-Voice of the Violin’s Soul

By: R. K. Shriramkumar

The concert is at The United Nations. The song, ‘Jagadoddharana’ rendered in the heavenly voice of Smt M S Subbulakshmi permeates every corner of the vast auditorium. She is accompanied vocally by Smt Radha Viswanathan. As the audience listens, enthralled and spellbound, they hear a ‘Third voice’ merging with the divine voice of Smt MSS.

The Music Academy resounds with Muttusvami Dikshitar’s immortal ‘Chetasshri balakrishnam’ rendered by Shri Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer in his own inimitable and majestic style. Shri V Subrahmanyam & Shri Palai Ramachandran support him vocally. And every person in the audience is astounded to hear a honeyed ‘Fourth Voice’.

At Kalakshetra, the audience is in a trance, listening to the soulful rendition of ‘Varugalamo’, by Shri K V Narayanaswamy. Vocal support is being provided by Smt Padma Narayanaswamy. Even in that state of trance, the audience is able to hear the silken ‘Third Voice’ pulling at the heart strings.

That ‘invisible’ voice belongs to Shri V V Subrahmanyam, whose fingers weave the swirls of musical silk on the strings of the violin, bringing forth that added ‘voice’ in each of these concerts and many more.

A violin player bringing forth a ‘voice’?  Yes, in the hands of Shri VVS. His playing is so perfectly tailored to flow along with music of the singer, matching it to every movement and melody, inseparable as the flower and it scent, bringing forth an aural treat that is like hearing a human voice sing along.

Shri VVS being a violinist with incomparable attributes is very well known. The hallmark of his musical acumen is in the fact that he has kept aloft the great tradition of Carnatic music in its most pristine manner. His beautiful handling of the bow, with the ideal grip and control, the dexterous drives with his consummate fingering techniques, his impeccable consciousness of shruti and laya, the myriad hues of the light and shades in the contours of his musical portraits, his all-encompassing skills in manodharma, his research and innovations in shaping the violin tone to heart-warming mellifluousness and his striking grand presence make him a complete musician, undeniably exclusive and simply matchless.

The edge to Shri VVS’ persona goes beyond in him being just an ace violinist or an exemplary musician. The insight into the unknown realms of music that Shri VVS has envisioned is absolutely amazing. His exploration and experience of music in its all-pervading form as Nada, in its multi-various arrangements is eclectic. His ongoing search in the dominions of Nada yoga has empowered his music glow with added lustre and poise. Shri VVS has brought forth several interpretations of the significance of the seven notes and their various colors, their effects with respect to a musical measure and also their relation and relevance to the human body, the import of the perfect construction of the sahityas of the great vaggeyakaras couched in the perfect tune, the understanding of the emotion of the great composers through their colossal compositions and the presentation of a raga or a composition to enable an experience that transcends to an inexplicable state of ecstasy. His renditions of Vatapi Ganapatim, Sujana jivana and Nannu brovu Lalita, to name a few, are testimony to his wealth of Nadanubhava.

A great teacher, Shri VVS shares with his students, without any reservation, this illustrious wealth of Nadanubhava. Any teaching session will not finish without an exhaustive elucidation of the hidden beauties of our music. Adding to it, Shri VVS will talk about his own concert experiences with various musicians and the kind of challenges and situations that he has encountered. His classes are undoubtedly one of its kinds, aiding the student to have a holistic perspective of our great art.

Awesome appreciation from musicians and music lovers world-wide and awards from premier institutions have adorned Shri VVS. Nevertheless, his plunge into the ocean of Nada continues incessantly to bring forth many a rare gem. As the waves of Nada, that emanate from his violin, intricately designed by his heart and intellect, trigger one’s life to bliss, a deep sense of gratitude to the Almighty prevails for having blessed this soul to be a student of Shri VVS forever.