THE 75-YEAR-OLD UST Symphony Orchestra rendered an interesting and wide-ranging repertoire in its season’s opening concert at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo, Cultural Center of the Philippines, last Sept. 25.

Under the soulful baton of Herminigildo Renera, the 64-piece orchestra performed G. Rossini’s II Barbiere de Siviglia, W.A. Mozart’s Concerto in Bb Major K.V. 191, and G. Holst’s The Planets. Moreover, excerpts from the operas Fuggi, crudele, fuggi of W.A. Mozart, Che Tua Madre of G. Puccini, and Ah! Fuyez Donce Image of J.D.F. Massenet were interpreted by soprano Thea Perez and tenor Ronan Ferrer of the UST Conservatory of Music.

In Barber, the orchestra performed the original overture of the opera consisting of a melange of popular lively Spanish tunes.

The bassoonist, Prof. Frevee Andra of Music, registered good dynamics with the orchestra in Mozart’s Bb Major. Another Mozart piece, Come, was rendered with exquisite range, considering that it is one of the most difficult arias in the opera with huge skips and peculiar coloratura passage of a soprano.

On the other hand, the little aria “Che Tua”, from the last scene of Act II of the opera Madama Butterfly, was sung by Perez with precise range and tactile pitch. Tenor Ferrer delivered the aria “Ah! Fuyez”, from Scene 2 Act III of the same opera, with remarkable stage presence.

With the element of high drama, Perez and Ferrer performed “Fuggi”, taken from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, exhibiting good harmony and rhythm. The combination of refined range of voices and thumber of instruments compensated for the absence of rapport between the two artists.

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The concert concluded with The Planets, an hour-long composition of G. Holst’s consisting of seven movements (which are basically the seven planets, named after the Roman gods, excluding the earth and Pluto, which was discovered only in 1930, long after Holst composed the piece in 1914.)

“Mars, The Bringer of War” with its relentless march and famous five-fourths time, drummed up the horrors of war. “Venus, The Bringer of Peace”, being the ever peaceful, languid, and lovely planet, was illustrated with the beautiful slides of melodies of french horns, harp, and violin solos. “Mercury, The Winged Messenger,” the shortest of all movements full of staccatos and scherzos, was performed by the strings and woodwinds. “Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity,” considered the most popular movement of The Plaeets, had the majestic hymn-like melody in the middle, appropriately symbolizing Jupiter’s hedonism, generosity, and good nature. “Saturn, The Bringer of Peace,” considered as the favorite movement and the most original of Holst, was interpreted with the thumber of the bass reflecting both the dignity and frailties of old age. “Uranus, The Magician” was composed of fleeting major and minor keys, showing gradual change of moods—from ominous and threatening to cheeky and humorous. “Neptune, The Mystic” was delivered with an eerie sliding pianissimo while the wordless women’s choir (at the backstage) made a hypnotic, transporting ending to the suite.

With a well-chosen repertoire, the help of competent voice talents, and a credible performance, the UST Symphony Orchestra again proved that it would deliver the goods to people hungry for beautiful music. Rose A. Jabeguero

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