Sanjay Subrahmanyan Concert Comments

A long anticipated concert by Sanjay Subrahmanyan with co-artists S Varadarajan and Neyveli Venkatesh for Sruti was as extraordinary as expected. It was a memorable performance - from the get go to the very end, music of the highest excellence pervaded the atmosphere and seeped into every rasika there. The combination of Sanjay’s voice, Varadarajan’s violin and Venkatesh’s mridamgam is one great musical edifice to marvel at – built on the expanse of the repertoire, with the fine and nuanced architecture of the Manodharma sangeetham, over the bedrock of rhythm.

Whether it be Karikalabhamukham with the fitting swaraksharam-based kalpanaswaram or the unique Hamsadhawani alapana or the bhava filled Sivakamasundari with the entire essence of Mukhari painted at the charanam line , “Kelayo En Muraigal” , the top order was a teaser to what a marvelous middle order was in store for the audience. Soaking in the two main pieces of the day, the Thiruvarur Ramaswamy masterpiece in Vasanta, Sri Kamakshi and the Kharaharapriya RTP was akin to seeing the twin summits of Denali in Alaska. You are first surrounded by the beauty and expanse of the vista, you breathe in the air, let the mist enwrap you and as you go further, there they are– the magnificent peaks to savor and behold. The thani avartanam by Venkatesh for Vasantha and the raga alapanas and tanam from Sanjay and Varadarajan for Kharaharapriya were definite highlights. Nannu brovamani in Yamunakalyani between Vasantha and Kharaharapriya provided a lilting transition.

Post the RTP, Sanjay and team presented gems of krithis like Tamizh Noolai Padi, Namasudharasam and a couple of viruthams including Petra Thai Tanai marandalum in ragamalika. The only cricket analogy that fails for a concert by this trio is that there are no tailenders, who get out too quickly, in the concert. Each post-RTP krithi got the same attention to detail from all the artists as to make them stand out.

If Sanjay’s explorations during the alapanas and tanam wowed the audience, Varadarajan’s nectar-sweet responses were equally appreciated. Venkatesh’s complex, yet silken strokes were an absolute boost throughout the concert.

Thanks much to SRUTI The India Music and Dance Society for delivering on great acoustics, and all other logistics that make this concert experience that stays with the audience for a long time!

Good art touches a beholder to her core. Great art elevates the beholder and has an additive effect to the life force in each of us. This rasika had a night filled with great art!