Photo by Miah Terrenz Provido

THE NIGHT before conductor Herminigildo Ranera led the UST Symphony Orchestra in toasting the Varsitarian’s 90th anniversary grand reunion, he also had a small reunion himself with his former student and now acclaimed trombonist Ricson Poonin joined him on the stage of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Poonin, who studied Trombone Performance in the University as a scholar, rendered classical music alongside his mentor who conducted the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) in the fifth installment of “Romancing the Classics.” The concert was part of PPO’s eight-series celebration to mark its 35th year. It aims to bring the classical masterpieces of the Romantic period closer to Filipino audiences.

Accompanied by the PPO, Poonin played German composer Ferdinand David’s “Concertino for Trombone and Orchestra” in E-flat. “Concertino” is a three-part movement published in 1838. Its duration usually lasts up to 16 to 17 minutes and follows a fast, successive tempo without break.

“It feels amazing to perform with my former teacher. The connection is there, still strong,” Poonin told the Varsitarian.

Poonin began his musical career when he was 9 years old. He was part of a local band in Laguna.

When he was in the University, Poonin won first prize in the 2009 Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA) Solo Category C and the UST Solo Competition for musicians. He became a member of the Asian Youth Orchestra in 2011 and the Southeast Asian Youth Orchestra from 2005 to 2006 and 2008 to 2010.

After graduating, he went to the Johns Hopkins Conservatory in the United States and obtained his Masters of Music and Graduate Performance Degree.

Maramba’s “La Naval”
As part of the classical repertoire, PPO also performed octogenarian virtuoso Fr. Manuel Maramba, OSB’s symphony ode “La Naval.”

Revised in December 2017, Maramba’s opera piece recalls the Battles of La Naval de Manila and how the Filipino asked help from Our Lady of the Holy Rosary to win the battle, vowing to walk barefoot in procession to the old Santo Domingo Church in Intramuros.

PPO’s rendition of the symphony ode started solemnly with “Supplication,” the first movement  that expressed the earnest desires of the Spanish-Filipino crew to defeat the Dutch. The tune transitioned into a heavy tone with “Encounter,” signaling the start of the naval combat. This continued as the woodwinds and the strings battled it out to the climax that ended on a high and triumphant note with “Intervention.”

Maramba is a Benedictan monk-musician and a retired faculty member of the Conservatory
of Music.

Following PPO’s tribute to Maramba WAS a performance of Russian virtuoso Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 6 in B minor. Op. 74.”

“Symphony No. 6” evoked an overall melancholic tune, but an allegro played halfway through the 45-minute piece ushered in a slightly different mood.

The concert series “Romancing the Classics” kicked off last September and will run until April 13. Upcoming performances will be by acclaimed pianists Ingrid Sala Santamaria and Raul Sunico and trumpet player Raymund de Leon.

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