It was a week-end to remember for connoisseurs of Carnatic music in the Capital as the talented singer Neyveli R Santhanagopalan conducted a workshop and rendered the Pancharatna Kritis of one of the greatest of Carnatic music composers, Saint Tyagaraja, on the lawns of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA).
Though the workshop on 28 January was slated for two hours, the packed house at the IGNCA auditorium led to the programme going on for almost three hours with Santhanagopalan keeping the audience spell-bound with his talk on various compositions by some of the well-known composers like Tiger Vardachari, who asked his disciples to note down songs that he composed extempore. Santhanagopalan's description of renowned poet and Saint Tyagaraja and his compositions were highly informative and in his inimitable style, interspersed with humour, he made the audience want more. The interaction with the audience was indeed so absorbing that time seemed to fly.
The morning programme on the lawns of IGNCA, with the audience participation in the Pancharatna Kritis of Tyagaraja led by Santhanagopalan, transported one to Thiruvaiyuru, where annually the Tyagaraja festival is held, with leading Carnatic musicians participating. The talk and the programme organised by the IGNCA, in conjunction with Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha, was indeed of great value to lovers of Carnatic music and as Project Director Mangalam Swaminathan said, the response was indeed overwhelming and encouraging and that the Centre, which had started this programme some years ago, would continue with it.
Shanmukhananda Sangeeta Sabha, which has been in the forefront of promoting South Indian music and culture, has been playing a stellar role in this direction and S Krishnaswamy, its general secretary, has been in the forefront and co-ordinating with the IGNCA to organise these programmes.
As was aptly summed up by Sachchidanand Joshi, member secretary of IGNCA, "Why should we say that Tyagaraja or any of our composers are Mozart or Beethoven of India. Instead one should be saying Mozart and Beethoven are Tyagarajas of Europe."