|Pinoy Violinists members from UST|
Linda Montessa, piano
Reynaldo Reyes, piano
Gina Medina, violin
Herminigildo Ranera, conductor
Giuseppe Verdi Overture from La forza
Frédéric Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21
Franz Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, S.124
Manuel Infante Danses Andalouses
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade, Op. 35
The UST Symphony Orchestra (USTSO) conducted by Herminigildo Ranera recently had a concert at the Cultural Center of the Philippines featuring pianists Reynaldo Reyes and Linda Montessa and also violinist Gina Medina. I was a bit surprised about this concert since I only found out about it around three weeks before the date of the performance itself. And with USTSO being a resident company of the CCP, I expected a lot more from them in terms of promotion and publicity for this concert.
There were many things about this concert that left me surprised and baffled but I still made sure that I was able watch their performance with interest since their programme featured one of my favorite piano concertos of all time. As expected, the concert held at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater) opened with an overture and the one that they played was from La forza
destino by Giuseppe
Verdi. They played this piece decently without any indication of how the rest
of the concert would turn out to be. del
Next came the piano concertos which were my most anticipated part of the concert. First up was Linda Montessa who played Frédéric Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21 which is one of my favorite piano concertos of all time. It was my first time to hear of Montessa so I was curious to see how she played. After her performance was Reynaldo Reyes’ turn and he played Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, S.124. It would be very interesting for me to see him play a concert after seeing him perform at a couple of recitals playing Beethoven sonatas. And I wasn’t surprised at all with the Liszt piece that was played since it’s the composer’s bicentennial anniversary but three Liszt concertos in three months is already pushing it too far.
I felt that their pianists were only able to show a glimpse of what they were capable of since both were past their prime. It left me wondering how different the performances would have been had they played these pieces during their peak. I was hoping that the orchestra would somehow be able to step up knowing that they’d be playing with veterans but I didn’t feel any connection between them and the soloists. I felt sad since I was really hoping for the best from everyone. The Chopin piece wasn’t able to tell a story and the youthful vigor of the Liszt was sorely missed which was really unfortunate.
Thankfully, Montessa and Reyes were able to show what they were capable of when they played Manuel Infante Danses Andalouses on two pianos. During the performance of this piece, there was at least a connection between them and they performed better together despite the less than optimum sound from the second piano used by Reyes.
The last piece that the orchestra played was Scheherazade, Op. 35 by Nikoali Rimsky-Korsakov featuring Gina Medina performing the solo violin parts.
as the soloist was again surprising since she is the concert master of the
Manila Symphony Orchestra and the orchestra accompanied Horacio Nuguid in a
concert the day before. And this was probably the reason why she wasn’t the
concertmaster during that performance. Nevertheless, the USTSO was able to show
what they are capable of with this piece. I think that Medina
should be given credit since it really did feel like she was able to inspire
the orchestra into doing their best. The Scheherazade was played a lot better
compared to the previous pieces in the programme. For an encore, the USTSO
played the ever reliable Hungarian Dance No. 5 by Johannes Brahms. Overall, it
turned out to be a very uneven concert but I learned not to expect too much
from student orchestras since the members still have school work to worry about
and their skill level is not yet at par with the pros. Medina
Apart from the performances, I was able to observe the audience and they were mainly composed of UST music students and alumni with a very large number of enthusiastic and well dressed freshmen which was very amusing to see. Many of them will aspire to be part of the USTSO and will no doubt be working hard to achieve that goal. I just hope that when that time comes, they will be able to play a lot better than what they saw. But it’s still early in the school year and this current batch of the USTSO still has a number of concerts for them to redeem themselves.