Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater)
Cultural Center of the Philippines
Pasay, Metro Manila
Odin Rathnam, violin
Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra
Olivier Ochanine, conductor
PPO Composition Competition Winner
Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35
Suite for Orchestra No. 6 Scènes de Féerie
Romanian Rhapsody No.1 in A major, Op. 11
Four Dances from Estancia, Op. 8a
Olivier Ochanine, the outgoing music director/principal conductor of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra takes to the podium for his last season concert with the orchestra this April 22, 2016, 8:00 PM at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’s Main Theater. Special guest for the evening is violinist Odin Rathnam.
Music to be performed at the concert include Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35, with Odin as the soloist, Jules Massenet’s Suite for Orchestra No. 6 Scènes de Féerie, George Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsody No.1 in A major, Op. 11, Alberto Ginastera’s Four Dances from Estancia, Op. 8a, and the winning piece of the PPO Composition Competition.
Odin is no longer a stranger to the PPO audience as he was the orchestra’s featured soloist for Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D minor, Op.77 at their February 2014 season concert held at the Meralco Theater. He was very kind enough to grant me an interview leading up to his performance here.
RAd: It was initially announced that you were to play Nielsen's violin concerto. I've heard a few people get disappointed when they learned of the change to Korngold. How can you convince those disappointed few to come see you perform the Korngold?
Odin Rathnam: Korngold is a better piece, no offense to my fellow Danes.
I love the Nielsen Concerto too, but sorry, Korngold is better architecturally, melodically and in terms of the harmonic language, at least for MY TASTE!
And I am half Danish.
I love Nielsen. But there is a reason why he is Nielsen and not Brahms. In Korngold’s case, the direct connection to the Viennese tradition is very strong. His biggest enemy is how players interpret him, biased on their perception writing for Hollywood somehow cheapened or compromised his art.
RAd: What do you mean by Nielsen not being Brahms?
Odin Rathnam: I guess what I was saying is that Nielsen is a wonderful, second tier composer, to me, who wrote a few things that touch greatness and timelessness. A couple of the symphonies, some chamber works, some of the concerti. I LOVE HIM, biased on being half Danish, proud and biased, but I also know he isn't Brahms.
Brahms is an infinitely more complex and satisfying composer for my ears. Nielsen has a wonderful and unique "Nordic" vocabulary of melody and harmony, but I don't see it ever grabbing the masses the way Brahms, Beethoven, Bach, Tchaikovsky, and others do.
Personally I love Nielsen. I don't expect everyone else to though. His sounds for me are Danish, familiar, and tied to my upbringing and childhood memories. So I am the wrong one to ask. I am very biased, and proud of him.
Dominicans and Puerto Ricans love salsa and merengue.
Argentines, the Tango. I could go on… but rating all these different things??? Perhaps they are all great, but DIFFERENT.
RAd: I do think that it’s silly to rank these things. I mean, 5 people will react differently to the same piece of music, literature, artwork, etc. And that is what makes art so great.
Odin Rathnam: Exactly! So we can love a composer, for specific things, regardless of whether critical scrutiny would make him or her generally rated as ok, good, very good or great. And the ratings are always somehow biased or subjective.
But in the end, something has to grab you, by the throat, in your gut, or in your loins, or in the depth of your HEART.
If it does that, there is no need to compare to anything else. It is ART.
RAd: Lastly, how does it feel to be part of the final season concert of Olivier Ochanine with the PPO?
Odin Rathnam: It is an absolute honor to be invited back. I love his musicianship, character and how he WORKS. PERIOD. That is the starting point. Interpreting scores with him is always honest, uncompromising and inspiring. My favorite Brahms Concerto was with HIM. So I am truly excited to present Korngold with him and the PPO on the 22nd. I think it will be an important collaboration, at least in my life.
Aside from the upcoming concert, Odin will also conduct a workshop on Galamian principles at Coke Bolipata’s Casa San Miguel in Zambales. And the concert with Odin may be the Olivier’s last season concert with he PPO but he is not yet finished with the orchestra. This June, he and the orchestra will embark on a US tour including a concert at the famed Carnegie Hall.
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