Carnatic Classical Music World, remembered on of the titans of modern era musian on the occasion of his birth centenary. July 25 was the birth Centenary of Semmangudi Srinvasa Iyer and there were remembrance functions across country , followed with concerts, presentations and lectures.
One of the prime disciple of Semmangudi, V .Subramaniam along with V Sriram ( who has already written two books related to carnatic music to his credit) have come out with a coffee table book on Semmangudi which was released on occasion of his centenary. There are many books already in circulation on Semmangudi, either focussing on him entirely or dedicating ample pages to his life and music. Voices Within ( by T M Krishna and Bombay Jayshri) and a book by Pala C K Ramachandran ( another disciple of Semmangudi) are few recent books that have come out.
This book , as the name suggests , has written as two parts. LIFE, on his childhood, his growth as a musician and his life in Travancore written by V.Sriram and MUSIC, about the musical journey of Semmangudi with insight to his preparation, delivery and the constant yearn to improve his music , written by V.Subramaniam. I found the biographical part of the book, like reading my school history book. It is something like a data collection in a chronological manner and presented to the reader. There was hardly anything new about the man. I am not sure if this was the intention. But going by the true sense of BIOGRAPHY writing, this part does not impress very much. However, the second part of the book, which focusses on his music and his style was different. Being a follower of Semmangudi for a long period of time, accompanying him on concerts , singing along with him as vocal support, Subramanian is able to tell us the many aspects of the musician.
The book also contains abundant quantities of photographs, many of which are new to me. I dont understand the concept of 'Coffee Table book' very well. May be this was written with an intention of light reading, instead of a serious in depth study or biographical details. In that way, they have done a good job.