Assured, self-possessed, the fast-rising, richly-talented pianist Chance Israel chose three vastly challenging pieces and a popular, easy-to-appreciate Broadway song playing them in a unique venue, the Manila Pianos Home Depot, while surrounded by some thirty pianos on display.
Liszt being “the phenomenal pianist of his century” and “the Paganini of the keyboard”, he expectedly composed pieces matching his virtuosity. Thus, “Mephisto Waltz” is a prodigious work whose beautiful melody is nearly submerged and hidden by typical Lisztian bravura – a constant windfall of clouds and runs in the swiftest tempo. Chance’s vibrant rendition gave just honor and tribute to the composer.
The thunderous, overwhelming syncopations, discords and dissonances of the opening Sonata by Bartok made the piano sound metallic. The work was fascinating, intriguing, engaging but not pleasant to hear, with Chance dazzling the audience with his startling nimbleness and power.
Paderewski’s recorded Campanella still resounds in my ear, and Chance’s interpretation of Nocturne in B Flat Minor was a most impressive feat – with its brilliant tonal colors and dramatic variations in dynamics.
A stark contrast to the preceding numbers was a lyrical, relatively simple Broadway selection “My Favorite Things” composed by Richard Rogers and arranged by Stephen Hough. Charmingly melodious, it was the music lovers’ favorite song in The Sound of Music. What a delightful relief from Bartok’s deafening dissonances!
Lusty and prolonged applause ensued after every piece performed by the young Chance, a former student of Carmencita Arambulo and now being mentored by Lynn University’s Roberta Rust, many of whose graduates have become international pianists.
Musicologists have described the English Frederick Delius as a composer of “restrained emotion, refinement, delicacy and poetic suggestions.” The 25-year old pianist Marian Mayuga, with the highest degree of technical competence and skill, infused these qualities in the Sonata in B Major. Her full-bodied, sonorous, luminous and exuberant tones expressed pathos, joy, nostalgia, sadness in wide-ranging pianissimos and fortissimos. She and Chance, her assisting artist, demonstrated the closest technical and emotive collaboration. The pair responded to audience clamor with an encore.
Addie Cukingnan Exhibit
The Nth Millenium Foundation will present the works of Cukingnan in an art exhibit entitled “Legacy” at the Paseo Gallery Artspace, 3rd level, Glorietta 4, Ayala Center, Makati on August 5 at 5:30pm. The exhibit, which will be for the Foundation’s benefit, will run until August 18.