Haridas Sammelan: Plenitude of Instrumental Melody
(A curtain raiser of the Haridas Sammelan music festival of 1959)
By MOHAN D. NADKARNI writing as LALITMOHAN DUTTA
The Bombay Sentinel, February 25, 1959
THE Shahanai, like the nadaswaram of the South has, from time immemorial, been associated with ceremonial occasions. Today, it enjoys the status of a concert instrument. Eminently due to its master-player, Bismillah Khan.
His classical as well as light melodies combine rare charm with a limitless gamut of tonal expression.
Forty-three-year-old Bismillah Khan, who hails from Benares, is the recipient of the President’s Award for instrumental Music.
Pannalal Ghosh, Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan are all pupils of Alauddin Khan of Maihar, acknowledged as the greatest living exponent of Hindustani music.
Pannalal’s melody conveys intense emotional appeal, and the deep tonal range of his unusually large flute invests his rendering with rare serenity.
Pannalal Ghosh, who is 47, is on the staff of A.I.R.Delhi (orchestra).
Ravi Shankar, who is 38, has great gifts of creative imagery and experimentation.
One finds in his renderings on the sitar a happy synthesis of linear grace, tonal vigour and lucidity. He has a flair for orchestral research and is quite well-versed in the basic principles of the Western Orchestra.
Thirty-seven-years-old Ali Akbar Khan, like Ravi Shankar, is a master of the traditional style of Beenkars. A sarod virtuoso, Ali Akbar’s slow-playing is as sweet and reposeful as his rapid work is vivacious brilliant and precise.
Vilayat Khan who is 34, is yet another sitar player of great eminence. He comes of a family rich in musical heritage. Son of the famed Enayat Khan, he lost his father at a very early age. But young Vilayat nurtured his gift and strode forward with unswerving devotion.
Today, he is a perfect master of his medium and he plays the Razakhani and Masitkkhani styles with consummate skill. He plays both serious andlight melodies with equal ease.
Jog And Parsekar
V.G.Jog and Shridhar Parsekar began their specialized study of the violin in their early teens, and both are now well-known as soloists and accompanists.
Jog, who was born in 1922, is on the staff of A.I.R. Bombay as music producer. He learnt his art from a number of masters including S.N. Ratan jankar.
Shridhar Parsekar had the benefit of training from Gajananrao Joshi, the reputed violinist of Bombay.
Masters Of Tabla
Habibuddin Khan who comes from Delhi, is one of the best exponents of the Ajrara style of tabla-playing. He has the unique capacity of adjusting the method of playing to the distinctive nature of any vocalist. He is equally superb as a soloist.
Kishan Maharaj, who is just 30, is the nephew and pupil of the veteran percussionist of Benares, Kanthe Maharaj, Kishan’s virtuosity in instrumentation is marked by the amazing speed of his rapid work and his understanding of the mood of the principal performer while accompanying him.
Allah Rakha and Nikhil Ghosh are also acknowledged masters of the tabla. They have played with most of the top-ranking vocalists and instrumentalists of the country with equal ease and skill. Nikhil Ghosh is the younger brother of Pannalal Ghosh.
Ram Narayin is an accomplished sarangi-player from Udaipur. He learnt music from Mahboob Khan and Bhishmadeo Vedi. As an accompanist his playing reveals a nimble intelligence, while as a soloist he impresses his listeners with his skill and fluency of invention.
Thirty-three-year-old V.G.Karnad is one of the few non-professional but highly promising stylists of Bombay. He has had a weakness for music from his early childhood.
A recorded piece by the famous artiste from the South, Palladam Sanjivarao inspired Karnad to let his fingers stray along the “stops” of the flute. A chance meeting with veteran Pannalal Ghosh in 1949 provided him a new impetus to his musical pursuits.
Today, the music of this sincere bansuri-player displays a tonal mellifluence and a charming skill in interpretation.
Imrat Hussain is the son of Inayat Khan and younger brother of Vilayat Khan. He has acquired a sound command of technique in instrumentation under the guidance of Vilayat Khan. Although only in his twenties, Imrat Hussain has already developed a powerful style and he plays both the sitar and the Surbhar with equal mastery.
Ahmed Ali Khan and Damodarlal Kabra are among the popular sarod-players of the younger generation.
Ahmed Ali, who is on the staff of A.I.R. Bombay, comes from Gwalior. He is the nephew and pupil of Hafiz Ali Khan, the famed sarodist and winner of the President’s Award.
Kabra, who hails from Jaipur, has had his musical training from Ali Akbar Khan.