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LEBANESE PIANO MUSIC • 2

Anis FULEIHAN • Boghos GELALIAN • Waleed HOWRANI • Houtaf KHOURY


  • Tatiana Primak-Khoury, piano

Three substantial piano sonatas stand at the heart of a recording that reflects personal and musical independence. For Anis Fuleihan, the juxtaposition of archaic and modern is both kaleidoscopic and playful, while Boghos Gelalian draws on folkloric and late-Romantic influences in his brand of ‘Orientalism’. Houtaf Khoury’s Sonata No. 4 both questions and reflects unsettling contemporary experience in a work of audacious, pulsing intensity.

Tracklist

Fuleihan, Anis
 
Piano Sonata No. 4 (1963) (00:25:00 )
1
I. Allegro moderato (00:09:22)
2
II. Andantino, mesto (00:08:18)
3
Intermezzo: Allegro molto moderato (00:01:35)
4
III. Allegro molto, ritmico (a la grèque) (00:05:28)
Khoury, Houtaf
 
Piano Sonata No. 4, "Sham" (2016) (00:19:00 )
5
I. Morass (00:05:17)
6
II. Désolation (00:11:44)
7
III. Sham (00:03:44)
Gelalian, Boghos
 
Piano Sonata (1964) (00:13:00 )
8
I. Allegro vivo (00:03:44)
9
II. Andantino (00:05:06)
10
III. Molto vivace e brioso (00:03:22)
Howrani, Waleed
11
Lebanese Rhapsody (1996) (00:13:41)
Fuleihan, Anis
 
Air and Fugue on White Keys (1943) (00:07:00 )
12
Air: Largo (00:04:31)
13
Fugue: Vivace (00:02:12)
Total Time: 01:18:04

The Artist(s)

Tatiana Primak-Khoury Married to Lebanese composer Houtaf Khoury, Tatiana Primak-Khoury has given several premieres of his piano works including Piano Concerto No. 1 with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine in 1996, Piano Concerto No. 2 ‘Angel of Light’ with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra in 2012, four piano sonatas and other works. In addition to her performing career, Primak-Khoury serves as artist-in-residence at the University of Balamand in Lebanon, and teaches at the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music.

The Composer(s)

Anis Fuleihan made an intensive study of Middle Eastern traditional music as early as the 1920s. Inasmuch as he was director of the Beirut Conservatory from 1953 to 1960, and conductor of Beirut’s orchestra during the same period, Fuleihan is one of the founding fathers of Lebanese symphonic music. His orchestral works were premièred by the likes of John Barbirolli and Leopold Stokowski, and he himself frequently conducted the New York Philharmonic. After teaching at Indiana University for many years, Fuleihan held appointments first in Beirut and later in Tunisia, where he founded the Orchestre Classique de Tunis in 1962. Not only his biography, but also his music gives the impression that he was a focussed and vigorous cosmopolitan.
Boghos Gelalian earned his living as a pianist in nightclubs, then working as a music arranger for radio. As musical advisor to the Rahbani brothers, he went on to play a significant role in the singer Fairuz’s rise to become a legendary icon of Arabic music. Fairuz’s son Ziad Rahbani, who later became the Lebanese left wing’s figurehead, was also one of his pupils. Despite his familiarity with jazz and light music and the Turkish and Arabic traditions, Gelalian’s own compositions are uncompromisingly modern. Their intense chromaticism occasionally verges on atonality, whilst also—astonishingly—being derived from Armenian and oriental modes.
Waleed Howrani Born in 1948 in New York, but raised in Lebanon, Waleed Howrani is to this day one of the most internationally successful piano virtuosos from the Middle East. After beginning his studies at the Beirut Conservatory he continued studying in Moscow—an arrangement enabled by Aram Khachaturian—where he was a pupil of Emil Gilels, among others. Successes in competitions such as the International Tchaikovsky Competition of 1966 and the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 1968 paved the way for an international career. But when Howrani, in his mid-thirties and now back in the US, fell seriously ill, he decided to make an old childhood dream reality and—under the guidance of William Albright—‘to take lessons in composition before it was too late’.
Born in Tripoli in 1967 and with a doctorate in musicology, Houtaf Khoury represents the younger generation of Lebanese composers. The formative influences on his work came from the Ukraine, from Kiev, where a grant enabled him to pursue his studies from 1988 to 1997. Khoury shares the scepticism of composers such as Shostakovich, Schnittke and Kancheli vis-à-vis the avant-garde’s obsession with material and the belief that music always conveys a message. His orchestral works, chamber music and compositions for piano are pleas for a more humane world.

Reviews

“ Primak-Khoury is positively sparking in her delivery. The entire disc is a joy to experience, and once more offers an eye-opening voyage into uncharted waters.” – Fanfare