Enriching melody The Chowdiah Memorial Hall is known as the one and only violin-shaped auditorium in the world and a memorial to the great violinist T Chowdiah. With a capacity of 1,011 seats and state of the art lighting and sound, naturally it has become a prestigious auditorium of Bengaluru. It is governed by the Academy of Music, which was founded in 1961. Academy conducts a music festival every year, in memory of K K Murthy, the man who conceived the idea of this auditorium and presents awards to senior musicians which is known as the “Academy of Music Chowdiah Award”.
This year’s award was conferred on Ganesh and Kumaresh, popular violinists, by Shivamurthy Shivacharya Mahaswamiji of Sirigere.
After the awards presentation function, Ganesh and Kumaresh gave a violin duet concert. The evergreen varna “Viriboni” in Bhairavi itself showed an element of potential that is proof of positive perceptive recital. Ganesh presented “Sree Chakreswari” and “Bhuvaneshwariya” with brief swara. Natakuranji is a fairly ancient rakti raga of super-eminence with heavy emotional impact. There was utter spontaneity in the racy phrases of the time-tested melody by the brothers, which they dedicated to Chowdiah, the maestro of seven-stringed violin. Based on the swaras suggested by the audience, they presented the raga Rasikapriya. The violin duet by Kumaresh and Ganesh was refreshing, marked for its flair and fidelity. Well known percussionists Tiruchi Hari Kumar on mridanga and Tiruchi Krishnan on ghata accompanied with aplomb.
********************************************************************* Vintage charm Vidwan T V Gopalakrishnan (TVG) is a multifarious talented musician of our time. He is not only a vocalist, but also a percussionist, teacher, composer, researcher, organiser, voice culture specialist and the list is endless. Naturally, he is also a recipient of several awards and honours including Padmabhushan, Sangeetha Kalanidhi and Sangeetha Natak Akademi award. To this long list, one more was added last week with Nadasurabhi conferring its “Sangeetha Surabhi” title on Dr T V Gopalakrishnan. A majestic varna in Saveri gave a hint of what was to follow, in T V Gopalakrishnan’s vocal concert. “Vandisuvudu Aadiyali,” the invocatory piece in Naata, was sung with brief swara. A number of old time favourites with vintage flavour were rendered, which audience also enjoyed. For instance, “Terateeyakarada” in Gowlipantu and “Manavyala” - so on.
In the footsteps of his Guru, TVG also sang swara in four “Kaala” for “Saamagana Vinodini” of Lalitha Das. Octogenarian Gopalakrishnan, assisted by his disciples Devi and Pavandeep, chose Shankarabharana for a detailed elaboration. Though voice was reminding his age here and there, the musical sensibilities were in full focus, depth and dignity of the raga through alapana and crisp swara - brought out the evocative imagery of the raga. The aesthetic grace, subtle gamaka and meaningful pauses - elevated the concert to a great height. Equally edifying was the legendary Jawadi “Saaramaina” and the Reetigowla Kruthi. “Lokabharitano, Indina Dinave Shubhadinavu” and the popular thillana in Jinjoti raga - in the last stage of the concert, were also sung with good feeling. T V Gopalakrishna seemed to maintain a neat balance between art and scholarship. The violin accompaniment of S Varadarajan blended beautifully with the vocal and the percussion duo - Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma and M Gururaja, shared the honours.