Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition 1978: El Bacha,
Octors, Georges-Elie; El Bacha, Abdel Rahman; Belgium National Orchestra
To coincide with the Queen Elisabeth Competition for piano, muso presents a re-release of recordings of Abdel Rahman El Bacha’s performances in 1978, when- at the age of 19- he won the first prize in the prestigious competition. The archives of the Queen Elisabeth Competition teem with unique musical gems, preserved for posterity over a period of almost 80 years. It was high time to allow today’s music-lovers to enjoy the earliest recordings of a number of eminent laureates who first made their mark at the Competition. Audiences at the 1978 competition were struck by the serenity radiated by the young Beirut pianist Abdel Rahman El Bacha, undeservedly omitted from recent re-releases. But what impressed a demanding jury (one that included Leon Fisher and Emil Gilels), above all, was his playing, already incredibly musical, and his mastery of form, of sonorities, and of styles; from the very first round, he had won over the public. He presented a balanced programme- much of which is contained on this album- that perfectly showcased his qualities. Since then, Abdel Rahman El Bacha has demonstrated that he not only had what it took to win a major competition, but is a great musician who brings wonderful artistry to bear on the repertoire for piano. Something we can already sense on these first recordings dating from 1978.