Pianist Cecile Licad extended her condolences to the kin of Fr. Francisco “Paco” Albano, a fan from Ilagan, Isabela, who died March 20, at St. Paul Hospital in Tuguegarao City.
An activist-poet, Father Albano had seen Licad play at St. Paul University in Tuguegarao City in 2002, after which he wrote this writer:
“Surely God has consecrated her hands to play music, especially that of the classical masters. In playing the masters, Cecile is a musician who makes one believe that the world is made of sounds—sometimes as impromptu as a surprise, sometimes waltz, sometimes nocturne, sometimes scherzo, or whatever great art rightly tells us. Indeed, her music, like life, is about possibilities.
“I think it was the piano that brought out Cecile the music, especially in the nature of mysticism of the two legends of St. Francis (Liszt). The music overflowed from her mouth, her eyes, her entire body, yes, into me/us. She reminded me of Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda’s ‘Odas Elementales.’ The poet makes yellow birds, chestnuts, tomatoes, watches look extraordinarily beautiful. Cecile is the Pablo Neruda of music.”
Upon being shown an old letter, Licad responded thus: “Thank you so much for this most touching and beautiful letter. It’s the kind of message that it makes it worthwhile for me to continue my musical journey into the unknown. Rest in peace, Father Paco.”
Meanwhile, Licad played Schumann’s “A Minor Piano Concerto” with the North Mississippi Symphony under the baton of Steven Byess last February. She and the orchestra received a standing ovation.
“Her performance was beyond words,” said Filipino doctor Noel Garcia, who also plays the piano. “There was ethereal beauty in her lyrical passages played with such varying tones and intensity and defined with such clarity. I thought she scorched the piano!” he added.
The Schumann concerto had last been played in Mississipi 46 years ago.
“I can’t believe the magnificent, if, perfect Schumann piano concerto hasn’t been played in Tupelo, Mississippi in 46 years. This calls for a celebration,” said Licad.
It was the third time Licad was in Tupelo, Mississippi, the home town of Elvis Presley.
After Mississippi, Licad goes back to California on April 15 to close the season of the Vallejo Symphony where she is soloist in Saint-Saens’ “Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22.” —CONTRIBUTED