En peu musiquè

18 04 2009

Alright, alright, I stink at French. I just thought something French-sounding in the least would be appropriate for this post.

Last night, a few members of The Orchestra (myself included) went to what is starting to become a yearly oddessey for us: the last concert of the season of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra.

Unlike during the previous two years, the PPO did not embarrass itself this time – even though I felt the conductor (some French guy who’s name escapes me at the moment) was a little hard to follow sometimes (OK, OK, a lot of the time), apparently he was well-liked by the orchestra and they chose to follow him, so pizzicato sections were clear, cohesive, and “together”, there wasn’t much fuzziness in the sound, and the orchestra seemed reasonably happy to be onstage.

But it was also last night that I noticed how small the PPO is as a symphony orchestra: at only 60+ strong, everything seemed to sound rather small. Not small as in pathetically small – just small. They sounded big for their size, but 12 first violins is not 16, 10 second violins is not 14, 8 violas is not 12, 7 cellos is not 10, 5 double basses is not 8. This isn’t there fault, of course. I’m just saying I was looking for (and naturally didn’t get) that sound.

My students weren’t nitpicking this year – most of them were simply mesmerized by the coordinated bowings (which they are still learning to do themselves). Sure, the 30-minute pieces bored them somewhat, and one of them threatened to pull out an iPod, but it seemed like a positive experience for the most part – very much like going on a fieldtrip.

I noticed there were more black-haired heads in the orchestra (as opposed to gray-haired heads) this year than before. There were still a few mainstays, whom I’ve been seeing for years, but for the most part, the guard seems to be changing and this strikes me as a good thing – perhaps we can expect a younger, fresher sound from our national orchestra in the years to come.

Well, that’s that. Thanks to JT and Kyu Yeon for the ride which made this year’s trip to the CCP considerably less-stressful than before. We should do this again sometime 🙂

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One response

28 04 2009
nick

i meant to watch that french music program, but i missed it.

–keep the posts coming!

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