Ochanine’s mighty Mahler, Paguirigan stirs pulses/MSO’s forthcoming concerts

SUNDRY STROKES - The Philippine Star

Cosi fan tutte, regarded by many as Mozart’s best opera, had its Overture as the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra’s initial selection under Maestro Olivier Ochanine in the closing concert of the 30th season, this performed at the CCP main theater.

Ochanine conveyed, and here I quote, “madcap frivolity and fun”, with the audience recognizing Mozart’s engaging melodic themes which were primarily played by the strings and woodwinds. Compared to what followed — Liszt’s Concerto and Mahler’s Symphony — the orchestra under Ochanine delightfully interpreted, relatively sotto voce, the much lighter Overture.

There were gradations of tone and volume as the young solo pianist Gabriel Allan Paguirigan started in controlled pianissimo Liszt’s Concerto No. 2 in A Major. Growing in intensity, it progressed with startling bravura and panache typical of the composer. Gabriel stirred the pulses with thunderous chordal octaves of both the left and right hands, gathering momentum after momentum and ending in a torrential climax.

The Concerto has been described as windy, sentimental, inveterate, and as dated as plush. But it did display the dash and daring, the dazzling skill of consistent competition winner Gabriel.

Ochanine, no stranger to Liszt’s extravagances, went along reflecting the score’s fast, furious, fiery bombast. Later, as he was applauding from the wings, Gabriel was being re-called to the stage. Only after the third time did he give an encore — a piece replete with the swiftest runs and florid passages.

Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 has such complex orchestration and is of such gargantuan proportions that this mighty, formidable work is called “The Giant”. As Ochanine wielded the baton in virile and vibrant fashion, he conveyed diverse sentiments, moods and emotions — ranging from buoyant, solemn, dignified to passionate. Further, inevitably to be noted was the excellent, expressive performance of the orchestral sections.

This called to mind what CCP President Raul Sunico and Vice President Chris Millado state in their message as printed in the program: “Maestro Ochanine’s stewardship has contributed immensely to the continuing development of PPO.”

To return to the concert, the vast improvement of the PPO was apparent in all the movements, starting with the funeral march. The woodwinds stood out in the ensuing “stormy”, tumultuous second movement; the horn in the ensuing scherzo; the horns and the trumpets embellishing and enhancing the waltz melodies.

In the most notable movement, the delicate, soulful Adagietto, the strings took the spotlight. The wind instruments, joined by the rest, led to a grand, majestic finale, the rondo. Ochanine, at the helm of all these diversified and extensive movements, was in absolute control, ending in a sweeping, grandiose conclusion.

It was exhausting for the audience to listen to the awesomely heavy Symphony, and certainly, even more exhausting for Maestro Ochanine to conduct it. He was obviously weary as he took several bows amidst the extended, overwhelming applause.

*   *   *

This early, the Manila Symphony Orchestra announces its concerts from June 2013 to Jan. 2014.

On June 28, 8 pm at the CCP main theater, the MSO will present “Ode to the Stars” featuring Gina Medina, violin, Jiovanni Tobada, contrabass, and Arturo Molina, conductor. To be performed: San Pedro’s Ang Buwan sa Kabundukan, Duo Concertante for Violin and Contrabass, and Holst’s The Planets.

In 2003, Gina received her MA degree in Music with Chamber Music Emphasis at the S.F. State U. In 2009, Jiovanni graduated from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague with an MA in Music, Major in Doublebass with distinction. He has performed with the Sinfonia Rotterdam Chamber Orchestra, the Holland Sinfonia and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.

On July 6 at the F. Santiago Hall, 8 pm. “The Trumpet Calls” will feature Manu Mallearts, trumpet, and Thanos Adamopoulos, guest conductor. To be performed: Mozart’s Symphony No. 35, Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto in E Flat Major, Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 in C Major. Brussels-based Mallearts is the artistic director of the Belgian Brass Ensemble and trumpet player of La Monnale Opera House.

Adamopoulos has served as concert- master of the Monnaie Symphony Orchestra.

Other MSO concerts will be announced later.












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