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Colin Clarke
Fanfare, November 2019

Primak-Khoury is positively sparking in her delivery. There is a lovely, deliberately splashy passage towards the work’s close that underlines the composer’s evidently somewhat zany side.

The recording is splendid; the piano coming across with great presence and fullness of tone. The entire disc is a joy to experience, and once more offers an eye-opening voyage into uncharted waters. The three sonatas are all first recordings, while Howrani’s Rhapsody was self-released in a performance by the composer in 1996. © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review




Colin Clarke
Fanfare, November 2019

The second volume of Lebanese piano music from the Grand Piano label is worthy of inclusion. Two works by Anis Fuleihan, including his Fourth Piano Sonata (which celebrates contrasts, not least between East and West) contrast with, for some light relief, Waseed Howrani’s Lebanese Rhapsody. © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review



Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, August 2019

…Here is the second, again under the tutelage and inspiration of pianist Tatiana Primak-Khoury.

Boghos Gelalian's Piano Sonata of 1964 is also in three movements. Gelalian was of Armenian parentage and found himself in the Lebanon among an Armenian ‘ex-pat’ community fleeing the genocide being ruthlessly prosecuted in his homeland. The Sonata is an easy-flowing distinctly Rachmaninovian essay: an extremely pleasurable and assertive piece.

This is a generous ear-opening collection of what I take to be world premiere recordings. © 2019 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Jem Condliffe
Review Corner, July 2019

The programme closes with two easier pieces, Waleed Howrani’s Lebanese Rhapsody,which is a round-up of popular local folk tunes; parts of it are familiar and it’s one of the more Middle Eastern sounding pieces. Fuleihan ends the CD with his Air and Fugue On White Keys; you can guess what that’s about.

This is an interesting album, and not at all difficult, from composers you might not normally hear of. © 2019 Review Corner Read complete review



Records International, July 2019

Three substantial Lebanese piano sonatas: for Fuleihan (1951), the juxtaposition of archaic and modern is both kaleidoscopic and playful, while Gelalian (1964) draws on folkloric and late-Romantic influences in his brand of ‘Orientalism.’ Khoury’s sonata (2016) both questions and reflects unsettling contemporary experience in a work of audacious, pulsing intensity while Howrani’s 1995 Rhapsody is a humorous piece which processes and disguises a dozen popular and folk songs. © 2019 Records International



David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2019

Reviewing the first volume in this ‘Lebanese Piano Music’ series in November 2016, I concluded with the commendation ‘Discover the disc and be pleasantly surprised’. Now I would add the question, ‘why has this music been so dreadfully neglected?’ The Fourth sonata from Anis Fileihan, composed in 1951, is a score of its time that embraces atonality, yet retains a thread of conventional tonality that creates passages of attractive melodic beauty, in much the same way as Shostakovich combined the two. Indeed I guess many of today’s virtuosos would happily programme the work had it carried that Russian’s name. There is a brief central Intermezzo, its outer movements presenting technical challenges for the performer, Tatiana Primak-Khoury. She follows that with the Fourth Piano Sonata by her husband, Houtaf Khoury, who, apart from a period studying in Kiev, has, for the rest of his life, been caught up in the Middle East conflicts. That is reflected in the three movements of the Fourth Sonata entitled, Morass, Desolation and Sham, together adding up to a most imposing piano score, its finale a movement of sheer anger that makes heavy demands on the soloist. It was completed just prior to the recording in 2017. Boghos Gelalian was born in 1927 and lived through all the various troubles in his country, stoically teaching the next generation of pianists. Though he earned money wherever he could, often as a nightclub pianist, he was a highly progressive composer who recast traditional music into the style of the experimentalists writing in the mid-twentieth century, the Sonata from 1964 certainly fitting into music of Western Europe of that time. Waleed Howrani was born in New York in 1948, but brought up in Lebanon, eventually becoming extremely successful on the international stage as a concert pianist. An illness in his mid-thirties robbed him of that career, and he turned to composition, the Lebanese Rhapsody among his most popular piano pieces. Finally to challenge Tatiana, Anis Fuleihan’s Air and Fugue is a serious fun piece, and I can readily sum up that this disc is one of the most welcome discoveries I have made in recent times; the playing is superb; the sound quality is outstanding, and the booklet’s programme notes are an example to all who undertake that task. What more can I say. © 2019 David’s Review Corner





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