Posts Tagged ‘Scene From Hellek’

Rami Khalifé - 2005 - Scene From Hellek

Pianist Rami Khalifé was born in Beirut, Lebanon, on September 25, 1981. After a short introduction to the keyboard, he left Lebanon at age seven, eventually resuming his musical training in Paris, France, at the Conservatoire National de Région de Boulogne-Billancourt under the direction of Alfred Herzog. There he studied with Louis-Claude Thirion and Marie-Paule Siuguet, while taking concurrent private studies with Abdel Rahman El Bacha.
Khalifé received several awards during those years in Paris, most notable among them at the Radio France, UFAM, and Claude Kahn piano competitions. Subsequently, he was able to perform a concert at the Gaveau Music Hall in 1994. On a tour of the Middle East with the Boulogne-Billancourt Orchestra, he performed Sergey Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 4 and Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G. From 2000 to 2003, Khalifé pursued his higher education at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. Working with Francesco Schlime, he gave several improvisational concerts for two pianos, one of which was the first of its kind in the history of Juilliard. He studied piano under the Hungarian pianist Gyorgy Sander, a disciple of Béla Bartók. He graduated from Juilliard in May 2003. Since 2000, he toured with his father, Lebanese composer and oud player Marcel Khalifé, in performances around the world. With the clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, they have concertized in the Middle East and the United States, performing classical and improvised repertoire, and toured in South America collaborating with Brazilian cellist Fabio Presgrave.
In 2005 Khalifé reunited with Schlime and founded the group Aufgang, utilizing two pianos and computer, performing original compositions of new, modern, and experimental music. He has released two albums — Live in Beirut, which contains solo piano interpretations of classical music, and Scene from Hellek, an original solo piano recital of new music. Khalifé has also worked with the Russian Globalis Symphony Orchestra based in Moscow, and scored a movie by Lebanese filmmaker Wael Noureddine

Rami Khalifé

Rami Khalifé1

Pianist Rami Khalifé is the son of master oud player Marcel Khalifé, but plays nothing like his father. Far removed from world, Arabic or Middle Eastern musics, the acoustic keyboardist is more akin to modern spontaneous pianists like Cecil Taylor, Misha Mengelberg, Fred VanHove, Charlemagne Palestine, or Denman Maroney. While not quite the hyper-pianist that they are, his brilliance is clearly evident, using a technique that in many instances is restrained. Known in concert for his exhaustingly long instrumental improvised dialogues and diatribes, here Khalife is often thoughtful and reverent, though far from delicate and genteel.

These 12 acoustic solo piano originals run thematically as a whole quite well, and as such deserve an attentive sitting from the astute listener. His most spatial and reasoned playing is heard during “Liva,” he is very introspective and sonorous on “Ya Hadya Al Eiss,” and waxes mysterious as a Lebanese night sky on the two-note theme “Five Minutes in Beirut.” On these, Khalife is fond of going inside the piano strings, strumming arpeggios as accents. He uses a playful, then serious stalking theme for “Pts. 1 & 2” of the “Trilogie: Novahut“; he assimilates a dramatic percussive tympani during its third part, “Reinhard in Paris,” and is a jumping bean on the 88’s, in no-time for “Danse Soufi,” and in kinetic hyper-piano mode on “Dimensions.” This wide range of styles, emotions, and dynamics is best heard on the title track finale, which starts brooding, morphs stoic, and is eventually victorious and triumphant. A recording of great depth and vision, not to mention difficult to specifically pigeonhole, Khalife is holding a fresh, new, modern, somewhat post-minimalist approach close to the vest. Likely he will bust out with a follow-up blockbuster of a project in the not too distant future.


  1. Liva (03:12)
  2. 5 Minutes In Beirut (05:55)
  3. Trilogie: Novahut, Part One (05:31)
  4. Trilogie: Novahut, Part Two (03:29)
  5. Trilogie: Reinhard in Paris (04:13)
  6. … (02:43)
  7. Danse Soufi (03:15)
  8. Africa, Part one (01:39)
  9. Africa, Part Two (05:31)
  10. Dimensions (02:19)
  11. Ya Hadya Al Eiss (03:37)
  12. Scene From Hellek (07:46)

Duration : 49:09 | Bitarte : 320 kBit/s | Year : 2005 | Size : 120 mb

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