Monday, October 09, 2006

Capri Pants and the PPO

I watched the concert of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra at the Sofia Soller Sinco Hall in Foundation University last September 28, 2006.

Am I into classical music then? Yes and no. I am not that passionate over classical music but we do have a nodding acquaintance with each other.

By that, I mean that I can name a few of the biggest composers, just don’t make me match the geniuses’ names to that of their creations. Honestly, except for Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, there is no telling for me who composed which masterpiece.

But I do enjoy classical music. I had a collection of the popular classics once and even used to listen to a station in Manila that played it. When Abby was an infant, we had a speaker right inside her crib playing Mozart. I read somewhere that early exposure to his music is supposed to make babies brighter.

But I am limited to the light classics. There are others that are simply too incomprehensible to me. This happens when all of the instruments seem to go off together and I am left wondering where the melody has gone.

I have always wanted to watch a live performance. I looked forward to the PPO concert and could hardly wait for the day to come. The evening started with high anticipation, but horror of horrors!!! The sight of ladies in their resplendent evening dresses greeted us when we entered Foundation University!!!

My friend LB and I turned to each other with looks of terror and with mouths agape, surveyed each other’s attire. Oh yes, us two barrio lasses came in shirts and Capri pants!

We met Ms. Lele Martinez on our way in and all I could do was whine… “but they didn’t say it was a gala performance …..”, as if it could actually excuse our ignorance! A friend told me later on, “ikaw naman, PPO na yan no?” what could I say to that? nothing, except admit, “paano kasi, wala akong culture!”

What was I thinking of? Where did my brains go that night? As shameful as it is to admit, but the thought of dressing up for the concert never occurred to me. But on the other hand, even if it had, what could I have worn? I am basically a pants-shorts-and-shirts person and have absolutely nothing that could even remotely pass for evening attire.

It is quite amusing actually, thinking back of how LB and I cringed our way into Sofia Soller Sinco Hall, literally hunching our shoulders and wishing we could will ourselves into invisibility!

But all that was forgotten once the concert started. I was transfixed as I listened to the music and watched Maestro Eugene Fredrick Castillo conduct with what could only be described as pure passion.

I admit the selections that were played were unknown to me. I would have enjoyed the concert more if I had been listening to familiar pieces. There were times when I felt lost in the cacophony of sounds and I strove to find my way back by listening closely for the beautiful melodies created by the violins.

I think that the general audience shared my sentiments. I drew this conclusion from the almost tentative and lukewarm response to Beethoven’s and Schubert's music.

Matud Nila was actually received more spiritedly and the audience really came alive during the encore performance with the Sound of Music medley.

I guess that most people in the audience are basically like me. We appreciate classical music but not to the exclusion of other forms of music. We tend to respond with greater enthusiasm to classical pieces which are already known to us, or which are more familiar to our ears. We are not ready for the “heavier” classics yet.

My wish is for PPO to keep coming to Dumaguete and to include light classics in their repertoire. As Maestro Castillo said, “give classical music a chance”.

Oh yes, I’m all for that, but please start me off with the not-so-overwhelming-ones first! We can tackle the heavier pieces later on. But then again, that is only my personal wish!

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