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The Arts


By Pablo A. Tariman
Baguio City
May 3, 2016


BAGUIO CITY -- The cream of this city’s music lovers headed by National Artist for Visual Arts BenCab trooped to the Hill Station  Saturday night to listen to the city debut of the MSO Junior Orchestra.

There was heavy downpour before the performance but it didn’t prevent music lovers from filling up the intimate venue which was filled to the rafters.

By and large, it was a first-rate music treat experienced at some 5,000 ft. above sea level with the good acoustics giving listeners a sensurround effect.
           The event had everyone raving about the junior orchestra and its equally exciting young soloists.

Conductor Jeffrey Solares revealed his commendable affinity with Mozart with the opening number, ""Divertimento in D Major, K. 218" which was crisp, moving and thoroughly inspiring. Through the years, Solares has developed a conducting style that is easy on the young musicians and satisfactory to an audience at large. The tempo is at once brisk and authoritative, the over-all sound is a delight to the ear and by the end of the piece, you can’t believe you are listening to a junior orchestra.
            The Mozart violin soloists (at one movement each) drew euphoric applause and several rounds of Bravos.

   Emmanuel John Villarin is highly promising and his musicality is way above musicians his age.

With unusual sonority required of its interpreters, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 is not for kids. It requires more than a solid tone and a kind of musicianship that will allow him to feel the orchestra parts with ease. Musicians agree this concerto is the most immediately scintillating of the five.

            Villarin showed palpable confidence even in his cadenza and with the orchestra ending the first movement, you see great promise for this 12-year old violinist.
            Violinist Jeanne Rafaella Marquez did a near electrifying performance in the first movement of Mozart's Violin concerto No. 5 in A Major, K. 219. She was one with the music even before her turn and one surmised she would steal the show from everyone if she did the complete movements.
           Mozart always sparkles when played by young talents and this was true when a 13-year old Hansel Ang took over as soloist in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488. His good tones were not yet pronounced in the first movement but redeemed himself in the second and third movements with flying color.
          The concerto's second movement was the night's most soulful moment and one wondered how melancholy would be delineated by a 13-year old pianist. But there he was, focused and spirited, and was in his best element in the last movement. Even his cadenza said something unique about his personality and indeed, he looked like an old master trapped in a 13-year old body.

His virtuosity came to the fore with his encore piece, Mendelssohn’s Rondo Capriccioso, Op.14. Here you see the sharpness of his musical perception and indeed, the entire interpretation left nothing to be desired. The boy has special gift and he will need a special teacher. Indeed, his encore piece threw audiences in uproar.

The final number is a piece composed for all participants of the music camp which transpired before the concert. Happily, it had the soul and rhythm of the mountain city. Whether it is a suite or a rhapsody, it remains a fitting finale.

Conductor Jeffrey Solares said the MSO Junior Orchestra is barely three years old and was a project borne out of a desire to invest on the young. The result as revealed in last Saturday night's concert was formidable and in many ways, doubly astounding.

From the quality of their playing Saturday night in Baguio City, you begin to have more hope for this country with assorted characters figuring in the coming elections.

As it is, we need a leader who can inspire young talents. We need one who can connect and feel why we need the arts in the difficult task of nation-building.

For what they are, the junior orchestra probably helped their audiences decide what kind of leader we deserve. These young musicians are the future of this country. They certainly deserve better leaders.

There are three gentle souls in the concert who hate acknowledgements and without them the return of classical music in Hill Station would not be possible.

 In their silence, one can offer the joy of music which --- according to Conductor Jeffrey Solares -- was a higher form of prayer. One can only agree.

 (The April 30 Baguio concert was presented by Cultural Arts Events Organizers in close tie up with Hill Station. Its supporters include the ICM Sisters under Sister Perla Macapinlac, Smart Telecommunications, Auring and Des Bautista, Genesis Transport Services, the ICM House of Prayer and many others.

To enroll in the MSO Music Academy, or to inquire about classes in strings, piano, horns, winds, percussions, and voice, call 3547709 or email msomusicacademy@gmail.com. Look for Ms June Ong.)

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