G.N.Balasubramaniam
The Prince Of Carnatic Music!

 
 The Man & his music
  Biography
  As a Composer and Writer
 
As a composer
 
His Compositions
 
His Poems
 
His Writings
  His Music
  As a Teacher
 
 
 Articles
  On his Grand new Bani
 
Tributes
 
Miscellaneous
 
 
 Media

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Audio
 
Video
 

 
 
 
 
    Composition : NinnuPogadaTarama
Raga :
Kuntalavarali
Composer :
G.N.Balasubramaniam
 

As a Composer and Writer

GNB As Composer

Very rarely do we come across the phenomenon of a great performing musician being also a composer of a high order. The other great composers of Karnatak music in the recent past have been musicologists rather than great performers. But GNB combined in himself the qualities of a top class performer and a talented composer. It is pertinent to recall. that he did not compose his songs mechanically; he simply gave musical form to the products of his artistic psyche. GNB himself has said " whenever I was in a contemplative mood, I used to get visions of musical forms which my mind would visualise in swara manifestations. I used to note these down. As it is but natural that raga forms would vanish after they are brought out, I desired to give them a permanent form and abode by giving shape to them in the form of kirthanams. But thereafter, I did not give them a second look. I left it to my disciples to make the best use of them ".

Cardinal requirements

Composing music, as the astute connoisseur S.Y.Krishnaswamy says, is a more difficult field as it calls for a different type of discipline and talent. A composer has to have an impeccable raga gnana, a deep ' bashagnaoo' besides a versatile understanding of sastras and scriptures. He must also have mastery of the grammar of compositions, which swaras to combine and which to avoid. A good composition should have' Rakthi ' and proper ' vadi ' and ' samvadi' agreement; the words must synchronise with the swaras and must exude ' rasa' in every step, ' Ranjakatava ' is the key note of a good composition and that can be obtained only through a judicious combination of all these factors. It requires above all, the flow of Divine Grace, to make it artistically perfect and perennial. The compositions of GNB fulfill these criteria.

Two things are worthy of note in his compositions; firstly, the absence of ' Mudra ' and secondly, the ' presence ' of a bit of himself in everyone of his compositions. They mirror GNB's own method of exposition. They also reveal his deep devotion to the Divine Mother and his concern for establishing a melodic rapport between the words and the tunes. He never sang any of his kritis in his concerts; presumably he was so deeply involved in the creations of the Trinity, that he never thought much of his own creative efforts. This speaks volumes for his humility and his self- effacing character.

Varied types of Compositions

GNB's compositions amount to about 250, not a small output by any means considering how his career was packed with public concerts, not to speak of seminars and discussions on music. Most of his compositions are on Sri Rajarajeswari, his , Ishta Devata though there are a few on Lord Ganesa, Sara- swathi, Sastha and Krishna. The ragas employed cover almost the whole range in use in addition to some very rare ones and a few new creations as well. The languages used in the sahitya are Sanskrit, Telugu and Tamil. On the rhythmic side, the compositions are set to varying Talas ; Adi including one or two items in ' thisra nadai ', ' Rupakam, ' Misra Chapu',' Misra Jampai, etc. There is a varnam in Ata Thala as well.

The varnams are in rare ragas, Andolika, Ranjani and Kadanakudhukalam. All these are of a very high order and contain swara combinations which are fascinating, The Ata Thala varnam in Yadukulakamboji shows GNB's extraordinary talent for composing.

In some of his kritis he has very effectively put in the ' swarakhara samyoga', e.g., ' Sadapalaya' in Mohanam, the portion beginning ' Manasaragane ' in the Abogi kriti, etc. The 'eduppu' itself in most of his creations bewitching and brings out the essence of the raga. ' Ranjani Niranjani ' in Ranjani, ' Mara- vanuneninnu' in Arabhi are typical examples. 'Manavati' in Todi has a new eduppu " Sa ni da pa ", which depicts Thodi in an attractive contour.


The Kanada kriti

As always, GNB wished to do something unique. A typical example is his kriti in Kanada. Almost all well known pieces in this raga begin with the swarasthayi shadja ; the result was , ' Paramukamela '  which is understandably popular with vocalists as well as instrumentalists today. The charanam of this piece , ' Marala Jayitha Mandagamani ' is so full of meaning bakthi and rasa bhava that it captivated RH. the ' Periaval ' of Kanchi Kama Koti Peetam. The Pontiff mentioned about phraseology and emotional excellence of this part of the kriti while Trichur V. Ramachandran, a leading disciple of GNB rendered it before His Holiness.

The extraordinary 'Swaragnana' of GNB and his innate capacity to picturise any ' prayoga' in terms of swara pattern had already been touched upon. It is this capacity of GNB that
enabled him to discover the ' Shatsruthi dhaivata prayoga ' in the rag ' Hamsanandham'. this is an Aaudava Raga with ' sa ri ma pa ni' both in Arohana and Avarohana. GNB's imaginative mind found that the prayoga ' sa ni dha ni pa ma ri ' with Shadsruti dhaivata could fit in well with the raga delineation. This, however, has to be applied with care and a certain amount of nicety for which GNB is So well known. This ' prayoga ' has been utilised by him in his kriti ' Bharama ' in Hamsanadham and is admitted to be very pleasant and in line with the mood of the raga.

