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Opinion

A magnificent Molina, A captivating Pasamba /IC's Spanish Language Day

SUNDRY STROKES -

The Manila Symphony Orchestra marked the Viennese Symphonic Tradition and Gustav Mahler’s centennial by performing his Symphony No. 5 under conductor Arturo Molina at the CCP main theater. The MSO’s opening concert of the season also marked its 85th year, the orchestra having been founded in 1926, with Mrs. Benito Legarda (Trinidad Fernandez) as its principal sponsor through the years, and re-activated by Sr. Mary Placid Abejo and Basilio Manalo.

Conductor Bruno Walter described Mahler’s Symphony as “passionate, wild, pathetic, buoyant, solemn, tender, full of the sentiments of which the human heart is capable.” Members of the MSO  young, talented, disciplined and rigidly trained — were on full alert throughout the symphony, so to speak. The woodwinds and brasses were excellent: The trumpet heralded the shattering first movement, a funeral march with its outbursts of grief; the woodwinds played a dominant role in the restless second; the horns and trumpets connected passages of waltz tunes after a horn solo; the cohesive strings were predominant in the adagietto, the winds and later, the entire ensemble reaching a grandiose climax of tremendous impact.

Bombastic passages alternated with lyrical ones, many of these utterly exquisite. Under the perceptive and sensitive direction of Molina, the mighty tuttis produced collectively by percussions, strings, woodwinds and brasses were followed by eloquently serene, quiet, flowing melodic lines.

The massive score sounded at times bloated, overworked, overlong and occasionally tedious, but on the whole, approaching Beethoven’s expansiveness, it was a superbly orchestrated symphony that conveyed Mahler’s incredible mastery of instrumentation.

The monumental, towering Symphony No. 5, aptly given the title of “The Giant”, was magnificently interpreted in its widely diverse, rich colors by the MSO under the youthful, dynamic Molina. In response to the lustly applause, he gave as encore Fandango from the robustly spirited Capriccio Espagnole.

The music of Haydn is regarded just a little below the best of Mozart and Beethoven. Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 2 in D Major was a total contrast to Mahler’s Symphony. Gentle, sonorous and captivatingly so, Haydn’s Concerto was classicism at its purest and most serene. It gave the eminent soloist, Wilfredo Pasamba, ample opportunity to demonstrate his brilliant dexterity and keen musicianship, particularly in the demanding cadenza of the opening Moderato and in the florid passages of the third movement rendered with orchestral accompaniment.

Pasamba’s mesmerizing performance drew maximum sounds from his instrument which, however, seemed somewhat lacking in volume. Nevertheless, Pasamba beyond doubt asserted his position as one of our leading cellists. He and the MSO under Molina pointed up the beauty of Haydn’s Concerto with enchanting refinement.

Instituto Cervantes’ El Dia E

Instituto Cervantes announces its El Dia E or Spanish Language Day on June 18 to which all those who speak Spanish are invited. IC Director Jose R. Rodriguez sends out this enticing invitation:

Now on its third edition, El Dia E is an international cultural feast of the Spanish language celebrated simultaneously in all Instituto Cervantes centers. It commemorates the significance of Spanish as an international language which is spoken by more than 500 million people around the world.

And this year, Instituto Cervantes in Manila has a special reason to celebrate this event with more grandeur as the country commemorates the 150th birth anniversary of the Philippines national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, who wrote his masterpieces in the Spanish language.

We will have an Open House with lots of fun and excitement in store for you. The affair will start at 9 a.m. and will last the whole day. It will be rich with cultural activities like games, music and poetry, film showings, and many more. And if you read Spanish, join us in the largest choral reading of Rizal’s poem Mi ultimo adios.

You may check our website (http://manila.cervantes.es) for more information on the event.

Come and join us in celebrating the Spanish language and read Rizal’s work in its original written language: Spanish! Your presence will be very much appreciated.

ARTURO MOLINA

CAPRICCIO ESPAGNOLE

CELLO CONCERTO NO

CONDUCTOR BRUNO WALTER

EL DIA E

INSTITUTO CERVANTES

MAHLER

MOLINA

SPANISH

SYMPHONY NO

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