Monday, April 06, 2015

Fukumura delights in latest PPO concert

RAd and conductor Yoshikazu Fukumura

Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra
Yoshikazu Fukumura, conductor

Gioachino Rossini
     Overture from Semiramide
Franz Joseph Haydn
     Symphony No. 82 in C major, Hob. 1/82 The Bear
Maurice Ravel
     Ma mère l'Oye
Aram Khachaturian
     Waltz, Romance and Gallop from Masquerade Suite

Japanese conductor Yoshikazu Fukumura brought his A-game as he led the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra for the third straight guesting in as many years. Fukumura, who is becoming somewhat a regular guest conductor, delighted the audience at the Cultural Center of the Philippines' Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater) with his boundless energy at the penultimate concert of the orchestra's 32nd Sound Kaleidoscope season. 

Right off the bat, Fukumura demonstrated the vivacity in conducting with the concert opener, Gioachino Rossini’s Overture from Semiramide, a light yet explosive overture from an otherwise dark and tragic opera. Next, the PPO played Franz Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 82 in C major, Hob. 1/82, also known as The Bear. The last of the Paris Symphonies to be published, the orchestra was crisp, clear and precise remaining true to the spirit of Haydn. This rendition showcased another side of Fukumura as he took on a symphony from the Classical era after doing  the Romantic era Brahms 2 and Beethoven 2 in his previous concerts here. With these two pieces that comprised the first half of the concert, Fukumura conducted the orchestra without the aid of the score.

The second half started with Maurice Ravel's Ma mère l'Oye based on various fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast and Tom Thumb. More flowing, subdued, and restrained compared to the previous two pieces, this suite also had more color, texture and an Eastern flavor with the contrabassoon, celesta, xylophone, and glockenspiel having notable moments. And while the earlier part may be a bit of a snoozer, it nonetheless climaxed with such heart warming and flourishing strings that I couldn't help but sigh deeply when it was all over.

After the Ravel piece, It felt as if his seemingly boundless energy was getting drained. But it looked as if he got hold of a second wind when the orchestra some selections from Aram Khachaturian's Masquerade Suite. The dark Waltz had more pronounced dynamics, with Fukumura crouching to signal piano that further heightened the crescendo. Then, the pae slowed down with the wistful Romance before picking up again with an uninhibited Gallop. It's safe to say that the audience liked the Waltz the best since Fukumura opted to play the latter part of it for an encore. This gave me an opportunity to savor his conducting which is always a delight to see.

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