PHIL-ITALIAN Association (PIA) honorary head Ambassador Massino Rossigno, PIA President Nedy Tantoco (of Rustan’s), and Cultural Center of the Philippines President Raul Sunico presented the phenomenal Cecile Licad, the country’s most internationally acclaimed pianist, in a benefit concert at the CCP Main Theater.
Music lovers were enthralled by Licad’s choice of two of the most familiar and popular concerti; Tchaikovsky’s No. 1 in B Flat Minor and Rachmaninov’s No. 2 in C Minor, with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra under Maestro Olivier Ochanine assisting.
The opening Overture to the Italian in Algiers was given brisk, spirited rendition. The tightly integrated, romantic B Flat Minor Concerto of Tchaikovsky, with its four spontaneous Allegro movements, were interpreted by Licad with absolute technical control and mastery manifesting gusto, passion and bravura—these characteristics in striking contrast to the languid, lambent Andantino. Going beyond virtuosity, Licad stunned, magnetized, and overwhelmed her listeners with her nimble fingers gliding—indeed, “flying”—over the keyboard. How her unlimited power converted the piano into a most potent instrument!
The audience ignored the rule “no applause between movements”, breaking out into uproarious response after the first allegro.
Rising to the challenge hurled by the pianist, Ochanine drew all the resources of the strings, winds and percussions to their fullest, the ensemble asserting its mighty presence alongside Licad’s fiery performance.
The Andantino, for its part, evoked deep emotion through the pianist’s subtly nuanced artistry.
Heard more often than any other Rachmaninov concerto, his No. 2 in C Minor has achieved such popularity that a melody of the third movement has been converted into the hit song Full Moon and Empty Arms.
The opening sonorous chords gradually produced thunderous volume, the strings following in languid arpeggios, while the ensuing piano passages increased in dramatic intensity and fury.
Exquisitely lyrical-calm and peace were expressed by the second movement through a haunting melody. A fabulous, awesome cadenza followed the ensuing third movement, the sparkling sounds from pianist and orchestra led roars of appreciation, lusty applause and a standing ovation.
Not even a third encore, as electrifying as passages in the previous piano concerti, could stop the rapturous applause, with the fabulous Licad and Maestro Ochanine taking countless bows, bouquets in hand.
Among the beneficiaries of the fund-raising concert was the PPO whose USA concert tour under Ochanine will be highlighted by a performance in NY’s Carnegie Hall.
P. Kalaw-Ledesma Center
The Kalaw-Ledesma Foundation opened the Purita Kalwa-Ledesma Center last February 2 with the inaugural exhibit “Encouragement And Opportunity” featuring the works of Juvenal Sanso. The exhibit is the Center’s contribution to the Juvenal Sanso 70 years in art retrospective.
The Center is on the 8th floor of the KL Tower, 117 Gamboa St., Legaspi Village, Makati City.
Decades ago, Purita Kalaw-Ledesma founded the Art Association of the Philippines, becoming its first president. Under her, the AAP consistently encouraged fledgling artists who later achieved prominence, many of them even attaining international acclaim.
Marivic Rufino Exhibit
Eminent painter Maria Victoria Rufino opened her 18th solo exhibit of new mixed media entitled Luminescence – Dreamscapes February 2 at the Gallery, The Peninsula Manila. Proceeds of the exhibit will benefit the Child Protection Network Foundation.