Press Reviews

                                                        What the Press says about Sundar

What a glorious Sankarabharanam Madurai R. Sundar presented! There was deep delicacy and tenderness of vocal modulation withvisranti spread all over the alapana tempting acceptance as top class.His attention was all along on the aesthetics of light and shade, the movement of the sancharas satin-smooth, soft and flexible. The neraval pattern for the line "Naa-Tharamu-Telisi" in the kirtana "Edutanilachite" was built up with delicious flourishes delightfully first rate. This one song was enough to stabilise his stature as a seasoned musician. "Kanchadalaayadaakshi" (Kamalamanohari) and "Emamma-Naa-Manavi" (Suruti) were the other noteworthy items.
SVK (The Hindu, Dec 24,2004) 

Endowed with a pleasing voice and range, Madurai R. Sunder's concert stood out for his total involvement with sruti and bhava. Opening with "Ganapathe," Muthiah Bhagavatar's composition in Janaranjani, Sunder lucidly sketched Vagadeeshwari (not often featured in present day concerts), followed by Koteeswara Iyer's "Nadanusantana". His exposition of Varali was scholarly with the nuances brought out well. His neraval in Dikshitar' s masterpiece, "Mamava Meenakshi" was spirited and assertive.The highlight of the concert was the RTP in Nattaikkuranji. Shades and the moods of the raga were showcased delightfully in the alapana and tanam, while the pallavi in Khanda triputa tala was rendered competently.
BB (The Hindu, Dec 19,2003)

RTP Dharmavathi Tisra Triputa (8 kalai)
The Fine Arts Association of AZ (www.azfinearts.org) began the 2003 music season with a Great Composers Day function in January, followed by a unique concert entitled RTP by Madurai Sundar on Feb 8. This is apparently a novel concept, not yet attempted to date in the US. Shri Madurai Sundar is a disciple of Shri TNS.
The concert commenced with an hour long lec dem on RTP in which he succinctly elaborated the key points of RTP singing. He explained the ability to be expansive in the raga essay, since it is not contoured to fit the mood of a particular krithi. The imagination is essentially the limit. When he later sang the RTP in Dharmavathi, he leisurely eleborated the ragam in 3 tiers bringing out the scope of the ragam with finese. He demonstrated thaanam singing with and without the mridangam, explaining the history of the same. In the pallavi section, he highlighted the techniques used by artists to vary the talam eddupu so as to add richness and complexity to the rendition. Some ragas lend themselves to being incorporated in the sahityam effortlessly (such as Ranjani, Mohanam etc). certain ragas like Todi, Kapi, Begada etc need a more creative approach. He demonstrated this point by singing the pallavi made popular by Shri Ariyakudi incorportaing Todi, Sankarabaranam, Durbar etc. Another example was Shri TNS' pallavi using an interplay of words to bring out the word kapi in the sahityam. He mentioned that Ragamalika kalpana swaram singing, while currently popular, was not originally a part of RTP singing. I was impressed by his ability to switch effortlessly between singing and talking during the lec dem. There was a wealth of information presented in the lec dem, which appeared seamless and captivating to the audience.

The concert followed the lec dem, beginning with the magnificent Kannada Ata Thala varnam which he sang in Trikalam. Every aspect of RTP singing that he had highlighted in his lec dem was brought out during his Dharmavathi RTP. He did not miss a beat in the pallavi singing, and neither did the violinist or mridangist. His RTP recieved a rousing spontaneous standing ovation from the audience.
From Web posting 2003

he is developing a uniform excellence on the method of rendering kirtanas.. the sonorous passages cruising with tidiness..
The New Indian Express Dec 2002

.. his portrayal of Kambodi raaga and the rendition of ‘Ratnakanjugadharini’ with brilliant sancharas showed his evocative character
Narayanan Viswanath in the ‘Indian Express’ Feb 3,2002

.. has a resonant voice that moves fluently over all the ranges, a remarkable mastery of laya and sensitivity to words which enable him to evoke moods without striving after them. The result is fulfilling music which does not allow the rasikas to be distracted.
ENS in the ‘Indian Express’ Madurai Edition Dec 2001

