Nelida Nassar 01.31.2014
Simon Ghraichy does not need an introduction to the Lebanese public. He performed few weeks ago at the Cairo Opera House with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, tonight he will join once more the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra. Ghraichy will arouse the public with Beethoven’s 3rd piano Concerto in A minor Op 107, a virtuoso work of Viennese classicism whose proportions prefigure the genius’s great symphonic compositions.
The Concerto No. 3 is dedicated ‘à son Excellence Le Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussial’. As is standard for Classical/Romantic-era concertos, the work is in three movements: Allegro con brio, Largo and Rondo/Allegro. It is deemed to be “original, full of imagination and impressive”. As for being impressive, it has indeed been performed and recorded by maestro pianists of the like of Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim, Glenn Gould, Wilhelm Kempff, Evgeny Kissin, Arthur Rubinstein and Kyrstian Zimmerman to name just a few. Dazzling, full of intense exhilaration and at the same time mysterious and profound, the Concerto No.3 has conquered the whole world simply on the merit of its musical wealth. It has the same conventional line-up as Concerto No 2, retaining the trombone but adding a piccolo and parting with the timpani.
Ghraichy will play the Concerto No. 3 not with themes that lodge in the memory but with motifs that act as springboards for a dizzying succession of constantly varying étude-like passages: rapid repeated notes, lightning arpeggios in thirds and sixths, athletic octaves, and filigree flights to the top of the keyboard and back. Character, thought, clean execution, excellent balance, the dark ruminations of the development section of the opening movement, the incidental beauties – the articulacy of Ghraichy’s left hand is a marvel in itself, for instance – are all part of the pianist virtuosity and for what promise to be an unforgettable evening!
January 31, 2014 at 8.00 p.m.
USJ, University St Joseph Church, Achrafieh, Beirut, Lebanon