‘The Amazing Brahms’ played amazingly

Rosalinda L. Orosa

Rosalinda L. Orosa

Except for the languid, nostalgic opening, Buenaventura’s “By the Hillside,” all compositions rendered by the Metro Manila Concert Orchestra (MMCO) under conductor Josefino “Chino” Toledo were by Brahms, including the Concerto in D Minor for Piano and Orchestra, with soloist Jose Artemio Panganiban 3rd.

Rarely does a person excel simultaneously in two disciplines. Accordingly to the printed program announcing the MMCO’s Crystal (15th year) Anniversary, Panganiban is an “expert in the field of finance.” Many who attended the concert may have wondered how Panganiban would fare as a pianist. How his performance amazingly exceeded this reviewer’s expectations!

Musicologists point up Brahms “gift of expressive melody, his harmonic originality, his ability to evoke a mood in a few bars.” Panganiban delineated all these qualities with charm, vigor, and utmost dexterity, particularly in the second movement (Maestos) and the third (Rondo: Allegro non troppo), which were replete with runs in the swiftest tempo interspersed with similarly rapid chordal passages. Panganiban went way beyond competence, demonstrating a virtuoso’s magnetic, breathtaking touch. And not the least, glowing artistry.

The closest coordination between pianist and orchestra was highly admirable.
With Brahms as the main attraction—the program was entitled “The Amazing Brahms”—the Tragic Overture rendered by the orchestra as well as the various Hungarian Dances throbbed with infectious urgency and sweeping, inexorable drive, especially the best known, most popular No. 5, this often interpreted by ballerinas and danseurs.

The audience was immensely gratified with the evening’s over-all musical event, which was presented at the CCP Little Theater by the MMCO Foundation consisting of Renato “Boysie” Villavicencio, president and chairman; Laling Tambunting Ordoñez, vice president, and Chinggay Diaz Lagdameo among the members of the board of trustees.

The scholastic philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas equated being humble with being truthful. When I wrote the book Tapestry, I hewed closely to this dictum, veering away from any exaggeration in portraying certain family members and close relatives. Among the latter is Ramon S. Orosa. Inevitably he dates me being my nephew!

He has a prominent place in Tapestry wherein he is described thus: “A De La Salle graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Commerce, Ramon at 28 broke the color barrier with his appointment at Citibank as the first Filipino resident vice president, the most senior officer in the country then. At 31, he assumed the presidency of the Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank (PCIB), the youngest to become president of a commercial bank, a record not broken and still standing today, to my knowledge. At that age, Ramon was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Country by the Philippine Jaycees and the Jerry Roxas Foundation.

“Ramon has published countless articles on politics, business and economics in newspapers and magazines, and continues to write. Currently, he hosts a TV program for GNN “Usapang Kalusugan” which deals with healing modalities.

“Ramon consistently amazes me with his incredibly wide background on diverse fields.
When we talk on medicine, he reveals nearly a doctor’s conversance with a variety of diseases, each with its respective cure. (His TV program, proves this.) When we discuss religion, he pontificates like a philosopher. When we move on to politics, he conveys an astonishing grasp of history (past and present), political science and government that will put many a politician, professor or diplomat to shame. How he strikes me as a walking encyclopedia!”

For those who would like to know Ramon even better, Tapestry is available at the Solidaridad Bookshop and the National Bookstore. For inquiries, you may email me at: missorosa@yahoo.com.

However at the time of this writing, to my great surprise, I have received an invitation from Ramon to the launching of his book My Life, His Story on February 11 at Club Filipino.

Closely knowing Ramon—“Mon” to friends, “Monet” to family—I am smitten with curiosity about how he describes himself in his book which is a “must read” for me and presumably for his friends and associates.


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