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Saturday, December 24, 2005

Dec. 24: Malladi Bros. at German Hall

I attended my 3rd Malladi Bros. concert in as many days today at German Hall. I was hoping for a repeat of y'day's Mylapore Fine Arts performance - indeed, the brothers were accompanied again by Sri Nagaraj and Sri Sivaraman (and Sri TV Vasan replacing Sri EM Subramaniam on the ghatam), so I wasn't being overly hopeful!

Let me first list the krithis/compositions rendered:
1. Mohanam Varnam
2. Palukavemi Na Deivama - Poornachandrika
3. Samayamu Telisi - Asaveri
4. Parandhamavathi - Dharmavathi
5. Anathudu - Jingala
6. Endhuku Nirdaya - Harikambhoji (Main)
7. Mayamohamu - Jog
8. Vagaladibodhanalaku - Behag
9. Bhaja Govindam

The concert was quite good - but nowhere near the levels of the previous day. However, this does not reflect on the artistes. There were numerous other factors: the hall had poor acoustics, the Mridangam's microphone level was not set right, there was a time limit (the concert started at 5pm, and the next one was to start at 7:30pm - so it was always going to be a race against time, like at The Music Academy). The thani was over 20 min. in length - which is too long for a 2 1/4 hour concert. However, the final mohra/korvai in thisra nadai was out of the world, for the speed at which Sri Sivaraman played them. (However, there were quite a few errors during the thani avardhanam, which did detract from the whole experience.)

There was a most unnecessary and annoying interruption after the thani (around 6:55pm). One of the organisers felt he had to share his "expertise" in music - so he shared with us some very basic insights - like how the brothers had to be careful in singing Harikambhoji without transforming it into Khamas, and other trivia like how he arranged this concert, and how grateful he was to the artistes for agreeing to perform. The organiser ate up a valuable 7 min. (although it felt much longer), and to make things worse, he requested them to finish the concert with the Behag javali. What was the tearing hurry to finish?! Who knows - we might have had an express ragam-tanam-pallavi, but for this interruption!

Highlights for me:

  • First time I listened to "Samayamu Telisi" krithi of Sri Thyagaraja. I like Asaveri.
  • Fantastic alapana and kalpana swara for Parandhamavathi (although the korvai was the in the same pattern as the one they sung in Academy).
  • Simply loved how the brothers rendered "Maya mohamu" krithi of Annamacharya. The tune was composed by their father, Malladi Sri Suri Babu.

That the concert was not perfect only goes to show that the Mylapore Fine Arts concert was special, perhaps even magical. You can't put together geniuses and expect a masterpiece every time - there are times when factors converge, and times when they don't ...


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