The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) under conductor Yoshikazu Fukumura had a winning repertoire during its recent “Classical Music Treasures” concert at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP): Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 9,” Haydn’s “Sinfonia Concertante” and “Danzon No. 7” and “Danzon No. 8” by the contemporary Cuban composer Arturo Marquez.
The Sora Ensemble of Japan played Haydn with exquisite refinement although, as one music-savvy friend claimed, the bassoonist missed one note. The four musicians were warmly applauded but it was the two Danzons, with their unmistakable, intoxicating Latin rhythm, that won over the crowd.
At the bidding of the music director, no doubt, the musicians, especially the woodwind section, swayed sensuously with the music. They were having a grand time, along with the audience.
A similar experience took place at the concert of the Manila Symphony Orchestra (MSO) at the Meralco Theater, with conductor Darrell Ang directing the formidable young violinist Diomedes Saraza Jr. in Conus’ “Violin Concerto in E-Minor.” But the scene stealer was not even on the program (“I was surprised myself,” exclaimed MSO executive director Jeffrey Solares): clarinetist Pierre Genisson, who played a Weber concertina and a lively Jewish composition with bombast.
Viva Voce Voice lab, headed by soprano Camille Lopez Molina, gave a stirring rendition of Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” part of the Catholic Mass, and recalling those dear Latin phrases of high school life way back when: “Laudamus Te, Benedicimus Te, Adoramus Te, Glorificamus Te…” The concert was held at Manila Pianos, Ronac Lifestyle Center, Paseo de Magallanes. The ensemble had strong voices, with outstanding young soloists Lizzie Bett Estrada, soprano, and Alyssa Trisha Garcia, mezzo. The soprano has a bright future in store for her. Arturo Molina, who at one point in the program played the violin solo, conducted the Classical Players Philippines with characteristic vigor. Kudos.