Sunico pays tribute to Nakpil in large-scale concert

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Raul Sunico (File photo by Audrie Julienne D. Bernas)

FORMER Music dean Raul Sunico took center stage in stirring performances of Julio Nakpil’s original compositions last June 16 at the Ayala Museum in Makati.

Sunico opened the concert with a piano rendition of “Cefiro, polka, Op. 1,” Nakpil’s first composition written in 1888 and described as a warm polka with a “gentle rhythm in a quiet afternoon.”

His rendition of “Kundiman, lakad Tagalog, Op. 19,” one of the famous Tagalog love songs, evoked the folk style.

It was followed by a performance of “Pahimakas, marcha funebre, Op. 21.” Composed in 1897, the piece was dedicated to Jose Rizal and his heroic death. A diversion from Nakpil’s conventional tunes, the piece in D minor ends in a major subtonic chord and brings in the eight-measure kundiman melody that ends in a somber mood.

“It’s refreshing and enlightening to play his music because I have never played this kind of music before,” Sunico told the Varsitarian.

The Manila Symphony Orchestra also performed various compositions of Nakpil, starting with “Marangal na Dalit ng Katagalugan” with soprano Anya Tapales. An original piece from 1896, the song was supposed to be the national anthem of the Philippines, but the Filipino revolutionaries chose the piece by Julian Felipe instead.

The orchestra played “Recuerdos de Capiz Op. 8, habanera,” a Filipino habanera in danza rhythm. The piece is Nakpil’s iconic piano composition that depicts rural life in Capiz.

The concert was part of the exhibit honoring Nakpil and Nick Joaquin’s sesquicentennial and centennial birth anniversaries, respectively. Hosted by Ayala Museum, the exhibit runs until July 23.

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