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Orchestral music by
Bechara El-Khoury -
reviewed by

'... a valuable addition ...'

Bechara El-Khoury: Piano Concerto; Poems for Piano and Orchestra; Meditation poetique for Violin and Orchestra. © 2006 Naxos Rights International Ltd

One of today's most creative and accessible musical 'voices', Franco-Lebanese composer and poet, Paris-based Bechara El-Khoury [listen -- track 1, 5:49-7:26] was born in Beirut fifty years ago.

In 1969, age twelve, young Bechara began serious music studies in Beirut with Agop Arslanian (piano, harmony, counterpoint, fugue and analysis) while between 1971 and 1973 he published three volumes of poetry. In 1973 he was choirmaster at the church of Saint Elias in Antelias near Beirut, at that time composing works for choir and orchestra.

In 1979 Bechara El-Khoury went to Paris and took advanced lessons in composition and orchestration with Pierre-Petit. In 1983 Erato Records released a two-record album of symphonic and concertante music by El-Khoury and that year he was featured at the Paris centenary of Lebanese artist, poet and writer, Khalil Gibran.

During the years that followed El-Khoury was in increasing demand and his output burgeoned. In 1996 the first performance of his Sextet for 24 Violins, commissioned by Shlomo Mintz (for his masterclasses), was filmed in Tel Aviv and shown publicly in 1997 at the Carnegie Hall in New York.

In a recent interview he said that contemporary 'classical music' might be accessed like love -- (quote) -- 'there is love at first sight which (may) not last; and then there are relationships which build solidly through time and experience ... to me, music is a combination of heart and reason, spontaneity and deep reflection.'

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Copyright © 6 November 2007 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


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