The Compositions of Lalgudi G. Jayaraman
Written By Mohan Ayyar for Pallavi's Lalgudi G. Jayaraman concert souvenir, November 1995.
Padmashri Lalgudi G. Jayaraman is recognised as one of the most prolific composers in Carnatic music of the modern era. He has composed many tana and pada varnams, tillanas as well as krithis. He has composed in the Tamil, Telugu and Sanskrit languages. The following article will give an insight into Lalgudi Jayaraman, the vaggeyakara or composer.
As a way of enhancing his own violin concerts, Lalgudi Jayaraman began to compose new varnams and tillanas to add to his concert repertoire. Later, he has composed on the request of leading dancers and musicians. He has chosen appealing ragas in which not many other popular compositions. Also he has introduced attractive laya or rhythmic intricacies into the compositions.
The varnam is the foundation of Carnatic music. By practising varnams one acquires raga and swara gnana (knowledge) as well as tala purity. The tana varnam has only lyrics for the pallavi, anupallavi and charanam sections of the compositions. Other sections have only swaras. Musicians will usually begin a concert with a tana varnam. The pada varnam differs from the tana varnam in that lyrics are also set for chitta swara sections. Finally, in the daru or padajathi varnam jathi or rhythmic syllables are sung in addition to swaras. Pada varnams are often the central piece of a bharatanatyam performance.
Good varnams will strictly conform to the structure of the raga of the composition. They will give students of music much insight into the essence of the raga. Lalgudi Jayaraman has composed many varnams that have come to serve as guides to various ragas. By composing in ragas like Devagandhari and Nilambari he has disproved the belief that such ragas would be unsuitable for varnams. Some his most popular varnams are those set in Charukesi, Valaji, and Bahudari ragams.
Lalgudi Jayaraman's Varnams
Composition Raga In praise of Chalamu séyanéla Valaji Muruga Parama karuna Garudadhvani Muruga Neevé gatiyani Nalinakanthi Muruga Neevégaani Mandari Muruga Tirumal maruga Andolika Muruga Tarunam en tayé Sama Ambaal Aruna dayamé Bowli Shakti Ento prématonu Bahudari Muruga Jalajaksha Asaveri Muruga Inta tamasaméla Kannada Muruga Vallabhai nayaka Mohana kalyani Ganesha Devi un paadamé Devagandhari Saraswathi Unnai yand'ri Kalyani Parvathi Innum en manam Charukesi (pada varnam) Krishna Senthil mevum Neelambari (pada varnam) Muruga Devar munivar Shanmughapriya (pada varnam) Venkateswara tozhum Angayarkanni Ragamalika (Navarasa pada Parvathi varnam)
A tillana consists of primarily jathis or rhythmic syllables. These syllables have no meaning. Usually there are only lyrics for the charanam or final section. Often swaras will be interspersed with the jathi combinations. It is traditional to include a tillana towards the end of a music concert or dance recital.
Sri Jayaraman's first composition was a tillana in Vasanta more than thirty years ago. This was the period when he was accompanying the grand masters of Carnatic music such as Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar and G. N. Balasubramaniam. The tillanas of Lalgudi Jayaraman are characterised by rhythmic brilliance and melodic purity. Many of the ragas he has chosen for the tillanas are Hindustani in origin. He has also used a variety of talas. They are very popular among leading musicians and bharathanatyam dancers. Some of the most popular "Lalgudi" tillanas are in Behag, Mohanakalyani and Kaanada ragas.
Lalgudi Jayaraman's Tillanas
Raga Language In praise of Vasanta Telugu Muruga Darbari Kaanada Tamil Muruga Bageshri Tamil Muruga Desh Tamil Muruga Hameer kalyani Telugu Muruga Behag Tamil Muruga Anandabhairavi Telugu Venkateswara Kapi Tamil Muruga Tilang Tamil Muruga Dwijavanti Sanskrit Krishna Pahadi Sanskrit Siva Kaanada Tamil Krishna Kuntalavarali Tamil Muruga Brindavani Tamil Krishna Kadanakuthuhalam Tamil Krishna Mohanakalyani Sanskrit Muruga Yamuna kalyani Tamil Krishna Sindhubhairavi Tamil Muruga Chenchurutti Tamil Parvathi Bhimplas Tamil Muruga Rageshri Telugu Nataraja Revathi Tamil Muruga Vaasanti Tamil Muruga Madhuvanti Tamil Krishna Khamas Tamil Muruga Misrasivaranjani Tamil Muruga Mand Tamil Kamakshi Hamsanandi Tamil Krishna Karnaranjani Tamil Krishna Nalinakanthi Tamil Shiva-Shakti Bindumalini Tamil Parvathi
Krithis are the main component of the modern concert repertoire. They generally consist of a pallavi, anupallavi and one or more charanam sections.
Lalgudi Jayaraman's Krithis
Krithi Raga Language In praise of Vinayakunnadeva Dharmavathi Telugu Muruga Kandan seyalanro Natakurinji Tamil Muruga Ten madurai Hamsaroopini Tamil Meenakshi vaazh Kumara guruguham Shanmukhapriya Sanskrit Muruga Nee dayai Begada Tamil Muruga seyyavidil
In addition to his krithis, varnams and tillanas, Lalgudi Jayaraman has composed and conducted 5 orchestral pieces for All India Radio's 'Vadya Vrinda' programme. They are in the ragas Priyadarshini, Nagaswaravali, Kannada, Amrithavahini and Mohana Kalyani. He has also composed a Pushpanjali in Gambhiranattai and a Jathiswaram in Rasikapriya. Both of these are compositions for dance. Recently, he composed the lyrics and music for the operatic ballet 'Jaya Jaya Devi' which premiered in 1994 at Cleveland, USA.
In conclusion, Lalgudi Jayaraman has not only made a mark on the Carnatic music world as a brilliant violinist but has proved to be a wonderful, distinguished composer also.
Jayaraman, Lalgudi G. (1994), Lalgudis' Creations: Compositions of V. R. Gopala Iyer and Lalgudi G. Jayaraman, Indian Foundation for Performing Arts, Madras.
Panchapakesa Iyer, A. S. (1989), Karnataka Sangeeta Sastra, Ganamrutha Prachuram Madras.
Pattabhi Raman, Sulochana (1991), 'Aesthetics of an Auteur', Sruti, Issue 80.