THE Orchestra Nipponica Tokyo (ONT) will hold a series of concerts in Manila to celebrate the 40th year of the ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation in February. The concerts are part of the Japan-Philippines Friendship Contemporary Music Festival. The musical pieces include La Dance: Suite Pour Piano by Yasushi Akutagawa, Nocturne in Eb Minor by Francisco Santiago, North-Silver-Night (Winter) Op.93 by Maki Ishii, Maligayang Bati (“Birthday Greeting”) by Francisco Buencamino, Woodwind Boogie by Hal Goodman, Violetango by Astor Piazzola, Entre-Temps (“Between Times”) for oboe and strings by Toru Takemitsu, String Quartet “Elegy” by Tadashi Kubo and String Quartet by Manuel P. Maramba.- Cultural Center of the Philippines
So it's a musical festival that centers on the friendly collision of Filipino and Japanese music. Since it is inevitable to transcend one's consciousness into his music, or to any kind of art I may say, the two groups displayed contrasting yet complimenting set of music scores. Because having a notion of different people's psyche comes handy as a literature major, me and my friends quite have a solid ground on how we shall see the message of their music. But we were all retrained from having a discourse in the middle of the show, if you are three rows from the stage and you can see and hear everything that's happening in their, who would dare to talk?
The show started with a Japanese girl's recital with her grand piano. As far as I can remember, she played three songs with different dynamics. First it was some kind of a love song that caught me thinking about a sweet, silent film; the second got me imagining of a domestic fight; and the third sounded like an classical Tom and Jerry themesong. And don't dare to rummage for reasons, there are some things in life you can't really explain, and imagination is one of them.
Then there was the introduction of the composers. Basically, the Filipino-Japanese cameraderie went like a tag team with each side having two representatives. Each of them talked about their music and how they came up with their collection. I loved it how they had shown respect to one another regardless on how they showed it. But then you can never obscure some people's, or better yet a whole nation's distinct nature: both Filipino composers admitted they passed theeir sheets late, one being a month late and the other... had passed his sheets five days before the performace itself. Wooh!
The exhibition started with the collection of Tadashi Kubo. It pretty much showed all the dynamics possible for stringed instruments. The rhythm and melody was fast-changing yet harmonious. It sort of reminded me the slow and complex growth of a Cherryblossom tree, I don't know if that idea came from a stereotypical point of view but it was a vivid one, I may say. The best surprise though when they all came into an idle, and plucked their violins. I didn't know it was possible to do so, but they did, so I guess the answer is yes. It capped oFf the whole traditional feeling as the violin sounded ethnic and raw.
The collection of Francisco Maramba, on the other hand, is extravagant and flamboyant. I think it verified my opinion that Filipinos have the habit of reveling on show-stopping performances. The dynamics were high and every second seemed to be the climax. I have to say however, that I prefer Mr. Kubo's collection over Maramba's. I believe that sometimes, simplicity brings out true beauty.
|Photo from Ian Harvey Claros|
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