As it has happened in past seasons, I have ended up following my friend across various concert venues and have enjoyed myself immensely. The first was at Kalarasana. The bucket like seats at Rani Seethai Hall ought to have been a deterrent but I braved it nonetheless. The higlight there was Nagumomu (Abheri) followed by RTP in Sahana. Having waggled off the seat after two and a half hours I hobbled home and rested my back.
The next concert was at Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha, again a great venue in terms of historic sentiment. Here it was a mind-blowing Kamboji followed by Koniyadina napai and then a fantastic RTP in Sumanesaranjani. The SPSS is a rather rough and ready venue, but I think it is a great place for music.
I then heard Sanjay at the Tamil Isai Sangam. This is a great auditorium with a glorious history. Even now the grandeur of the place is undiminished but I doubt if they are still serving the cause of Tamil beyond the hosting of the annual concerts. I asked around if they have any publications for sale and was told there was none. The hall is as beautiful as ever with its commodious but hard seats and a good sound system. A friend remarked that the only drawback with the Sangam is its location. I disagree. It is easier accessing the Sangam than going to Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Mylapore. Plenty of parking space, good airconditioning and a canteen which is subsidised to ensure food is available at ridiculously low prices. What more can we ask for? I think it is time people venture out to the Tamil Isai Sangam each year. That may also help the Sabha to get out of its rut. Sanjay sang an arutpa in Hindolam (tuned by Guruvayur Ponnammal) and the RTP was in Shanmukhapriya.
Last evening I went ‘home’ ie, to the Academy for Sanjay’s concert. The canteen had lost its nerve thanks to the vast crowds that were descending and the wife and I shared ice-cold dosas with petrified chutney and some tepid sambar. The water was warm. The concert had Sankarabharanam (Sri Dakshinamurthe) and Kalyana Vasantham (RTP) as the main pieces.
In all concerts, of any artiste, I realise that a particular high point has been reached when an audience bursts into applause spontaneously. This is not the standard applause that you hear at the end of every piece, the alapana, the neraval and swara. This is an applause that you hear at the most unexpected places and it is so thunderous that you realise that the audience has clapped despite itself- that is it knows that this is not the place to applaud but it cannot hold itself back. And you find that your own hands have willingly joined in.
Such an applause was an integral part of each one of the concerts listed above. Despite the fact that I had a truncated season, I must say the above four concerts have left me with a great sense of fulfillment.
To those who have been reading all that I have been writing during the Season (which is not much) and corresponding, have a great 2010.