Today is 9/26/2014 , the third day of Navaratri. In the posts I made on day 1 and day 2, I wrote about compositions of Syama Sastry and Muttuswamy Dikshita. Today, I am going to write about a composition of Tyagaraja, who together with the before mentioned two composers is generally referred to as the “Trinity” composers in Karnataka Sangeeta. Incidentally, all these there composers were born in the town of Tiruvaroor, in Tamil Nadu.

Tyagaraja spent most of his lifetime in a town called Tiruvaiyyaru on the banks of river Kaveri. He has composed about 800 compositions. His compositions were popularized by his disciples and his compositions have become the mainstay for any concert in Karnataka sangeetha. Since has a large variety of compositions, it would be quite easy to even have a concert

exclusively of Tyagaraja compositions.Tyagaraja

When Tyagaraja visited other places of pilgrimage, he often sang on the presiding deities in those places. When he visited his student Patnam Subramanya Iyer at Chenna Pattanam (now Chennai), he also visited some famous temples around there. One such was the Tripura  Sundari temple at Tiruvottriyur, now in the northern part of the city.In that temple he composed five compositions on that deity, which have come to be known as Tiruvottriyur pancharatna. Among these, the composition Darini Telusukonti in raga Shuddha Saveri is well known for the intricate sangatis.

That was the time British had a strong presence in Chennai. If at all one good thing happened due to the British, it was the introduction of Violin into Indian music. Muttuswamy Dikshita’s family was associated with a wealthy man called Chinnaswamy Mudaliyar, who was a translator to  the British at Fort St George. It was there Baluswamy Dikshita, younger brother of Muttuswamy Dikshita witnessed the band performances of British army and thereby tried to use the Violin to play Indian classical music. As they often say the rest is history – Violin has become an integral part of Karnataka sangeeta both as a solo instrument and as an accompaniment.

Although instruments such as Dhaurveena had existed in the past,which resembled the violin in the fact that they were played using a bow, they were not in practice in the 18th century and thus we have to be thankful for the British army musicians who were instrumental in creating the interest among Indian musicians of that age to experiment with this new instrument!

Now to end this post, listen to a rendition of Darini Telusukonti, on the violin by a young artist from Bengaluru, Apoorva Krishna:

Happy listening!