MUSIC SEASON 2017
Season nonpareil, but questions remain. Yet another December season is upon us. Year after year we bemoan the tiresomeness and sameness of the festival, deplore the overdose of kutcheris, curse the traffic, and of late the threat of floods and cyclones, the ill effects of the twin demons of the note ban and GST whether or not we understand their implications. Of course the many temporary festival-specific canteens come under our scrutiny as well, as does the fairly recent villain of a rash of lecdems adding to our already overflowing problem of plenty in concerts.
‘More of the same’ is a description commonly uttered about the Chennai December music season. The sense of novelty and thrilling excitement we experienced years ago, when a Bombay Jayashri or an Unnikrishnan made their season debut is no longer a possibility as there are concerts galore through the year, and by the time young musicians make their mark in the prime sabhas or the Music Academy in Margazhi, they are already veterans of scores of concerts. And yes, like the original veterans who tend to be wounded soldiers, many of these valiant performers on the Carnatic music stage have already been injured by excessive demand on their voices and instruments. If you are performing all the year round, where is the time to recharge your creative instincts, think, read and listen to enrich your music, even rest your voice and limbs for a bit to rejuvenate yourself, diagnose your own faults that creep in stealthily into your palette?
The season is also the time music lovers congregate in Chennai to listen to the great masters of the 20th century still amidst us and performing. What is Christmas, for example, without a visit to the Music Academy to savour the majesty of T.N. Krishnan’s violin? The season may also provide rasikas an opportunity to listen to another titan among violinists, M.S. Anantharaman, and many younger members of the Parur Sundaram Iyer lineage.
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