..aesthetically sung ‘Kadaikkan’ in Begada had both sukhabhavam and clear diction. Natakurinji had beautiful rhythmic sancharas…
M.N. in the ‘The Hindu’ dated Dec 28, 2001

… To review Sundar’s concert is like painting a lilly! He always provides a balanced diet to his rasikas. There is no dull moment in his concerts. His brief mohana alapana had all nuances packed into it…
Sify review on Hamsadwani concert dated Dec 27, 2001

… Sundar has got a clear voice with tonal richness and perfect tunefulness. With anulomam, neraval and swara kalpana he build the RTP in Keeravani (Sankeerna jati Jampa) to grandeur…
Sify review on Narada Gana Sabha concert dated Dec 26,2001

… Sundar sang ‘Vatapi Ganapathim/ with swaras that were scholarly.. The vocalist was able to hold the grip throughout the rendition of Dikshidar’s Todi masterpiece ‘Sree Krishnam Bhaja’ inspite of the slow tempo. It was evident that Sundar was fully sensible to the kriti’s beauty
Sify review on Music Academy concert dated Dec 17,2001

.. an accomplished vocalist with 100% commitment to his art… his delineation of Poorvikalyani with his voice in fine fettle negotiating tara sthayi with felicitous prayogas, was a versatile effort…his pallavi in khamboji in an intricate tala structure (Chanda talam with 35 aksharams) was truly praiseworthy in terms of laya exactitude in neraval and swara prastharas..
Smt. Sulochana Pattabhiraman, a correspondent of the Hindu

… was in top form and rendered an intricate pallavi in Dharmavathi in tisra triputa (4 kalai)….The Hindu (Jan 12,2001)

…the author’s plea for compassion was portrayed (in ‘Endukudayaradura’ - Todi) with fervor by Sundar. The neraval and swara at the last charanam with emphasis on words would have received the nod from the Thiruvayyar saint. 
Trinity Mirror(Dec 25,1999)

…the spell of neraval and swara patterns suffixed to ‘Mahalakshmi Jaganmatha’ in Sankarabharanam reflected his eagerness to engage the audience with his lucid exposition of the raga’s features expressive of its stately shapeliness.
The Hindu(Dec 24,1999)
 
… Sundar’s rolling brukas, without a flaw or slip, and bhava-laden gamakas, turned every musical component into one composite homage to ‘nadabrahma’
The New Indian Express (Dec 19,1999)

…the notable feature of his concert was the meticulous planning that had gone into each and every item selected for singing… .. Clarity of sahitya is another remarkable feature of Sundar’s music…
The New Indian Express (Dec 28,1998)

…Hemavathy raga was replete with attractive sancharas executed with clarity, doing grahabedam and also including some charming phrases in the upper sthayi.
S.R.Giridhar (The Hindu, Dec 25,1998)

..Kedaragowla, relatively a minor raga, could be treated with the trappings of almost a major raga, was provided in his 45-minute exposition. ‘Saraguna Palimpa’ which was rendered with a rich neraval and swara extension…
Mayuram G. Swaminathan (The Hindu, Dec 25,1998)

… he has a clear diction and is endowed with an enviable voice which is sweet and malleable..even as his raga sense is intuitive – he hits the raga even in the very first syllable…
K Sundar Rajan (Trinity Mirror, Jan 3,1998)

  Sundar obviously wants to dish out a flawless fare. The Nattakurinji RTP was of a very high order..…
K Sundar Rajan (The Hindu, Jan 2, 1998)

… Sundar’s dedication and aesthetic sense are beyond question…alapana in Simmendramadyamam was spontaneous, uncontrived, deep and effortless…
PSK (Indian Express, Dec 25, 1997)

… his trained voice influenced his creative instincts and the model of his musical aspirations was equally inspiring by the way he started with ‘Mathe’ in Khamas…
SVK (The Hindu, Dec 27,1996)

…his concerts are always stylish and stately.. the Nayaki song ‘Ranganayakam’ was captivating…
DVV (The Hindu,Dec 27,1996)

… he is endowed with a melodious and resonant voice…the elaborate raga alapana of Hemavathy was thrilling …
Tha Ra Ra (News Today, Dec 1996)

