CENTENARY FEATURE – DR. S. RAMANATHAN – A doctor in every sense

The first thing that comes to mind about Dr. S. Ramanathan’s music is his sense of proportion. He was an example of how the simplest things could weave the most wondrous magic and leave listeners asking for more.

About vidwans like Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer, it has been said that the highlight of their music was creative alapana and that kriti rendition was a mere formality. Other musicians, like T. Brinda, made the rendering of the composition the hallmark of their style or the base on which the style was developed. Dr. S. Ramanathan belongs to the second category. The variety of kritis he offered is quite unmatched.

Be it the compositions of the Trinity, or modern day composers like Gopalakrishna Bharati or Koteeswara Iyer, the manner in which he rendered them in his deep voice, with all the sangatis, was captivating. Each sangati adhered to the tradition, with no improvised phrases, no compromise in the raga lakshana. Every note, every line was soaked in tradition and rendered powerfully, with no needless speeding. The kalapramana remained intact throughout his rendering. For a student of music, Ramanathan’s rendition was a boon – it could be easily and accurately notated… more