The album : Golden Music Golden Years (official channel) :
Part - 1 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Pwf8M1u8oU
Part - 2 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J66WoVqp_H4
I remember buying this with some gift money from a competition I won at school, and this is one of the best albums in my collection till date.
All gems of renditions by LGJ and GJR Krishnan (and Vellore Ramabhadran on mridangam IIRC), tugging at both your intellect and your heartstrings -- I can't pick a favourite.
1) varnam - neelAmbari - Adi - Own Composition - Played in 2 speeds with rich phrasing.
2) mEru samAna - mAyamAlava gowla - Adi (2 kalai) 1/2 eDuppu - Thyagaraja - Lalgudi's bhava laden interpretation and his cleverness in swara calculations is the highlight. There are places where he gets the arithmetic to dance.
3) darini telusukoNTi - shuddha sAvEri - Adi (2 kalai) - Thyagaraja - A storming rendition in the true spirit of GNB. This will blow you out of the water!
4) kamalAmba samrakshatu - Ananda bhairavi - mishra chApu - Muthuswami Dikshitar - A moving delight
5) aparadhamula - latAngi - Adi (1 1/2 eDuppu) - Patnam Subramania Iyer - alapana by GJR Krishnan.
6) kanna tanDri - dEvamanohari - Adi (1 1/2 eDuppu) - Thyagaraja - Clever swaras exploring a variety of endings.
7) rAmA neeyeDa - kharaharapriya - Adi (2 kalai 1/2 eDuppu)- Thyagaraja - (R,S,TA) - main tour de force of the album, with tani avartanam by Vellore Ramabhadran.
Now comes the dessert :
8) krishnA nee bEganE bArO - yamuna kalyANi - mishra chApu (2/7 eDuppu) - Vyasatirtha
9) enna tavam seidanE - kApi - Adi (3/4 eDuppu) - Papanasam Sivan
10) teerAda vilayaTTu piLLai - rAgamalika (sindhubhairavi, khamas, shanmukhapriya,mAnd) - khanda chApu (or chatushra Eka khanDa naDai)
IMHO this is some seriously special icing on the cake - it's possibly the best recording of these numbers by LGJ out there. Lalgudi gives full vein towards his unique interpretation of the lyrics, erecting the musical scaffold of raga and virtuosity in flow with the meaning of every line and I remember being stunned when I heard these pieces for the first time.
Credit goes to GJR Krishnan for matching his father on stage whether it was in his solos or the replies to some very testy manodharma thrown at him by his guru and father. Vellore Ramabhadran provides his usual blend of unobtrusive, but tailor made support.
Regarding audio quality, the uncompressed sound on the original CD is of course far better than what Youtube offers (one reason to hear the album for real).
A special word for the choice of items in this album. Lalgudi's concert packaging is as good as his music itself. This album showcases various aspects of his genius - as a composer pushing the boundaries, an interpreter of compositions, a creator of expressive and original phrases, his ability to soak raga phrases in bhava and melody, the disciplined approach to presentation, the sheer range of gamakas, his ability to make the violin speak so much that I forgot for a while I was listening to an instrumental concert, his command over laya and various ways to end swaras from his rich experience accompanying the greats and his own ideas, his expansive raga alapana, ability to improvise at will, his particular care and attention to the lyrics of the compositions, and his ability to build musical ideas with the lyrical base, his virtuosity and command over the instrument (without reducing it to a mere pyrotechnical exercise), the ability to play dangerously without batting an eyelid, right down to clever use of tricks like harmonics, the uniquely warm timbre of his sound, the silken, virtually seamless bowing, and his romantic ability to cover a huge spectrum of emotional colors and express them through the violin.
True to its name, this album is truly gold standard - it gives you a complete tour of the music of Lalgudi Jayaraman, and is an aural feast for both layman and connoisseur alike.
Place to review recorded music that you have heard.
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