Simon Ghraichy: Pianist Prodigy of Lebanese and Mexican Origins Performs Liszt Concerto No. 2

Nelida Nassar  01.09.2014

Maestro Ahmed Elsaedi will conduct the 80 musicians Cairo Symphony Orchestra at the Cairo Opera House, Main Hall in a rich program of three composers from the Romantic Period on January 11, 2014.
Richard Wagner: Siegfried Idyll, 1869
Franz Liszt: Piano Concert No. 2 in A Major, S. 125, 1861
Ludwig Van Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 “Pastoral” 1808

The romantic music and literary era was a response and reaction to the industrial revolution and the age of enlightenment where the awakening of impressions and expression of joyful feelings became the tendency. Maestro Elsaedi musical selection is particularly timely in view of the Cairo Arab Spring political and economical turmoil and unrest. Romantic music might be the appropriate deterrent to violence.

Simon Ghraichy the young Lebanese and Mexican prodigy will perform Liszt Concerto No.2 in A Major, S, 125. Liszt began composing his concerto No. 2 in 1839, well before his concerto No.1, but published it 22 years later in 1861. This is a major work in the repertoire for piano and orchestra which both requires great poetry, absolute virtuosity and great innovations. Indeed, it was unusual at the time to compose a piano concerto in one long movement divided into six sections that are connected by transformations of several themes. The concerto’s monothematic structure presaged the composer’s monumental Sonata in B minor.

A work of great orchestral richness (Wagnerian of some sort) the Concerto No. 2 is a very intricate and complex piano piece with octaves, chromatic third jumps for the left hand, and many poly-rhythms.

Ghraichy performance is informed by Liszt extensive and precise annotations of the concerto helping him exhaustively understand the composer’s work. Ghraichy is also inspired by the interpretations of both Krystian Zimmerman and by his professor Michel Beroff. Whereby, his performance will reveal the balance between the concerto poetics contrasting it brilliantly with its challenging virtuosity while unleashing a telluric force which springs from the piano low octaves.

Ghraichy will show us as in the words of Alfred Brendel “How a general pause may connect rather than separate two paragraphs, how a transition may mysteriously transform the musical argument. This is a magical art. By some process incomprehensible to the intellect, organic unity becomes established; the ‘open form’ reaches its conclusions in the infinite.” A promise of an unforgettable evening!

Ghraichy will perform with the Lebanese Symphony Orchestra in Beirut
January 31, 2014 Beethoven Third Concerto.

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