by Pt. Radhika Mohan Moitra
In this CD, he has played Raag Bageshree,
Alaap, Jor, Vilambit and Drut gats. Superb tabla accomapaniment has been provided by Shankar Ghoshwho at the time of recording (1957) was a rising young tabalia.
Tabla : Pt. Shankar Ghosh
Acknowledgment: Shri Atanu Rakshit
Radhika Mohan Maitra:
Radhika Mohan Maitra was born 1917 in Calcutta to a prominent family of the erstwhile feudal aristocracy of East Bengal, and grew up in Rajshahi, where his family had vast estates.
His grandfather Raybahadur Lalita Mohan Maitra was a pakhawaj player and had in his employ, the renowned sarod player Mohammad Amir Khan (1873–1934), with whom Radhika Mohan (widely referred to as Radhubabu) studied for five to six years. According to Maitra's private accounts given to his student Kalyan Mukherjea, this training initially adhered to a basic corpus of about 20 ragas for the first four years, but as the Ustad began to realize that his time was running out, he taught Radhika Mohan as many as three to four ragas in a day, in sessions lasting all day. Radhubabu later studied dhrupad with the famous beenkar Dabir Khan and sitar with Enayat Khan.
Maitra's debut concert was in Calcutta, in the home of another aristocratic family, the Gangulys, who were also patrons of music. Two of the Ganguly brothers, Shyam and Hirendra Kumar became renowned sarod and tabla players, respectively. This was followed by an appearance at the Allahabad Music Conference in 1937, where he won the first prize in the instrumental music contest and was invited to perform alongside stalwarts such as Hafiz Ali Khan and Allauddin Khan. It was at this same conference that he gave a duet concert with Allauddin Khan at the latter's invitation.
He rose to great heights as a performer and from about 1940 until the mid-60s, no major musical event in India was complete without his participation. Maitra was a prolific composer and perhaps the only keen student of sarod technique in his era. He not only archived hundreds of traditional compositions in voluminous ledgers that he maintained, but also devised a very efficient method of imparting sarod technique, repertoire and what he considered good musical taste, to his students. Radhubabu was considered a formidable authority on the theoretical aspects of raga music, which he took great pains to translate accurately into his own music and that of his students.
After 1970, Maitra's technical form, which he was so renowned for, began to decline steeply, as he was struck by one personal tragedy after another. In 1976, he announced his retirement from the concert stage and returned to perform only twice after, once in 1980 and then in 1981. In October 1981, Maitra died of brain hemorrhage as a result of an accident in his south Calcutta home.
As a teacher, Radhika Mohan Maitra had very few equals. Some of his students include sitarist Nikhil Banerjee (who later became a disciple of Allauddin Khan), sarod players Buddhadev Dasgupta, Nemai Chand Dhar, Anil Roychowdhury, Samarendranath Sikdar, Kalyan Mukherjea, Narendranath Dhar, Joydeep Ghosh, sitarists Himadri Bhushan Bagchi, Sanjoy Bandopadhyay and Sugato Nag. Of his students, Kalyan Mukherjea and Samarendra Sikdar are the closest to his personal sound and style.
Radhubabu was temperamentally and culturally unlike the professional musicians of his time. He belonged to the erstwhile patron class and had organized and financed many large-scale music conferences, and even when, after the partition of India in 1947, he had to leave his ancestral lands in Rajshahi and come to Calcutta, was not able abandon his aristocratic temperament in favour of the professional mindset. As a result, he was never a commercially successful musician. Radhika Mohan Maitra was also exceptionally well-educated for an Indian musician of his era. He had a masters degree in Philosophy, and trained as a lawyer. In fact, Maitra took to law as his profession, and was a failure in this endeavour, before allowing music to become his livelihood.