December season 2004: TM Krishna
Charsur Digital Workstation, 750
A unique event is staged every December in Chennai. As the sleeve notes of this DVD remind us, it's the time the water-starved locals welcome guests "without having to worry as to where the next bucket of bath water is going to come from". That's not the only reason for the season's uniqueness. It's the time the Carnatic classical music fraternity gathers in force to perform in front of rows upon rows of Kanjeevaram saris.
This recording of TM Krishna, then 28, was at one of the 2,000-odd concerts at the 2004 season. It was the year MS Subbulakshmi, the most loved singer at the season for decades, passed away. It was also the year the haughty Music Academy conferred the Sangita Kalanidhi award on Vellore Ramabhadran, only the fourth mridangam player to have been so honoured. And that year, Ramabhadran accompanied Krishna at the Karthik Fine Arts Sabha concert. This recording of eight compositions was the collaboration between the veteran percussionist and Krishna, who was then probably the most talented young male singer since Balaji Shankar. Their interplay starts weaving its magic from the second recital, of a Mutthuswami Dikshitar composition in raag Aasaveri. The violin of TKV Ramanujacharyalu comes alive with a Tyagaraja composition on raag Reetigowla.
At ` 750, it's possibly one of the costliest DVDs in the market. And there's just one DVD in the pack — not two, as claimed on the jacket. But then, this is a special one.