T M Krishna @ Parthasarathy Swami Sabha on 23rd December 2013

Date/Time : December 23rd, 10am
Venue: Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha
Acoustics : Reasonable
Ambience :  Temple-like
Crowd : 125% with audience standing in the aisles and outside closed doors

Very early in the concert TMK mentioned, offhand, that this is not a 'kutcheri': in keeping with that nonchalance it was a concert freed from formality. It was a free concert andthere was every opportunity for the 'non-believers' of his current music to keep away. With that out of the way, the musical content was huge. There was unbelievable depth in every manodharmam endeavour.

A brief sketch of Sahana for Thyagaraja's 'Emanadiche' started the concert on a pensive note. The neraval at 'Namatalu' added meaning to the lyrics and the kalpanaswarams at 'Ekantachittamu' again emphasized that 'quiet consciousness'. A short thani ensued. The brilliant depiction of Begada led to Thanam on the violin.  I had tears in my eyes for MuthuswamiDikshitar'sJambupathein Yamuna Kalyani. Thanks to a recent lecdem, the panchalingakriti had that much more meaning and that itself is the gain in attending a concert during Season.  The dampness stayed intact in the eyes for a graceful MukhariforKshetragna's soulful padam 'Ososi'.

TMK  brought it all crashing down with a RagamalikaThanam in Nattai, Gaulai, Narayana Gaulai and Arabhi. A brisk ChalaKallaladu with rapidfireswarams at 'IlaloSariva' ended with a sharp thani. Though beautifully sung, its place in the list was dubious. If TMK reserves the right to challenge established practices, I claim thecorresponding right to tell him that he shattered the'sowkhyam' he had so carefully woven for over an hour. He concluded with 'PadaNinneNanti' – a Javali in Kapi – and 'ManglamKosalendraya' viruttam in the same ragam.

TMK did not have his usual accompanists but TKV Ramanujacharyalu on the violin, KV Prasad on Mridangam and N.Guruprasad on Ghatam were well-attuned to his mood and music. The violinist was particularly in sync and rendered a brilliant Mukhari essay. Both percussionists were impressive in their dealings with the unknown.

Seeking an insight into TMK's move away from the 'prescribed format', one wonders if  he was attempting to take our music back to its origins – a time where there was no rush and maddening haste in every aspect of daily life. Sadly, none of the time constraints of  modern day life have fallen back to those early days.In the interest of keeping his music in the mainstream for a few more decades, he probably needs a time-out to focus his thoughts. That tired old cliché 'Shh, Genius at work' does, after all, have some truth to it.