Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Subbaraya Shastry (1803-1862) Biography and Works


Subbaraya Shastry was the son and disciple of Shyama Shastry, one of the famous trinity. He also has the unique distinction of being a disciple of all the three of the trinity, having also learnt from Shri Tyagaraja and Muthuswamy Dhikshithar.

Subbaraya was born as the second son of Shyama Shastry in Tanjavur. He studied music initially from his father. Later Shyama Shastry asked Thyagaraja to teach his son and sent Subbaraya to him. Thyagaraja had great respect for Shyama Shastry and gladly took Subbaraya as a disciple, who soon became one of his favourite students. After a few years Subbaraya came back and continued his studies under his father. He also had the opportunity to learn a few krithi-s from Dheekshithar. He also learnt Hindustani music from Ramadas Swami.

Later Subbaraya Shastry shifted to Udayarpalayam, whose rulers became his patrons. Since he had no sons, he adopted his nephew Annasami Sastri, who became his primary disciple and an accomplished composer. Tanjavur Kamakshi, the dancer, was one of his disciples. Legendary Veena Dhannammal was the grand daughter of Tanjavur Kamakshi.

Subbaraya Shastry composed only a couple of dozen krithi-s. But their rasa-bhava, devotion and intricacies have made them enduring and famous. Influence of all three of the trinity can be found in his compositions - words and chitha swara-s by his father, and in madhyama kaalam by Tyagaraja, slower speeds by Dhikshithar.

Mudra: Kumara

Genre Carnatic: Krithi

Languages used: Telugu


Janani ninnu vina - Ritigaula - Chapu

Minanayana - Darbar - Rupaka

Ninnuvina gati gana - Mecha Kalyani - Adi

Sri Kamalambika - Desya Todi - Rupaka

Vanajasana vinutha - Shri - Rupaka

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