it features just three pieces: Shankarabharanam, Shanmukhapriya and Basant Bahar. Shanmukhapriya starts with slow studied phrases, and Santhanam establishes this tender raga with care and precision. This is followed by Marivere dikkevarayya, a kriti composed by Patnam Subramania Iyer. Towards the end, the fluency of his voice carries Santhanam away into a mere display of craft. Jayaraman follows suit.

It is amazing that a renowned musician like Santhanam should render Mariveredikku evarayya raama as Mariveredi kkevarayya raama, splitting the song into meaningless sounds.

The tani avartanam is butchered. The ghatam artiste's name is not even mentioned on the inlay card! The recording quality is good on Side A, but dips suddenly on Side B during the swara prasthara for Mariveredikku.

The tape ends with Santhanam's own compositon, a thillana in Basant Bahar.

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