At the Oud Festival a welcome opportunity was provided for enjoying the oud (Persian-based lute) solo, played by Taiseer Elias, in its traditional style, without questionable attempts to dilute it with Western instruments and modernist gimmicks.
The wealth of the instrument’s tone colors, subtle nuances of dynamics and frequently changing moods, as presented by Elias, was astonishing. From meditative, introverted pianissimo passages, to forcefully impressive fortissimo chords, the whole range of expressions was intensely displayed. Modern pieces, partly by Elias himself, stayed faithful to the traditional spirit and mode of expression.
Dazzling demonstrations of brilliant virtuosity made the soloist appear a wizard of the instrument. Repetitive motifs often had a hypnotic effect. Israel may be proud to boast of an Arab musician of international standard as one or its own.