Under the aegis of Suttur Mutt, in the serene location at the foothills of Chamundi, a memorable Violin concert was held this ‘Purnima – Full moon day.’ This time it was by the Maestro Dr. Mysore Manjunath who took the centre stage. As Bharath Ratna Pandit Ravishankar described him, ‘The Musical Crown Prince of Mysore,’ Dr. Manjunath was joined by his prodigious son, Master Sumanth.
Interestingly this was the first time they performed together violin duet in India! Master Sumanth is already making waves in the Karnatak Music circle, performing regularly in Mysuru and elsewhere and is a rising star. The ensemble was complete with maestros Kalaimamani Bhakthavathsalam on mridanga and Vid. Giridhar Udupa on ghata. The artistes were expected to create magic and magic they created.
The concert began with an ode to ‘Bhuvaneshwari,’ since Karnataka celebrated ‘Rajyothsava’ just a few days back. This Kannada composition in the raga Mohana Kalyani by Muthaiah Bhagavathar, set the stage for a mesmerising evening. A brief raga sketch as a prelude with brilliant kalpana swaras adorned the kriti. Dr. Manjunath’s prowess on the violin need not be mentioned but young Sumanth was all set to steal the show. Maha vaidyanatha Aiyyar’s Janaranjani kriti ‘Paahimam Shri Raja Rajeshwari’ was next.
Sriranjani occupied the next slot. An exceptionally pensive mood triggered off when Dr. Manjunath started the Sriranjani Raga in a grand manner with all the required subtle nuances. Perfect fingering slithering down to Mandra, on and again, delighted the listeners. Terse and nimble notational improvisations followed with energy and vitality. The father-son duo took turns giving the raga alapana its due and the audience was soaking in the raga when the Rain God decided to warn everyone that they might get soaked with water too.
Thyagaraja Swami’s Marubalka was the kriti rendered. This is one of the most prominent compositions in Sriranjani, depicting the bhava of the raga in all its glory. The charana was speedened up, yet, Sumanth played on, unnerved, with intricate swara patterns. At one point, Vid. Bhakthavatsalam pointed to the young violinist Sumanth and said ‘I am playing only for him’! The magic fingers of the artistes on stage created a superb Musical heaven and was reciprocated by the repeated round of applause by a highly receptive audience.
The prati madhyama Kriti ‘Bantureethi kolu’ in Hamsanadam, with brisk swaras was played before the main item for the day, Abheri. Dr. Manjunath’s and Vid. Sumanth’s exposition of the raga was brilliant and several shades of the raga were displayed.
Sumanth displayed an amazing ability and maturity for his age while delineating Raga Abheri. Maintaining his cool and composed mindset throughout the raga alapana he presented some of the characteristic sangathis with verve creating a mystique atmosphere that evening. The mesmerised audience greeted him with big rounds of applause thrice during the course of the alapana.
The raga alapana was concluded with both the violinists joining in to give a tana-esque finish to the alapana which was just perfect. While Dr. Manjunath wanted to play ‘Bhaja Re Re Manasa’ the son overruled the father and insisted on playing ‘Nagu momu’. Kalpana swaras transported everyone to a different plane altogether and then it was the percussionists’ time to display their unmatched talent.
The maestro and his brilliant son – you have a brilliant kalpanaswara session for an evergreen krithi, why would they not be in their elements!
A captivating thani avarthanam by Kalaimamani Bhakthavatsalam and highly meritorious Giridhar Udupa ensued. Different nadais and korvais were effectively demonstrated, emanated the resonant beats in different artistic configurations.
The entire concert exhibited the musicians’ virtuosity in the display of melody , tone and the dynamics of the instruments. No one wanted the evening to end. The artistes ended the evening with the popular thillana in sindhubhairavi.
There is a unique and indescribable charm between the raga sindhubhairavi and a moonlit night and with that musical charm swirling in their heads, the audience made their way out of the hall on the full moon night of Nov. 4.