Tributes from the Master

Print edition : October 24, 1998

Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer's views on some musicians:

Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna is a suran (genius). He has a different style and is gifted with tremendous creativity and excellence. His music is outstanding. There is no doubt about his capabilities.

Rajarathnam Pillai was a great nadaswaram exponent. He was well-known for his "nadu bari nayanam". It was a divine experience to listen to him playing ragas such as Saveri, Bilahari, Dhanyasi, Sriragam and Natakurinji. He learnt music from my uncle and hence had a soft corner for me.

T.M. Thiagarajan is very talented.

Lalgudi Jayaraman is a gentleman and a fine musician. He is very intelligent and extremely good in analysis. He always spurs and inspires the main artist with ease.

M.S. Gopalakrishnan is one of the best and most experienced musicians today. Few have practised as arduously as he has. I still remember the Kalyani varnam he played many years ago using just one finger on one string. It was brilliant.

Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer was like electric current. His music would touch everyone's soul. It was divine and addictive.

My uncle Krishna Iyer was a great musician.

M.D. Ramanathan had an excellent saareeram (voice) with a lot of depth. I still remember his Yadukulakambodi in Trivandrum.

Palghat Mani Iyer was undoubtedly a genius on the mridhangam.

Keeranur Chinnathambi was an outstanding musician.

Dhakshinamurti Pillai was extraordinary. He was one of those who gave me a lift. To quote Palghat Mani Iyer, "With his passing, the Carnatic music world seems like a brigade without a commander."

I was greatly influenced by Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar. I do not want another life. But if there is one, I want to be able to sing like Ramanuja Iyengar.

Brinda was even better than Veena Dhanammal. She was excellent in rendering padams. I think she was the essence of Carnatic music. With Brinda's passing ended a great saga in Carnatic music.

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