Regina faces bright future/ Phl-Japan friendship month/ PPO concerts as 2014 starts

SUNDRY STROKES - The Philippine Star

A predominantly young audience nearly filled the CCP Little Theater, the performer, Regina Montesclaros, 20, being young herself.

The opening composition, the Bach-Hess cantata Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, had beautiful tonal gradations, the pianist immediately demonstrating poise, refinement of touch, and a most graceful manner of playing.

Beethoven’s 32 Variations in C Minor, a work of unquestioned mastery and the widest diversity, had Regina delineating the distinctive characteristics of the composer’s style, as also those of the bombastic Liszt in Harmonies Due Soir, and of the impressionistic Ravel in Alborada del Gracioso, a serenade from the Miroirs Suite, this in striking contrast to Liszt’s bold fetish.

The second part of the recital was exclusively devoted to Chopin. In Scherzo No. 4 and Etude No. 4, there were the retards and accelerations — the rubatos — the fluid, rippling runs that proved admirable dexterity of both hands. Nocturne in C Minor was poetic and tender; the Andante Spianato et Grande Polonaise Brillante, exciting as Regina rendered with vibrant spirit Chopin’s unique innovations that widely expand piano technique.

In deep concentration throughout the recital, Regina consistently conveyed exquisite tonal hues, ever-changing gradations and dynamics, utmost clarity and precision.

At this stage, the frail-looking Regina still has to acquire the electrifying power, arresting fire and dramatic intensity of her mentor Raul Sunico. Neverthless, she is an outstanding pianist. Her performance drew long and loud applause which was rewarded with an encore of the swiftest and smoothest runs.

To mark the 40th year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, two concerts featuring Japanese and Filipino artists were held recently.

The first, at Abelardo Hall, UP Diliman, entitled “Bridge to the Future” featured Japanese sopranos Satsuki Hayashisa and Ayano Kumada, internationally acclaimed pianist Naoka Matsuoka and folk artists Tatsuya Hosono on the shamisen. They were joined by UP teachers, pianist Carolyn Cheng and bass Rainier Arthur Cruz.

The second concert “Across the Seas” again featured the Japanese artists with eminent pianist Josue Greg Zuniega and tenor James Doak at the Corazon Aquino Hall, SSC. The program consisted of traditional Japanese classics Nanatsu no ko, Sakura Sakura, Sakura Fantasia, and folk songs Jonkara Bushi and Otemoyan played on the shamisen by Tatsuya Hosono. Popular Filipino folk tunes, e.g., Ating cu pung Singsing, Chitchiritsit and Pobreng Alindahaw, were also played.

PPO music director-conductor Olivier Ochanine continues his announcement of last Wednesday.

In response to many requests, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons will be the main feature of the PPO concert on Jan. 17, 2014. Soloists are PPO assistant concert master Joanne Ruth Livioco and her brother, violinist Jonathan David Livioco, concert master of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic. Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 2 completes the program.

Former PPO music director Eugene Castillo conducts on Feb. 21 Sibelius Symphony No. 5; violinist Roger Wilke joins the PPO for Brahms’ romantic concerto. Castillo wields the baton for Gerald Finzi’s “The Fall of the Leaf.”

Taiwanese conductor Maestra Apo Hsu wields the baton on March 14 for Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5. Oboist Wanchen Hsieh, also from Taiwan, will play Martinu’s “Oboe Concerto.” Maestra Hsu conducts the PPO in Yarnell’s “Yosemite and the Range of Light.”

On April 11, PPO closes its season with a fun program at the movies, and Richard Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathrusta.”

Tribute to Vicente Lopez

To honor eminent cellist Vicente “Tiking” Lopez on his tenth death anniversary, the Amici Trio will give a concert on Aug. 27, 8 p.m. at the Sta. Isabel College Auditorium.

The Amici Trio (the Italian amici means friends) is composed of baritone Joseleo Logdat, pianist Tomoyo Kabayashi and violinist Yazuki Yamamoto, both Japanese, who will perform masterpieces by Mozart, Brahms and traditional Japanese pieces.

The concert is free and open to the public. Donations are welcome to the Vallehermoso Foundation which supports the Vicente Lopez Museum and the Cultural Center in Negros Oriental.












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