Molina, Regina in concert / Bel Air, Salcedo Interlude / Bouquet of Songs at Museum
SUNDRY STROKES () - March 26, 2011 - 12:00am

Arturo T. Molina, conductor of the Manila Symphony Orchestra, offspring of the MSO established in 1926, is carrying on with marked distinction Herbert Zipper’s legacy.

At the Philamlife Theater last week, Molina wielded the baton in Beethoven’s “Egmont Overture” with authority and precision, the music evoking the heroism of Count Egmont in Netherlands’ fight for liberation from Spain. Magisterial passages characterized the overture as the young musicians played with energy, enthusiasm and high spirits.

The assertive percussions, the assured brasses and the cohesive strings in extended pizzicatos conveyed festive ambiance and color in Shostakovich’s “Festive Overture”, the orchestra as a whole evoking gaiety and abandon.

The MSO under Molina provided strong, unwavering assistance to 18-year old Regina Montesclaros in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor.

In the rapid proliferation of young, talented pianists, Regina is among those who consistently show vast improvement. At her latest concert, she displayed considerably more skill and expressivity and, as significantly, more confidence and assurance. Her interpretation of the two Concertos more than proved the contention.

In Beethoven’s Concerto, Regina — still endearingly girlish in appearance and stage deportment — exhibited her clear grasp and comprehension of its large dimensions and complex development. Her rendition of the cadenza was remarkable, the runs smooth, swift and nimble; the phrasing, eloquent.

Regina conveyed technical ease and buoyancy in the Rachmaninov Concerto. This is more frequently played than the other three; in fact, the principal melody of its third movement has been converted into the popular love song “Full Moon and Empty Arms”. Regina showed flashes of brilliance though she was wanting in power in the formidable chords. But her aplomb and vibrancy, which enhanced her impeccable performance, garnered applause and a standing ovation which were reciprocated with an encore. Molina shared the limelight for his strikingly admirable assistance.

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A day earlier, Molina conducted the MSO in “A Musical Interlude” presented by the Barangay Bel Air and Salcedo Community in Makati. The venue being a park, the orchestral sounds were diffused considerably in the vastly entertaining program of classic music and popular songs mostly from Broadway.

The Overture from Strauss’ Die Fledermaus had a charming, infectious lilt; the Intermezzo from Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana was in exquisitely varying grades of pianissimo; Shostakovich’s “Festive Overture”, for reasons already cited, was more impressive at the Philamlife Theater.

Both Micah Pecon, 19, and Jeline Oliva, 13, showed tremendous promise in Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Violins in A Minor; so did tenor Ivan Nery and soprano Myramae Meneses, both NAMCYA prize-winners, in excerpts from “Phantom of the Opera” by Lloyd Weber.

Filipino lyrical talent showed in Ryan Cayabyab’s Hahanapin Ko, Willy Cruz’s “I’ll Never Say Goodbye” and “Si Aida O Si Lorna O Si Fe”, the latter embellished with delightful pizzicatos.

The Broadway songs drew much more applause than the classic compositions; consequently, Molina obliged by rendering many rousing old favorites. Jeffrey Solares, MSO associate conductor, served as emcee.

The organizers should be warmly commended for promoting the love of music in their community.

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“Music and Friends “will hold a concert entitled “Bouquet of Songs” on March 31, 6 p.m. at the GSIS Museum. Admission is free.

Organized in 2009 through the initiative of Nely Chua, the group is composed of various professionals with a common passion for music. It meets once a month to improve its singing skills, gain more confidence and promote camaraderie. Its maiden performance was at Paco Park last year.

The coming concert will feature Broadway songs, classic music and kundimans. Julie Mendoza is musical director and accompanist.

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