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Chamber music

MUSIC to the ears. A sight for sore eyes. A roomful of young music lovers, some of them dressed as if for a cosplay, for once the young ones outnumbering the young once.

Was Schumann the lure, Robert as well as Clara? Or the romantic youthfulness of 30-something Mariel Ilusorio, pianist, and her violinist-husband, Juan Luis Muñoz of Chile and South Africa? Perhaps it was the allure of chamber music being promoted by husband and wife – the Muñozes, rather than the Schumanns – that has injected a new note in the key of E (for energy, enthusiasm) into our musically inclined city. So everyone of us loves all kinds of music, but how many symphony orchestras can we afford to maintain and sustain, whereas chamber music demands so much less in terms of size of resources, number of performers, loyalty of audiences?

On the Sunday afternoon (marked by a fabulous sunset spun in clouds of lavender, purple, gold, orange, red, black) when Juan, Mariel and Friends performed a Schumann repertoire on piano, violin, and cello (with cellist Giancarlo Castrillo Gonzales), anticipation was in the air, palpable as the smell of earth before the rain. On top of which, the venue exuded a totally different atmosphere: A “superstore” of pianos, a dream for every pianist to walk into.

It was refreshing, to see the “usual suspects” who patronize classical-music events, the likes of Tony Pastor, Marivic Rufino, Triccie Sison, Marilou Carpio, Jiovianney Cruz, Bel Cunanan, as a minority embedded with the predominantly youthful crowd. Which group applauded louder? I only know the sound of hands clapping wholeheartedly was a heartfelt melody, sprightly as a march, genteel as a minuet, danceable as a waltz.

Juan and Mariel have been spreading the joys of chamber music since their love affair bloomed in Johannesburg. When they came home with little Anita, now 12, their first task was to revive their Juan, Mariel and Friends series. As he explained, the “and Friends” tag gives them a free hand to invite any instrumentalist to play with them. It won’t be long before Anita, pianist and flutist, joins them on stage as another “Friend.” (Jullie Y. Daza)