Kritis in Major Ragas

There are fine kritis in the major ragas like Thodi, Kalyani, Bhairavai, Shanmukapriya, Suddhadhanyasi, Devamanohari, etc. The. kriti 'Mamakuleswaram' in Thodi on Sastha, his kuladevata on the Dikshithar pattern and is extremely well worded and is embellished with madhyamakala sahityam as welt This kriti brings out the entire essence of Thodi and is full of ' Rakthi '. In some of the kritis, the name of the raga also is included suitably in the sahitya ,e.g., the kritis in Bhairavai, Kalyani, Devamanohari, etc.

Apurva Ragas

In addition to the kritis in well known ragas, GNB has created fine sahitya in rare ragas like Chenchukamboji, Malavi, Chandrahasitham, Sarangatharangini, etc. The chittaswarams he has appended to many of his kritis. in rare ragas shedlustre on the composition and help in bringing out the essence of the raga in a melodious manner. The kriti ' VaradaNipuna ' in Purnachandrika is set to Adi Thala Thisra nadai and is an illustrious addition to the limited number of pieces in that raga. The kritis ' Nagabhaya Varamosaki ' and ' Sankara Mahadevamanohari ' in Nattakurinji and Devamanohari respectively contain swara sahitya combinations which make them so liltingly pleasant and weighty.

New Ragas

It is pertinent to point out that GNB has invented at least two ragas in which he has set two very fine kirthanams. ' Sivasakthi ' and ' Amritha Behag ' are the new ragas, the former belonging to the 22nd mela and the latter to 65th mela. Sangeetha Kalanidhi Dr. M. L. Vasanthakumari, the foremost disciple of GNB, has immortalised these two kritis in her LP entitled ' Guru Vandanam '. Like the great Trinity, GNB also has culled out fine phrases from' Lalitha Sahasranama'. His composition ' Sri Chakra Raja Nilaye ' in Sivasakti raga is an excellent example of such intelligent adaptation.

GNB had a tremendous attraction and love for saint Thyagaraja composition. He was always full of praise for the saint's Madhyamakala sahityam which forms the bulk of his creations. Out of his sincere devotion to the saint was born the memorable piece ' Manava Kula Bhushana Thyagaraja' in Hindolam set to Misra Jampai Thala and containing Madhyamakala sahityam also.

Great Potential

As a Vaggeyakara, GNB has contributed in no small measure, to the growth and sustenance of Karnatak Music. By inventing new ragas, he has already shown that the potential for expanding the field of Karnatak music is indeed vast and that new ragas could be created within the circumference of orthodox tradition ". By formulating kritis in rare ragas and embellishing them with soul-stirring chittaswarams, he has indeed helped in perpetuating those ragas which are full of ' bakthi '. Flowing as they do from his sincere devotion to the Divine Mother, Rajarajeswari and bejeweled by his artistic' swara korvais' they bear the stamp of his vast erudition and concert experience. Most of the present generation, excepting those who had the privilege of hearing the master at his best, may forget the memorable performances he gave throughout the length and breadth of the country. But the compositions which he has created out of his abundant gnana and by the Grace of his Ishta Devata are bound to remain for a long time. GNB's name will indeed be remembered along with those of other famous Vaggeyakaras of this generation as Papanasam Sivan and Mysore Vasudevachar.

