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Jayram Sataluri
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When I first heard this concert all the way back on July 6th 2013, I was amazed. It was scholarly yet simple. After listening to the full concert in one sitting, I wrote a review without delay. I present it here: To commemorate Dr. M Balamuralikrishna’s 83rd birthday, Sreenivasa Murthy and Ravi Joshi have provided all rasikas with yet again a memorable concert; this time from the 1976 Music Academy Conference with longtime colleague Annavarapu Ramaswamy and the always pleasing Guruvayur Dorai accompanying the maestro. I am amazed by the great quality of the recording. I originally thought it was a studio recording as I heard no applause on the first couple of tracks. BMK’s voice is clear and youthful. After listening to the whole concert in one sitting, I decided that writing a review of this concert would be appropriate. 1) Nattai varnam- A pleasant start to the concert. Usually BMK starts off the varnam in 1st speed, then on the second time he does 2nd speed. Here he starts it in 1 ½ speed without doing it a second time in a faster speed. The chittaswarams are mathematically complex yet one does not notice. 2) Dudukugala- BMK identifies with Thyagaraja’s grief here. Except for a missed passage, the Pancharatna krithi is finely rendered. 3) Manasa Sree Ramachandruni- Ishamanohari is rendered with elan and energy. Here, Thyagaraja reminds us not to forget about Sri Ramachandra and that He will always remain satisfied with bestowing wishes to His true devotees. Guruvayur Dorai’s interludes are terrific. 4) Manasuloni- Like the previous krithi, Hindolam is marvelous, though brief. The swara usage during “Munupu Premagala Doravai Sada” is lovely. 5) Mari Mari Ninne- Kambhoji is presented in all its breadth and glory. The alapana is a mood evoker and makes one attentive. When the krithi commences, we are taken to another world. The different sangatis are etched out wonderfully and arouse different emotions throughout. I echo Sreenivasa’s claim that you need to listen carefully to observe and note the differences between each sangati. BMK makes every note and every sahitya matter. 6) Sangita Vidwat Sabha- The 50th mela, Namanarayani is a rarely heard ragam nowadays. The lower notes remind me of Pantuvarali and the higher notes of Charukesi. Regardless, BMK brings the best out of the ragam during his alapana. Annavarapu shines in his response; I loved his various phrases towards the end. The krithi is masterful and mindblowing. Thanks to Google Translate, I was able to get the Roman script of the krithi and I enjoyed it immensely. May God bless Dr. V. Raghavan’s soul. 7) Ramududbhavinchanadu- A beautiful krithi composed by BMK’s maternal grandfather, Prayaga Rangadasu. A krithi I grew up listening to and always memorable to this day. What more can I possibly say? 8) Todi RTP- The crowning jewel of the concert. Excellent alapana, remarkable tanam and sublime pallavi and brilliant swara prastara. Guruvayur Dorai’s thani steals the show. I loved that he began the thani by playing the pallavi in its various speeds. His Tisra Gathi is fabulous and the ending is neat. 9) Ahir Bhairavi thillana- It reminds me of BMK’s renditions with MSG and TVG. The speed, the fantastic phrases and accompaniment support makes me want to do an Irish Riverdance! 10) Dharma Samvardhani- BMK’s voice brings life to Dikshitar’s praising of Devi. A soft and pleasing Madhyamavathi is a fitting end to the concert. Please pardon me for any mistakes I committed in the review. I hope it was to your satisfaction.
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Aug 3, 2017