The Inbox

Boston critic exalts Licad’s latest interpretation of Liszt and Chopin

Licad acknowledges audience's applause,Nov 25 Boston concert

By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

Filipino pianist Cecile Licad continued her phenomenal mastery of the Chopin and Liszt repertoire with yet another electrifying recital at the Calderwood Hall of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston last Sunday afternoon.

American music critic David Patterson of the Boston Musical Intelligencer wrote that the pianist's arresting velocity coupled with astounding muscle gave the Boston audience a dominating show of pianism from one of today keyboard powerhouses in music of two of the all time greatest writers for the instrument.

Playing  to a full house  on a brand new German Steinway grand, Licad played Liszt's Première année: Suisse, from Années de pèlerinage and Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat Minor, the latter being the pianist's offering to the late Filipino  filmmaker  Marilou Diaz-Abaya  who passed away last  October 8.

"Licad is in possession of enormous virtuosity. On this occasion, the still young, very fit looking, and gracious Filipina roared through Liszt, a bit less so the Chopin, and in an about face, displayed how delicately and finely her fingers could touch the notes of the Gottschalk. There were signs of that softness in the Chopin, too, at the very end of the Lento of the Marche funébre. To wondrous effect, Licad brought back the doom of the march ever, ever so quietly, as if it had arisen out of a beautiful, heavenly reminiscence. For me, that may have been the signal moment of the afternoon's recital of Romantic era expression," wrote Patterson.

The critic -- who is also a music professor and former chairman of the University of Massachusetts and a holder of a doctorate degree from Harvard University -- also noted the pianist's power of shaping. "What I sensed all along was her great potential for poetic imagination. It was power and speed (we can remember that Liszt broke a few strings in his day) and, in addition, sound sculpting, that won the day. Example, for Chopin's opening of the Sonata No. 2, marked Grave, Licad addressed the four measures in a gesture somewhat akin in meaning to Beethoven's declaration in the introductory notes of his Fifth."

On her part, Licad said that the concert was one of those few times where she felt the audience was with her from the first note to the last. "I was quite happy with how I was able to connect with them. It really felt as if I was just playing for friends in a living room."

Licad and Salonga with author and grandson,Eman before the Manila Pen concert three weeks agoAnother Filipino in the audience told the pianist an American woman was totally in tears in the lento section of the Marche funeral of Chopin's Sonata No. 2 and was trying hard to catch her breath.

Another American music lover in the audience, Jim McDonald, totally agreed with the music critic. He wrote, "Not only did Ms. Licad show amazing control with volume, and play with a tenderness that was never sentimental. She did, for me, two other remarkable things. She produced a lyrical soprano voice early in the lento part , and then briefly introduced an entirely different color, a stronger 'alto' to contrast the more delicate soprano, which then returned before the reprise of the funeral march. And she brought out inner voices in the march, particularly the 'tenor drone,' back and forth between the neighboring notes F and G-flat, bringing a haunting, relentlessness to the piece."

Licad not only got a rousing standing ovation but ecstatic fan letters as well.  French conductor Pascal van Haeren who was in the audience with his family  said it was refreshing that the pianist avoided pianistic cliché and just delivered "pure music that can touch the heart and imagination of the knowing and unknowing ones."

One week before the Boston recital, Licad was in Manila for a command performance during the 150th anniversary of a Swiss bank. The audience -- composed mostly of Asian financiers and corporate moguls -- gave the pianist a rousing standing ovation.

Licad's winning interpretation of Chopin and Liszt started in Manila in her first collaboration with Lea Salonga, Lisa Macuja and Gerard Salonga and on to her recitals in Pampanga, Cavite and Cebu. In Cavite, Licad's performance of Liszt's Dante inferno sonata actually ended in real life inferno that gutted the original concert venue in Kawit, Cavite.

"I will start the new year with new concerts with different repertoire," Licad revealed. "This means I will never get to rest during the holiday season."

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true.")

  • Centipede Bursts from Snake's Stomach
    Centipede Bursts from Snake's Stomach

    A group of researchers stumbled upon a grisly scene during a field study in Macedonia last year: a dead nose-horned viper with a centipede's head sticking out of its ruptured abdomen. "All of us were astonished, as nobody has ever seen something like this," Ljiljana Tomovi?, a herpetologist at the University of Belgrade, told Live Science in an email. The remnants of the death match were discovered when one researcher, Dragan Arsovski, turned over a stone, Tomovi? The unfortunate nose-horned …

  • Confused, chaotic scene described on sinking ferry
    Confused, chaotic scene described on sinking ferry

    MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — The captain of a doomed ferry delayed evacuation for half an hour after a South Korean transportation official ordered preparations to abandon ship, raising more questions about whether quick action could have saved scores of passengers still missing Friday and feared dead, according to a transcript of the ship-to-shore exchange and interviews with a crewmember. …

  • Dear Ms. Kris Aquino

    Sometime in October, 2013, you assumed a new role as member of the board of directors of Central Azucarera de Tarlac. The news spread quickly among the good, decent, and hardworking farm workers and farmers at Hacienda Luisita and their supporters inside and outside of Tarlac. Your new role comes with corporate responsibilities to CAT, social responsibilities to farm workers and farmers of Hacienda Luisita, and civic responsibilities to the country.  The nation and the world now looks at what …

  • Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry
    Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry

    Heart-wrenching messages of fear, love and despair, sent by high school students from a sinking South Korean ferry, added extra emotional weight Thursday to a tragedy that has stunned the nation. Nearly 300 people -- most of them students on a high school trip to a holiday island -- are still missing after the ferry capsized and sank on Wednesday morning. Mom, I love you," student Shin Young-Jin said in a text to his mother that was widely circulated in the South Korean media. …

  • Gaga's un-retouched images cause uproar
    Gaga's un-retouched images cause uproar

    Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott are said to be upset that un-retouched images they took of Lady Gaga for her Versace campaign were leaked. …

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • 4 questions about missing Malaysian plane answered

    4 questions about missing Malaysian plane answered

    Associated Press - 3 hours ago
    4 questions about missing Malaysian plane answered

    Travelers at Asian airports have asked questions about the March 8 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Here are some of them, followed by answers. …

  • Dear Ms. Kris Aquino

    MB - 15 hours ago

    Sometime in October, 2013, you assumed a new role as member of the board of directors of Central Azucarera de Tarlac. The news spread quickly among the good, decent, and hardworking farm workers and farmers at Hacienda Luisita and their supporters inside and outside of Tarlac. Your new role comes with corporate responsibilities to CAT, social responsibilities to farm workers and farmers of Hacienda Luisita, and civic responsibilities to the country.  The nation and the world now looks at what …

  • Centipede Bursts from Snake's Stomach

    Centipede Bursts from Snake's Stomach

    LiveScience.com - Thu, Apr 17, 2014
    Centipede Bursts from Snake's Stomach

    A group of researchers stumbled upon a grisly scene during a field study in Macedonia last year: a dead nose-horned viper with a centipede's head sticking out of its ruptured abdomen. "All of us were astonished, as nobody has ever seen something like this," Ljiljana Tomovi?, a herpetologist at the University of Belgrade, told Live Science in an email. The remnants of the death match were discovered when one researcher, Dragan Arsovski, turned over a stone, Tomovi? The unfortunate nose-horned …

POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options