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Standing ovations for Cecile Licad and the Manila Symphony Orchestra

Listening to Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor at the Ayala Malls (Philippines) on March 18 one could have thought that the F minor concerto was specially composed for soloist Cecile Licad by Chopin. And for the Bosendorfer grand she played on.

Pablo A. Tariman from "" was among the guests of an outstanding concert last week. Here is a reprint of his enthused report:

"The music of Chopin had an unlikely exposure in – of all places – the Ayala Malls Thursday (March 18) and it ended in a rousing standing ovation for Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor performed with unbelievable subtlety and fervor by the Manila Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Arturo Molina.

Pianist Cecile Licad forged a luminous Chopin at the Ayala Malls.

Pianist Cecile Licad forged a luminous Chopin at the Ayala Malls.

The first part were solo pieces (a Chopin scherzo, an etude and four Buencaminos) and the apt curtain-raiser for the Chopin concerto was Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnol with violinist Gina Medina shining on her assigned part.

Of course all eyes were on the soloist, Cecile Licad, who succeeded in silencing the malls and transforming it into a worthy venue for Chopin, Buencamino and Gottschalk. In the concerto, one saw rarefied vision of simplicity, truth and poetry. With that stunning interpretation, MSO manager Jeffrey Solares commented it looked like the F minor concerto was specially composed for Licad by Chopin."

Manila Symphony Orchestra with soloist Cecile Licad

Manila Symphony Orchestra with soloist Cecile Licad

"The rousing standing ovation led by Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala was reciprocated by Licad with another rarely heard Pasquinade by Gottschalk for an encore. The sight of those mall-goers cheering Licad and the MSO were enough to convince one that classical music had found new converts and a friendly home at the malls.

A German musician in the audience, Mattie Ackerman, said that the Chopin concerto was really composed for a small home crowd in Chopin’s turf. That it succeeded in getting more than warm reception at the malls is proof that real music lives – not just in the formal concert halls but in the most unlikely places like the shopping center."

Flowers for a wonderful evening

Flowers for a wonderful evening

Bosendorfer piano - the "unsung hero"

"It also revealed that the MSO under Molina is one orchestral force to reckon with and is worthy of all support. Licad’s first rehearsal with MSO was already on a performance level and that reflects the high level of musicianship of this orchestra. Molina was thoroughly in command and Licad paid him high compliments. The "unsung hero" is of course the 7-foot Bosendorfer piano which enabled Licad to forge luminous coloring of various shades from the instrument." (Pablo A. Tariman)

More concerts with Cecile Licad

Cecile Licad will be heard again - always playing on Bösendorfer 225 - in a full recital on Saturday (March 27) and a last performance with the MSO at the Philamlife Theatre on Monday,March 29. She is giving a free performance for the Atheneum School in Noveleta, Cavite on March 30. Call 7484152 or 09065104270.

(Photocredits: AYALA MALLS)