In a recent performance, "Montra Vientiane", in Laos, the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra (TPO) has taken another musical journey that brought it closer to our immediate neighbour.
The Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maj Prateep Suphanrojn brightens the music scene in Laos with its ‘Montra Vientiane’ concert.
As the concert title suggests, the programme, which recently took place at the 1,500-seat Laos National Culture Hall, is packed with Lao songs, except for Felix Mandelssohn's Violin Concerto In E-Minor, Opus 64, performed by Mahidol College of Music's young talent Korn Roongruangchai, and Lao Duangduen, the immortal piece of Thai classical music, composed by a young Siamese prince. Of course, we could not have a friendship event without this ever popular bittersweet song.
It is said to be the first time ever that this set of Lao songs, originally written in plain, simple country music mode, was presented in sophisticated symphonic form. Resident conductor Maj Prateep Suphanrojn made new scores especially for the rare programme, sponsored by ThaiBev and the College of Music with cooperation from the Ministry of Culture of Laos. The result was more than rewarding.
Judging from the audience's reaction, "Montra Vientiane" is one of the successful performances of the TPO under the baton of Maj Prateep.
Despite limited rehearsal time, Lao vocalists and the chorus group were superb on the stage. They captivated the heart of the audience in Paksey Rose and Laotian Champa, beloved tunes written by the country's great Lao artists.
Maj Prateep blended patriotic songs Gratitude For The Party and Love Muang Lao, with some popular, lively pieces, in making two suites for the event, Montra Vientiane Suite and Luang Prabang Suite. As the TPO began Sabaidee Luang Prabang, the last item in the suite, the conductor turned to the audience to encourage them to clap their hands, and everyone did so enthusiastically.
No one waited for the conductor's signal when the programme moved to Happy Farmers _ each audience member again clapped their hands along with the vibrant rhythm.
Also stealing the show outside the official programme was a traditional music and dance performance by talented young students from the National Music and Arts Institute who gave a warm welcome as the audience arrived for this invitation-only programme. They also performed during the break, and their performance gave a meaningful farewell to the audience.
"Montra Vientiane" is more than a music performance. It looks set to be the start of a mission for Mahidol's College of Music.
Through the arrangement of Assoc Prof Sugree Charoensook, the college's dean, 10 pianos and a seeding fund were donated to the arts institute as part of the event. The National Music and Arts Institute needs to brush up its Western classical music programme.
"But I will not push for it. I would rather wait for a while. The Lao side must prove that it's ready for the musical mission," said Assoc Prof Sugree.
About the author
- Writer: Ploenpote Atthakor
Position: Deputy Editorial Pages Editor