Rhythm and resonance
An exceptional platform, an elegant stage, a legacy of musical heritage, the Dover Lane Music Conference, with a glorious past of 65 years, has all the qualities needed to be considered one of the most prominent music festivals of the city. The festival has succeeded in bridging the generation gap in Indian classical music. This year, it paid tribute to the stalwarts who passed away last year like Girija Devi, Kishori Amonkar and Subroto Roy Chowdhury.
The inaugural flute music in Raga Yaman by Rajendra Prasanna set the stage for the delights to come. The performance of Bageshree Kanada on the sarod by the young and talented artist, Debanjan Bhattacharya, was charming. The sitarist, Anupama Bhagwat, showed her prowess by combining melody and power in Kaushi Kanada. The sitar recital by the Subroto Trinity (picture, right) - Indrajit Roy Chowdhury, Matyas Wolter and Jonathan Mayer - was a fresh experience for the audience. Although it was a group performance, the individual improvisations brought to Behag created an invigorating ambience. Shakir Khan's Charukeshi - featuring distinct traits of the Etawah gharana and detailing that must have come from the training of his father, Shahid Parvez Khan - showed promise. Shahid Parvez Khan himself mesmerized the audience with his Todi, with a wonderful application of mirs. Basant Kabra's sarod was disappointing and Parthasarathi's performance was pleasant but a little scattered. Jyoti Hegde's Chandrakosh and Darbari Kanada on the rudraveena were intense and full of details.
Raga Yogkaus on the flute of Pandit Hariprasad Chourasia was enjoyable in spite of some sluggishness, perhaps owing to his age. Yet he entertained the listeners with his melodious tunes. L. Subramaniam and Ambi Subramaniam, another father-son duo, enhanced the the festival's appeal. Ambi showed his expertise in Raga Shanmukhapriya, while his father brought out the essence of Carnatic music with Kambodi and Chandrapriya. The efforts of Mysore Manjunath on the violin and Tarun Bhattacharya on the santoor attracted the audience, even though their main presentation of Kirwani had limited cycles. Raga Nat Bhairon lost its charm in Ronu Majumdar and Kadri Gopalnath's rendition, on the flute and saxophone respectively, for their aggressiveness. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt tried to invoke the magic of the same raga on his mohan veena, but the musical jargons of his son, Salil, spoiled the mood at times.
Wasim Ahmed Khan's vocal recital was a real treat. He enthralled the audience with a long and rotational alaap in the traditional style of the Agra gharana;his clear voice bloomed from the vistaar to the taans. His presentation of Raga Jayjayanti and Sohini was interesting for its balance of power and melody. Parveen Sultana, in spite of some strain in her voice, enchanted listeners with Yog followed by Vasanth and Hamsadhwani. She enhanced the beauty of the breaking dawn with her signature sadra in Bhairavi Bhavani Dayani. Shubhada Paradkar's Jayjayanti and Vasantbahar and Manjusha Patil's Lalit did not meet expectations as they lacked originality.
Rashid Khan's usual proficiency and tendency of bringing unpredictable vistaars and taans was reflected in his arresting performance of Raga Gorakh Kalyan. His rendition of the popular song, " Yaad piya ki aaye", enhanced the midnight mood. The senior artist, Chhannulal Mishra, began with Raga Hem and gave a mixed bag performance of kheyals, thumris and dadras in different ragas. Gauri Pathare evoked the potential of Raga Nand, but could not hold the mood till the end. Raghunandan Panshikar's Sampurna Malkaus was well structured but slightly repetitive.
The 66th Dover Lane Music Conference ended with traditional style of Pandit Jasraj and a performance by his disciples who put forth Raga Lalit and some well-known bhajans. The eminent accompanying artists include Shubhankar Banerjee, Samar Saha, Anindya Chattopadhyay, Sabir Khan on tabla and Jyoti Goho, Hiranmay Mitra, Rupashree Bhattacharya, Sanatan Goswami on harmonium. Many others like them ensured a perfect and smooth amalgamation of rhythm and resonance.