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SANTOS, Gerald P.

AS 161 Music Critique

Maikli at magulo ang kasaysayang ito,
Kung alam lang ninyo, kung ano ang totoo,
Nauwi lahat sa pamumulitiko
The melody of Maikling Kasaysayan still plays in my mind four days after I watched the
musical, Ang Huling Lagda ni Apolinario Mabini . With the male chorus so strong, full of rage,
rhythm full of action and movement and melody fitting the words, it is one of the songs in the
production that impacted me the most (and because it is really catchy).
The composer of Huling Lagdas music is Ms. Krina Cayabyab with the lyrics and script of
Mr. Floy Quintos. The music set to words, like Mabini, is a sublime one. The music and lyrics
just flow together and do not just act as two separate entities, portraying what the scene is all
The musical was accompanied by a piano, a cello, two violins and a viola. While the piano put
the rhythmic layer and lay the foundation for the other instruments, with its romantic feels,
the cello offered a kind of mystery while it sustains the notes. Violins and viola on the other
hand , were the vehicles of the ensemble into fluctuating instances of glory and forlorn. In
addition, the piano served also a web from one theme to another resulting to seamless transitions
of arias and choruses. Of course, the male chorus was an indispensable instrument in Cayabyabs
composition. Full of bruteness, strength, well balanced and in full cooperation with each other
and the ensemble, keeping the right tempo and rhythm.
In contrast to Ms. Cayabyabs previous compositions which were jazz like, Huling Lagda
was a new take to her music. Listening to the play, it seemed that it had kundiman inspirations, a
style to fit the time setting of which the musical revolves, where it had unexpected melodic
progressions, flowing from one theme to another, travelling from one key to another, employing
dissonances especially in the introductory part where the male chorus really shook me out of my
seat (I was seated in front). The humming was full of strength and wrath, dissonances to prick
out my emotions. It was really a very good start suggesting that this will be a very good musical
and a serious type. I even heard my seatmate crying. I was also about to let my tears shed out my
eyes at one point but I dont want to catch any attention so I kept my stern face throughout the
musical but inside it was really hard to contain! This, I believe, was because of the music; it does
penetrate the whole of you.
Dissonance was a main element in the Huling Lagdas music. There were some points I
thought the singer was out of tune, or reciting in a different key but as you listen to the music,
youll appreciate the confusion dissonance brought, on what feelings it tried to convey. Rhythm
also was a remarkable part. I found also the beat so catchy and alive especially on the
introduction and in the Maikling Kasaysayan. Even the rhythm grows fresher and fresher
throughout experimenting on variations together with the melody.
The significance of Salud, as the only female soloist was for me, to make contrast or to
balance the strength of the mens voices. She made a lullaby out of the high notes in the Sapat
na Ito, offering peace and gratitude to Mabinis contributions.
It was very emotional at the end of the musical where most of the DUP cast entered the stage
and sung the final chorus. I like how the music was set not for biriteros and biriteras but the
melodic progressions were given attention especially, rhythmic and key changes. I thought the
end cadence would be on a high note but it culminated in a warm chord. I have been wondering
on how the singers studied their parts with such complicated and unexpected transitions between
thematic materials.
Since it was my very first time watching a DUP production, Huling Lagda was a very good
start for me and it made me to expect more from the DUP cast and from the composers. The blast
it had left on me and on the audience as well was very tremendous because of the talented actors
and actresses, musicians, librettist and of course the composer. Im planning to watch it again but
I heard that the tickets were already sold out. Ive been thinking if it will be good if this will be
shown on a bigger stage and employing an orchestra for the accompaniment?