The Dr of Violin: Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu
Naidu was a preeminent figure in the world of Carnatic music. His was a rare combination of aesthetic grace, technical excellence, rhythmic accuracy and enthralling melody. When he wielded his bow, every swara, every gamaka and every sangathi acquired superb aesthetic radiance and melodic charm, for he was the personification of infinitude of knowledge of pristine purity in Carnatic music and its tradition.
His recitals were always refreshing. His mastery over the amplitude, frequency, vibrating stress, the control that he exercised over his bowing technique, and the ease with which he used to play on the finger-board, all cumulatively made listening to his music just ever-delightful. When compositions such as “Raghuvamsa Dudhambudhichandra” in kadanakuthalam, “Sarasarasamaraikasoora” in Kuntalavarali flowed from his violin, its lyricism and emotion melted audiences’ hearts and transported them to a different world—a world of sheer beauty and bliss. His expansive tanam in the Ghanaragapanchakam was always a pure delight to listen to.
Naidu had a unique style of his own—its pronounced distinctiveness made listening to his charming solo-performances a greater experience in itself than even listening to his accompaniment to vocal artistes of eminence. It was his inborn skill, ardent practice, and profound devotion to music that had enriched his musical communion with the audience, making it an enchantment far greater than sensuous delight. He had the unique habit of putting his bow down at the end of each performance and having a hearty laugh—rasikatha at its full flow.
Naidu was a thorough gentleman—inoffensive in speech and graceful in mannerisms. He was a man of few wants. Had disciplined himself with a Miltonic severity. To his pupils, he was a friend, philosopher and guide.
The Madras Music Academy honored this Paripoorna Nadayogi with its “Sangeeta Kalanidhi” title in 1941. In 1950, he was the first musician to receive the honorary doctorate degree of Kala Prapoorna from the Andhra University. He was, in the words of Rajaji, a gift of Goddess Saraswati to the Indian people.