A Legend In Carnatic Music Sri Guhadasa Trust-Books Pdf

A LEGEND IN CARNATIC MUSIC Sri Guhadasa Trust
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RAMASWAMY SIVAN, Among the musicians and music composers who flourished in the latter. half of the 19th century after Thyagaraja Muthuswami Dikshitar and. Shyama Sastri the two outstanding musicians and music composers. where Maha Vidyanatha Aiyar and his elder brother Ramaswamy Sivan. Very few if any did ever excel or equal them These two brothers are. always together an inseparable Both had a thoroughly trained perfectly. efficient and competent voice and had a mastery of the science and art of. Maha Vidyanatha Aiyar s voice was gifted with unparalleled sweetness. and natural grace Ramaswamy Sivan wrote innumerable lyrics and songs. and set them to original highly imaginative patterns of musical beauty in. various ragas Maha Vidyanatha Aiyar with his angelic voice made every. one of them a thing of beauty and a joy for ever Thus collaborating the. brothers easily won universal recognition respect and admiration and. achieved fame and popularity The music of Maha Vidyanatha Aiyar and. the sahityam of Ramaswamy Sivan achieved a perfect blend Sangeetha. Vaithy Sahithya Ramaswami Thus not only were the brothers always. together and inseparable but their musical careers too became one and. indivisible phenomenon unique in the history of Carnatic music. BRIGHT START, Ramaswamy Sivan was born in 1841 and Maha Vidyanatha Aiyar in 1844. as the second and third son respectively in a middle class family of. Mahanadu Brihacharanam sect in Vaiyacheri flourishing village near. SRI GUHADASA TRUST 2, Thanjavur There were two more brothers Sambamurthi who was the. eldest and Appaswami who was the fourth and youngest Their father. Panchanatha Aiyar it was more common was well versed in music and. was an ardent devotee of Siva in whose praise he used to sing very. emotionally during various religious festivals and particularly in group. singing Panchanatha Aiyar s father too had been well known for his. proficiency in music and Panchanatha Aiyar s wife was a direct descendant. of the famous composers Anai and Ayya who were in direct line of. Tyagaraja s disciples and who s masterpieces with their Uma dasa. signature we still cherish, The Sivan brothers therefore inherited a natural aptitude taste and flair. for music which their father discovered even in the early childhood and. which he encouraged and fostered with diligence and devotion The. brothers made phenomenal progress Maha Vaidyanatha Aiyar was barely. 10 years old when the brothers had attained such proficiency that they. could confidently take up any raga and elaborate it extensively and round. it off with superb pallavi singing Having learnt everything their father. could teach them the brothers then continued their education and. training under Anai Ayya for some time and finished off with further. training from Manambuchavadi Venkata Subba Aiyar an expert and a. doyen of music of those days, Those were days when music and particularly music practised as a.
profession could not depend wholly or even largely up on the patronage. of the general public music Nor were music sabhas in existence then. which could bring the musician and the public together to their mutual. advantage But music never languished for want of patronage Richmen. SRI GUHADASA TRUST 3, mirasdars zamindars rajas and maharajas and religious mutts were. always there to recognise and honour first rate musicians The Sivan. Brothers were often invited to sing during marriages other festive. occasions in the house of rich men and mirasdars Next came an invitation. from the Raja of Pudukkottai and the two brothers had the opportunity. and the privilege of singing before a very select audience which include. the then famous Veenai Subbu Kutty Aiyar and Veenai Subba Aiyar who. are in the line of direct disciples of Pachimiryiyam Adiyappaiya the author. of Viriboni varnam in Bhairavi The performance was a tremendous. While the brothers were staying at Pudukkottai a tamil scholar from. Mahavarayanendal came to the Durbar one day and give a performance in. avadhanam that is in intense and accurate mental concentration at. once and simultaneously on a number of different unconnected themes. At the conclusion of the performance Ramaswamy Sivan promptly. composed a song felicitating the scholar on is remarkable feat and sang it. then and there before the audience Everyone in the audience found this. too an equally remarkable feat and praised Sivan for his extempore. composition and his exquisite rendering of it, THEY WENT THEY SANG AND THEY CONQUERED. It is not clear when Ramaswamy Sivan did actually start composing music. He must have commenced even before the two brothers had finished. their education and training in music and in any event before they started. giving music concerts And in between music performances he probably. continued composing Maha Vaidyanatha Aiyar included these. SRI GUHADASA TRUST 4, compositions in his repertoire From the very outset and in every music. performance there was not only Rarnaswami Sivan with the Tambura in. his hand maintaining the