wonder if sri mdr himself would have sung this song with such an effect (i havent heard his rendition).
The many dimensions of MDR
MDR firmly believed that Carnatic music should give emotional satisfaction, instead of being merely an intellectual exercise.
M. D. Ramanathan
M. D. Ramanathan was engrossed in the singing of one of his own compositions, "Ramanai maravaadiru maname." In the next sequence he sang, "Jayaramanai Sivaramanai maravaadiru maname," there was a ripple among the audience as his accompanists that evening were Lalgudi Jayaraman and Umayalpuram Sivaraman. That was MDR with his subtle humour.
Accused of a lack of seriousness and levity in the enunciation of a kriti, this disciple of Tiger Varadachari had realised early in his career that language was only a vehicle for musical expression and the focus should be on Varnamattu or the score of a composition. The quintessence of the raga was projected, with its complexion in full view. He firmly believed that Carnatic music should give emotional satisfaction, instead of being merely an intellectual exercise.
MDR had to contend with the audacity of the accompanists. Once in Thrissur the maestro elaborated Khambodi in his customary style and as the violinist was about to take over, MDR began the sahitya, "Evari Maatta," surprising the violinist and the listeners alike. The young violinist put the violin and the bow down in a huff. Soon the maestro realised the mistake and apologised. But the violinist sulked all through the concert. When a few from the audience pointed out the brazenness of the accompanist, MDR said that being old meant forbearance too.
MDR was in his element when singing for one of the annual festivals at the Sree Poornathrayeesa temple. `Upachaaramu" in Bhairavi, "Giripainela" in Sahana, etc., were the chosen kritis. The festival crowd, more concerned with his mannerisms than with the ascetic repose with which he sang, started toying with the balloons which popped off intermittently. The veteran appealed to the audience to pay attention. When they did not he wrapped up the concert. Later he said he could not bring himself to believe that such a thing was happening in a place like Tripunithura. In a similar situation Sathur Subramaniam had come down on the audience heavily, asking the noisy to clear out at once.
Passion for cricket
MDR had a passion for cricket and there are a few contemporaries at the Victoria College of Palakkad, who have seen him wielding the willow. They remember him practising at the nets and especially recall the way he would tie his hair in a `tuft' after each stroke. Bouquets and brickbats, he took in his stride. Even the denial of Sangita Kalanidhi did not worry him. There were critics who mocked at his style and eminent percussionists looking askance at him for his low pitch or `Thaggu' sruti. But he never quarrelled with them.
The 83rd birthday of MDR was commemorated by his admirers at Rugmini Kalyanamandapam of Tripunithura, Kerala, recently. A vocal concert featuring compositions, exclusively of MDR's, was presented by Sanjay Subrahmanaiam. Sanjay was able to invest the kritis with individuality that abounded in repose and poise. The large audience remained entranced by erudition, melody and method.
``Kedaram," a book written by Krishna Moorthy, an ardent fan of MDR was released by Sanjay Subrahmaniam.
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