UP Madrigal Singers Sing José A. Estella’s Bird Songs in Abelardo Hall

Music lovers in Manila will have a rare opportunity to listen to José A. Estella’s other “Ang Maya” songs that have been specially arranged by Chris Borela for the UP Madrigal Singers concerts on 9 and 10 October, 2014, 6:30PM, Abelardo Hall Auditorium, Quezon City. Dubbed “Panorama,” the concerts on the theme of picturesque music will be directed by Mark Carpio, as part of the College’s on-going faculty concert series. Mark Carpio is one of the best choral directors the Philippines has ever known.

José A. Estella (1870-1943) was a Spanish insular, a creollo, a Filipino composer who was not a mere gig musician who composed waltzes but an important public intellectual who filipinized Spanish zarzuelas from 1890s to 1900s and a nationalist artist who asserted the beauty of Philippine folk songs and dances in his large works such as Cancionero Filipino, Filipinas Symphony (1928), the first symphony written by a Filipino, Ultimo Adios (symphonic ode), and the opera Lakambini (Maiden). These works are all preserved in a collection that Estella’s granddaughter, Mrs. Mariles Teotico had donated to UP Music Library in April 2014. The scope of preserved music manuscripts and prints in the Estella collection is unique for it chronicles a wide time period (late 1880s to 1938), the cultural history of which is yet to be written. Practically all of José Estella’s music creations–arrangements, transcriptions, and original compositions based on Cebuano balitaw, Hiligaynon Lulay, Tagalog auit and condiman, Waray Curacha–are intact in this collection having been safeguarded from the many wars (1896 revolution, 1898 Filipino-American war, and 1945 Liberation of Manila from the Japanese) that were a prelude to the first Philippine Republic in 1946.

The “Ang Maya” waltz was a piece in Estella’s 1905 sarsuwela–with Severino Reyes as librettist– Filipinas para los Filipinos, which critiqued the racist bill forbidding Filipino men to marry American women, a double-standard in colonial policy. “Maya” is rice bird, a typical object in Philippine landscape. Estella consciously represented the everyday life of common tao in the Philippines, thus predating some works by composers who graduated from UP Conservatory of Music in 1920s.

Tickets are at 500 pesos each, with discounts to students and senior citizens. For details, please contact the UP College of Music (02) 926.0026.

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