Sunday, November 29, 2009

On Massacre and Music

   I join the millions of Filipinos who mourn for the Ampatuan massacre victims. :( A lot has been said about it, but for me, the best-written piece was the one by Patricia Evangelista. She captured the horror of it better than other statistic-bearing columns.
   The horror. The living nightmare. Things will never be the same.

   I was in a semi-daze for several days following the tragedy. Oh, how to explain what I felt? It sort of felt like I had shrunk, like my soul had dried up. Like a candle lit within has died. Out of self-preservation, I acted. I shall tell what I did, although the full import of my actions hit me after I had already done them.

   Firstly, I was driven to wear a scent. You see, I normally spritz on some eau de toilette only during very special happenings like the rare dinner and night out. But somehow, I felt compelled to spray some all over, twice or thrice during the day! It's as if I was trying to banish the darkness by smelling good things, sweet and innocent things, like flowers and baby powder.

   I found my olfactory savior in Durance's eau de toilette (Rose). 
   Secondly, I attended a concert.

   How to explain the near-desparation I felt when I received an invitation to attend the Litany for the Coming Messiah: An Advent Concert for Organ & Oboe to be held at the Union Church of Manila? 

   I HAD to attend the concert!! I simply HAD to!!!!
    I stumbled across this quote from "The Little Book" by Selden Edwards the other day, and it makes me realize WHY I felt the overwhelming urge to watch the concert:

   "Music's principle function is to organize the details into harmonies that are intended to make us forget that there is randomness all around us. It wards off the chaos." (emphasis mine)

   And indeed, last night's concert brought both catharsis and healing to the wounded souls who attended.

   The programme was as follows:

   Prelude and Fugue in C minor, BWV 546 (J.S. Bach)
   Schmucke dich, o liebe Seele (J.S. Bach)
   Pastorale, Op. 19 (Cesar Franck)
   Toccata in B minor (Eugene Gigout)
   Praire (Alejandro Consolacion III)
   Litanies (Jehan Alain)
   Improvisation (Alejandro Consolacion III)
   3rd Romance for Oboe and Piano (Robert Schumann)
   Concerto for Oboe : 1st movement (W. A. Mozart)
   Suite Rural (Alejandro Consolacion III)

   The organist, Alejandro Consolacion III, was in superb form last night and thrilled the audience when he improvised on the wedding anniversary date of one of the couples present: March 27, 1982. He must have improvised for about twelve minutes, I've never witnessed anything like it!

   The oboist, Franz Miguel Ramirez (who shall forever remain my dear "Mikko"), was beautifully accompanied by Mary Anne Espina on the piano as he gave his flawless performances, interpreting the Mozart concerto with a slightly daring "Romantic" edge, but always with impeccable phrasing and with such musicality that his playing brought tears to my eyes more than once.

   Of course, the crowd favorite was the organist's own composition, the Suite Rural. He wrote the Prelude after the Visayan lullaby, Ili-Ili Tulog Anay. The Habanera was the Ilocano song, Osi-osi, while the Chanson was the Pangasinan love song, Malinac lay labi. He finished off with Pen-Pen de Sarapen written in Rondo form.

   Truly, as Sir Eudy said in his pre-concert speech, musicians have a ministry of their own, and it is a mighty, powerful one. Last night's beautiful music DID ward off the chaos that threatened to overwhelm me, and for the first time in several nights, I slept peacefully.  :)

   How did you cope with the terrible news?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dudley Moore: Beethoven Sonata Parody

Still from the 1960's show, "Beyond The Fringe." I found youtube videos of this exceedingly talented man doing parodies of Britten, Faure, and Schubert as well. :) I don't know which astounds me more... Moore's skill or the audience's being exceedingly well-versed in music, enough to "get" the humor. :)

In this video, Dudley Moore takes the theme of the whistle tune from THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI and transforms it into a piano parody in the compositional style of Beethoven.

"Beyond The Fringe" on Oxford Philosophy

Highly intellectual comedy that was very popular in the 50's/60's... I don't know if this will still be popular today as it was back then. Were people smarter in those days? :)
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