Home > Ronald Roy > The Stalking Curse Of A Tapestry

The Stalking Curse Of A Tapestry

The Stalking Curse Of A Tapestry
Ronald Roy  -April 30, 2008

        It was at the youthful age of 29 when Nicolo Paganini composed his greatest masterpiece, Concerto for Violin in D major. In my opinion, Paganini was the most prodigious fiddler-composer of the 18th century, if not ever, writing the work which only he could then play.  Historians have accounted for how he once opted not to stop his performance when two strings snapped simultaneously in the middle of the most intricate passage of this piece.  In time, other violinists including the supremely gifted Jasha Heifetz would subsequently lay dubious claims of superior devilish dexterity and loftier celestial expression.  I choose Paganini’s timeless opus in D major, #9001, in answer to your query which in the category of classical strings I consider my favorite. 

       Last Friday night in my living room, the subject piece was the last of three concerts that I treated myself to.  I luxuriate in occasional musical journeys to the classical past by dimming the lights, closing my eyes, then just drifting along the tonal flow and  rhythm of nature, preferably with some red wine on the side when nursing a cold and a fever.  Such a moment would be welcome, to be sure, given the boring humongous propaganda that the administration has not in any way contributed to the food crisis.

       It is of course the same old imagery that music creates for dreamers like me, but I’ll buy the propaganda anytime, if only to assure that the harsh reality of that crisis, partly attributed to the mismanagement of the incredibly squat goblin with a fat face, does not cast me in a clinical depression.  That evening, the debauched goblin slowly but surely dissolved as Paganini’s D major accelerated to an electric finish.  Its melody, as it now plays in my mind, is sheer beauty of character with the power to blot out the creature’s sheer ugliness of character.

       Earlier in my living room, Liszt’s Concerto for Piano in F minor and Grieg’s Concerto for Piano in A minor were the equally enthralling and rapturous items on my lonesome musicale.  As “minor” works generally stimulate romantic sentiments, both provided the emotional setting needed to trigger the aggressive overtones that normally characterize such “major” works as the subject masterpiece.

       In fine, #9001 – I remember you asking me over a year ago what I thought was the difference between minor and major in music – I now answer you merely as an aficionado who never formally studied music: minor is hopelessly romantic and calm, while major is majestic and triumphal. However, it goes without saying that the intrinsic elements like rhythm, beat, and lyric as in the case of operas, and the extrinsic factors like orchestration and conducting, have likewise to do with what may be desired for a specific performance. Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras, although not as technically polished as Luciano Pavarotti and Richard Tucker, would be my choices for a romantic Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly.  But Pavarotti and Tucker would be very appropriate for the masculine lead in Aida.  I wonder if my friend, Prof. Jose Regalado, will give me a passing mark for these uneducated opinions.  No, #9001, I cannot read or write notes, but that’s why I find songwriting an exciting and ego-inflating hobby.

*                                   *                                   *

       It’s a pity I didn’t get a chance to see Ms. Cecile Licad’s recent performance at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.  I hear she played to the expected thunderous ovation of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s immortal Piano Concerto #2.  I consider Cecile, a certified Leventritt laureate, to be the best interpreter of this masterpiece whose composer died in 1945.  I sometimes whimsically divine that she and Sergei had been destined to meet and fuse their talents in one unified artistry, to co-produce what is regarded by many as the most beautiful piano concerto of the classical era.  I’d like to advise those who find disturbing her characteristic head movements to simply shut their eyes and listen, because it is her head movements that facilitate best her soulful expressiveness.  Besides, rara avis performers are entitled to quirky mannerisms.

*                                   *                                   *

       I was with Cecile Licad in Malacañang sometime in early December of 1986.  While the fund-raising cocktails hosted by Mrs. Imelda Marcos for a charity project of the late Jaime Cardinal Sin were in progress, I suddenly sensed something ominous about a huge mural-sized tapestry hanging over the staircase of Maharlika Hall.  It depicted a sinking Spanish galleon surrounded by crewmen and passengers bobbing in the water, seemingly gasping for breath and flailing their arms as if screaming for lifelines to be thrown to them.

       Alas, what I beheld (psychically?) was a ghastly spectre of some impending doom.  I could not recall seeing this tapestry on previous trips to the Palace, but as I viewed it this time, I sensed a diabolical crawl of goose pimples all over my body.  Mrs. Marcos, just some six feet away and perhaps wondering why I appeared to have just seen a ghost, sardonically asked if anything was wrong.  Within 15 minutes of my riposte with a tortured and embarrassed I’m-not-crazy countenance, she ordered the tapestry rolled down.

       As it was being carted away, Cecile whispered to me she wanted to have it.  I answered that if she valued her concert-hall career, she should not even think of it.  But she poutingly insisted that I urge Mrs. Marcos to give the tapestry to her.  Finally, the president’s wife firmly said, “It’s the work of a known master, Cecile, but it could bring you bad luck. No, hija, you’re much too precious to me.” Both ladies must have recalled the incident over two months later when the strongman’s rule ended.

       But looking back, I reckon that the work of the master, whose name I never knew, must be worth its weight in gold.  Hmm, good heavens, no! This tapestry could have an immensely strategic political value, incalculably greater than that of gold.  Assuming Mrs. Marcos still has control over this work of art, she should consider disposing of this “jinx” pronto, if she thinks it’s a hex on her chance to get the globalists to remove the tight lid they’ve kept all this time on her late husband’s gold bullions – a fabulous treasure trove which, in her words, “can enrich every Filipino,” if distributed in accordance with his last will and testament.

       At the same time, she can show the love she professes for her country by gifting the tapestry to the Palace squatter. How so?  If curses go the mythical route of tales from the other side, not only the evil goblin but also all her allies shall each meet a dire fate. Aha, and why not, Madam Imelda!? There’d be everything to gain and nothing to lose!  Indeed, what could be more precious to you than the historical statement that your husband was not a thief, as evidenced by his ownership of this strove, and that he truly loved by country when he bequeathed 90% of his licit wealth to the nation?

       At the same time, Madam, consider these consequences: 1) The wide-open jaws of Ben Abalos could yet lock forever while about to take a bite on his hamboorjer; 2) The tongue of Sergio Apostol could yet turn to stone; 3) Jovito Palparan’s .45 caliber pistol could yet jam in an encounter; 4) Raul Gonzales could yet be sued for sexual harassment by a congressman’s daughter mistakenly picked up by cops as a vagrant; 5) Under a raging storm, the narcissistic Bayani Fernando could yet get sucked into a manhole while trying to hold up a tarpaulin bearing his mug. etcetera. Anyway, I leave to my readers’ imagination how the stalking curse will deal with the goblin and her husband.   

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