A mighty baton wielder; A marvelous woman flutist/Syjuco, Rufino art exhibits

SUNDRY STROKES - The Philippine Star

At the recent CCP main theater concert, Dukas’ Fanfare for the ballet La Peri was given a magisterial, majestic all-brass rendition by the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Olivier Ochanine. How it sounded like a rousing welcome for royalty!

Being a Symphonic Poem, Liszt’s Les Preludes was a translation into music of a literary thought or idea, in this particular instance, this line from Lamartine’s Meditations Poetiques: “What is life but a series of preludes to that unknown song of which death strikes the first solemn note?”

Accordingly, the PPO struck an almost unrelieved lugubrious, funereal music interspersed with vigorous passages.

Following this piece, the pretty, vivacious internationally-awarded Chilean flutist Viviane Guzman interpreted Vivaldi’s Concerto in D Major. Known as the Paganini of the 18th century, Vivaldi presumably transformed his technical devices for the violin into those for the flute, with Guzman playing them with strings and basso continuo. She fascinated the audience with her luminous, strikingly smooth, fluid and spirited tones, these conveying what the program notes indicate: a “riveting landscape” in the opening allegro, a “pastorale” in the cantabile, and “an energetic dance” in the closing allegro. Guzman performed easily and naturally; the tones were never forced even in the fortissimos. In close unison, conductor and soloist reflected the piece’s gentle joyfulness.

In one month, this reviewer has heard Monti’s Czardas played by the violin, the banduria and the flute. Guzman and Ochanine fully captured the zest and vigor of the Hungarian dance which began langorously and ended with a wild, frenetic rhythm, while in-between, slow and furious tempi alternated.

In a most charming manner, Guzman introduced and performed on different flutes of the world: two indigenous American-Indian flutes, one from Chile, another from Hungary — this had no holes but produced diverse tones — and, incredibly enough, our own nose flute! She also introduced a plastic fake flute, because as she explained, the real one was in a museum, and finally, a Chinese flute, among the hundred in her collection. The music on each flute indicated the country of its origin. Graciously, she played a one-and-a-half-minute Tango and rap music for young listeners. A marvelous flutist, Guzman consistently exhibited total assurance, mastery and grace.

As for Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B Minor (Pathetique), the composer declared most emphatically it was his best work. Further, his audacious originality led him to end the Symphony on an utterly quiet, restrained note.

In the first movement, a solo bassoon was joined by the violas, with the introduction’s slow tempo — the initial drumbeat reinforced by the brasses and percussions — increasing in momentum and magnificently reaching the first climax. Throughout, diverse orchestral hues, ranging from light to dark, enriched the rendition.

The tremendous, overwhelming climaxes came repeatedly in the second movement (allegro con gracia) and third (presto allegro molto vivace), these climaxes asserting not only the Maestro’s undiminished dynamism but also virtuosity.

Totally cognizant of the grandeur of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece, Ochanine drew from his instrumentalists their best: utmost cohesiveness, intensity, massiveness and nuanced expressivity, thus fulfilling both the work’s technical and interpretive demands. The climaxes stirred the emotions; the lambent, elegiac passages led to deep, lachrymal thoughts.

Further, how the three allegros reflected the incomparably rhapsodic vitality so typically Russian!

As the mighty baton wielder responded to the curtain calls, he looked visibly exhausted but gratified leaving the lustily clamoring audience vastly impressed.

Cesare Syjuco, who excels as poet, art critic, painter and musician, is currently holding an exhibit “The Golden Years” (Paintings from 1993-2003) at the Atelier Cesare and Jean Marie Syjuco, 327 Country Club Drive, Alabang Village, tel/fax (632) 8509278/Mobile (0917)534-0709. Viewing hours: 24/7 By appointment.

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“Appassionata,” featuring the art works of Rosario Bitanga, Imelda Cajipe-Endaya, Lenore RS Lim, Susan Feltavero-Roces and Marivic Rufino will be held at the Altro Mondo Gallery, Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati, from Sept. 18 (opening reception) to Oct. 4, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.











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