Lovers of both literature and music made their way to the Church of the Risen Lord in UP Diliman on December 7, 2018 to attend the very first lecture-performance in the history of the Concepcion Dadufalza Award for Distinguished Achievement. That evening, 2017 Concepcion Dadufalza awardee and UP Professor Emeritus of Linguistics Jonathan C. Malicsi combined music and linguistic analysis in his lecture, “Handel’s Testament of Faith: A Deconstruction of ‘I know my Redeemer Liveth’ from Handel’s Messiah”.
The Concepcion Dadufalza Award for Distinguished Achievement was established in 2000, in honor of former UP Professor Concepcion D. Dadufalza, on the occasion of her 50th year of teaching. Funded by an anonymous graduate of the University, the award is given to outstanding individuals who have excelled in their craft or who have contributed significantly to important societal causes.
Malicsi, who was himself once a student of Prof. Dadufalza, took the opportunity provided by the Concepcion Dadufalza Memorial Lecture to combine two of his passions– literature and music theory– to bring to life Handel’s holiday classic. He was joined in his endeavor by soprano Angeli Benipayo and pianist Eugene Espino, who performed the composition live, alternating with Malicsi as he explained each note and word, together with the nuances they contribute towards the piece’s overall effect.
While Malicsi took the opportunity to analyze the entire composition, he highlighted how specific notes gave emphasis to the words being sang, which Handel’s librettist lifted from the King James Bible’s Books of Job and Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians, specifically. “The G-sharp is a very important note,” Malicsi said of the high note, “It is reserved for the most important ideas in this particular song.”
Besides his involvement in musical direction, theater, and composition; Malicsi is perhaps better known for his contributions to Philippine linguistics. He earned the Concepcion Dadufalza Award specifically for linking the field of linguistics to language teaching and education.
Malicsi redesigned a college course based on a linguistic reanalysis of Philippine and Western English; and his insights have been adapted for the development teaching materials and courses utilized by multinational companies, educational institutions and key government agencies. He was also the recipient of the 2014 UP Alumni Association (UPAA) Distinguished Achievement Award for Educational Innovation. (Andre DP Encarnacion, UP MPRO)