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Sax specialist Kadri on a speed drive
BANGALORE, September 1: With great expectations I had gone to attend Kadri Gopalnath's saxophone recital on the evening of August 29 at the temple precincts of Ganapthi Sachchidananda Ashrama in Girinagar, Bangalore. The wonderful hall and the packed auditorium, it seems, failed to inspire the veteran saxophone specialist, one of his kind, having the potential to perform magic in Carnatic music with this western instrument.

Kadri Gopalnath began with a scintillating kriti in Bahudari and gave a wonderful insight into the many possibilities of this romantic raga, bringing out a lot of its melodic qualities both in the lower and middle registers.

Kadri's essay into swaraprasthara phase was marked with an adventurous trip into several permutations and combinations. Ms. Kanyakumari on the violin latched on to the tone set by Kadri and displayed good temperament and creativity in capturing the mood of the raga. It was a rousing effort by Kadri and one felt that the artiste was warming up to giving out his best.

But no, what followed was a listless Ahirbhairav composition with the raga and the kriti dealt with patchily. The soul of the raga with its heart-tugging phrases was missing. Kadri seemed to be in a hurry and the ethereal beauty of the raga Ahirbhairav as it emerged was missing.

Kadri then essayed Thyagaraja's kriti "Ksheera sagara" in Devakandari raga. Fortunately, he settled down to nicely develop some of the key lilting phrases of the kriti and was quite impressive especially in the upper reaches. When he sailed into the "taraka rama namamu" phrase, it was truly evocative and brought the appealing feel of the raga and touched one's heart. But it was all too quick and brief.

Next he gave a brief outline of Ananda Bhairavi kriti and then in raga Bhoopalam following it up with a fast-paced Niravatisugadha in raga Ravichandrika. Kadri took up Gowrimanohari raga for elaboration as the major concert piece but despite some scintillating moments in all these, in totality it seemed to be a rushed affair and failed to impress.

Kanyakumari on the violin as K. Harikumar on the mridangam, Ranjendra Takur on the tabla and Vellore Ashita on morsing gave good support. There was excellent percussion support but Kadri failed to create magic with the saxophone as he usually does. It was one of his off days, it seemed and knowing his excellent abilities one hoped the next time around he would give a much better account of his musical acumen with more stress on slow and steady pace and development rather than on speed per se.