Just when you thought the ABS-CBN Philharmonic would be relegated to scoring soap operas and musicals and accompanying pop artists at the Araneta Coliseum, you watch their latest Saturday night concert (July 27) and emerge highly convinced it had not cut ties with classical music.
The concert also unveiled a new concert venue called the Hyundai Hall—Areté at the Ateneo de Manila University campus grounds.
The program consisted of two Tchaikovsky warhorses
—the “Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor” with Jet Stephen Chong as soloist and the “Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35” with the Mannes-bound Adrian Nicolas Ong as soloist.
What was interesting was that music director Gerard Salonga did away with the tired old overtures to open a concert and came up with seldom heard “Chopiniana Op. 46” with excellent orchestration by Alexander Glazunov. It was overwhelming to hear piano notes transformed into orchestral sounds with amazing results.
In the “Chopiniana” opener, he underlined the highly lyrical parts and made something grand and eloquent out of the new orchestration.
To be sure, the opening chords of pianist Chong was less than dramatic used as one was to fiery openings. But wrapping up the concerto from its first, middle and finale parts, you see a millennial interpreter glued to the music and giving it his best shot. It was almost note perfect and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic gave him full support enough to elicit inner fire in his interpretation.
Outside the concert hall while the political developments have risen to insane heights, conductor Salonga quoted Leonard Bernstein in his souvenir program message thus: “This will be our reply to violence: To make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”
The latest good news is that Salonga has finished an all-Gerswhin recording with the South Denmark Philharmonic with Cecile Licad as soloist. The recording will be released late this year under Danacord Label.
All roads lead to Nelly Garden in Iloilo on Saturday, Aug. 17, 6:30 p.m., for the concert of cello prodigy Damodar Das Castillo with pianist Dingdong Fiel.
The concert is a tribute to the late cellist and former member of the Asian Youth Orchestra, Miguel Lim Cornejo, son of former Tourism Secretary Narzalina Lim. —CONTRIBUTED
For remaining invitations for the last 50 seats, call FitStop Tour at 0917-5758040, 0906-5104270.