In celebration of the birth centenary of National Artist for Music Lucio San Pedro, the Pasig City Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PCEMPC), with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), will present a choral concert featuring the maestro’s works and arrangements on Dec. 3, 6 p.m., at Tanghalang Pasigueño.
The Faith Baptist Singers and Coro Pasigueño are the featured choirs that will sing as a composite. Naomi Paz Sison is the conductor of Faith Baptist Singers; and this writer, of the Coro Pasigueño. They will render an all-San Pedro program, with the oratorio “The Redeemer,” Part 1, Christmas Portion, as the main fare.
Other works to be performed are “Magsi-awit Kayo sa Panginoon,” “Sa Mahal Kong Bayan” and “Simbanggabi.”
Also to be performed are San Pedro’s arrangements of “Payapang Daigdig” (Felipe de Leon) and “Pasko Na Naman” and “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit” medley, among others.
San Pedro was born on Feb. 11, 1913, in Angono, Rizal. He is hailed as the Creative Nationalist, who used folk songs in his works. He was declared National Artist for Music in 1991.
He began composing “The Redeemer” with the biblical text compiled by Fred Tiburcio, in 1989, and finished it in 1990.
The oratorio is in three parts, written for solo voices, chorus and orchestra. It was commissioned by the Cultural Center of the Philippines and is dedicated to its former president, Maria Teresa Escoda. It was premiered on Oct. 26, 1990, at the CCP Main Theater.
Soloists of “The Redeemer” are: Margarita Roco, soprano; Jai Sabas-Aracama, alto; Eugene de los Santos, tenor; and Jerome Sibulo, baritone. Collaborating on the piano are Sison and Leomar Edralin.
PCEMPC president Alex V. Melendrez says the cooperative is sponsoring the event in keeping with its social mission as provided by the Philippine Cooperative Code of 1998. Through the concert, the PCEMPC, he says, shows its strong support of the cooperative principle of “concern for the community,” promoting sociocultural awareness through the musical arts.
He says San Pedro is close to the hearts of the Pasigueños as he studied at Pasig Elementary School and Rizal High School, and arranged the Pasig March composed by Victor H. Belen, which until today is being played by Pasig City Band during important social and official functions.
Tickets are available at the gate before curtain time.
Promising new pianist
Young pianist Lisa Zheng, pupil of Cecile Basilio-Roxas, showed much promise during her recital at the CCP. She tackled two contrasting concertos, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 19 in F Major, KV 459, and “Yellow River” Concerto by Xian Xinghai, in collaboration with the MSO under the baton of Arturo Molina.
In addition to these concertos were solo pieces by Liszt, Ginastera and Chopin.
Zheng’s playing of “Yellow River” is commendable. The concerto, an eclectic fusion of Chinese folk songs and different styles from Romantic composers such as Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Chopin and the like, needs much power and stamina. Zheng breezed through the four-movement concerto with solid dispatch. She brought out the elan, expressed in legate lines, of the quiet second movement, “Ode to the Yellow River.”
She played in close rapport with the MSO. Together they forged a dynamic tandem that made listening absorbing.
The concerto had been heard in Manila decades ago with pianist Ingrid Sala Santamaria performing it at the CCP and Concert at the Park.
There is much promise on Zheng’s playing, even if there were some distractions in some solo pieces. These are expected especially on a debut recital.
The potential that she has shown solidly expressed by singing muscled tones she essayed, and her sensitive musicality are enough encouragement for the young pianist to pursue a degree in Piano Performance and eventually make piano-playing a professional career.