Caces stirs the pulses / De Leon: Master trumpeter / M. Syjuco’s new art-to-wear
SUNDRY STROKES (The Philippine Star) - February 12, 2014 - 12:00am

Congested traffic caused me to miss the first half of Aries Caces’ piano concert at UP Abelardo Hall, namely, Bach’s Italian Concerto in F, Mozart’s Fantasie in C Minor and Sonata in C Minor.

In Chopin’s Fantasie in F Minor, powerful chordal passages, contrasting with placid interludes, reached several climaxes before the last overwhelming one.

Caces conveyed beautiful tonal gradations through the themes developed imaginatively and intelligently. His passionate, virtuosic rendition gave justice to what musicologists describe as “a work of large design, one of the most dramatic and impressive works for the piano.”

Pianists spend interminable hours making the left hand as nimble and agile as the right. In Bernardo Custodio’s Vision: Nocturne for the Left Hand Caces’ unusually skilled left hand infused the piece with poetic feeling.

In typical fashion, Rachmaninoff’s Sonata No. 2 in B Flat Minor had grand lines, Caces’ cascades of sound erupting in thunderous chords, dazzling listeners and stirring their pulses. The verve and vibrancy of the allegro movements magnificently contrasted with the langorous, fluid lento and piu mosso. What delicacy and sensitivity characterized the encore, Schumann’s Dedication!

The concert asserted Caces’ stature as one of our leading pianists, his rank buttressed by concerts in the USA and Europe, marked in the latter by a solo performance with the Hannover Orchestra and a stint as music director-conductor of the Teatro Barocco Festival last year in Austria, and his current post as faculty member of Vienna’s Music Academy.

Friday’s applause was long and lusty.

*    *    *

The trumpet as part of the orchestra is not distinctly heard unless it plays solo passages. Further, it is not as pleasant sounding as the flute, oboe or bassoon, its tonal quality being rather strident.

At the concert in the CCP Little Theater, featured soloist Raymond De Leon made the trumpet a distinctive singular instrument. In the opening work, Oskar Bohme’s Trumpet Concerto in F Minor, and in the rest of the program — Jean Baptiste Arban’s Variations on a Theme from “Norma” by Bellini, Vladimir Peskin’s Trumpet Concerto No. 1 in C Minor, Saint-Saens’ The Swan and Czardas by Monti — De Leon established his mastery.

In The Swan, he demonstrated his versatility, the remarkably flowing lines expressing lyricism which called to mind a graceful swan; in the Czardas, the bravura passages in breathtakingly rapid tempo showed the soloist outstanding agility.

The Swan, composed originally for a cello and two pianos, is part of Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals” and De Leon portrayed a ballerina slowly gliding to its death. In the Czardas, the trumpeter’s virtuosity reflected a Gypsy’s dizzying whirls and twirls.

De Leon’s performance explained his three NAMCYA first prizes, his semi-finalist rank in the first Calvia International Trumpet competition in Mallorca, Spain, in 2003, his first prize in the Don Bushell Concerto Competition in 2011 which led to his debut with the Seattle Philharmonic in March, 2012, wherein he played the Arutunian Trumpet Concerto. Phenomenal pianist Raul Sunico was assisting artist of De Leon.

The ABS-CBN Orchestra concert

Under the baton of Gerard Salonga, the ABS-CBN orchestra gave a free concert yesterday afternoon at the Aliw Theater for public school students. The concert was in consonance with the orchestra’s main goal to introduce and propagate symphonic music of all periods to today’s generation through education and outreach programs.

*    *    *

Michelline Syjuco, daughter of eminent figures in the visual arts — Cesare A.X. Syjuco, poet, critic, essayist, musician and Jean Marie Syjuco, painter — is a chip off the old block(s). She will give an invitational preview of her new art-to-wear (jewelry) tomorrow, Thursday, with 6 p.m. cocktails preceding the preview. The venue is Firma at Greenbelt, Makati. Judging by the pictures, Michelline’s jewelry creations are fabulous.

ABELARDO HALL ALIW THEATER ARUTUNIAN TRUMPET CONCERTO B FLAT MINOR C MINOR C MINOR AND SONATA CALVIA INTERNATIONAL TRUMPET DE LEON F MINOR
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