Violin Solo by Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman with Sri Umayalpuram Sivaraman & Sri T H Vikku Vinayakram
Lalgudi’s Thodi concert is a fascinating eka raga concert, a novel and particularly bold idea for a violin or indeed any instrumental concert, implemented with conviction by Lalgudi Jayaraman in 1973. Lest the audience find their interest flagging through the course of the concert, Lalgudi selected a varnam, thirteen choice kritis, a thillana and a thirupugazh, all in Thodi. Lalgudi’s finesse is visible not only in his choice but also in the sequence of presentation. Apart from the ata tala varnam, the kritis follow in an order determined by the edupu, structure, pace - whether vilamba, madhyama kaalam or mixed as in the Dikshitar kriti. Three kritis need special mention - Anai Aiya’s “Ambanannu” set entirely in upper octave, Thyagaraja’s “Ninnuvina” set in madhyama sthayi & Ettendra’s “Gajavadana” for the impressive chittaswaram. These ensure that the audience remains keenly interested throughout, with an enthusiastic expectation of the next piece. The elaborate Thodi alapana, swaraprastharam and the thani avartanam are reserved for the last kriti, Sri Krishnam of Dikshitar. The thani avartanam is a superb reminder of the excellence of Umayalpuram Sivaraman’s and Vinayakram’s mastery even half a century ago. Their accompaniment has contributed greatly to this memorable concert. A sensitive listener can discern the subtle dialogue between the three artists throughout, drawing inspiration from one another.