Rachmaninoff and Beethoven at the Cairo and Alexandria Opera House

Ahram Online, Wednesday 8 Jun 2011

On Saturday, 11 June at the Cairo Opera House Main Hall and Sunday, 12 June at the Alexandria Opera House, Cairo Symphony orchestra will perform works by Rachmaninoff and Beethoven with piano soloist Mohamed Shams


For two consecutive nights, the Cairo Symphony Orchestra with soloist Mohamed Shams, will perform two great works from the classical music repertoire: Piano Concerto no. 3 by Rachmaninoff and Symphony no 3. by Beethoven.

The Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor Op. 30 by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873 – 1943) is known for its technical challenge. It is also one of the standard concert halls repertoires worldwide. Composed in 1909, the concerto is abundantly emotional, leading the listener through three massive movements into a great finale, described by Patrick Piggot as "one of the most dashing and exciting pieces of music ever composed for piano and orchestra."

The concerto is one of the main focuses of the 1996 film, Shine, based on the life of pianist David Helfgott.  

Eroica (Symphony No.3 In E flat Major, Op.55) by Ludwig van Beethoven was composed in 1803 and first performed 7 April 1805, in Vienna.

It is known that Beethoven wanted to compose a symphony dedicated to General Bonaparte for his deeds since 1798. Most of the music was composed in the summer of 1803. In May 1804, when news reached Vienna that Napoleon had declared himself emperor, Beethoven felt betrayed by the man he now considered a “tyrant.” According to an account later written by his student Ferdinand Ries, when he broke the news to Beethoven, the composer "went to the table, took hold of the title page by the top, tore it in two, and threw it to the floor." Following this incident, Beethoven changed the planned title of the work from Heroic Symphony [Sinfonia Eroica] composed to celebrate the memory of a great man or Sinfonia grande: Buonaparte to a simple expression: Eroica

The Eroica is the first great symphony to have captured the romantic imagination and as such it is considered to be at the threshold of Romanticism in music. It is also one of the major milestones in the development of this trademark Beethoven style.


Mohamed Shams was born in 1984, and started playing music at the age of seven when he joined the Cairo Conservatory. He graduated with distinction in 2004. Shams has been recognized in Egypt and abroad; he won the first prize in the Brevard Music Festival Competition, North Carolina - USA 2000 and 2002, the Brevard Music Center concerto competition in 2001 and was invited to play with the Brevard Music Center orchestra for his outstanding achievements in the 2003 festival. He has appeared as a soloist with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, the Cairo Opera Orchestra, the Cairo Conservatory Orchestra, the London Chamber Orchestra, Repertory Symphony Orchestra, Brevard Music Center Orchestra, the Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra and the University of Bonn Orchestra. He also has played numerous chamber music concerts both in Cairo and abroad.


Cairo Symphony Orchestra, soloist: Mohamed Shams, conductor: Marcello Mottadelli

Saturday, 11 June at the Cairo Opera House Main Hall and on Sunday, 12 June at the Alexandria Opera House (Sayed Darwish Theatre). Both evening performances begin at 8:00 pm. 


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