By Dr. Rama V. Bennur
Muthuswami Dikshitar, one of the trinities of Karnatak music, occupies a special place in the heart of musicians and music lovers. Youngest of the Trinity, he has composed with ‘Guruguha’ as his pen name. Dikshitar’s compositions which spread to nearly 500, display his profoundness in music, Sanskrit, Srividyaandadvaitha philosophy. His Navagraha, Kamalambanavavarana and the 72 melakarthakrithis are unique and display a fine craftsmanship. It is said that it was he, who introduced Samashticharana in the place of two or more charanas. His compositions on different Deities are filled with information about the importance of the temple, puja customs apart from describing the deity. A Vainika and a gayaka himself, Dikshitar has used many Hindustani ragas too in his compositions. His ‘Nottuswaras’ for the little ones are based on western music.
It is said that he breathed his last on the day of Deepavali (1835) while listening to his own composition ‘Meenakshi Memudam’ by his disciples. Tyagaraja Sangeetha Sabha celebrated Dikshitar’s Day on the 19th of October 2017, yet again on the day of Deepavali and paid rich tributes to Muthuswami Dikshitar. Many senior musicians of Mysuru joined hands with the Sabha and paid their respects to the Great Vaggeyekara. Dr. R.N. Srilatha, Rajalakshmi, M.R. Sudha, Meera Manjunath, Medha Manjunath, Bellary M. Raghavendra, N.R. Parashuram, Manasa Nayana, R.S.Nandakumar, N.R. Prashanth and N. Shreenath were the singers. H.K. Narasimhamurthy and M.A. Jyothi provided violin and A. Radhesh and Saishivu played mridanga for all the artistes.
This celebration brought out many rare compositions of Dixitar like Panchabhoothakshetra Shiva varnane, chaturdasharagamalika and navavarana. Each musician presented three kruthis of Dikshitar, there by bringing the total number to thirty! Such occasions invariably help in popularizing unheard compositions.
Vid. Sringeri H.S. Nagaraj gave a fine vocal performance under the aegis of Tyagaraja Sangeetha Sabha on the 25th of October at Sri Rama Mandira of Jayanagar. He was accompanied by C.A. Nataraj (violin), P.S. Sridhar (mridanga) and Sriram Bhat (khanjira).
Sringeri Nagaraj is a rare musician who has devoted his life for the cause of music and is a strict follower of tradition. Thus, he has preserved the purity and classicism of Karnatak music and encourages his students to follow and spread the same. Rich voice that gushes to create an impact on the listeners with a clear enunciation dipped in emotion are the hallmark of his singing. Backed by a vast repertoire and musical acumen he makes his performance unforgettable.
There were few rare compositions like the varna in the raga saramathi ‘Kaamakshithaaye’, ‘Aanandamayamanave’ (Jyothiswarupini) by Valajapete Venkataramana Bhagavatar, Tyagaraja’s Sri Ranga Pancharathna ‘Vinaraadana’ (Devagandhari)and ‘Neelakanthaniranjana’ (abhogi), ‘Sri Saidevambhaje’ (Shuddhahindola) by Bana Gundurao. Highlight of the concert was his exuberant alapana of Jyothiswarupini and Mayamalavagowla. They were rewarding expositions in the lower and middle octaves. Jyothiswaroopini was elaborated in meticulous, unhurried fashion. The majestic negotiations were flooded with imaginative flashes. The sparkling kalpanaswaras too carried the classical purity.
‘Namaste varadeparadevate’ was another rare kruthi of Muthuswami Dikshitar in the raga Devaranji. The majestic ‘Merusamana’ and ‘Shri Saraswathi nampsthute’ (Aarabhi) were enjoyable. Nagaraj’s improvisational felicity elicited good responses from C.A. Nataraj on violin. P.S. Sridhar and Sriram Bhat’s percussion support was also worth mentioning.