Friday, February 12, 2010

Avner Dorman, Promising Young Composer

Avner Dorman was born in 1975. That makes him a bit less than young in the way society views it. As a composer, though, that's still "young." His latest Naxos release of concertos, for mandolin, piccolo, piano and concerto grosso, respectively, finds him looking back at baroque forms and applying them to a music sensibility tempered by our place in today's world.

When I first listened I was almost startled by a brief musical passage (in the Concerto Grosso) that had the earmarks of an influence, of Estonian composer Arvo Paert. It hit me then that Avner Dorman is doing for the baroque and early classical periods what Paert has done for medieval-renaissance music. He has taken some of the forms, colors and structural aspects of baroque-classical music and done them over to suit his own musical consciousness. He has made the old "new." And he has done that without falling prey to the direct influences of those 20th century masters of the "neo," most particularly Stravinsky in his neo-classical period.

Instead, Avner Dorman writes Avner Dorman music. Each of the concertos on this disc, performed with real brio and devotion by Andrew Cyr and the Metropolis Ensemble, has the clarity and directness of a baroque concerto. But the musical language is different. There is a compactness of expression, a delicacy of delivery, a restrained lyricism not super-saturated in romantic or late romantic emotionalism.

Dorman could well be an important voice in the concert music of our era. It's too soon to say. It is not too soon to recommend this CD. It delivers a music that has all the freshness of the first spring flower.

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