While doing quick google search on both of them, I stumbled upon this blogpost written by Anil Srinivasan almost 10 years ago on TM Krishna. It's a great read on their growing up together and Krishna's music.
It also has this paragraph which absolutely captures TMK.
Someone once told me that the word “Krishna” comes from the Sanskrit term for “that which draws everything in”, just like the colour black. With his swashbuckling style, grandeur of mannerism and vocal expression, Krishna manages to be the point of reference in any conversation he chooses to be part of. I have often heard him be described in similar terms with respect to his stage behaviour. His unbeatable levels of energy, zest for living on the edge and ability to provoke increase by the year, and I watch with quiet amusement at his ability to command centrestage in each endeavour he undertakes. To me, none of this is new. It began with a delectable rendition in Kamas many lifetimes ago, and I only see my cousin being himself. Brash, even arrogant, but overwhelmingly sincere.
It appears they had a public 'rift' in the pages of the Hindu almost 10 years ago.
In December 2009, TMK wrote a piece in the Hindu
decrying the increasing trend of playing carnatic music on 'western instruments' which are not suited for the Carnatic aesthetic.
Any Western classical music student would first learn the piano. In India, many children who just want to learn to play an instrument (excluding the classical forms) first takes to the keyboard and this has become fashionable. Unfortunately, this has entered the world of Carnatic music.
The problem here is not only a question of an instrumental limitation but more seriously an aesthetic distortion. Of course, technologically, the keyboard has advanced tremendously and today can produce microtones. But then this still does not mean it can be used to play Carnatic music because there is a greater damage happening here: of distortion of Carnatic gamakas. Many gamakas are very subtle, with minute movements that are difficult to produce even in the human voice. The keyboard not only approximates this, it also creates a completely distorted interpretation of the same. The emphasis is often wrong, the curves on the notes are incorrect and the ragas lose their elegance. Some of these points, unfortunately, can only be explained by actually singing.
Other than trying to use the keyboard as a main concert instrument today, there have been also Carnatic concerts where the keyboard has been used to accompany or collaborate with the vocalist or main instrumentalist. All these experiments sans the basic aesthetic of Carnatic music are an insult to Carnatic music.
To which Anil Srivasan responded in strong words.
Finally, TMK's rejoinder
To our sensibilities at this present time, certain instruments (such as the ones Krishna names) seem unsuitable. But labelling efforts by artists who are using their chosen form of self-expression as insults to Carnatic music is questioning the very intent of an artist's right to survive and I strongly condemn it. Seeking refinement of aesthetic sensibility or even exhorting students to aim for higher standards is certainly welcome; but asking them to subscribe to parochial and temporal stereotypes is not.
: "I must say Anil Srinivasan seems to have completely missed the point in my article that the essence of tradition is change."