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Tyagaraja as inspiration – The Hindu


For greater than a century, composers have been moved to put in writing songs within the saint-poet’s reward

It’s now kind of accepted that the songs sung on the Tyagaraja Aradhana are solely these of the composer. And but this was not so at the least till the mid-Nineteen Forties when songs in reward of Tyagaraja too have been heard in Tiruvaiyaru. Thus we all know that until his passing in 1919, Ramanathapuram Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar invariably sang ‘Sadguru swamiki sari’, his composition in raga Ritigowla in reward of Tyagaraja, on the Aradhana. Later, his disciple Bangalore Nagarathnamma made it a degree to sing the identical track, as soon as the ritual waving of camphor was performed. She additionally recited an ashtottara (a set of 108 names) on Tyagaraja that she had composed.

Poochi Iyengar was not, nevertheless, the primary to compose in Tyagaraja’s reward. That honour ought to in all probability go to the bard’s first cousin and in addition in all chance his first disciple — Manambucchavadi Venkatasubbier. His composition ‘Swamiki sari’ in raga Devagandhari is a really transferring tribute, which includes some phrases from a number of Tyagaraja kritis. One more distinguished disciple was Walajahpet Venkataramana Bhagavatar, whose Mangalashtakam, a set of eight verses on Tyagaraja is pretty well-known. However a few of his different compositions on his preceptor haven’t been heard — ‘Guru charanam’ (Sankarabharanam) and ‘Guruvaru mahimala’ (Ananda Bhairavi) are however two. When Tyagaraja visited Venkataramana Bhagavatar at Walajahpet, the latter’s disciple, Mysore Sadasiva Rao, composed a track — ‘Sri Tyagarajaswami vedalina’ in Thodi, which is now misplaced. It’s fairly clear that even in his lifetime, Tyagaraja was a lot honored and the topic of many songs.

Tyagaraja as inspiration

It’s attention-grabbing to notice that the urge to compose in reward of Tyagaraja continued nicely into the twentieth century. Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar created ‘Tyagarajaswami Sadguruvani’ in Hindolam. It encapsulates many particulars of Tyagaraja’s life as seen in modern accounts. Mysore Vasudevachar, additionally of the Tyagaraja lineage through Patnam Subramania Iyer and Manambucchavadi Venkatasubbier, given his felicity in Sanskrit, selected that language for his piece on Tyagaraja. ‘Srimadadi Tyagaraja guruvaram’ is in Kalyani. In newer occasions, M.D. Ramanathan’s ‘Tyagaraja gurum’ in raga Kedaram is a good piece. In its gait and within the structuring of the fully Sanskrit lyrics, it brings to thoughts Dikshitar greater than Tyagaraja, however is likely one of the most interesting tributes to the composer.

There’s additionally no dearth of compositions in Tyagaraja’s reward in Tamil. Koteeswara Iyer’s track in Bilahari — ‘Ini namakkoru kavalaiyum illai’ data a imaginative and prescient that he had in his dream of Tyagaraja. He ends the composition with a line that pays tribute to his tutelary deity Murugan and Tyagaraja collectively! Papanasam Sivan’s ‘Ittharaniyil Tyagaraja sadguru’ is in Begada. It’s outstanding for a similar sentiment as Koteeswara Iyer’s creation — that the singing of Tyagaraja’s songs is a remedy for all worries. There’s additionally a track by him on the Carnatic Trinity — ‘Sangita trimurthigalai panindhu’ in raga Kedaragowla — it’s in all probability the one composition the place the trio — Syama Sastri, Tyagaraja and Muthuswami Dikshitar — are talked about collectively.

Ladies composers

Ladies aside from Bangalore Nagarathnamma have been moved to compose on Tyagaraja too. A track in Tamil is D. Pattammal’s ‘Tyagabrahma kathamritham.’ Set in 9 ragas, it offers the composer’s complete biography as narrated within the Harikatha custom. It’s noteworthy that within the track, Tyagaraja’s much-maligned elder brother has a brand new sin visited on him. He’s blamed for burning Tyagaraja’s works — a story not out there in every other supply. However the track itself a worthy tribute. Years in the past, after I referred to as on the nice scholar T.S. Parthasarathy, he confirmed me a composition on Tyagaraja by ‘Andavan Picchai,’ which was the pseudonym of a lady composer, higher identified for her devotion to Murugan. Sadly I made no notice of it then. Ambujam Krishna, the lyricist, was impressed to start her journey in music throughout a go to to Tiruvaiyaru. It’s due to this fact no shock that she has a track, ‘Tyagarajaswami padambujam’ in Atana.

The best corpus of songs on Tyagaraja can also be by a lady — Ok.M. Saundaryavalli. Titled Sri Tyaga Guru Stuti Kirtanaigal, there are 30 songs, recommended by Bangalore Nagarathnamma herself, in a letter dated November 18, 1951. The songs, with handwritten notations by the composer, have been privately revealed. Lots of the items make liberal use of Tyagaraja’s lyrics. N. Rajagopalan in his compilation, The Melodic Garland, offers particulars of her life. Born in 1914, she had her tutelage in music below nagaswaram artiste Murugula Sitaramayya. The dying of the primary six of her kids made her take to composing as a prayer. She was later blessed with wholesome progeny. Saundaryavalli turned a prolific composer and the songs on Tyagaraja kind however one a part of her corpus.

Maybe no composer earlier than and after Tyagaraja impressed such a flood of compositions, spanning a century and extra. However then, Tyagaraja is exclusive.

The Chennai-based historian writes on music and tradition.



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