The few who were fortunate to listen to veteran violinist Parur M S Gopalakrishnan might have felt the joy of witnessing a wonder. It was a rare opportunity for many a music enthusiast gathered inside the Muthiah Bhagavathar Auditorium of Sri Swathi Thirunal Government College of Music to listen to the perfect rendition of Parur M S Gopalakrishnan, fondly called MSG. Except the loud round of applause that arose at the end of each awesome piece by MSG, the audience maintained pindrop silence so they would not miss out on any details from the doyen. The lecture demonstration on fingering and bowing techniques on violin, organised on the sidelines of short term academic programme ‘Symphony of Strings 2012’ under the aegis of the department of violin in the college, turned out to be a delightful experience for the listeners.
The violin lessons taught by the master conveyed the essentials needed to build up the fundamentals for a stage performance. He was assisted by his son Suresh Gopalakrishnan. His mastery in playing innumerable swaras on a single string kept the audience, including students, teachers and music lovers, enthralled from beginning to end.
The lecture demo started with playing the seven basic swaras, - sa ri ga ma pa dha ni sa. With quick and artistic shifts in finger movements, his prowess on the violin strings elevated the mood from wonder to devotion. Other than his magnum opus ‘Parur style’, ‘the ‘Thanam’ style too was well applauded by the audience.
The delivery of ghana ragas -Natta, Gaula, Arabhi, Varali and Sreeragam - in madhyamakalam (middle grade of speed) bowled over the audience. The concluding section, the rendition of raga Mohanam in both Carnatic and Hindustani, turned to be a jaw-dropping experience for all.
After the one-hour-long lecture demonstration, he also spared some time to interact with the audience. The listeners, young or old, were eager to raise their queries directly to the doyen. A retired employee was a bit confused whether learning music at this age would be practical. Without any delay, MSG, an octogenarian, came up with the reply, “all you need is the determination to learn”. He also suggested a daily schedule of four-hour practice to master the techniques in violin. And to make all these a reality, he pointed out that the essential thing is to possess veneration to the guru, the status of whom, must be above that of God.