Criticism: facts and fantasies

What little one could hear of Balachander’s veena from Madras AIR, highlighted both his strength and weakness. Both in Andolika and Bauli which were all that one could hear before the transmission broke down,

Balachander seemed to be intent on making a single pluck of the string go as far as it can – and it did go a prodigious length. This no doubt argued great virtuosity in the artist. But this also tended to smudge the phrases at certain points where the artist had to retrieve them by a hurried glide to a nodal note. Andolika and Bauli with their discarded notes could be normally looked upon to accommodate such glides, whether hurried or leisurely. But, to resort to such glides by intention is one thing and by necessity or accident is another. Purity or economy

of means is commendable; but it must not usurp the importance or relevance of the beauty of the music that is the aesthetic end. It is only when the technique becomes an unselfconscious aid to creativity that the end product, even if it has a few loose ends, becomes artistically viable