… a musically mature artiste…
(Indian Express, Dec 26, 1995)

… his Hamsanadam had all the grandeur and touched all the facets of the raga….he sang Kalyanarama of Uthukkadu. Swaras flowed like cascade..
Tha Ra Ra (News Today, Jan 1, 1995)

…. the alapana of Sankarabharanam was studded with emotional ripples in tara sthayi. His tonal manipulations illuminated the passionate phrasing and the raga swaroopa was vivaciously inspirational..
SVK (The Hindu, Dec 20,1994)

… his pallavi in three ragas Hamsadwani, Begada, Shanmukhapriya was noteworhty for the ease with which he glided through the ragas in succession….
(The Hindu, Dec 31,1993)

… in his execution of Ninnuvina gati of Subbaraya Sastri (Kalyani) he earnestly endeavoured to reveal the emotive substance of its swara sahitya lines with remarkable feel for finer aesthetics….(The Hindu, Dec 31, 1993)

…Abhayamba Jagadamba (Kalyani) was rendered with a lot of ease and good control over talam. His ‘Madyamavathi’ alapana came next with nice intricacies….
CHAPU (News Today, Dec 24,1993)

… there can be few examples of Nattakurinji being presented in such a scintillating form as he sang…
DVV (The Hindu, Dec 24,1993)

… He rendered the rarely sung Dikshidar kriti ‘Santhana Manjari’.. a very creditable effort…K.S. Mahadevan (Indian Express, Dec 13, 1992)

… Sundar’s depiction of ‘Kirvani’ followed by a few lines of felicitous tanam drew praise. The pallavi finale for this phase presented by Sundar with a well-designated rhythmic setting was tidy.
R.V (The Hindu , Dec 11, 1992)

… he has an amazingly intuitive understanding of the sookshama of sangita – the nuances that make the raga or sangati in a kirtana sparkle, hooking the listener’s heart to its melody. The voice moves in speed like a meteor leaving mellifluous trajectory and at the end when it settles in karvai in perfect alignment with sruthi, he opens out a world of tranquility…
VSV (Indian Express, Dec 30,1988)

…. Kalyani was taken up for detailed rendition for Tanam and pallavi and Sundar negotiated the kanda jati triputa (4 kala) with utmost ease and perfection…
M Rajagopalan (Indian Express,  July 22,1988)


.. The Nattakurunchi raga essay displayed imaginative skill and the pallavi (Adi-Tisra) showed methodical training and adequacy. One was glad that he sang on classical lines and never settles for the merely slick.
K.S.Mahadevan (Indian Express, Madras,Aug 15,1986)

… was an outstanding example of how tradition could be dextrously combined with popular appeal and classical excellence. The highlight of the evening was Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi in Shanmukhapriya…
KRG (Indian Express, Dec 28,1984)

… was an enlightening classical delight. The alapana (of Dharmavati), his manodharma (extempore improvisation), uncanny mental concentration on the ‘Mukyanga swara groups’ bringing out the correct Bhava were brilliiant.
M.G.Diggavi (Times of India, Ahmedabad, Jan 30,1984)

Sundar gave a classical touch to Bilahari in his intricate swaraprasataras. Dikshidar’s  composition ‘Kamalamba’ in Kalyani was not only to please and surprise, but to elevate the mind. We are sure to remember the evening we spent with him.
Indian Express (Ahmedabad, Oct 19,1982)

Young R Sundar’s concert at the MusicAcademy was gripping….an extremely well-delineated Todi and remarkably fluent tanam ushered in an effortlessly and flawlessly manipulated ‘pancha nadai pallavi’…
Ranjani Swaminathan (Indian Express, Dec 29,1981)

He revealed himself to be well aware of the essentials of carnatic music. There was a happy blend of voice and vidwat…
VSV (The Hindu, Dec 26,1980)

There was a surprise packet in the afternoon concerts at Vani Mahal. Young R Sundar , an IIT (Madras) product, swept the audience of its feet, by his remarkable scholarship and power of execution. His ‘Kiravani’ was of a high professional standard….
Sri Subbudu (Indian Express, Dec 22, 1980)