Concert of the Season, T.N.Seshagopalan

T.N.Seshagopalan (TNS) is a mercurial musician; on a good day
his indefatigable spirit and untiring intellect carries him through to the
heights of unfettered expression. Sometimes his concerts can rise from the deep
depths of depression to the heady heights of pure exhilaration. His concert for
The Ganesh Sewa Samaj in Mayur Vihar Phase”2” in Delhi, India was an example of
a rapid climb from a seemingly irretrievable depth to dizzy heights of release.

Firstly, the concert started 15 minutes late. There were as many as sixteen
(yes, 16) and more kritis . However, unlike the sangeetham that is rendered by
many musicians who sing from a number of preset sangatis, one gets the feeling
that TNS always exercises spot-sangatis in all of his concerts. Although TNS
sang in sangeetham mode, there were many spot-improvised sangatis in every kriti.
Which brings me to the question of whether or not this is a valid katcheri
format. A major advantage was that, after one hour, his voice was set really
well and his every wish was a command. However, one felt restless and
uncomfortable. Perhaps this was a result of us not being ready and prepared for
this format to the concert. TNS commenced with a varnam in Reetigoulai and followed it up with Giriraja
Sutha in Bangla and Merusamana in Mayamalagowlai . He then sang an exquisite ‘Saptagireesam’
in Kaanada. This was followed by “Kaa vaa vaa” in varali. This was then
succeeded by a kriti in neelambari, then bhoopalam, a raagamalika viruttam,
abhang, an ashtapadi of jayadeva and a few more tit bit thukdas. P.Jayabhaskar
performed a superior taniavartanam that was as lofty as the kriti Kaa Vaa Vaa
that preceded it. Of the few concluding pieces the tillana in sindhu bhairavi
was outstanding.

K.Venkatakrishna gave a subdued violin support.This was an excellent concert.
The first half may have left one a bit restless, but the second half was
uplifting. So much so that TNS was afforded a well-deserved full-minute standing
ovation by the Delhi audience. This is something that is rarely seen in Delhi
these days. Well justified…