Music Review: Al Bawaba attends Karim Said's Strings & Pianos Festival in Amman
It was the third and final day of the enchanting Strings & Pianos Festival - part of the Amman Spring Series, where international Jordanian pianist Karim Said, accompanied by a number of the region's finest musicians, took to the stage for an evening of classical Slavic-rooted music recitals.
Although the evening didn't begin at 8pm as scheduled, Said was warmly welcomed by the audience, who keenly listened to an introductory word by the pianist, which lingered on to what sounded more like a music lecture.
Karim described, in detail, each piece to be played on the evening, with a little help from his piano. Unusual for a live concert, but intriguing nonetheless.
Said, who is the organizer and curator of the festival, can be described in one word: a "character"! He's small in size, somewhat jittery when spoken, and has a quirky sense of humor.
But what can't be described in words is this young artist's raw talent; his piano skills are truly astounding.
However, it was fellow pianist Yasmin Alami who kicked off the show with a rendition of S.Rachmaninov's "Vocalise Op. 34, No. 14" accompanied by the masterly cellist Fadi Hattar.
Unfortunate to admit, but it was a weak opening by the pair. Having said that, Fadi's performance on the cello overpowered that of Yasmin's on the piano.
Following their performance, Karim played two pieces by Chopin, which ranged from slow melodies to a series of dramatic outbursts played at tremendous speed.
The theatre was filled in awe of his performance. The way he was able to memorize hundreds of notes to play Chopin's two dramatic compositions "Polonaise No. 1 in C# minor "and "Scherzo no. 1 in B minor op 20" so perfectly is just incredible.
Things were certainly picking up by then, and the final recitals by Alami, Hattar, Jumanah Hassan and Nabih Bulos on the violin and Vardan Petrosyan on the viola were truly remarkable.
The harmony between the instruments and coordination between the musicians while playing Dvorak's pieces made for a heavenly listening.
Some changes must take place if "the festival is to become an annual event" as Karim announced, but all in all, it was a splendid and engaging evening to go home from.
By Arwad Khalifeh
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