DESPITE a conspicuously scant attendance at the all-Chopin recital of celebrated Thai pianist Poom Prommachart, he gave an immensely impressive performance. The handful of those present—although Poom is a recipient of many prestigious awards, among them first prize in a competition in Serbia at which Raul Sunico was one of the jurors—might be presumably explained by the absence of any previous announcement or advertisement of Poom’s forthcoming recital.
As for the program’s composer, biographies have described Frederic Chopin as the most original, most innovative of his time, his style being so distinctive, so uniquely individual that music lovers can identify any work as his upon hearing it.
Poom began his recital with the daunting Sonata No. 2 in B Flat Minor. He tended to virtually convert every passage into a bravura feat, thus diminishing the work’s lyrical quality. The familiar Scherzo No. 2 in B Flat Minor which ensued was interpreted likewise in a similar manner, leaving the audience awed by his technical brilliance.
The all-Chopin recital’s second part consisted exclusively of Etudes. The word is French for studies and Chopin composed them, as musicologists and academicians aver, “to enlarge the range of piano technique, while deliberately designed as exercises for overcoming specific difficulties.” Thus, one etude would help a pianist’s difficulty with octaves; another would solve his problem with runs or trills; a third, with arpeggios; a fourth, with chords. And so on and so forth.
Doubtless Chopin did not compose his etudes for pianists like Poom who manifested obvious mastery over any complex technical device. Indeed, he left his listeners admiring his extraordinary dexterity, particularly in the three last etudes—No. 10 in B Minor, No. 11 in A Minor, No. 12 in C Minor.
To offset and compensate for the over-riding virtuosity, Poom demonstrated in the entire set of etudes he chose for his encore a relatively easy but exquisitely lyrical piece. One regretted the literally small audience but felt highly gratified over one’s own presence at the most “exclusive” and unique recital.
Season’s greetings and hearty congratulations to all those who have enlivened and continue to enliven, and lend prestige to our country’s cultural scene.
They are, in random order:
Pianists Cecile Licad, Cristine Coyiuto, Raul Sunico, Albert Tiu, Aris Caces, Ingrid Santamaria, Reynaldo Reyes, Fr. Manuel Maramba, Lorenzo Medel, Jonathan Coo, Mariel Ilusorio, Aima Labra Makk, Jose Artemio Panganiban, Alfredo Galang 2nd, Hiyas Hila, Najib Ismail, pianist-harpist Lourdes Gregorio.
Violinists Alfonso “Coke” Bolipata, Sergio and Joseph Esmilla, Joaquin Ma. “Chino” Gutierrez, Dionedes Saraza, cellist Renato Lucas, flutist Caitlin Coyiuto, marimba player Dena Fernandez.
Conductors Olivier Ochanine, Josefino “Chino” Toledo, Arturo Molina, Gerard Salonga, Rodel Colmenar, Herminigildo Ranera, Choral conductor Fidel Calalang, Jr. and Antonio Carpio, conductor-composer Ryan Cayabyab.
Prima ballerina-artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, choreographers Osias Barroso, Jr., Ronilo Jaynarino, Toni Lopez Gonzales, Denisa Reyes, ballet master Anatoly Panasyukov, ballerinas Dawna Mangahas and Abigail Lynn Oliveirio, danseurs Gerard Francisco, Alfran Salgado and Brian James Williamson.
Sopranos Andion Fernandez, Rachelle Gerodias, Margarita Gomez, Camille Lopez Molina, Elisanta Cortes, Thea Perez, Nenen Espina, tenors Otoniel Gonzaga, Arthur Espiritu, Rogelio Peñaverde, Jr., Ronan Ferrer, Sherwin Sozon. Baritones Andrew Fernando, Noel Azcona, Jonathan Zaens and “Filipinized” Byeong-In Park.
Chorale groups UST, Madrigal Singers. The singing Laurel family, headed by Celia and Cocoy Laurel, singer-composer Jose Mari Chan.
Painter, art critic, essayist, musician-composer Cesare A.X. Syjuco, his artist wife Jean Marie and their artist children; the Kabayao family: violinist Gilopez, pianist wife Corazon, violinist children Sicilienne, Farrida and Gilberto.
Painters Marivic Rufino, Betsy Westendorp, Sanso, Manny Baldemor, Arturo Luz, Allan Cosio, Ben Cab and glass sculptor Ramon Orlina.
Writer, literary critic, playwright Isagani R. Cruz, National Artists for Literature F. Sionil Jose and Dr. Bien Lumbera, drama directors Bobby Garcia and Anton Juan, Broadway actress-singer-dancer Lea Salonga, actresses Carmen “Baby” Barredo and Joy Virata, actor-director-set designer Miguel Faustmann, actors Fausto Preysler, Jr., and Jorge Ortoll.
Classical music and dance promoters Sr. Mary Placid, music dean of St. Scholastica’s College, and Sr. Anunciata Sta. Ana, music dean of St. Paul’s University, Eduardo “Eddie” Yap, Sylvia Lichauco de Leon, Jeffrey Solares, George Yang, Danny Dolor, Martin Lopez.
The PPO, MSO, MMCO, UST, MPO and ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestras.
Visiting Joseph Phillips, America’s “Golden Boy of Ballet,” and Chilean violinist Juan Luis Muñoz.
Rachy Cuna, the country’s only floral architect. Not the least, George Sison, elite society’s highly esteemed Guru.
Doubtless, many artists have been inadvertently left out in this hastily written tribute and thanksgiving.