I never thought I'd have to write this.
At the risk of getting stoned to death, I've decided to be honest and call a spade a spade. The first half of the concert was so boring it was like listening to a precocious child play a made-up piece for the first time. The PPO was in great form, don't get me wrong, but the music was a bit, um, terrible.
I didn't know Lucrecia Kasilag composed music. I knew she taught music and pioneered music ethnography in the Philippines. But compose? The program said her violin concerto "was composed in two weeks in 1982 at the request of violinist Carmencita Lozada." Lozada was to play it in West Germany, and Prof. Kasilag airmailed the copies to her twice but they got lost. Somebody must have opened the envelope and said, "Oh no no no no."
It was proving to be a tricky evening. Luckily, violinist Gina Medina heard the snores and decided to give an encore. There was no way in hell she was going to be rememberd playing that Kasilag violin concerto. She played Sarungbanggi which was fabulous. Really redeemed the entire first half, if you ask me.
Since there were no embassy sponsors, there was nothing to do during the 15-minute break, not even any hyperefficient or frazzled embassy officials to stare at. I would've at least called San Miguel to provide THE Pinoy beer for the night's Pinoy music. Syempre dapat may Boy Bawang din. It's as if no one bothered to try getting sponsors because they either knew the music was going to be crappy or that not many people will turn up for the concert.
The second half was actualy much better. De Leon's Cry of Balintawak was long, pero at least it sounded like it was actually the background music to a CCP-produced drama sa Channel 4, right after Balintataw.
The last piece featured a 135-piece choir accompanying baritone Andrew Fernando to Lucio San Pedro's Sa Dalampasigan. Talk about Drama. That was truly memorable!
I actually invited several people to the concert but in the end everyone backed out. I was a bit relieved kase I didn't want to have to explain to them why they fell asleep. By the way, the entire section behind us was occupied by UP students who were probably required to watch the concert (Gina Medina lectures at the UP College of Music, plus the UP Concert Chorus was there). In the middle of one piece I turned around to see this guy snoring himself to smithereens, his friends apoplectic with amusement. Good times!