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Cherry Pop

Title - '33'
Artist - Simon Ghraichy

For those not in the know, Simon Ghraichy (born in 1985) is a French pianist of Lebanese and Mexican heritage, living in Paris, France.

After a cosmopolitan childhood and teenage life (Lebanon, Mexico, Canada), Ghraichy landed in Paris and entered the Conservatoire ŕ Rayonnement Régional de Boulogne-Billancourt at age 16.

He was admitted to the Conservatoire de Paris in 2004 then to the Sibelius Academy of Helsinki in 2008. He studied with Michel Beroff, Daria Hovora and Tuija Hakkila.

He also participated in masterclasses with famous pianists such as Cyprien Katsaris, Jean-Philippe Collard, Gergely Bogányi and Jerome Lowenthal.

In June 2014, Simon Ghraichy played for the French and American UN-soldiers in Bamako, Mali.

In 2015, Simon Ghraichy played at the Festival International d'Art Lyrique d'Aix-en-Provence, at the Killington Music Festival in the United States, at the Baalbeck International Festival in Lebanon for the 60th edition, at Bard Music Festival in New York City with the American Symphony Orchestra and was invited at the Lisztomanias Festival in France.

He made his Carnegie Hall recital debut in October 2015 and also played at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC in March 2016 and at the Berlin Philharmonie in the fall of 2016.

On his sophomore album for Deutsche Grammophon (the title alludes to the pianist’s age at the time of recording), 33, the French pianist Simon Ghraichy presents his personal selections, including two world premiere recordings commissioned by Ghraichy himself: Chilly Gonzales’s 'Robert on the Bridge' and Jacopo Baboni Schilingi’s 'HUGE,' as well as pieces by Glass, Nyman, Schumann, and more.

1. 'Recuerdos de la Alhambra' - Transcr. for Piano By Simon Ghraichy (4:29)
2. 'No.8 in a Flat minor: La Chanson de la Folle Au Bord de la Mer' (3:20)
3. 'Alfonsina y El Mar' - Transcr. for Piano By Simon Ghraichy (2:47 )
4. '1. Einfach' (5:41)
5. '2. Hastig' (4:58 )
6. '3. Einfach Und Zart' (4:32 )
7. '4. Innig' (5:19)
8. '5. Zum Beschluss' (6:01 )
9. 'Robert on the Bridge' (4:16 )
10. 'Raising the Sail' (4:14 )
11. 'Time Lapse - Piano Version' (3:21 )
12. 'I. Presto Ritmico Sempre Staccato E Secco' (6:23)
13. 'II. Prestissimo Senza Metro Ma Ritmico' (7:33)
14. 'HUGE' (5:35)
15. 'Tema' (0:50)
16. 'I. Un Poco Maestoso' (1:21)
17. 'II.' (0:45)
18. 'III.' (1:08)
19. 'IV.' (0:35)
20. 'V. Prestissimo' (0:56)
21. 'VI.' (0:44)
22. 'VII. Presto' (1:03)
23. 'VIII. Cantando' (0:52)
24. 'IX. Passionato' (1:56)

The beautifully precise, crisp and precise piano work of 'Recuerdos de la Alhambra' brings us first into h world here on 33 and that's backed by the sterner '25 Preludes, Op.31 / 1st Suite : No.8 in A flat minor: La chanson de la folle au bord de la mer,' before the his delicate sided takes over again on the truly beautiful 'Alfonsina y el mar.'

Ghraicy's 'Humoreske, Op.20' quintet is a near 30 minute segment of pure, unadulterated piano maestro brilliance (and my own personal favorite works here on this new album) and they are backed by the stern, yet gently playful 'Robert on the Bridge.'

The gently flowing, quiet beauty of 'Raising the Sail' is then followed by a similar track in 'Time Lapse (Piano Version).' The pairing of both 'Deux études pour piano : I. Presto ritmico sempre staccato e secco' and its more freeflowing companion piece 'Deux études pour piano : II. Prestissimo senza metro ma ritmico' are gems to behold also, of course.

The raging of 'HUGE' is next and then this quite magical, simply stunning new album from Ghraichy rounds out with the ten-part movement, 'Etudes in Variation Form on a Theme by Beethoven, WoO 31.'

Collectively falling at just under 10 minutes the entire set, we begin with the quietly thoughtful and pensive 'Tema' and the slightly more upbeat, summer's day in a grassy meadow 'I. Molto moderato,' enjoy the faster pacing of 'IV. Prestissimo,' before ending with the spritely paced 'VIII. Passionato' and the quiet solitude of 'XI.'

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Simon Ghraichy @ Twitter