I first heard Balamurali singing at Vijayawada in 1938, when he was hardly eight years old. My first posting as a Railway officer was at Vijayawada and I spent a total of six years there in different periods. Knowing my interest in music some railway staff took me to Balamurali's concert and I was spellbound when the boy presented a full Kutcheri with Tanam, Pallavi and all. I later came to know that the occasion was the Aradhana of Susarla Dakshinamurthi Sastri, the guru of 'Gayaka Sarvabhauma' Paruppalli Ramakrishnamayya Pantulu with whom Balamurali was doing Gurukulavasam at that time.
At the tender age of nine, when he was living at Satyanarayanapuram, the boy-prodigy had mastered Viola, Mridangam and Kanjira. To add a feather to his cap he was awarded the title of 'Gana Sudhakara' at this tender age.
I was reposted to Vijayawada in 1949, when I and Ramakrishnamayya Pantulugaru started a music sabha to popularise the Krutis of Tyagaraja. During this period, I produced a number of musical features for the All India Radio and Balamurali was invariably my hero in such productions. He was by then a many- sided musical genius, a creative musician who made daring and original experiments and left no segments of music untouched. Whatever he touched, he adorned. The lad from an unknown Sankaraguptam was now the centre of attraction in Carnatic music. As a violinist, he accompanied all the stalwarts in the field.
In 1950, Balamurali approached me to write a foreword to his book, Janaka Raga Kruti Manjari', which contained Krutis composed by him in all the 72 melakarta ragas. This came as another surprise to me but he said that he had finished composing them when he was eighteen! I was a LittLe skeptical and asked him to sing a couple of the compositions. He promptly sat down on the carpet and sang his krutis in Sucharitra and Ragavardhani. In my foreword I mentioned that the feat had been performed onLy by veterans Like Mahavaidyanatha Iyer and Koteeswara Iyer.
Balamurali's later musical career has been a never-ending saga of victories and he has become a Legend. He is perhaps the only musician in India, who is a top-ranking vocalist, instrumentalist. producer, conductor, film music director, playback singer, actor and composer. He is also an experimenter in Nada or Musical Sound and floods his concerts with the finer nuances of music, gliding melody and ever-fresh musical phrases.
As a music composer, there is no musical form - Krutis to Tillanas - in which he has not tried his hand with remarkable success. As a creator of new ragas, he ranks with stalwarts Like Wallajapet Venkataramana Bhagavatar. Thiruvottiyur Thyagayyar, Muthayya Bhagavatar, Vina Krishnamachari and others. His creations are too many to be mentioned here but Sumukham, Mahati, Chandrika, Rohini, Mohanayaki, Gurupriya and Lavangi deserve special mention.
More than a hundred compositions of Balamuralikrishna find a place in the book' Suryakanthi', published by MBK Trust and they include different musical forms in Sanskrit, Telugu and Tamil. A unique feature of this publication is that the entire text has been written in calligraphy and the Telugu Songs are in the hand writing of the composer himself. There is also a transliteration in English, Tamil and Sanskrit scripts, by his chosen disciple B.M. Sundaram. The sahitya portion of the songs reveal a hitherto unknown facet of Balamurali viz his command over prosody in Sanskrit and Telugu and his mastery over felicitous expression which as a Tamil proverb says, is Like 'adding fragrance to a golden flavour.
Vol-1 Tamralochani Latangi Vaggeyakara: Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna Raga: Latangi, Tala: Adi
Yemani Migula Varninchu Vaggeyakara: Shyama Shastri Raga: Todi, Tala: Adi
Kamalambam Bhajare Vaggeyakara: Muthuswamy Dikshitar Raga: Kalyani, Tala: Adi
Tulasi Jagajjanani Vaggeyakara: Saint Thyagaraja Raga: Saveri, Tala: Roopakam
Meenakshi Memudam Dehi Vaggeyakara: Muthuswamy Dikshitar Raga: Purvi Kalyani, Tala: Adi
Amba Mamava Vaggeyakara: Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna Ragamalika, Tala: Adi
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