Etienne Kupelian’s Oboe Delights from Bach to Jazz
J. S. Bach Chamber Music concert, featuring renowned Lebanese musician Etienne Kupelian on the oboe, Ondin Brezeanu on the violin, and Armen Ketchek on the piano, offered a taste of the gradually growing progress of classical music in Lebanon.
Playing to an audience of a little over 300 in the Pierre Y. Aboukhater Ampitheater at the University of Saint Joseph in Beirut, the trio dazzled the audience with their delicately sensitive interpretation of Bach, according to The Daily Star.
Although the sounds of the violin and piano are commonly found in chamber music, the oboe was a unique attraction in the concert. Its soft, deep, sound was complementary to the other two instruments. Surprisingly, other than the Double Concerto, the three pieces played were not originally composed for the oboe.
“Although it’s been known since ancient times, the oboe doesn’t enjoy the popularity of the saxophone or the flute,” Kupelian told the Lebanese daily.
It was King Louis IX who brought the oboe to prominence. It played an important role in baroque, classic and romantic eras, but it was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who first incorporated the instrument into his operas and symphonies.
And, according to Kupelian, Robert Schuman writes beautifully for the oboe. Although, Kupelian admitted, “I have a weakness for Mozart.”
He chose to learn the oboe at the age of 13 and has not tried any other instrument.
“Playing the oboe is like playing a particular sport,” Kupelian explained. “Do we ask the runner to try basketball?”
He began studying at the National Higher Conservatory of Music in Lebanon and later continued in Paris. Now he teaches and is a member of the Lebanese National Symphony Orchestra. He has also recorded with Mansour Rahbani, most recently playing in the recording of al Mutanabbi.
In Kupelian’s opinion, the standard of classical music in Lebanon is the best in the Arab world but in dire need of financial support to encourage artists and to build an opera house.
Brezeanu and Ketchek also agreed that more attention should be paid to classical music in Lebanon, but they argued that there has been a noticeable improvement and increase of interest in classical music. The trio presented a professional and enjoyable performance.
Each instrument could be heard distinctly, each telling its own story and then intertwining with the others, taking the audience to a refined space of melody and harmony. The second movement of the Double Concerto, one of the most lyrical orchestral work that Bach ever wrote, was especially moving – Albawaba.com