Friday, April 07, 2006

Cairo Symphony Orchestra in Ankara

Dear Colleagues,

Today I wanted to write something different, something special. I wanted to write my critic on the concert which was performed by Cairo Symphony Orchestra on 5th April 2006 Thursday evening starting at 2030 hours in Ankara MEB Shura Concert Hall. If you have already participated to the concert then file it for your future records. Those who couldn't participate, they may get interested in knowing the details from first hand observation.

We entered the parking lot at about 20 hours. Audience was all in black business suit dressing code. I had jeans, woodman's shirt, Chineese made sports shoes. However I was quite consistent in my own dressing code.

The Cairo Symphony Orchestra is an eminent and unique participant in broadening and enriching the musical life in Egypt. Founded in 1959, the Orchestra has long established reputation for uncompromising preciseness and grace in interpreting classical music under its conductor Christoph Muller.

Repertoire was:

L.V. Beethoven : Egmont Overture

C. Saint-Seans: Piano Concerto No.5
Piano Idil Biret Turkey

Gamal Salama : Little Suite for Flute and string orchestra
Solist. Inas Abd El Dayem

N. Rimsky -Korsakov : Spanish Capricio

First Concertmaster: Yasser El Serafi

At first, I was hoping to listen to our pianist Idil Biret as usual. I had no idea about the orchestra. I was expecting Idil Biret to play the piano and any one of our groups would play at the background. So we entered the Shura Concert Hall with that notion in mind. Concert Hall was renovated for the occasion of the Music Festival by local Sponsors. First row seats were allocated to Sponsor companies. Your humble writer had his seat at the middle third row. My girl friend purchased these preferencial concert seat tickets through her internal school contacts. I envied how wonderful contacts she had. I hope in near future I will have the same previlage.

Then we had the members of Cairo Philarmonia on the stage. First they played Beethoven "Egmont" overture. Since we used to have mechanical/ tough manners of our local orchestras CSO or Bilkent in Ankara, or the CD performances of western groups, this new tempo was something different, more melodic, more oriental, comfortable, soft and smooth, more eastern, more Egyptian so-to-speak. That is also one clue of accepting your getting old. Nothing surprises yourself too much. It is getting less chance to listen to new music. The new way of playing an old tune makes you happy.

Then we had our pianist Mrs. Idil Biret on the stage. It was Egyptian Concerto by Saint_Seans since the visiting orchestra was from Cairo Egypt. It was so easy for our pianist, therefore it was understandable that she played so reluctantly.

Anyhow after the performance we were in expection that our Queen would leave the stage as usual with no bis, on the contrary she returned to her Bosenwerke piano and played 2 (two in letters) more pieces from Bach in Jazz format. As if she said that "Piano is played in that manner, learn it"

Then we had intermission. I was expecting to drink red aged dry good wine at the fuaye since local Kavaklidere winery was one of the sponsors. No way. They had tea and coffee only.

Then we had the second half. Visiting Orchestra played Eyptian composer Gamal Salama's Little Suite for Flute and string orchestra. Solist was beautiful Mrs.Inas Abd El Dayem. We understood that Cairo orchestra was in Ankara for their extraordinary interpretation of their own music.

Solist Mrs Inas Abd el-Dayem pronounced "Bismillah" at the beginning, then played her tune in great harmony with the orchestra. She played, played and danced with extraordinary energy. Then she had bis. I applauded so much that I have been warned to stop. I am told that it is not good manners to continue applause for so long.

The last piece was Rimsky Korsakov's Spanish Capricio. They played in their own Egyptian style, soft, extra melodic, with full concentration. It was good timing to get pleasure of oriental performance, let leave mechanic contemporaries.

Conductor Christopher Muller pleased us with his conductiong performance during the programme as well as his pandomim performance in bis pieces at the end.

I hope that you liked my above evaluation. Anyhow please do read this writing as a non- conventional music critic, and do not take it too seriously.

Abd El Haluk El Per Perry Shan

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Total Eclipse in HaciBektas

It was exciting to witness such an event on CileHane hill in HaciBektas on 29th March 2006.

Antakya- Hatay tour

We had an extraordinary tour in March 2006 with ODTU Architecture department within Arch-302 course project.