December 7, 2011

"Villancicos Ng Paskong Pilipino" , a concert at San Agustin Church in Intramuros

I enjoyed watching  "Villancicos Ng Paskong Pilipino" , a concert featuring Spanish and Filipino villancicos, held at the historical San Agustin Church in Intramuros  last night, 
Dec. 6.

The “villancico” is an old music form from Spain and Portugal that has come to be associated with Christmas. This hopes to create awareness about the Filipino villancico heritage and to bring back memories of Christmas celebrations in the Spanish era. Aside from the traditional songs introduced into the country by the Spanish religious orders, Filipino composers have also tried their hand in writing villancicos. Among these are those discovered in Santa Clara Choir Books that date back to 1871-1874. Many of us heard this for the first time in the concert.
Novo Concertante Manila
Performing the villancicos were the Tiples de Santo Domingo and the Santo Domingo Male Chorale known as the oldest boys’ choir in the Philippines conducted by Eugene de los Santos and the Novo Concertante Manila with Arwin Tan as conductor.
Santo Domingo Male Chorale 


Also performed were Thea Perez, soprano and Cynthia Sy, soprano; and Alejandro D. Consolacion as the organist.

Tiples De Santo Domingo members continuing their tradition and celebrating musical supremacy since 1978.

The program  showed the traditional Nacio Nacio Pastores, a Villancico from Calahorra; Villancico A Pastores de Belen by Marcelo Adonay; Pastorale by Johann Sebastian Bach featuring Alejandro Consolacion II on the organ. Villancico Pilipino, La Virgen Lava Panales, Que Tranquilla esta la noche and Silencio pastores by Rosalina Abejo featuring soprano Thea Perez; Payapang Daigdig by Felipe de Leon; the traditional Noong Araw Ng Pasko and Noche Buena; Simbang Gabi by Lucio San Pedro; Pasko Na Naman by Felipe de Leon; and Ang Pasko ay Sumapit with Consolacion on the organ.

The finale song was Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit originally by Vicente Rubi in Cebuano and later given Tagalog lyrics by Levi Celerio is one example. So is Felipe de Leon’s Pasko Na Naman.
We were surprised by the great performances and feel Christmas carols , historical and Spanish traditional. I hear and sang inside my heart, the harmony and melody  thru the church and liturgical use of Christmas carols.

A little history of Villancicos: 
The first specifically Christmas hymns that we know of appear in fourth century Rome. Latin hymns such as Veni redemptor gentium, written by Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, were austere statements of the theological doctrine of the Incarnation in opposition to Arianism. Corde natus ex Parentis (Of the Father's love begotten) by the Spanish poet Prudentius  is still sung in some churches today.

In the ninth and tenth centuries, the Christmas "Sequence" or "Prose" was introduced in North European monasteries, developing under Bernard of Clairvaux into a sequence of rhymed stanzas. In the twelfth century the Parisian monk Adam of St. Victor began to derive music from popular songs, introducing something closer to the traditional Christmas carol.



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