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( Filipino Reporter )
Music-meister Sunico tapes Revolution songs

 

We have launched the year long celebration of the Philippines' Centennial. hats off to Raul Sunico and his "Mga Awit Ng Himagsikan," music and recording of song of the Philippine Revolution dating from 1896-98. This is a spectacular tribute to Philippine music, and Sunico should be commended for his effort to present, and share this wonderful gift of Philippine music and history. This extraordinary music-meister has been incredibly busy. he also has come out with three volumes of "Himig," a collection of Philippine folk song music.
 
Meanwhile, the young Fil-Am cellist Sarighani De Leon's CD recording of "Heartstrings" tugs at my heart with wonderful Philippine airs for cello. Violinist Vanessa Mae and Chee Yun has each recently released CD recordings of classical music. Philippine sounds of music:
 
One of the most delightful songs in "Mga Awit Ng Himagsikan" is Jose Rizal's Kundiman ni Rizal. Cool. Together with noted researcher Evelyn Cabanban, Raul Sunico put together a wonderful offering not only of Philippine music, but of Philippine history. based on the archival research by Ms. Cabanban, songs of the Philippine Revolution have been arranged for chorale and piano by Sunico, and sung by the Philippine Madrigal Singers, with guitarist Lester Demetrillo and Antonio Maigue.
 
"It's a pleasant surprise to discover some songs were written by Rizal, " said Sunico. "During the time of the Revolution, there were already music. This is an opportunity to research through the archives at the National Philippine Heritage Library, the 100 years of the Philippine music. It's good to show through the sentiment of music what the Filipino people know and what they thought in those days."
 
Performed by the world class Philippine Madrigal Singers, the song are wonderful, full of emotion and shading. Rizal's melody and lyrics in his Kundiman was a poignant treasure. Other Rizal poems, "Sa Aking Mga Kabata" and "Sa Magandang Silangan" were put to song by Pedro Gatmaitan Santos. Works by a number of unknown lyricists and composers from Bulacan to Cavite to Nueva Ecija were published and recorded.
 
The companion book to the CD is a great reference filled with particulars about the heroes, composers and historical events of the period. The English translation of the songs enhances the appeal of the collection. What a great way to study history! Recorded and published by Tawid Audio and Tawid Publications, "Mga Awit Ng Himagsikan" was funded by the Philippine National Centennial Commission.
 
In addition, Sunico and Cabanban have collaborated together to bring us volumes of Philippine folk song we can play on the piano and sing along - "himig," also published by Tawid. Book One is full of children and family playful songs. Book Two is dedicated to love and courtship, while Book Three sings of lullabies.
 
Folk songs include a fishing song from Cebu, Si Filemon, to the most popular Pangasinan love song, "Malinac Lay Labi" to "Duayya ni Ayat, " the Ilocan lullaby of love. The folk music is precious and the cultural and traditional notation priceless. The lyrics are also translated into English. The "Himig" volumes are funded in part by the Philippine National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
 
According to Sunico, more music albums and recordings of folk songs and kundimans are forth coming. To order "Himig and Song of the Revolution call (212) 486-6741. "Heartstrings" by Sarighani:"
 
String instruments always tug at my heart. Coupled with the wonderful emotional melodies of Fillipino songs, Sarighani De Leon's cello makes wonderful romantic music. I recently heard "Heartstrings:" Philippine Airs for Cello featuring this young talented musician. It was great From "Dahil Sa Isang Bulaklak" to "Walang Paslam" to "Pandangguhan, " the recording is a delightful treat. I especially enjoyed the Ilocano love song, No Duaduaem Pay," a wonderful melody in the best tradition of the harana. There is no doubt that this gifted cellist has a superb sound.
 
Many of you may remember Sarighani from her day as principal cellist of th children's Orchestra Society of New York. She has studied with the Mannes College of music and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She has performed no only with the Children's Orchestra in New York and abroad with the 92nd Street Y Symphonic Workshop, the Mannes Prep Orchestra. Mother and pianist Cynthia Guerrero De Leon accompanies her on the CD. To order "heartstrings," call (201) 445- 2927 or Casa Victoria at (201) 963-0455. Other strings:
 
The writer has been looking forward to the classical recording of violinist Vanessa Mae. After the phenomenal success of her debut " tech-no-acoustic fusion," Vanessa Mae now returns to her classical heritage with her new release "The Classical Album I."
 
Accompanied by conductor Viktor Fedotov and the London Symphony Orchestra, Vanessa Mae has recorded classical renditions of music by four German composers: J.S. Bach. Brahms Beethoven and Bruch. In addition, the CD features Vanessa Mae's vocal debut, on a pop reworking of an old Scottish folk song, "I'm a Doun for Lack o' Johnny."
 
Vanessa Mae Vanakorn Nicholson was born in Singapore on the same birthdate as one of her idols, the violinist Paganini, moved to London at the age of four, where she began her early music education on the piano and violin. At age 10 she made her concerto soloist and recitalist with already two CDs. She embarked on her third album, which was to set a world record establishing her as the youngest ever to record the Tchaikovsky and Beethoven Violin Concertos.
 
I list saw her perform in New York's Town Hall. She displayed her fine technique and electric repertoire. For a 16-year-old she has quite a powerful presentation. She said that she intends to pursue careers in both the pop and classical music worlds. "The Classical Album I" is on the Angel Records label. The enchanting violinist Chee-Yun recently released her own CD on Denon playing works by Edouard Lalo and Camille Saint-Saens with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Jesus Lopez-Cobos conducting. It is a charming and delightful recording infused with elegant phrasing, graceful elegance and passionate lyricism.
 
A recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Chee-Yun gave her first public performance at age eight in her native Seoul after she won the grand Prize of the Korean Times Competition. At age 13, she came to the U.S. and was invited to perform the Vieuxtemps Concerto in a Young People's Concert with the New York Philharmonic. She studied at the Juilliard School of Music. She has appeared with major orchestras in the U.S., Asia and North America. She can be heard frequently on National Public Radio's Performance Today, and on WQXR. She also has a home page on the internet which can be viewed at http:/summary.net/chee- yun/.
 
 
Ethnic NewsWatch SoftLine Information, Inc., Stamford, CT
 
ALL ABOUT ARTS: Music-meister Sunico tapes Revolution songs., Filipino Reporter, 07-03-1997, pp PG.

 

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