The French-Ship concert at CCP

A musical appreciation to the 75th Anniversary of the Diplomatic Relations between the Philippines and France

French conductor Michael Cousteau

Just last month, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, in partnership with the National Commission for Culture and Arts and the Embassy of France in Manila presented “A French-Ship Concert.”

The concert was held as a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Diplomatic Relations between the Philippines and France featured the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra who performed under the baton of French conductor Michael Cousteau with cellist Kyongmin Nam Fiel.

Included in the program were Claude Debussy’s Prélude à l’après – midi d’un Faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun), Antonio J. Molina’s Hating Gabi (At Midnight), Camille Saint–Saëns’ Concerto for Violoncello no.1, op.33, A minor, and Maurice Ravel’s Ma mère l’Oye–ballet en un acte, cinq tableaux et une apothéose (Mother Goose complete ballet).

The two soloists are cellist Kyongmin Nam Fiel and violinist Adrian Nicolas Ong, who performed Camille Saint-Saëns Cello concerto and Antonio Molina's Hating Gabi respectively.

Following this, three French masterpieces from Claude Debussy, Camille Saint-Saens and Maurice Ravel highlighted the finesse of French orchestral music. The Filipino piece is Antonio Molina’s Hating Gabi. This serenade portrays a man whose despair grows stronger as the night deepens because of his longing for his beloved. Written originally for violin and piano, Hating Gabi is a nationally-known serenade based on the danza.

This year's French-ship concert

Conceived for two young children like a suite for piano on four hands in 1908, Ma Mere l’oye is orchestrated by Ravel, then transformed into a ballet in 1911. A tribute to the world of children, one would hear Tom Thumb sung by an oboe or an English horn lost in the irregular rhythm of the strings. It is a magical use of the orchestra by one of the greatest masters in all of musical history.

Michael Cousteau’s career has led him to conduct symphonic repertoire all over the world. He is inspired to imagine original programs for audiences everywhere to enjoy. Ambassador of the French repertoire abroad, he has also collaborated with artists from the world of theater, dance, and musicals. Cousteau enjoys a privileged relationship with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra with whom he has collaborated with in 2009, 2012, and 2019.