Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"A Ray of Light": A Madz Concert at the CCP (04/22/2012)

Despite their illustrious reputation in the country as one of the best and internationally-acclaimed choral groups, I have not watched a full concert by the Philippine Madrigal Singers (or more affectionately called the "Madz").  I was able to catch a sampler they presented at the CCP Pasinaya last year and was wowed by their style.  I was not even aware there was a Madz concert this week until Friday when Ms. Perlita Reyes of the Madz personally invited me to go watch them sing.  How could I say no to a rare invitation like that?  Go!

April 22, 2012

The concert was entitled "A Ray of Light".  The concept of the whole concert was to depict despair and despondency in the first half, which then turns into joy and hope in the second half.  

The first half was surreal with all the songs seeming to wallow in deep sorrow about the end of life on Earth.  The Madz were in all-black attire and accessories.  The excellent first song was called "Doxologia 2012" based on a verse of the book of Revelations.  It was nothing I had ever heard before as the song started with syncopated notes coming from we do not know who, finally meshing together in a melodious crescendo.  The talented composer was revealed to be one of the Madz, Ily Matthew Maniano (the young man with the soprano voice).  The other songs were compositions of Thomas Weelkes, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Alberto Grau, and Meir Mindel.  "The Maya Prophecy" by Mindel was really something else with the strange silent beginning verse and whispering to shouting it involved.  The penultimate song was "La Noche de Mil Noches," inspired by verses of Pablo Neruda, by Filipino composer and Madz alumnus, Nilo Alcala II, They saved the most bombastic song for the final number of Act 1, "An Apocalypse Alleluia," which featured some Madz members playing percussion instruments.  This was also composed a Filipino composer, Jude Edgard Balsamo, who was just unassumingly sitting right behind us when he was introduced.  

After the 15 minute intermission, the second half began.  The Madz came out this time in brighter clothes: Barong Tagalog for the men, and pink ternos for the women.  The songs of this half are generally known pop songs about the Earth and Mother Nature.  They started with "Earth Song" by Michael Jackson, then "Africa" by Toto.  Two Filipino songs followed, "Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka" by Ryan Cayabyab, and"Forevermore" by Joey Benin for Side A.  The next number was "Change the World"by Eric Clapton, and this was done by the boys only.  Of course, the girls stood up to sing the next song, "Under the Sea" (from "The Little Mermaid"). There was some comic relief in this number care of one of the boys who interrupted the girls' singing.  The next song was an energetic Tagalog song by Mike Villegas and Bayang Barriosentitled "Bagong Umaga."  The last song of their regular set was another song called"Earth Song," this time by Frank Ticheli.  No, they did not sing Madonna's "Ray of Light", despite the title.

The audience was wildly appreciative of the awesome singing we had heard for the past two hours.  We were not about to let them go without an encore number.  They re-entered and took their seats again to sing "Heal the World" by Michael Jackson.  After this song, more requests for another song came from the audience. Choirmaster Mark Anthony Carpio relented, and they launched into their version of John Lennon's"Imagine."  After this hauntingly touching song, the Madz finally took their leaves for good.  I am very happy that I was able to bring my parents with me to watch this special musical event this afternoon.  Finally I was able to watch a full Madz concert, and I am pretty sure it would not be my last.

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