Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mutya ng Pasig (Nicanor Abelardo)

Here's one in keeping with the theme of lesser known pieces. I don't know about you, but until my student brought this song to me, I wasn't at all familiar with Filipino art song. This piece is a "kundiman", the Philippines signature love song. In the lexicon of the Tagalog (the official language of the Phillipines,) the word "mutya" means, literally, "pearl" and, figuratively, "gem", "charm", and "amulet." In the Tagalog folklore, the mutya is a woman, a maiden goddess of the rivers, lakes, springs, seas and oceans - in short she is the "Mother of Waters."

This is a beautiful performance by soprano, Mimi Kater and pianist, Christina Yue. The style contains elements of European romanticism mixed with more traditional folk sounding melodic lines and textures. This beautiful Kundiman portrays a lost kingdom and a mythical past.

Mutya ng Pasig
Music: Nicanor Aberlando (1893-1934)
Text: Deogracia A. Rosario

A brief translation:

On a night when the moon peeks from the heavens, when the gentle breeze tries to awaken her from her slumber. A vision of purity, her hair flows like a wave. She is the Mutya of Pasig, whose every gesture is song and poetry. (the muse speaks) "I was once a princess in the kingdom of Love. When love died so did my kingdom. My strength has gone and now lives in your hearts. If you want me to live again, give me back my love!"

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