Thursday, August 8, 2013

Exactly a week ago at this time

Gerard Salonga, conductor of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra, likens chamber music to a conversation among friends in an intimate setting. He says good chamber musicians are more likely good orchestra musicians, too.
The string quartet plays old Viennese melodies, evokes the sight of a lovely Rosemary and the moods of love, its joys, sorrows, all contained  in Fritz Kreisler's compositions. One supposes chamber music is mainly pakiramdaman where the soloist in a quartet must rise to the occasion. He/she has nowhere to hide unlike when he/she is just one among 16 players in an orchestra's violin section.
Salonga calls the viola "the ignored middle child" among the string instruments for not being as popular as the violin or the cello. But violist Albert Magcalas Jr. draws out not just sounds but  images of a man or woman praying, pleading with God, turning away from Him, then returning with more supplications, all from the modern-sounding first movement of William Walton's Viola Concerto in A Minor.
In an alcove of the Lopez Museum and Library at the Ortigas Center in Pasig, the notes of Mozart, Beethoven and Bach are so thick and lush that the sounds seem to assume substance. They can almost be touched the same way the musicians are holding their instruments.
Gounod's Petite Symphonie for the flute, oboes, clarinets, bassoons and horns ends the afternoon's musical conversation. This audience member hopes that the performance will be the start of a series of chamber music in a museum setting. Like in the tertulia of the past, refreshments--Tully's coffee and "sioplets" or mini-siopaos--were served.         Photos by Babeth Lolarga

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