Saraza’s audacity, brio; Zuniega shares the applause/ Israeli deputy bids adieu

SUNDRY STROKES - The Philippine Star

A participant in international festivals and recipient of international honors, 23-year-old violinist Diomedes Saraza Jr. played in 2006 the Khatchaturian Concerto for the opening of a musical festival in Vermont. He won the Mannes College Concerto Competition which led to a performance with the Mannes Philharmonic in 2009, becoming its concertmaster in the same year. His chamber group won in the American League Competition and was later featured in Carnegie Hall.

With these distinctions, among others, Saraza gave a recital at the CCP Little Theater, opening it with Bach’s extensive, unaccompanied Sonata No. 3 in C Major. Musicologists aver that Bach could not write long without achieving measures of great worth.

Bach was a master of counterpoint and Saraza articulated his complex, contrapuntal work with clarity and brio, playing in a stirring, vibrant fashion. He ended the arduous, final movement, allegro assai, with exceeding force and dexterity, yet mindful of the sonata’s form and structure.

For the two other works, the formidable pianist Josue Greg Zuniega was assisting artist.

Poeme by the very young American Alvin Zhu (born 1990) was expressly composed for Saraza and pianist Zhu himself. Premiered at Julliard’s Paul Hall and in Saraza’s graduation recital, the refreshingly innovative piece had only its first movement, Apassionata — “a journey of passion, emotion and longing” — faithfully delineating the description in the program notes. The second movement “Water” and the third, “a gentle sailing in the cool breeze” struck this listener as fiery and tumultuous.

Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 9 (Kreutzer), with its magnificent first and second movements, revealed the soloist’s keen musical intelligence and sensitivity while also demonstrating his technical brilliance. His tones were full, sonorous and rich in colors; the strings in the presto were plucked with briskness and precision. Aplomb and elan characterized the rendition of every movement; superb command, the final third.

Saraza readily gained audience appreciation and the warmest applause. Pianist Zuniega deserved an equal share of both. The Kreutzer and Poeme were written by their composers for violinist and pianist in equal measure, the technical complexities as well as the legatos distributed evenly between them. Zuniega more than excelled as assisting artist.

In response to the thunderous acclaim, two Filipino compositions were rendered: the familiar Cavatina and Willy Cruz’s Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas.

*   *   *

The following letter is from Yaniv Revach, Israel Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, who is leaving Manila with his wife Limor for another diplomatic assignment.

Dear Ms. Orosa,

I am a bit sad that I have to say goodbye to everyone here in the Philippines who, like you, have been supportive of our cultural events in Manila.

As the Deputy Chief of Mission of the embassy for the past six years, the cultural, press, political and international cooperation was under my care. It was a long assignment but I was not aware of the time because your country opened up so many opportunities for us to culturally exchange. Since I came to the Embassy, more than 30 Israeli artists, including musicians, dancers, visual artists, playwrights to chefs and authors have come to Manila to represent my country. And amazingly, local Filipino artists have agreed to partner with them in various fashions. Wonderful artists such as Aiza Seguerra, Noel Cabangon and Zsa Zsa Padilla had agreed to sing with our Israeli singers for Filipino audiences. Chefs Myrna Segismundo and Regie Aspiras opened their kitchens to partner with our visiting Chefs.

Our Philippine-Israel Center for Agricultural Technologies (PICAT) Project in Nueva Ecija became successful that it is now on its third phase and is expanding throughout Region 3 and hopefully, the rest of the country. Through the PICAT Project, we were able to send around 150 Filipino farmers, extension workers and local government officials to learn about Israel’s advance technology in agriculture.

My work in your country gave meaning to my job and despite the chance to work in any other post around the region I opted to stay in Manila three more years since the Filipinos are generous hosts.

Again, I would like to thank you very much for your support through all these years and I hope that you will extend the same to my successor.

Fr. Tony Rosales’ book

Those who missed the launching last Saturday of “This Is About Jesus Christ, the Son of God” by Fr. Tony Rosales OFM, can obtain copies at St. Alphonsus Parish Office, Magallanes Village, Makati; Goodwill and Don Bosco bookstores, the Focolare Catholic Bookstore outlets.












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