At the Concert of the PhilBanda Wind Orchestra
Last night (27 October 2011) I had the chance to watch the launching concert-performance of the PhilBanda Wind Orchestra at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (Little Theatre) of the Cultural Centre of the Philippines (CCP).
This is my third time to see an orchestra playing in harmony (what else, of course!?) live. The first being was UP Orchestra on September 2011 also at the CCP, and another was the UP Symphonic Band early on October 2011, when I was late but fortunately caught four pieces that night at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium in UP.
Now. This PhilBanda concert dubbed “Da Music Men” PhilBanda Wind Orchestra” was ably organized by conductor Herminigildo Ranera. The orchestra is composed of 49 musicians of varying age (well according to the programme souvenir, that is their number).
I am terribly sorry I cannot produce any photograph of the group while “in session”. It is prohibited. (But I managed to record some songs.)
I was thrilled with the percussion musicians and their instruments. This was the first time I saw and heard other percussion instruments, and too bad I’m too ignorant to identify them. There were two mallet-struck instruments, and a tubular bell. I never knew that a tambourine could be used that extensively and came standing out. Of course, the timpani was a sight to behold! Also the crisp sound of the snare drum (was it a snare drum? I think so).
I just observed that the percussionists were the most agile of all. For they had to move agilely across the back of the stage to play several instruments. And they multi-task! And that amused me dearly.
This was their repertoire that night:
El Palomino Noble March (Joseph Comprello)
Winds along the Whippany (Sean O’Loughlin)
Concertino, Op. 12 (Ferdinand David, trans: N. Rodriguez)
Concerto d’Amore (Jacob de Haan)
Ascentium (Ed Huckeby)
Jericho Rhapsody (Mortin Gould)
Fantasy Variations on the Theme of Paganini (James Barnes)
Thoughts of Love (Arthur Pryer)
76 Trombones (Meredith Willson, arr: Nashiro Iwai)
Disney’s Fantillusion (arr: Takashi Hoshide)
Mga Tugtuging Velarde (Herminigildo Ranera)
Symphonic Movement (Vaclav Nelhybel)
I wished they had more Filipino songs to play. Maybe their next performance will yield more Filipino songs.
Again, I managed to record some of the pieces. I hope my recordings are clear. Click the “play” icon if you have the time to listen. The video is black because I had to hide my phone lest I’d be embarrassingly kicked out of the august hall.
The first one is “Ascentium” by Ed Huckeby:
This one is “Concerto d’Amore” by Jacob de Hann:
And this is “Disney’s Fantillusion”, as arranged by Takashi Hoshide:
This one is, I think, a medley of some Miguel “Mike” Velarde songs. Too bad I only recognize the song “Dahil sa Iyo” for I do not know the other songs. Pity on me.
Here is the Fantasy Variations on the Theme of Paganini, arranged by James Barnes.
The flutes were tickling at times. The clarinets smooth-sounding. The trumpets blasting proudly. The trombone solo by Cornelio Ramos had the audience endearingly laugh a little. He was doing the solo trombone with the other instruments at rest; and after his stint, he paused as if baffled then looked at the conductor, alerting him to cue the orchestra to start playing. I do not know who did the blunder but it was a little comical. Still it was fun.
I must also add the gleam of Ramos’ trombone! It was as if made of gold. Fascinating, I should say. The other soloist was bassoonist Adolfo Mendoza.
One thing that I learned when going to concerts like this one, and this is utterly important, aside from not being late, is to always approach the entrance table and ask for a programme (or a souvenir programme if it has to be paid). This way, you can appreciate the music being performed more, even if you only read the title of the piece. The programme includes information about the musicians, and most of the times information about each repertoire piece. With this in hand, you can understand better the songs historically, interpretatively, and aesthetically.
When I watched the UP Orchestra this September, I never cared to look for a programme. It resulted in me groping what song the orchestra was playing. I was an ignoramus. Well, you learn from experience.