I’ve always wanted to catch The Philippine Madrigal Singers (or Madz, as their fans lovingly call them) live ever since I attended my first Choral concert for a requirement in College. If there’s any Philippine Choral group that you need to watch, its them. Fresh from their 2010 European Goodwill tour, the event served as both a homecoming and Anniversary Concert celebrating their recent visit in Italy, Spain and Jakarta, as well as the past 47 years of enthralling audiences all over the world with their own brand of choral music.
The program opened with the Choirmaster Mark Anthony Carpio’s remarks on what the Madz were up to for the past year (“Busy as Always..”), particularly highlighting their recent travel as UNESCO ambassadors for Peace and their receipt of the Guidoneum Award 2010 for their contributions to the Choral World, awarded by one of the prestigious Choral Competition organizers in Italy. He also mentioned that sales from the concert tickets will benefit the scholars of the Jesuit Foundation. It was nice to know that aside from enjoying the evening, we even get to help other people.
The first set was a repertoire of what they sang in Italy for the Guidoneum Award Concert. First few lines and I was muttering ‘adik’ under my breath already. The sound these guys make were CD quality – as if it was not live. Most of the songs were in Latin though, and while watching them I kinda realize that I probably still do not have enough taste to appreciate Classical Choral Music. Pang OPM at Pop Broadway-level palang ang appreciation ko. However, I do appreciate De Profundis, wherein I was hearing a dissonance between the high female voices. It was not a noise-like dissonance, but more of a dissonance that gelled together – adding to that eerie feeling the song had. And what actually amazed me is that it was live – no effects at all! (If they could sing something like that – they’ll probably could sing the Final Fantasy 8 theme Liberi Fatali without a hitch. That I’d pay to see!)
In between sets was the performance of the kids from Philippine Montessori and Temple Hill International Schools. A bunch of 10-20 kids playing mostly xylophones and glockenspiels, I thought it was going to be just a typical performance – playing basic songs and whatnot. Well, of course I was wrong when they played complicated songs likeKatchaturian’s Saber Dance, Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca. A suprise also was the Madz performing Prayer of St. Francis together with the kids, which received a Standing Ovation from the audience.
Next was the Second Set, which was lighter compared to their first set. There were also some Filipino songs like Hanggang, and Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok ko. The last song was a medley of makabayan songs like Isang Bansang Mayapa , and I particularly liked this number because it highlighted each member – and how imba, if I may use the term, the voices of their members are. The group of 20 or so were broken up to fours and given their own songs to sing, still with the same impeccable harmony, but with some vocal styling that you only hear from Pop Singers. They also were very gracious in giving in to the crowd’s request for an encore, which include a Mashup of Male Hits, performed with matching Comedic Effect, and The Circle of Life with matching Animal Sounds. Panalo Diba?
I’ll definitely be willing to see them in their future concerts, though I’ll probably attend one where they’ll sing Filipino or English Songs – wanting to satisfy my heartfelt singing needs being the emotional sap that I am. I realized that Latin, Italian, or any other language I do not understand does not really register that much.