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Sangeeta Sthalams : A Tiruvarur Diary
Issue : 240
Published on : September, 2004



3 Sruti Box

7 News & Notes

15 Tribute

18 Special Feature

31 Main Feature

41 A Seies For The Younger Generation

43 The Record Rack

47 The Book Shelf

52 Editor's Note

Front Cover: Maha Vishnu, Indra and Muchukunda paying obeisance to Sree Tyagarajamoorti of Tiruvarur. (Picture from the Tyagaraja Munchukunda Sahasra Namavali)

Special Feature
Heritage Landmarks In Music

It all started when Sanjay (Subrahmanyan) called me one morning to say that he was performing in the float festival at Tiruvarur. Immediately, visions of the huge Kamalalayam and the temple beside it (both of which I had never set my eyes on before) floated up. The town of the Trinity! My drab office appeared to have become roseate in hue and nagaswara music was making itself heard. In a slightly raised voice, so that the nagaswara could not drown it out, I could hear myself telling Sanjay that I would tag along.

So here I am in the train, with Sanjay, S. Varadarajan, K. Arunprakash and K.V. Gopalakrishnan. T.M. Krishna put in a brief appearance before boarding another coach. He and his party are on their way to Kumbakonam by the same train. Sometime later, a Bharatanatyam dancer from Singapore puts in an appearance. He too is on his way to Kumbakonam. Quite an arty train this one. Conversation is mainly on mobile phones and their idiosyncrasies. Sanjay is quite the expert, with young KVG being a big time whiz.

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Main Feature
Vatapi Ganapatim

The spirited musical paean to Ganesa by the revered nineteenth-century "trinity" composer Muthuswami Dikshitar is easily the most well known of all classical South Indian, or Carnatic, compositions. A significant percentage of the thousands of formal concerts in Madras each year open with the "inevitable Vatapi". Indeed, hardly a single procession of blaring nagaswaram oboes and penetrating tavil drums passes by without its raucous rendition of the Sanskrit kriti, a classical pre-composed song form that evolved from the more popular group song-forms, the keertan and bhajan. Students of Carnatic music learn this song in the early weeks of study, and its fame has continuously increased for nearly two hundred years: the raga and the kernel of the composition have even spread to North India.

Several factors contribute to its great popularity. It praises the elephant-headed god of beginnings, who is a favourite of many Hindus, it is set in an auspicious, novel, and relatively simple but melodious raga, or musical mode, and perhaps most of all, the bright and jaunty melody of the composition itself captures the playful quality of Ganesa's personality.

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Prof. V. Subramaniam

I was very grieved at the sad demise of Professor V. Subramaniam.

I had the good fortune to know Prof. Subramaniam rather intimately for about three decades. I first met him in 1974-75 at Bangalore. He had obtained a grant from ICSSR to conduct a research study on social elites of Bangalore city and for institutional associationship, he chose the Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore, of which I happened to be the Academic Registrar then. For the next three or four years he kept visiting the institute for short periods to complete the project.

Besides providing administrative support for the project, I used to meet him almost daily, outside office hours, since both of us were residing on the campus. Each one of those meetings was an education to me, whether the topic of the talk was administrative practices, social anthropology or cultural sociology. He had already done some original work on those subjects, particularly cultural sociology, which was rather new to me.

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A Series For Youngsters
Stamp On Meera

The stamp on Meera is one of the four commemorative stamps in the saints and poets series issued by the Department of Posts on 1 October 1952. The stamp is in the denomination of two annas (2A); colour orange red; watermark multistar; perf. 14; and was printed in the India Security Press, Nasik.

There is also a pictorial cancellation on special cover which shows Meera dancing in ecstasy. This was issued on the 8th July 1977 at the Rajasthan Philatelic Exhibition—RATPEX-77, held in Jaipur.

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