sruti or the basic note for Maha Vaidyanatha. Sivan s music and occasionally singing in union with him but often many. of his compositions too featured in the programmes and were rendered. by Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan No wonder therefore that wherever they. went They went they sang and they conquered Maha Vaidyanatha. Sivan s music and Ramaswamy Sivan s genius for composing were equally. recognised and praised, Their fame spread far and wide and took them to Madurai. Ramanathapuram Ettiayapuram Tirunelveli Alwar Kurichi Kallidaikurichi. Trivandrurn Thiruvavaduthurai Sringeri and Mysore On a special. invitation they visited Trivandrum thrice and sang once before Maharaja. Ayilyam Thirunal and twice before his successor Maharaja Vishakham. Thirunal The Maharaja of Mysore often used to invite them to his Durbar. during the Dassarah celebrations Similarly Sri Sankaracharya of Sringeri. often invited and honoured them But their greatest patrons it must be. said were the great Subrahmanya Desikar and Ambalavana Desikar who. were the junior and senior Heads of the Thiruvavaduthurai mutt at. Kallidaikurichi and Thiruvavaduthurai respectively It was at Kallidaikurichi. that Subrahmanya Desikar during an impressive Guru pooja conferred the. title of Maha on Vaidyanatha Aiyar who has ever since been known and. referred to as Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan as distinguished from Periya. Vaidyanalha Aiyar and Chinna Vaidyanadha Aiyar who were the senior. sangita vidwms at that time The great Subrarnanya Desikar and. Ambalavana Desikar continued to be the patrons of the Sivan Brothers. ever since and continually showered their bounty on them. SRI GUHADASA TRUST 5, The Raja of Ramanathapuram too was their life long patron and he.
endowed a handsome settlement for their annual income permanently in. addition to the presents and honours which he gave them from time to. PURANIC KIRTANAS, It was while the brothers were staying at Ramanathapuram that the Raja. of Ramanathapuram presented them with copy of Kanda Puranam. which inspired Ramaswami Sivan sometime later on to turn it into music. as Kandapurana Charitra Kirtanas It was at that time too that at the. suggestion and request of the Nagarathars who had always been known. for their staunch and steadfast devotion to Siva and Siva Bhaktas that. Ramaswami Sivan rendered the entire Periyapuranam into music as. Periya Purana Kirtanas When completed this work was submitted for. recognition by a customary Arangetram in Vaiyacheri and in the holy. precincts of the temple there Later the Sivan Brothers sang these. Periyapurana Kirtanas before the Thiruvavaduthurai Maha Sannidhanam. and a distinguished and learned audience which included the Tamil. scholar Maha Vidwan Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai Ramaswamai Sivan and. Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan sang the kirtanas together and the audience. showered their encomiums on them for the superb poetry felicity of. language and talent for composing which the kirtanas showed Maha. Vidwan Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai expressed his appreciation and praise. in a beautiful poem of 5 stanzas, These Periyapurana Kirtanas were subsequently printed and published. somewhere about 1871 and to each kirtana were prefixed a few verses in. SRI GUHADASA TRUST 6, viruthams explaining the puranic anecdote and elucidating the theme. and central idea embodied in the kirtana Manaickavachakar Charitra. Kirtanas Parvathi Kalyana Kirtanas and Kanda Purana Kirtanas then. came out in due course and the Raja of Ramanathapuram was so. impressed with the technical excellence of all these kirtanas that he. conferred upon Ramaswami Sivan the titles Monai Singam that is lion. of alliteration and Sahitya Puli that is a tiger in poetry. It is said that while Sivan Brothers were staying at Ettaiyapuram they. made the acquaintance of Subbarama Dikshitar a direct descendant of. Muthuswami Dikshitar and the court musician in Ettaiyapuram and met. several other musicians Ramaswamai Sivan s exquisite compositions in. Tamil and the superb music to which they were set made such a deep. impression on them that they requested him to compose a Ragamalikai. in Tamil a type of musicial composition in which a number of different. ragas are welded together into a well knit and unified whole a feature. which is peculiar to Carnatic music Ramaswamai Sivan accordingly. composed a Ragamalikai and sang it before a learned assembly of. musicians and scholars in Tamil This Ragamalikai we learn proved to be a. great favourite and was in vogue for a considerable time everywhere. though unfortunately for us it is not available now either in print or in. manuscript, While the Sivan Brothers were staying at Alwar Kurichi enjoying the. hospitality of Dalawai Kumaraswami Mudaliar they had occasion to visit. the temple at Tiruchendur There Ramaswami Sivan composed two of his. masterpieces in Tamil Tiruchendil Chanda Viruttam and Thiruchendur. Yamaka Anthadi and sang them before a large and distinguished. SRI GUHADASA TRUST 7, audience of musicians Tamil scholars and important people of the.