List of his Compositions

  1. Inkevarunnaru nannu brova ishvari-Shubhapantuvarali-Adi
  2. Mahadeva manoranjani-Ranjani-Rupaka
  3. Adagaleni anni-Varali-Adi
  4. Amboruha padame nammiti akhila jagan (tv)-Ranjani-Adi
  5. Bharama i baluni brova parashakti patita    Hamsanada-Adi
  6. Bhuvanatraya sammohanakara-Mohana-Adi
  7. Dasha shata dala sarojasane-Hamsanada-Adi
  8. Dhim tadhim tanana dhirana (t)-Hamsanandi-Adi
  9. En mana tamarai mel en taye-Ritigaula-Adi
  10. Enta ninu veditine-Chandrahasitam-Rupaka
  11. Ento moralida leda inta tamasamela-Kannada-Rupaka
  12. Eppudu ni krpa-Bhairavi-Adi
  13. Gati verevaramma kamakshyamma-Bhairavi-Chapu
  14. Inta paraku nive jesite endu bodune-Bhairavi-Adi
  15. Kamala charane kanakarune karunamrita rasa-Amritabehag-Adi
  16. Kamala vasini mam pahi (tv)-Gavati-Adi
  17. Kamalasini sundari kamari manohari-Kalyani-Rupaka
  18. Kanavilum kamala kazhalinai tanaiye-Shriranjani-Adi
  19. Karanamemi kanane karuna galga lekayunna-Andolika-Rupaka
  20. Karimukha varada mam palaya-Nata-Adi
  21. Karuna juda rada talli tanayudane vada-Shahana-Adi
  22. Karuninchi kapaduta (tv)-Yadukulakambhoji-Ata
  23. Kavalai ellam kalaindiduvadun-Sarasvati-Adi
  24. Kuvalayakshi kushalam kuru bhavaroga (tv)-Kadanakutuhala-Adi
  25. Madurapuri kalyani matanga tanaye-Purvikalyani-Chapu
  26. Maha tripura sundari mampahi-Kambhoji-K/Triputa
  27. Mama kuleshvaram shastaram santatam-Todi-T/Eka
  28. Manam irangada marmam edo-Ravichandrika-Adi
  29. Manasaragane nammaka leda ma talli-Abhogi-Adi
  30. Manasu rada mayamma-Samakadambari-Adi
  31. Manava kula bhushana-Hindola-M/Jhampa
  32. Manavati nannu sada-Todi-Rupaka
  33. Mangala varadayaki shashimukhi-Kadanakutuhala-Adi
  34. Mara koti sundari manini mamava sada-Bahudari-Adi
  35. Maravanune ninnu maravanune marakata-Arabhi-Adi
  36. Marivera gati nakevaru i mahilona ninnu-Malavi-Adi
  37. Mohanakrishna jagan-Kadanakutuhala-Adi
  38. Na moralenu vinarada narayani nato vada-Narayani-Rupaka
  39. Naka bhaya vara mosagi nannu brovave-Natakuranji-Rupaka
  40. Nannu brova nikaruda namida dayaleda-Chenchukambhoji-Rupaka
  41. Ni allal ini yarennai karpar nidam uraikka-Kanada-Adi
  42. Ni charanambujamunu neranammiti-Kiravani-Adi
  43. Ni daya galguno nirupama karuna sagari-Shanmukhapriya-Adi
  44. Ni daya rada nirajakshi na taramerigi (tv)-Andolika-Adi
  45. Ni padame gati nalinakantimati-Nalinakanti-Rupaka
  46. Ni samanamevaru lerani ne pogada-Shubhapantuvarali-Adi
  47. Ni velayinche endu bodhana-Chayaranjani-Adi
  48. Ninnu pogada tarama talli-Kuntalavarali-Adi
  49. Ninnu vina vere gati evaramma-Ritigaula-Adi
  50. Ninnu vina verevaru nannu rakshimchuduru-Malavi-Rupaka
  51. Niratamuga ninne sharananti niraja sam-Udayaravichandrika-Adi
  52. Niravadhi sukha dayaki ninne nammaka-Malayamaruta-Rupaka
  53. Nirupamana shubhaguna-Kedaragaula-Adi
  54. Nive nannu paripalinchavamma ninne namminanu i vela-Ranjani-Adi
  55. Pada bhajana sadanandame parameshvari-Khamas-Rupaka
  56. Pada malarinaiye paninden taye-Begada-Adi
  57. Parama kripa sagari pahi parameshvari-Yadukulakambhoji-Rupaka
  58. Paramukham elanamma paradhinapati-Kanada-Adi
  59. Paritapamu leka patita napai parihasa-Shanmukhapriya-Adi
  60. Porumaiyai izhanden bhuvaneshvariye-Simhendramadhyam-Adi
  61. Ranjani niranjani ratna kanchukabharana-Ranjani-Adi
  62. Sada ninne sharanantini-Natabhairavi-Rupaka
  63. Sada palaya sarasakshi samana rahita-Mohana-
  64. Sakala kala vani sakala loka karani (tv)-Hindola-Adi
  65. Sama gana lole lalita gunajale amba-Hindola-Rupaka
  66. Samana rahite amba sajjanamano-Sarangatarangini-Rupaka
  67. Santatamu ninne koritini sakala bhagya-Valaji-Adi
  68. Sarasakshi sada nammiti (tv)-Varali-Adi
  69. Sarasijakshi ni sada palaya-Margahindola-Adi
  70. Sarasvati namostute sharade vidyaprade-Sarasvati-Rupaka
  71. Shankara mahadeva manohari charambujamunu-Devamanohari-Adi
  72. Sharatchandra nibhanane-Vinadhari-Rupaka
  73. Shivananda kamavardhini shive pahi-Kamavardhini
  74. Shri chakra raja nilaiye shivashakti-Shivashakti-Adi
  75. Sujana manasa hamsanantini-Hamsanandi-Adi
  76. Tamasamika talanu tapatraya shamani-Abhogi-Rupaka   
  77. Taramu gadamma daya-Purvikalyani-Adi
  78. Tillana (dhim tadhim tanana dhirana)-Hamsanandi-Adi
  79. Tom tana tadhira (t)    Hamsanandi-Adi
  80. Unnadiye gati enradainden taye unmai ni-Bahudari-Adi
  81. Vadareramma ni pada mahima inchu-Saveri-Adi
  82. Vara vallabha ramana vighna harana-Hamsadhvani-Adi
  83. Varada nipuna nalina charane natajana-Purnachandrika-Adi
  84. Vinuta palini gada vega-Shivashakti-Adi

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