Song cycles are not the most popular programs in Manila’s concert scene, as a result, they are seldom heard.
Operatic arias and Broadway stuff have more following, but there is nothing like a performance by a world-class singer being supported by the perfect collaborative pianist.
Melting lyricism and rare vocal versatility were exhibited by Berlin-based Filipino baritone Jonathan Zaens when he sang Schumann’s “Dichterliebe” (The Poet’s Love) with pianist Najib Ismail.
The audience was taken to a rarefied world that conjured images of flowers, dreams and fairy tales. The last two songs had the eerie yet poetic evocation of Chopin’s funeral sonata.
The audience got the very essence of the song cycle, thanks to the baritone who rendered them with finesse, and the sensitive pianist who matched the song’s lyricism.
Zaens and Najib should be heard in more collaborations.
MMCO with Hiyas Hila
The Metro Manila Concert Orchestra (MMCO) opened its concert season Aug. 9 with “Beethoven Plus,” with pianist Hiyas Hila as soloist and Josefino Chino Toledo as conductor. Venue was historic Far Eastern University Auditorium,
Hila is holder of Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Minnesota School of Music and a master’s from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She was soloist in Beethoven’s “Emperor,” Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-Flat Major, Op.58.
Hila will be heard again in an exciting chamber music program on Aug. 17, 4 p.m., at the SkyVillas lobby, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Lyric Piano and Organ Corporation.
Also on the program are pianist Lorenzo Medel and violinist Maria Regina Montesclaros in a special performance of Dvorak’s Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81.
The concert is made possible with the support of Lyric Piano and the FEU President’s Committee on Culture.
Meanwhile, two-time First Prize National Music Competitions for Young Artists (Namcya) winner Oliver Salonga will be heard in a special recital at Ayala Museum on Aug. 25, 7 p.m.
The program of Salonga—also a gold medalist of the 2008 Joenju International Piano Competition in South Korea—includes Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 26 in E-Flat Major, Op. 81; Liszt’s “Reminiscences de Norma du Bellini,” S. 394; Rachmaninoff’s Etude Tableaux, Op. 33, No. 1 in F Minor, No. 2 in C Major, No. 3 in C Major, No.4 in D Minor, No. 5 in E-Flat Minor, No.6 in E-flat Major, No. 7 in G Minor, No. 8 in C-Sharp Minor; and Barber’s Piano Sonata in E-Flat Minor, Op. 26.
The concert is presented by Music in cooperation with ROS Music Center. For tickets, call tel. 5763132 or 0906-5104270