‘MANDOLIN DELIGHTS’ AT AYALA MUSEUM NOV. 6
by Pablo A. Tariman
“The sound of the mandolin is a very curious sound because it’s cheerful and melancholy at the same time, and I think it comes from that shadow string, the double strings.” — Rita Dove
Remember the mandolin music in the Meryl Streep-Dustin Hoffmann starrer, “Kramer vs Kramer” which turned out to be Vivaldi’s Mandolin Concerto in C Major?
Does the mandolin music in “The Godfather” (part of the wedding orchestra and now known as “Speak Softly Love” in popular musical parlance) remind you of the Italian countryside?
Did you know that the Lawrence Olivier starrer, “A Little Romance” has some classical mandolin music in it that is vintage Vivaldi?
The sound of the rarely heard mandolin returns with a vengeance at the Ayala Museum on Sunday, November 6, 2016, 6:30 p.m. in a special concert called “Mandolin Delights” featuring mandolin players Lester Demetillo and Armando Derecho to be assisted by classical guitarist Aljero Jimenez.
In this concert, the mandolin will be heard in a well-prepared repertoire from the baroque classical, romantic, as well as Filipino, Brazilian and American bluegrass music.
Demetillo said his interest in mandolin playing started as a hobby but decided to learn it seriously as a concert instrument. “So I prepared a repertoire that will challenge myself and the audience to seriously consider the mandolin as a musical instrument that can stand on its own along with other established ones.”
Mandolin chroniclers noted that the mandolin is largely associated as a symbol of Western civilization. It evolved from the lute in Italy during the 1300s and recognized as a musical instrument in the 1600s. It became popular in Italian towns, particularly Naples, and it spread all throughout Europe. It became popular in Baroque music, especially as it was used by Giovanni Battista Gervasio and other famous musicians of the time.
While the instrument was popular in Celtic, bluegrass, jazz, and classical music since the 1900s, Filipinos rarely hear mandolins presented as a concert instrument.
Demetillo points out the special qualities of the mandolin: “Being an ancient instrument, it adopts well to music of the past at the same time it has inherited music from all genres from classical, Brazilian, baroque, romantic, bluegrass, Japanese, Filipino and event avant-garde.”
Demetillo is one of the country’s passionate advocates of the classical guitar and has founded the UP Guitar Ensemble for which he arranged several orchestral pieces. Classical guitar enthusiasts note that his transcriptions stretch the instrument’s technical limits to the utmost, while retaining each score’s original music line. He is part of the pioneering group that launched the Philippine International Guitar Festival and Competition since 2010.
So what is in store for mandolin beginners in the November 5 Ayala Museum concert?
Demetillo said that while the mandolin is strongly associated with Italy, the coming concert will showcase the instrument playing music from various genres. “The music from different genres and different music eras will surely uplift their spirit as the music is mostly light, joyous, virtuosic in character. On the whole, it will be a re-discovery of music not heard in local concert halls and will surely reveal the mandolin as a prolific instrument of note.”
The November 6 mandolin repertoire includes Vivaldi’s Allegro in C Major and Concerto in G Major, Handel’s Sonata in D Major, Suarez’s Bakya mo Neneng and Kataka-taka, Toredo, Bolero, Napoli, Tarantella by E. Mezzacapo, Air du Fat puni by F. Devienne, Desvairada by Anibal Sardinha, Fishers Hornpipe (Traditional), Cattle in The Corn “Traditional”) and Sonata in D Major by J. G. Scheidler.
“Mandolin Delights” is presented by The Independent Philippine Art Ventures Inc. and the Ayala Museum.
Tickets available at the lobby before the concert. Prices at Php700 (regular), Php560 Discounted (Ayala Museum members, Ayala Group of Companies employees, Ayala Rewards Circle members), Php500 (senior citizens and Php300 (students).