And his Theatre Music (Natya Sangeet)
The ‘Natya–Sangeet’ or Theatre music in Maharashtra has a tradition of over a century. Originating from traditional and folk musical genres, it developed into classical music on stage. Stalwarts like Bhaskarbuwa Bakhale, Ramkrishnabuwa Vaze, Master Krishnarao and many others contributed to it. It lost its popularity due to difficulties in finding singer-actors and running theatrical companies in competition of films, which were becoming popular.
When Jitendra Abhisheki as a composer, arrived on the scene, musical theatre was almost breathing its last. Abhisheki heralded a revival with his compositions for the stage, combining both tradition and modernity
His debut-making play was ‘Matsyagandha’ staged in 1964.
The song ‘Deva- gharache jnat kunala’ composed in Yaman, reminded one of the traditional ‘Nath ha majha’ ; but the ‘sum’ resting on teevra madhyam proved to be a pointer to his modernity. All his compositions have a great lyrical and emotional appeal. He also introduced a number of less heard ragas like ‘Salag Varali, Dev gandhar ,Gawati, etc. through his compositions. In all, he scored music for more than 25 theatrical plays. He also employed folk, religious or devotional music, light classical genres like Thumris and Gazals.. Whatever could contribute to the theatricality of the play. In ‘Lekure Udanda Jhali’, he used pre-recorded tracks and composed songs that were more like a colloquial speech, rather than poetry. This pioneering effort proved to be a great success, later followed by many other composers.
Plays Set To Music
He composed the songs in a very clever manner. They did not allow much elaboration. They were good to be concluded within 7 to 10 minutes. He maintained that the pitch of a singer should be the same as the one in which he speaks.
All his stage songs are composed, keeping in mind the need of the play, capacities of the singer (actor), socio-cultural atmosphere of the play, etc.
His sense of literature and poetry were a great contribution to his compositions.
Till such time Jitendra Abhisheki was composing music for theatrical plays, the Marathi musical theatre enjoyed a re-incarnation of its youth.
Composer Classical Composer