Deccan Herald, February 2, 1971

Pattammal renders rare kritis

A packed house avidly listened to and enjoyed the music concert of D.K. Pattammal yesterday evening at the Malleswaram Sangeetha Sabha. While D.K. Jayaraman gave vocal support, she was accompanied by Seshagiri Rao and Palghat Mani Iyer on Violin and Mridangam respectively.

The concert as usual featured the stateliness of her music but the immediately arresting feature was the perfect co-ordination and understanding among the artistes. The celebrated Viribhoni Varnam in Bhairavi set the pace of the concert and Pattammal’s rendering set off its classical grandeur. This was followed by a kriti of Thyagaraja’s “Vinave O Manasa” in Vivardhini.

Kiravani was the first raga taken up for elaboration. The alapana, though brief, carried the essence of the mode in smooth flowing succinct passages and the kriti “kaligiyunte” evoked the underlying tenderness of the mode. The response of the Violinist Seshagiri was also impressive, in this raga. Khambhoji was treated on a larger scale. The initial movement itself evoked the stately picture of the raga and this was maginified in the methodical unfolding of the raga. The kriti “Sri Subramanyaya” came not only as a grand climax of the alapana but its elaboration and energetic rhythm enhanced the grandeur of the raga.

Apart from the more familiar fare, Pattammal’s concert featured many rare items too. For instance, there was the kriti of Syama Sastry “Mayamma” in Ahiri not much heard in concerts, or the “Ma Pala” of Thyagaraja in Asaveri, etc. But the most notable among them was the “Samayamide” of Muthiah Bhagavathar in Budhamanohari, devised by the maestro himself where its character is built up only in the lower tetrachord, the upper tetrachord consisting only of the notes Pa and Sa. Pattamal’s rendition did indeed set off the exotic charm of the raga.

D.K. Jayaraman gave very good support and his voice though not rich in timbre effectively strengthened the vocalism of his sister. His turns particularly in swaraprasthara were equally impressive and we should particularly recall his swaras in Ragamalika in Pallavi.

Seshagiri Rao provided a competent support. His instrument tone was faultless and his response to the ideas of the leading musician was so surefooted as to earn the appreciation of both the artiste and the audience.

The very presence of Palghat Mani Iyer on the stage brings in remarkable discipline into the proceedings. Apart from the everchanging figures and exciting instrumental sound patterns his Mridangam also serves as a lodestar to be safely followed by others. We had such numerous enjoyable opportunities in this concert.


Pattammal excels

D.K. Pattammal and Palghat Mani Iyer combination, though not now to the connoisseurs of Bangalore, was certainly new to the Banaglore Gayana Samaja. Their performance at the Samaja on Sunday evening was a feast of Carnatic music in its most chaste form. Brother D.K. Jayaraman assisted Pattammal while Thirupparkadal S. Veeraraghavan kept company on the violin. The soulful character of her music was sustained throughout the near-four-hour concert.

Commencing with Karur Dakshinamurthy’s Sri Raga varnam, “Samininne”, Pattammal presented in all, thirteen items before taking up Jaganmohini for ragam, tanam and pallavi. Compositions of Thyagaraja, Patnam Subramanya Iyer, Dikshitar and Wadivar found their way into the programme. “Ninnunera” in Kamavardhini, “Chanithoditheve” in Harikhambodi, “Tholijenma” in Bilahari, a kriti in Madhyamavathi, “Eduthanila” in Sankarabharanam, “Mapala” in Asaveri and “Nannugannatalli” in Sindhukannada were the songs of the Saint. Harikhambodi elaboration was fully classical. Pattammal rendered the kriti, “Chanithoditheve” with fervour.

The kalpana swaras for the charana “Patitula” and “Vedasastra”, charana of “Ninnunera” were set to a fairly fast tempo. Madhyamavathi and Bhairavi raga sketches were marked by spontaneity and spaciousness. Pattammal’s presentation of Patnam Subramanya Iyer’s “Neepadamule” in Bhairavi was bouncing. The Malavi piece which preceded Shankarabaranam sounded new to the ear.

Jayaraman gave an imaginative version of Shankarabaranam in the middle octave. Picking up from where he left off, Pattammal introduced several refreshing passages in the higher octave and made the raga serene.

The animated dialogue between brother and sister was so tempting that Mani Iyer could not resist the temptation of joining in the fray. Veeraraghavan was nowhere in the picture. When the trio headed towards an interesting climax did he make an earnest attempt to give a fitting finale to the proceedings. The Asaveri piece of the Saint was tuneful and Wadiyar’s “Sree Jalandhara” in Ghambheera Nattai was dignified. Mani Iyer’s sparkling tani for the Bhairavi kriti had all the characteristic classicism for which he is justly famous.

Pattammal sprang a surprise by selecting Jaganmohini for the main item of the concert – the ragam, tanam and pallavi. After taking the raga through all its known flights, she sang the tanam with verve and rendered the Pallavi in Adi Tala (Tisra Nadai). The kalpana swaras were done with mathematical precision. Mani Iyer’s playing was full of his artistry. The concert concluded after a few delectable miscellaneous items, including a slokam.


Great moments in Oratory

I could never imagine eloquence in the field of music. I attended the Music Academy Sadhassu on January 1971 when D.K. Pattammal received the title of Sangeetha Kalanidhi. This sadhassu is an august occasion and it is conducted with much ceremony and solemnity. ‘Sangeetha Kalanidhi’ is the highest honour a Carnatic musician can dream of and a musician chosen for this honour joins the galaxy of the most distinguished. It is like the British honour of the Order of Merit.

This Sadhassu was of special significance to me, because Pattammal was my idol in music. Secondly, the Sadhassu was followed by a dance recital by Bala Saraswathi. There was a unique appropriateness in this. Both this great singer and this great dancer have many common traits in them. Both are very classical and traditional as artists and as persons both have great dignity and nobility. By far the most common trait between them is that they never play to the gallery. As this Sadhassu was going on, Sangeeta Kalanidhi Sri T.L. Venkatarama Ayyar was sinking in his death bed. He was the towering figure in the Music Academy and his spirit was hovering over the Sadhassu as it was his protégé that was receiving the honour that day. On the great day in her life, Pattammal was in deep distress and burst into sobs, while replying to the citation. Venkatarama Ayyar, however struggled with death and stayed to see this day and allowed death to take him only on the next day.

At this Saddhassu, two speakers spoke about Pattammal before the presentation. One was Dr. Pinakapani. The other was a lady whom I had not seen or known. I was wondering who this lady was who could dare to come and speak on an occasion like this. When she spoke a few sentences, I was taken aback. She gave one of the finest speeches I have heard in Tamil. Couched in sweet words and inspired with effortless eloquence she depicted a portrait of Pattammal which astounded me for its wide comprehension and profound insight. Literally, she held the audience spellbound. That was Soundaram Kailasam, wife of Justice Kailasam of the Madras High Court.