Julio Nakpil’s works were revisited in “Artist as Hero,” a special concert that commemorated the 154th birth anniversary of the Filipino composer.

The concert, co-mounted by the UST Research Center for Culture, Arts and the Humanities (RCCAH) on May 22, paid homage to Nakpil’s legacy as a musician and a revolutionary.

“His awakening to representing his emotions, feelings, and sentiments on the cause of the revolution was a turning point in the history of Filipino-composed music,” said Assoc. Prof. Maria Alexandra Iñigo-Chua, director of the RCCAH.

The concert repertoire included seven of the composer’s works for chamber ensemble with arrangements by Thomasians Gabriel Mendoza (violinist) and Glenn Aquias (cellist). Both performed in the concert. 

Other artists in the concert were renowned pianist and Conservatory of Music professor Mariel Ilusorio, multi-awarded violinist Alfonso “Coke” Bolipata, oboist Draizen Sanchez, mezzo-soprano Michelle Mariposa, violinist Miguel de los Santos and youth orchestra Pundaquit Virtuosi. 

A performance by Mariel Ilusorio of Nakpil’s first published work, “Ilang-Ilang, Mazurka de Salon, Ob. 5 (1980),” opened the concert. The piece was reminiscent of European pianism with its main melodic theme and waltz-like accompaniment.

It was followed by “Danse Campestre, Ob 11b for violin and piano,” performed by Ilusorio on piano and Bolipata on violin. The two instruments, played with the habañera rhythm, were said to have shown the composer’s enamourment to the rural charm of the Visayas. 

The following piece, “Recuerdos de Capiz, Ob. 8 (1891),” arranged by Aquias, presented a melodic motive with a deep resemblance to the kundiman. It was performed by Gabrielle Mendoza on the violin, Aquias on the cello, and Ilusorio on the piano. 

The fourth performance, “Luz Poetica de la Aurora, Ob. 9c” was arranged for oboe, violin, cello, and piano ensemble. Aquias on the cello and Ilusorio on the piano were joined by de los Santos on violin and Draizen Sanchez on oboe.  The composition contained an enlightenment motive, said to have been very special to Nakpil as it culminated in a fight for the nation’s freedom.

Kundiman,” Nakpil’s composition for piano, was believed to have been the revolutionary’s first attempt to bring in a native form to his compositions. It was performed by Ilusorio on the piano, accompanied by the Pundaquit Virtuosi string ensemble. 

Performances of Nakpil’s “¡Amor Patrio!: Romanza, Ob. 14,” and “Marangal na Dalit ng Katagalugan,” considered the first national anthem of the Philippines, closed the concert.

The concert was part of the Julio Nakpil Music Project, a national research project funded by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in cooperation with the Bahay Nakpil-Bautista Foundation led by Chua.

The concert was presented by the Filipino Heritage Festival Inc. in partnership with the NCCA, the RCCAH, CHEd-NCCA Salikha, Bahay Nakpil-Bautista Foundation and CASA San Miguel’s Season 29 of the Pundaquit Festivals.

It can be streamed here.


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