The new administration of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) is determined to bring orchestral music to the provinces with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) scheduled to perform in Iloilo (March), Davao City (April) and Legazpi City (May) next year, CCP President Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso said during the opening season concert of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra.
PPO—the new CCP president added—is one of the country’s living treasures that every Filipino must experience.
Earlier as member of the CCP board, Lizaso succeeded in bringing the PPO to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) to perform before cancer patients.
He said, “I believe in the healing power of music especially to the young kids who have cancer. I believe in bringing the performing arts closer to the people.”
Senator Franklin Drilon who attended the concert welcomed PPO’s visit to Iloilo, which just saw well-received performances of the Manila Symphony Orchestra.
Meanwhile, the latest PPO concert also showed a kind of programming meant to bring back the lure of classical music to Filipino audiences.
It featured pianist Yury Shadrin in Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and one concluded it was an auspicious way to start a season.
Shadrin is a prizewinner of several piano competitions but what he showed Manila audience during the season opening concert was a distinct musicality that often eludes competition prizewinners.
But in this Philippine debut, Shadrin made something genuinely appealing as he breezed through the four movements of the concerto with aplomb.
To this listener, the best moment of the concerto was in the slow quasi adagio movement where the pianist managed to impart something soulful and magical. How he connected the notes from slow to fast and slow made you realize this is a true artist performing.
In the allegro marziale animato finale, both soloist and orchestra rose to the occasion and what came out is abandoned warhorse given a brand-new shining patina.
After two curtain calls, Shadrin obliged with an apt encore piece, Chopin’s Etude No. 1 Op. 25. He made the piano sing and what a beautiful way to end the first part of the concert. (One finds it strange and mysterious that this lovely etude was—according to music historians—dedicated to Franz Liszt’s mistress.)