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S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist

December is the season for music in Chennai metro. Over a hundred sabhas organise music, dance and drama programmes throughout the day. Lecture demonstrations and special talks permeate the air, drawing people from far and wide. One could see rasikas thronging music halls spread across the city with fervour pushing back the hardships caused by demonetisation and the other twin calamities. How resilient! 

I attended a presentation commemorating the centenary of music maestro S Ramanathan at the Music Academy by K S Raghunathan, (HMV Raghu), the renowned acoustics specialist and musicologist, who brought to life the songs of great musicians by his expertise in recording. Fortified by his own intense knowledge of music, he made a brilliant audio visual presentation with evocative comments on Ramanathan. The maestro was known for his erudition and extensive research work on music and musicology. He taught at the Wesleyan University in the US which also awarded him a doctorate. He had deep insights into not just the musical trinity of Thiruvaiyaru but also Sangam Tamil Classics like Silapathikaram right down to Mahakavi Subramania Bharathi’s works. Ramanathan was a teacher par excellence who shared his abundant knowledge generously. Music Academy presented him with the Sangita Kalanidhi in 1985. 



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