Dr M. Balamuralikrishna was not only an outstanding musician but a matchless composer too. He provided a pleasurable listening experience to lakhs of listeners of Carnatic music. As an eminent vaggeyakara, he composed kruthis in almost all Southern languages. His 72 mela ragas created a new verve and virtuosity in composing and greatness of singing. As a concert artist of unparalleled standards, he gave life to ragas like Abheri, Sunadhavino-dini, Chandrajyothi, Latangi and Kalyani.
Balamuralikrishna showed his expertise as a viola, violin and mrudanga vidwan and accompanied veterans like Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagva-thar, G.N. Balasubramaniam, Semmangudi Sri-nivasa Iyer and Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyer. He was a trend-setter in creating standards, which received acclaim from the great artistes of his time. He influenced almost three generations with his Bani (style). With his pronunciation and tonal richness he allured listeners.
He opened the jugalbandi style of singing with legends of Hindustani musicians. He was the first to sing with the flute and the veena as accompaniments. He presented hundreds of compositions of the musical trinity — Thyagaraja, Muthuswa-my Dikshitar and Syama Sastri. His voice had all the requisites of timbre, tenor and tonality, needed to exhibit the various emotions that a composition needs. He had a good range of voice flexibility in all the three octaves.
I was closely associated with him for several years. He was a loving personality for vidwans accompanying him in concerts, and created memorable vistas. He could compose on the spot during concerts, mesmerising the audiences. He used to strike a rapport with audiences and make their concert experience enjoyable.
The writer is former principal, SV Music College, Tirupati...