PPO, MSO classical music delights on Sept. 21
The evening of Sept. 21 offers deliriously delectable delights for serious classical music lovers in Metro Manila.
Revel at the evening’s unexpected menu of musical servings recently unveiled: Shostakovich, Nielsen, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Strauss, Stravinsky, and Reed, in two simultaneous concerts by the country’s finest orchestras.
At the Philamlife Auditorium on United Nations Avenue in Manila, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) under the baton of its music director, Maestro Olivier Ochanine, ushers in its 30th concert season for 2012-2013 with the performance “Orchestral Fireworks” featuring Shostakovich’s “Suite for Variety Orchestra,” Nielsen’s “Aladdin Suite,” and Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances.”
At exactly the same time the PPO begins to enchant its audience, over at the BDO Francisco Santiago Hall in Makati City, the show “Robert Ryker Conducts the Manila Symphony Orchestra” spells its magic by playing Debussy's “Prelude to an Afternoon of a Faun,” Strauss’ “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks,” Stravinsky’s “Petrouchka,” and Reed’s “El Camino Real.”
Ryker, now based in Tokyo as the music director of the Tokyo Sinfonia and visiting Manila briefly for the Manila Symphony Orchestra (MSO) event, had conducted the PPO on Jan. 14, 2011 in the performance “Robert Ryker: Character Portraits.” The performance’s repertoire was Alfred Reed’s “Hamlet, A Symphonic Suite after Shakespeare,” Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” and Elgar’s “Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, Enigma Variations.”
The “Robert Ryker: Character Portraits” concert is best remembered as the first time the “Hamlet, A Symphonic Suite after Shakespeare,” composed originally as a concert band piece, was played by an orchestra. Ryker himself arranged the orchestral score for “Hamlet” which was unprecedentedly performed by PPO.
In a press conference to announce the PPO 2012-2013 concert season, Ochanine said: “We are doing the creative orchestra music from the 18th century to the 21st century this season.”
“We have done music by composers who had exciting lives. I don’t look for the hardest music to program. But I look for music so that our audience will have the widest experience,” said Ochanine, describing in broad strokes the new season’s classical music selections.
In a surprise move, Ochanine announced that the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) extended his tenure, originally from September 2010 to April 2013, until May 2014, which gives him time to prepare the PPO for its maiden tour to the United States summer next year.
The “good news” is that the PPO audience is getting younger and “they want to learn and expand their musical palate,” Ochanine said, noting how excited he was to know the PPO audience liked Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” featured last season.
“The Rite of Spring,” a revolutionary ballet for its time narrating the rituals of human sacrificial offering, turns 100 in May 2013.
The CCP and the PPO was more than one year ahead of the snowballing global bandwagon honoring Stravinsky and his work, scorned mercilessly on the opening night.
Ochanine said he hopes that the PPO audience would multiply, but quickly admitted marketing classical music is difficult, even in the US.
The PPO will record compositions by Brahms and Cayabyab to have a stronger musical presence in the local music scene, Ochanine said.
“The Mysterious Mountain” is the PPO gig on Oct. 19 where Ochanine leads the PPO in performing Bottesini’s “Concert No. 2” with double bass soloist Kurt Muroki. The program includes Prokofieff’s “Lieutenant Kijé Suite” and Hohvaness’ “Mysterious Mountain Symphony.”
Meanwhile, the St. Scholastica’s College-based MSO, under the guidance of Maestro Arturo Molina as principal conductor and music director, and Jeffrey Solares as executive director, together with the Lyric Opera Co. stage Bizet’s full-length opera “Carmen” on Oct. 27 at the St. Cecilia’s Hall of the Manila campus of the St. Scholastica’s College. Molina conducts the MSO in accompanying “Carmen.”
On Nov. 16, guest conductor Japanese Yoshikazu Fukumura conducts the PPO in Delius’ Irmelin “Prelude,” Kodaly’s “Dances of Galanta,” and Brahms’ “Symphony No. 2.”
Established in 1926 by Dr. Alexander Lipay as the first orchestra in East Asia and the Western Pacific region, the MSO, on the other hand, mounts the “All Wagner Concert” on Nov. 10 with soprano Claire Primrose, of Australia, and guest conductor Alexander Vikulov, of Russia, at the Philamlife Auditorium.
The PPO ends 2012 with “De Leon and Arutunian” on Dec. 14 with two soloists, trumpet player Raymond de Leon and cellist Iñaki Etxepare, together with Herminigildo Ranera as conductor.
The “De Leon and Arutunian” repertoire is Bedrick Smetana’s “Moldau” (Vltava), Arutunian’s “Trumpet Concerto,” and Grofe’s “Grand Canyon Suite.”
Ryan Cayabyab’s “New Work for Violin and Orchestra” opens the PPO’s 2013 offerings, with Ochanine conducting the PPO-commissioned work by the noted Filipino composer on Jan. 25.The New Year concert features Dino Decena, PPO associate concertmaster, while Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll” and Schumann’s “Symphony No. 1 Spring” round up the program repertoire.
On Feb. 22, the vocal prowess of soprano Hyunah Yu, of South Korea, and tenor Arthur Espiritu, of the Philippines, soar at the CCP Main Theater as they join the PPO, with Ochanine conducting the “Shakespearean Delights” show.
The program consists of Nicolai’s “Overture to the Merry Wives of Windsor,” various works for soprano and tenor, and an orchestra piece based on Shakespeare, the Mendelssohn’s “Suite to A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream” and Walton’s “Suite from Henry V.”
Praised as the “Maestro’s Maestro,” conductor Mark Gibson leads the PPO in Bizet’s “Jeux d’Enfants,” Ravel’s “Daphnis et Chloe,” and Saint Saëns’ “Violin Concerto No. 3” on March 22 featuring Gao Can, of China, as guest violinist. The March 22 concert reunites Gibson and Gao, described overseas as the one with a “blazing violin” but plays with “rich, colorful, and full of elegant timbre and a sonorous violin tone.”
The PPO concert season ends on April 19 at the CCP Main Theater with the show “Mahler’s Fifth.”
It will feature the winner of the PPO Piano Concerto Competition, an unparalleled innovation in the PPO history. With Ochanine conducting, the PPO and the winner will play Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 5.” –KG, GMA News
Except for Sept. 21, all PPO season concerts will be at the CCP Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater) at 8 p.m. For inquiries, call the CCP Marketing Department at (02) 832-1125 local 1806; the CCP Box Office (02) 832-3704, or Ticketworld at (02) 891-9999.
For MSO inquiries, call (02) 523-5712 and (02) 736-2717, visit www.manilasymphony.com, or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.