Event: Hungarian-Moroccan pianist Marouan Benabdullah performed at The Imperial recently

A classic elegance welcomes the guest of the Nostalgia 1911 Brasserie, located inside the New Delhi’s Imperial Hotel. The atmosphere and the furniture remind of a western gentlemen’s club of the early 1900: wood and ceramics, waiters in livery with white gloves, silverware, chandeliers and a well-stocked bar area in perfect art deco style, with all kind of whiskeys and spirits. The snapshots of 20th Century find space on the photographs on the walls, which depict characters from different periods: early British officials, Indian princes, royalties, but also famous actors as Cary Grant, Vivien Leigh and Sean Connery in the famous movie, The Untouchables.

The ocassion was the unveiling of the Piano club on Steinway and was dedicated to a solo concert of the renowned Hungarian-Moroccan pianist Marouan Benabdullah, organised in collaboration with Hungarian Information and Cultural centre and supported by The Hungarian Ministry of Human Resources and the Institut Fancaise and Lisztomanias International. The aim of The Imperial is to create many other occasions of this sort, characterised by live concerts with unique artists from all over the world in order to recreate the atmosphere of the old days.

The audience comprised Hungarian diplomats, Indian piano lovers, journalists and guests of the hotel. Benabdullah, probably in honour of his origins and of the Hungarian audience, decided to devote his concert mainly to the music of the composer Franz Listz, one of the most technically advanced pianist of his age. The pianist played some of the Hungarian composer's masterpieces, such as Consolation no.3 or the transcription of the Paganini’s Capriccio no.6. There was also the time to celebrate another great composer, the French Claude Debussy, of whom Benabdullah has interpreted the three pieces that compose the Estampes: Pagodes, La soirée dans Grenade and Jardins sous la pluie. The audience was enchanted – the silence was absolute – both by the technical ability and the passion of Benabdullah – playing one hour of high level music. Some guests asked him to accept some requests, such as, for example, to play the famous Hungarian Rhapsody no.2 but he politely declined, saying that such complicated works need concentration and training. Instead, he closed the piano and walked among the guests to have a conversation with them.