Musical notes from Lalgudi Jayaraman’s diaries


The family of the late musician plans to create an archive of his writings and recordings.

These aren’t just footnotes – the diaries of great personalities are often a part of history. One such example can be found in the diaries diligently kept by violin maestro Lalgudi G. Jayaraman since 1949. Own evolution as one of India’s legendary violinists.

The family of the late musician plans to create an archive of his writings and recordings. “We can allow rasikas to listen to his music and read his writings on the occasion of his birthday,” said Lalgudi GJR Krishnan, his son.

The diaries, now yellow and brittle with age, record his evocative impressions of several musicians from an earlier era, including Salem Desikan and Chellam Iyengar, Thanjavur Lakshminarayana Bhagavathar, Umayalpuram Kalyanaramaiyer and MA Kalyanakrisha Bhagavathar, who were active in the mid-years. 1900.

Lalgudi Jayaraman’s meeting with Yehudi Menuhin, one of the most famous violinists of the twentieth century, in the latter’s London home in 1965, is captivating. “He expected us to come with instruments, but we didn’t. Then he gave his Italian instrument and asked me to play ragas. I have played Sankarabharanam, Hemavathy, Karaharapriya, Keeravani and Mohanam. Then he called for a “sad” raga. I played Mukhari and Suba Pantuvarali, ”Jayaraman writes in his diary, which also contains details of his visit to London to participate in the Edinburgh Music Festival.

Then: “I asked him to play. He played. It was wonderful. His practice was superb. He masters the instrument, ”he notes in homage to the great Menuhin.

Lalgudi Jayaraman made this memorable trip with singer KV Narayanasamy and Meridangist Palghat Mani Iyer and his son Rajamani. When Menuhin introduced Jayaraman and others to the audience at the Royal Festival Hall, he said, “Dear friend, will you play the sad raga of your music that you played for me last night?”

Perfectionist in all things

The master violinist usually recorded the details of each of his concerts. Even in 1942, when he was only 12, he kept a little book to jot down details of all the concerts he attended, including a bench performance by famous singer GN Balasubramaniam (GNB), accompanied by Kumbakonam. Rajamanickam Pillai on violin, Palghat Mani Iyer on mridhangam and Palani Subramania Pillai on kanjira, at the Nootrukal Mandapam in Tiruchi.

During his career as a professional violinist, Jayaraman assumes the role of critic and reviews his own performances with refreshing honesty. His first review of a concert, in which he accompanied GNB on February 10, 1949, he wrote: “When the main artist sings, I have to accompany him without any interruption. Let go of the ego and play humbly.

Regarding another concert, he bluntly criticizes his lack of imagination for his playing: “I had copied others. I should let go of this bad mentality.

On the other hand, his description of the room attributed to him in London could come from a novel. “You have the slaughter of grated coconuts (thengai poo),” he said of the fabric of a white towel.

Lalgudi Jayaraman’s perfectionist, who cared as much about aesthetics in life as in his music, comes to life in his writings in Tamil and English.


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