Even before the Spaniards colonized the islands now known as the Philippine Islands in 1521, music and dance already had an important role in the life of indigenous peoples as these are means of actual expression of ideas in political and social ceremonies as well as in pagan worship. It is fortunate that indigenous music have been documented by Philippine musicologists, and indigenous musical instruments are still being used within surviving tribal communities as well as in music circles that strive to preserve these less-appreciated music.
The Philippines was colonized by Spain from 1521 to 1898, occupied for a short time by Great Britain from 1762-1764, colonized by the United States from 1898 to 1946, invaded and occupied by Japan from 1943 to 1945. American and Filipino Forces joined together in fighting the Imperial Japanese Army in 1945, triumphant in liberating the Philippines from Japanese occupation.
The United States of America formally granted Philippine Independence on July 4, 1946, but Philippine historians changed the date to June 12, 1898, which is when Philippines gained freedom from the Spaniards.
The first Conservatory of Music in the Philippines - the government-supported University of the Philippines Conservatory - was established in 1916 during American colonial period. Its third director, Robert Schofield, taught Composition and Theory to conservatory students, which gave rise to the first batch of conservatory-trained Filipino composers . Its fourth director, Francisco Santiago, a graduate from said Conservatory, supervised a special research committee in 1934 to collect folk songs and dances from all over the Philippines. These were compiled into an anthology and became the seed of musical ideas for Filipino composers.* With the acquisition of the highest level of compositional skills, folk musical elements, as well as complex rhythms from indigenous music were utilized and developed in musical compositions, giving rise to different musical genres - serenades, dance music, character pieces, sacred music, sonatas, chamber music, symphonies, concertos. Thus evolved Philippine music.
Most popular is the 'kundiman' art song (serenades), which expresses sentiments of love, sadness, hope and longing dedicated to a loved one or to the motherland, which also encompasses the expression of a people colonized for centuries.
Josephine Sanchez, 2017
*Source of information on the history of the University of the Philippines' College of Music is Professor Emeritus and National Artist Awardee for Music Ramon Santos.
AN AFTERNOON OF PHILIPPINE CLASSICS
June 7, 2009
Angelico Hall, Dominican University of California
Catherin Alcorin-Ellacer, soprano
Julie Mellon, violin
Alan Shearer, violin
Ed Wilcox, violin
Josephine Claridades-Sanchez, piano
This repertoire is representative of the music composed during the 1920-1960 period. Some of the arrangements were written at a later period. These music are referred to as classics, touching the hearts of Filipinos for generations.
1. Sampaguita - Dolores Paterno (1854-1881), arranged by Jose S. Sanchez
2. Leron, Leron Sinta - Folk Song, arranged by Lucio D. San Pedro (1913-2002)
3. Kundiman - Felipe Padilla de Leon (1912-1992), arranged by Redentor Romero (d. 2001)
4. Habanera Filipina No. 2 - Ernesto Vallejo (1909-1945), piano accompaniment by Julio Esteban Anguita
5. Cavatina - Nicanor Abelardo (1893-1934)
6. Kataka-taka! - Santiago S. Suarez (1901-1964), arranged for violin by Redentor Romero
7. Hating-gabi - Antonio J. Molina (1894-1980), arranged for violins by Redentor Romero
8. Sa Kabukiran - Music by Manuel P. Velez (1894-1959), Lyrics by Juan Yee Benasa (Tagalog) and Jose Galiciano (Visayan)
9. Lagi Kitang Naaalala - Music by Leopoldo Silos (1925-2015), Lyrics by Levi Celerio (1910-2002)
10. Minamahal Kita - Music by Mike Velarde (1913- ), Lyrics by Dominador Santiago
11. Pobreng Alindahaw - T. Villaflor
12. Tinikling - Folk Song, arranged by Canicosa
13. No Du Duaem Pay - Ilocano Folk Song
14. Salamisim - Hilarion Rubio, arranged by Redentor Romero
15. Sarung Bangui - Potenciano Gregorio, arranged for violin by Redentor Romero
16. Matud Nila - Wenceslao Zubiri
17. Ano Kaya Ang Kapalaran - Francisco Santiago (1889-1947)
18. Mutya ng Pasig - Nicanor Abelardo (1893-1934)
19. Tag-araw at ang Maya (Medley) - Tag-araw composed by S.S Suarez, Lyrics by Davao Santiago; Ang Maya composed by Jose Estella, Lyrics by S. Reyes, arranged into a medley by Catherine Ellacer
20. Bayan Ko - Constancio de Guzman
Philippine Classics Concert artists