Art Alert: Egyptian Perspectives to bring three music premieres to Cairo Opera

Ahram Online , Thursday 2 Jun 2016

Cairo Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Mohamed Saad Basha, will perform works by Mohamed Aly Farag, Gamal Salama and John Baboukis

From left to right- Top: Conductor Mohamed Saad Basha, pianist Moushira Issa, flutist Peter Olah. Bottom: Composers: Mohamed-Aly Farag, Gamal Salama, John Baboukis

The Cairo Symphony Orchestra's upcoming concert, scheduled to take place on 4 June, is entitled Egyptian Perspectives. 

The Perspectives are a series of concerts with programming that aims at showcasing compositions by Egyptian, Egypt-based and Egypt-influenced composers of all generations.

The concert will be conducted by Mohamed Saad Basha and the soloists of the evening will be Cairo Symphony Orchestra principle flautist Peter Olah as well as pianist Moushira Issa.

The evening will include three works, each representing Egypt's premiere composers and musicians: Mohamed Aly Farag's Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, Gamal Salama's Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra and Symphony by John Baboukis.

The evening will open with Concerto for Flute and Orchestra (2015) by young Egyptian composer and violinist Mohamed Aly Farag.

In the programme notes, the composer explains that the 25-minute-long concerto is partly based on a piece composed during the 2012 Antonin Dvorak International Composition Competition in Prague, Czech Republic, in which Mohamed Aly won third place in the senior category.

Farag's composition begins with Prelude and then moves to Toccata in second movement. A slow melodic Aria makes the third movement in which the flute is given the chance to sing lyrically. For the final movement, a fast, up-beat Capriccio allows the flute to exercise its virtuosity with fast passages and a loud, crashing finish. 

The concert will also include Gamal Salama's Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra.

Born in 1945 in Alexandria, Gamal Salama pursued his musical education in the former Soviet Union at the Moscow Conservatory (Tchaikovsky Conservatory). Salama has numerous compositions to his name including scores for many films and television series. Among his early notable artistic work are cooperative efforts with directors such as Said Marzouk (in the 1975 film Orid Hallan starring Faten Hamama), Henry Barakat (in 1977's Afwah wa Araneb), and Youssef Chahine (in Hadduta Misriya, 1982). Salama also composed numerous orchestral pieces and songs reflecting religious themes.

The evening's final composition will be John Baboukis' Symphony. As the composer describes his composition, the symphony is "a respectful and affectionate homage from an American in Egypt, and dedicated to the Cairo Symphony Orchestra." John Baboukis is an Associate Professor and chairs the Department of the Arts at the American University in Cairo.

The composer explains that the Symphony's first movement begins with a slow introduction, which features expressive solo passages for the oboe and flute. The movement proper draws heavily on the American minimalist style, but is a sonata. The second, slow movement is samaie thakiel, a form drawn from classical Arab music. The third movement, scherzo, is intended as a description of the continuous hustle and bustle of the Tentmaker’s souq, where the confusion comes to a climax, and suddenly everything stops for the call to prayer, heard in the woodwinds. Finally, the last movement in sonata-rondo form reflects the composer's home in Zamalek. 

Saturday 4 June, 8pm
Cairo Opera House, main hall, Zamalek, Cairo

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