The Telegraph
Saturday , February 2 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pics by Sanjoy Chattopadhyay

A warm reminiscence of the late maestros, Ravi Shankar and Manas Chakraborty, was there — people witnessed the grandeur of the inauguration of the four-night-long Indian classical music festival. But the 61st session of the Dover Lane Music Conference will be remembered for the mesmerizing sitar recital of Shahid Parvez Khan (picture, left). On the very first day of this music festival, Khan played Darbari Kanada. The wonderful application of mir, and the magical flow of vistaar in the lower, middle and upper octaves created magic. After alaap, jor and jhala, the artist played two compositions in jhamptaal and teental that were enough to prove his expertise in depicting the true nature of a raga. After listening to him, an underlying comparison played on in the mind that cast a shadow on the performance of Tejendra Narayan Mazumdar. He played Darbari on the last day of this festival, and it was an ordinary performance. But his presentation of Raga Chandranandan and a ragamala based on Raga Tilak Kamod and Desh, with beautiful accompaniment by Swapan Chowdhury on tabla, was enjoyable.

The disciples of Ravi Shankar, the sitar and sarod playing duo, Kartik Sheshadri and Parthasarathi Roy, were unable to attract the audience. They played Raga Charukeshi and Manj Khamaj, but in both the presentations, while Roy tried his best, Sheshadri was not able to hold his own. Mita Nag’s sitar recital in Raga Nayaki Kanada had a stiff start but soon she managed to capture the right mood and rhythm with the help of the wonderful tabla accompaniment by Anuradha Paul. Her brief presentation in Raga Piloo composed in rupak attracted the audience. But the sitarist, Nishat Khan, was very disappointing. The violinists, Ganesh and Kumaresh Rajagopalan, did not perform in the conventional way of playing alaap, jor, jhala. With their unique style, they were able to present ragas like Hindolam Basant, Simhendramadhyamam and Hamsadhvani.

The senior artist, Shiv Kumar Sharma, played Raga Jogkosh and the audience could easily feel the enchantment of the raga in his sweet and smooth style. Hariprasad Chaurasia’s flute in Raga Prabhateswari was perfect, but the audience expected more. The mohanbeena player, Vishwa Mohan Bhat, was able to create the charm of Raga Maru Bihag with the proper rendition of notes and a beautiful vistaar in three octaves.

The vocal recital of Kaivalya Kumar Gurav was the most powerful among the performance by the younger generation of the practitioners of Hindustani classical music. Through his voice modulation, experimentation with the vistaar and communication in three octaves, he created the right ambience for Raga Abhogi. His drut kheyal in Raga Vasant was also beautiful. Sanjeev Abhyankar was perfect in his presentation of Raga Malkauns, but some variations were needed to meet the expectations. His guru, Jasraj, also presented Ahir Bhairon. Some of his famous bhajans, like “Prabhu Vishwanatham”, “Narayani niranjani”, or “Maata Kalika” and, as usual, the sweetness of his voice were the main attractions of the performance.

Although the voice texture of the inaugural artist, Meeta Pandit, was attractive, her performance in Raga Bihag was not up to the mark due to a lack of variation and maturity. Ulhas Kashalkar showed his command in a powerful vistaar and complicated taan presentation. The vilambit kheyal in Raga Komal Rishav Ashavari composed in tilwada taal was innovative. The presentations of the drut kheyal in Bhairon Bahar and tarana in Bhairavi were smart too. Arshad Ali Khan’s presentation of Raga Shuddha Kalyan was mechanical. The influence of Rashid Khan was palpable — which should have been avoided.

The young artist, Manjusha Patil, was a little boring initially, but later she picked up the right pace and was able to make the audience enjoy her performance of Raga Behaag. The clarity and melody of her powerful voice found full bloom in her presentation of Raga Sohini. The senior artist, Chhannulal Mishra, disappointed his listeners. He started with Raga Shyam Kalyan, but the sluggishness of his voice and the style of the vistaar and taan presentation did not attract the audience. He also presented drut kheyal in Raga Jhinjhoti and Bahaar: the later one was performed better.

Parveen Sultana was the much-awaited performer of this music festival. She presented a vilambit and drut kheyal in Raga Gurjari Todi. Her span of vistaar, especially in the upper octave, was attractive. She also sang her famous Bhairavi composition, “Bhavani dayani”. Subhadhra Paradkar started her performance in Raga Malgunji with lot of expectations, but a lack of energy caused the audience to be disappointed. Her presentation of drut kheyal in Raga Paraj was good.

This musical session will be remembered for the Gundecha Brothers (Umakant and Ramakant Gundecha) (picture, right), who are famous for their dhrupad presentations. They commenced their performance with a composition by Swami Vivekananda, “Ek roop arup balo”, and then they shifted to Raga Bhairon. Their elongated alaap, with variation of vistaar, movement within the structure of dhrupad with a wonderful application of mir and baats, the way of coming to the initial point in various ways, were quite attractive. They also presented dhrupad in Raga Charukeshi and concluded with their famous composition for the worship of Lord Shiva in Raga Adana. Their voice modulation and renditions created the right atmosphere in the transition moment between night and dawn. The tabla accompaniment by Suresh Talwalkar, Shubhankar Banerjee, Anindyo Chattopadhyay, Ramkumar Mishra and Samar Saha was perfect.