Author: Lalitha Sri; Photo courtesy: Hariharan Sankaran

Shri TM Krishna’s musical offering on Friday at MFA spelt sublime satisfaction. To those following Krishna over the years, this was a different watermark from the typical concert of the last decade.  His voice did  traverse the 3 octaves displaying its amazing range, but the mood was of a serenely flowing river, rather than the torrential cascade of swift swaras and breathtaking neravals that filled the hall in the earlier era.

As is his wont, Krishna did not want a warm-up varnam. He started straight with the Dikshitar kriti Sree mathrubhootham, and the ragam Kannada got a rarely seen elaborate treatment for over half hour, with Krishna’s manodharma flowing through the abstract raga delineation  as well as the composition rendition. It was an opening with a tribute to the Trinity, as he presented a string of three songs from the Trimurthis, following the  Dikshitar kriti with Shyama sastri’s Neelayadakshi and Tyagarajaswami’s Nenendu vetukudura. Each in turn continued the feel of a softly shimmering lightbeam  exploring and illuminating the trail of musical nuances.

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Krishna then went on to reiterate his conviction that the raga deserves highlighting  as an independent element in its own right, presenting Todi and Mohanam  in succession. RKSK, a vocalist’s delight as collaborator, complimented with brilliant phrases, that drew repeated ahaas from the singer  and appreciation from the rasikas for both ragas.

Then came the padam Tiruvotriyur tyagaraja by Ghanam Krishna Aiyer. Ataana with all its scope for drama, had a unique interpretation this time with Krishna lacing through its softer shades, which was in line with the spirit of the song,  of a soul in search of ultimate union. This was followed by Sharade karunanidhe (a composition of  HH Chandrasekhara,  Bharati Mahaswamy, set to music by Shriramkumar) as both Krishna and Shriram swirled through delectable Hamirkalyani.

What could one say of Arun Prakash and BS Purushottaman, who take on the tones from the vocalist and show their artistry keeping their beats within the boundaries of the theme colors? Team work at its best, that comes out of years of mutual understanding.

At the end of it, one just wanted to walk in silence.  Just stepping off a gentle river ride in a pristine valley…