Art Alert: Cairo Opera House Quartet to perform Mozart and Ravel

Ahram Online, Monday 1 Apr 2013

Cairo Opera House's string quartet will perform works by Maurice Ravel and Mozart on Monday 8 April

Mozart and Ravel
Mozart and Ravel

The Cairo Opera House Quartet will perform Mozart's Adagio and Fugue in C minor, and Maurice Ravel's String Quartet in F Major on Monday, 8 April, at the Cairo Opera House's Small Hall.

Mozart's Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K.546, was first performed in 1788, a composition for strings which is a transcription of Mozart's Fugue in C minor for two pianos (1783). Although the composition is marked by the strong influence of J.S. Bach's contrapuntal style, Mozart's work still testifies to the composer's unique style.

The second half of the evening will transport the audience to the 20th century and Maurice Ravel's String Quartet in F Major.

Composed in 1903, the work didn't meet Ravel's expectations and even Gabriel Faure to whom this quartet was dedicated declared it to be “stunted, badly balanced, in fact a failure.” The rejection deeply affected young Ravel at the time. He had to wait two years for Claude Debussy to come to the rescue. Debussy praised the composition by saying: “In the name of the gods of music and in my own, do not touch a single note you have written in your Quartet.” Today, Ravel's String Quartet is one of the staples of the classical music halls and is often performed together with Debussy's string quartet. Critics look at Ravel's composition as an important step in early development of the composer.

Both compositions, by Mozart and Ravel, will be performed by the Cairo Opera House Quartet, an ensemble founded in 1991 by Osman El-Mahdy, who is also the ensemble's first violin. The Cairo Opera House Quartet performs periodical concerts in the opera, presenting many important compositions.

El-Mahdy studied violin in Alexandria and then Cairo and chamber music at Geneva Conservatoire. He was a member of the Orchestre de Chambre de Genève and the Orchestre de Chambre du Jura, then Cairo Symphony Orchestra from 1989 to 1993, and finally Concertmaster of the Cairo Opera Orchestra from 1994 to 2005.

He performed with numerous ensembles in Egypt as well as in Russia, Syria, the Emirates, Japan, France, and Switzerland. El-Mahdy was a professor of violin and chamber music at the Cairo Conservatory until 2005.

From 1993 onwards, he has been a professor of violin at the Talent Development Center of Cairo Opera House, where he teaches the Suzuki method.

The Cairo Opera House Quartet also includes Yasser Ghoneim on violin, Oleg Oneshchag on viola and Mohamed Salah on cello.


Monday 8 April at 8pm
Cairo Opera House, Small Hall, Zamalek, Cairo

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