locality Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan too rendered some select passages. from the two Ramaswami Sivan s genius for composing and his. proficiency in singing were as ardently and as highly praised as was Maha. Vaidyanatha Sivan s Gandharva Ganam Angelic music It was about. this time or perhaps it was some time earlier that the Sivan Brothers came. to hear of the great saint and savite philosopher Kodaganallur Sundara. Swamigal famous for his extensive learning in Tamil and Sanskrit and for. his godly life wholly devoted to the repairs renovations and maintenance. of temples The brothers went to him and stayed as his disciples and. learnt from him several works on philosophy like Chaturdeva Tatparya. Sangraham and Siva Tatva Vivekam and studied Kanda Puranam and. other Puranams in greater detail Ramaswami Sivan wrote. Thottirappavinam as his greatful homage to his Guru Kodaganallur. Sundaramurti Swmigal He had already composed a kriti in Punnagavarali. and included it in the Periya Purana Kirtanas The kriti opens with the. significant words Sundara Guruvai and is in praise of the Swamigal for. initiating Ramaswami Sivan into higher philosophical reaches. Thus steeped in Saivite philosophy the brothers at the request of the. public used to give Harikatha performances or rather we should call them. Siva Katha performances that is musical discourses on the lives of. various Siva bhaktas These musical discourses were given by Maha. Vaidyanatha Sivan and Ramaswami Sivan used to compose the. appropriate verses and songs, Thus flourished this unique musical co parcenary of the Sivan Brothers till. death snatched away Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan in 1893 It was a profound. SRI GUHADASA TRUST 8, shock to Ramaswamy Sivan His grief moved him to compose elegiac. verses on his brother He also wrote a prose work Maha Vaidyanatha. Vijaya Sangraham which is more a record of his grief at his loss than a. record of Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan s triumphs Ramaswami Sivan had all. along been Maha Vaidyanalha Sivan s guide philosopher and friend and. his influence on the latter had always been wholesome. The shock of separation proved to be too severe Time could not heal it. and Ramaswami Sivan languished in sorrow till at last death came and. took him in 1898, 72 MELA RAGAMALIKA, The divine music of Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan and Ramaswami Sivan s. talent for singing are now only a memory But it is a memory that will ever. remain green The music compositions which they have left behind have. established their fame as outstanding music composers The 72 Mela. Ragamalika of Maha Vaidyantha Sivan is a triumph of genius and it will be. with us as long as our music exists Ramaswami Sivan s compositions have. been far more varied and far more numerous To the 72 Mela Ragamalika. Ramaswami Sivan has added his own contribution To the chittaswara. composed by Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan Ramaswami Sivan added one more. line the first half of it merging with the preceding raga and the second. half leading on to the succeeding raga in the Ragamalika. Even if Ramaswami Sivan had left nothing else this by itself would have. been an eloquent testimony of his genius as a composer But he has left. us quite a number of compositions in Tamil Telugu and Sanskrit and they. of Viriboni varnam in Bhairavi The performance was a tremendous success While the brothers were staying at Pudukkottai a tamil scholar from Mahavarayanendal came to the Durbar one day and give a performance in avadhanam that is in intense and accurate mental concentration at

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