The Bibliotheca Alexandrina has been posting videos on cultural as well as science-related topics on its YouTube channel since March, when Egyptian cultural institutions were temporarily closed due to the coronavirus.
While all the programmes add something unique with their content, the videos focusing on music have garnered the highest viewership so far.
A major part of this achievement is due to the Bibliotheca coming forward with solutions for the coronavirus restrictions: a creative video which relies on editing to bring together several musicians from different locations, releasing of a most recent concert staged at the Alexandria Library's main hall, or a new concert live-streamed during the pandemic.
While creative videos and live-streamed concerts are well-known on the independent music scene in Egypt, unfortunately, they are not practiced by the vast majority of the government cultural institutions. As such the Bibliotheca's practice is an important addition to the scene which is otherwise paralysed by the coronavirus restrictions.
Most recently, on 21 May, the Bibliotheca's YouTube channel uploaded a composition titled Ibtihal by Rageh Daoud with lyrics that "fit the difficult times we are all going through," the composer said in the video introduction.
The video shows members of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Nayer Nagui and featuring chanter Samir Azmi, with each musician performing from a different location. The video and music was edited by Remon Qadri.
Also on 21 May, the Bibliotheca released a concert which was recorded on 7 March, shortly before the shutdown measures.
In it, Bibliotheca’s String Orchestra performs works by Handel, Haydn, Mozart and Sherif Mohie Eldin, who also conducts the orchestra. The second half of the evening features pianist Seif Eldin Sherif playing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1, accompanied by the Bibliotheca’s Orchestra under the baton of Mohie Eldin.
On 21 April, the Bibliotheca’s Quintet led by Shadi Abdelsalam live-streamed a concert in which works by a variety of composers representing classical as well as light music were performed, from Pachelbel's Canon and a waltz by Shostakovitch to the tango Por Una Cabeza, popularised by the film Scent of a Woman, among other compositions.
The concert is accompanied by Abdelsalam making a small introduction to each composition and as such bringing the listeners closer to the repertoire performed.
To view all videos released by Bibliotheca Alexandrina, check their YouTube channel here.
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