View From The Wing
MUSIC IN TIME OF BLOODLETTING
by Pablo A. Tariman
Why do I turn to classical music as though my whole life depended on it?
So many things these days do not favor going to a concert.
One, just going to the concert venue is sheer torture because of the traffic.
Two, your meager writer’s fee doesn’t cover transportation allowance and if you don’t watch out, you will swiftly nosedive way below the poverty line (also known as “laylayan ng lipunan”) by spending your month’s income on taxi fare and playing kangaroo jump from MRT to LRT and on to the shuttle jeep to CCP and back.
Three, at your age, you are prone to many things: vertigo, high blood, ennui, low self-worth, angst and the like.
As they say, better stay at home and keep your peace.
Because at times when you are not lucky, you might just end up hiking from CCP to Pasig because the major thoroughfares had been transformed into a global parking lot because of heavy rains.
But why insist on going to a concert?
These days I go for strictly personal reasons.
One, it is my chance to hear my favorite music live.
Two, I want to feel how the music will affect me now in my older years. Music has different message when it hit you in your youth. In your mature age, you just might be surprised the same music has different story to tell.
Three, concerts allow me to review my past life with music in the background. Sometimes a Chopin concerto becomes the vehicle for remembering my youthful years, the daring years, the lonely years.
A Brahms concerto allows you to look at your life for what it is and understanding every absurd moment of it.
A Tchaikovsky symphony allows me to dissect my life: its promise, its absurdity, its past, its future and how to make of the present.
When I walked the late filmmaker Marilou Diaz Abaya to the CCP parking lot after Rach 2, I asked her, “Why are crying?”
She replied, “With Cecile’s interpretation, I saw my life just walked by.”
A few months later, she was diagnosed with cancer and seven years later, she passed away.
Sometimes you want to see sheer genius at work especially among the young ones.
I know the feel when the likes of eminent conductors like Kurt Masur and Lorin Maazel lead the New York Philharmonic (they all performed at the CCP in the late 90s and early 2000). It’s the kind of performance that makes you wonder if the young is capable of such mastery of music.
But seeing young conductor Darrell Ang lead the Manila Symphony Orchestra (MSO) for the first time in an all-Mozart program with a pianist and a tenor three years ago, you realize some conductors are gifted than others.
Then I hear him again in a concert version of Rossini’s “Cenerentola” and you realize he can exact magic in very note of the opera as he does with every note of a concerto and symphony.
My impressions then were still vivid to me now: “He knew the dynamics of the orchestra and the singers inside and out and as a result, every aria, every quintet and sextette along with the choir came out with their delicate charm and humor intact.”
I do believe that missing Maestro Ang’s concert on August 13 next month is missing a great opportunity to know great music at a close range.
To be sure, he has many things to offer – talent, magic, depth, profundity and more. I see him as the great link between the living audience and the great but dead composers.
What he does is a solid proof that music as one pillar of civilization pulsates better under a true messenger of music.
After listening to Beethoven’s 7th on August 13, the music might just equip us with a natural means to deal with our day-to-day struggles – the maddening traffic, death and mayhem in the streets and acceptance for the things we can’t figure out in our private and public life.
As pianist Mitsuko Uchida once affirmed: “Music gives you a totally different way of concentrating and to have a pocket of time where you can forget about the reality of life.
It speaks to you differently at different times. That is the beauty.”
(Maestro Darrell Ang leads the MSO on Saturday, August 13, 2016 (8 p.m.) with a German-Chinese cellist Isang Enders as soloist in a Shostakovich cello concerto. He wraps up the concert with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A Major Op. 92. The venue: Power Mac Center Spotlight in Circuit Makati For tickets, call the TicketWorld at 8919999)