Gerard Salonga to conduct NatGeo’s ‘Symphony of Our World’
Much like the Earth’s ecosystem, a symphony, Gerard Salonga said, wouldn’t thrive without the rhythm, harmony and equilibrium among its many different components.
“A lot of parallels can be drawn between the two. Nature has its own rhythm, and so does music. As artists, we try to find and follow the pulse and natural progression of things. Things won’t work out if there’s a missing voice; you can’t have harmonies with a single melody line,” he told the Inquirer at a recent press conference.
So perhaps it’s only fitting that the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra—under Salonga’s baton—will be providing the live musical accompaniment for “Symphony of Our World,” a touring production that combines some of National Geographic’s most stunning natural footage with an original symphony.
The 90-minute concert, which will have its Manila leg at The Theatre at Solaire on Nov. 30 (call 8919999), will feature videos and imagery from National Geographic’s 130-year archive.
“Driven by a five-part movement, the show brings viewers from the depths of the sea, up to coastlines, over mountains, and soaring into the sky… it’s a powerful musical tribute to the beauty and wonders of our wild world,” the program notes read.
Salonga, the orchestra’s musical director, pointed out that, with music, the videos captured by the National Geographic cease to be a straightforward documentary—it becomes an emotional experience.
“Music adds a layer of emotion… Everyone has a natural response to a piece of music they hear, regardless of whether or not they know the music. Each one will feel something different and have a different interpretation. So, it’s all unique and very personal,” he said.
“It’s no longer a scientific observation that shows you what’s happening in the world,” he added. “A video of a baby penguin walking toward its mother could either be an affective or lighthearted moment, depending on the music. It’s what pushes you over the edge.”
While the show focuses on the Earth’s splendor, Salonga believes there’s an underlying theme in place—preserving our environment.
“That’s what National Geographic is all about. It reminds us that we’re not the only ones living here; it highlights the importance of beings on this planet,” the musician related. “Sometimes, we get so caught up with our lives that we lose sight of the things around us.”
The symphony was composed by Austin Fray and Andrew Christie of the production outfit Bleeding Fingers Music, with excerpts from the ballet “Daphnis et Chloé” by the French musician Maurice Ravel.
Gerard added, “The music is packaged and tailor-made for the film, so I can’t really put my own input. Everything is measured when you’re conducting music for films. A singer may adapt or make some changes on the spot; a video won’t do that. We have to be precise.”
The Ateneo Chamber Singers will join the 42-piece orchestra onstage.
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