Raul Sunico’s last gala concert (herewith reviewed) was followed by another at the Insular Life auditorium under the auspices of music patron Vicky Zubiri.
At the Cultural Center of the Philippines-Little Theater, Sunico interpreted widely diverse selections by romantic Polish-French Chopin, French impressionist Ravel, Russian romantic Rachmaninoff, German colossus Wagner, Hungarian romantic Liszt, the Russian Mussorgsky—whose compositions are doubtless for virtuosos. Musicologists regard Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde of such “exciting beauty” that the rest of his works are “anti-climatic.”
Rachmaninoff himself declares that his Preludes in C Sharp Minor and G Sharp Minor are Russian music, their thought and emotion molded by his own country. Ravel’s Sonatina has an energetic, surging first movement, a tender, nostalgic Minuet and a brisk, vivacious Anime. The melodies are exotic, the enchanting moods impressionistic.
Chopin’s Polonaise is replete with devices highly original, complex, innovative and ahead his time. The Wagner-Liszt Liebestod from the second act of Tristan and Isolde, has a triumphant rather than a grieving Isolde singing at the feet of dead Tristan, Sunico gloriously echoing her voice ringing at heaven’s gates.
How faithfully Sunico reflected and projected the distinctive, unique characteristics, the differences in style of each composition.
What awesome display of versatility, technical skill, limitless dramatic, artistic and emotional resources!
With masterful control throughout, Sunico overwhelmed listeners with flawless, impeccable, effortless bravura passages that abound in each piece.
The finale, Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” a musical description of paintings by Viktor Hartmann, was an exquisite, eloquent, graphic depiction by Sunico. For instances, slow, lambent, languid tones reflected the eerie silence and gloom of the cavernous catacombs. The hustle and bustle of women running hither and thither while bargaining with the market vendors, the overwhelmingly thick, massive Great Gate of Kiev, had Sunico incomparably drawing them on the keyboard.
The insistent, clangorous audience applause for still another of Sunico’s endless feats, led to curtain calls and a subtly artistic Debussy piece for an encore.
The piano concert was a fundraiser for the Breath of Life Foundation which provides ventilators for newborn infants. Dr. Enrique Ostrea Jr., is board president.