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Avner Dorman

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Piano Sonata No. 3 – Dance Suite (2005),
Publisher
G Schirmer Inc
Category
Solo Keyboard(s)
Year Composed
2005
Duration
15 Minutes
Orchestration
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Programme Note
Avner Dorman Piano Sonata No. 3 – Dance Suite (2005),
Composer Note:

When Soheil asked me to compose a new piece for his March Alice Tully concert, I had already begun contemplating the writing of a suite of dances. However, instead of following the traditional form of a dance suite (i.e., a sequence of unrelated dance movements), I chose to compose a dramatic piece, one that combines the vividness of dances with the emotional content of drama.

Dramatically, Dance Suite is the journey through sound of a blind oud player. (The oud is a traditional Middle-Eastern instrument that resembles a lute or a guitar.) The piece opens with a prelude which symbolically represents the blind player’s wandering through the darkness and finding his expression through sound rather than light. The prelude is very passionate and deals with the musician’s inner conflict.

The movement that follows the prelude (Oud and Kanun) is based on a traditional Arabic maqam and incorporates several Arabic dances. A maqam is a series of notes or gestures that form the basis of most classical Arabic music. The second movement is constructed like a taqsim - an improvisatory piece that is based on a single maqam.

During the second movement, sounds from a different world begin to penetrate the classical Arabic music. These are sounds of modern street-life and include modern dances (such as techno and house). The oud player is fascinated by these new sounds and begins to follow them instinctively in his music.

The last movement begins when, unexpectedly, the serene atmosphere disappears. The modern dances take over, leading the piece into an exuberant finale. It is solely based on motives from the first two movements, combined with rhythms and gestures of modern dance styles.

Dance Suite is played continuously as one movement and is approximately 15 minutes long.

— Avner Dorman


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Reviews
The Third Sonata subtitled ‘Dance Suite’ paints a picture of the landscape of the composer’s homeland. In addition its opening section is inspired by a blind Oud musician (the Oud is an Arabic Lute e.g. the French L’Oud’, becomes the English Lute). The second movement is based on an Arabic ‘maqam’, which is a type of scale or mode. Various dance rhythms are also incorporated especially in the incredible finale called ‘Techno’ which uses Jazz rhythms. What is particularly striking about these two sonatas is the way in which the entire instrument is used, often melodically. The Third Sonata has passages in which a repeated, simple five note melody is heard at the bottom of the piano surrounded by cluster harmonies which are at the same pitch or just above it - all below the bass clef stave. The effect is not only incredibly percussive and exciting but also produces an effect rather like that of using quarter-tones, which is another characteristic of ‘maqam’. The recording, excellently, is able to convey these demanding pianistic effects as indeed is the piano - we are not told which make.
Gary Higginson , www.musicweb-international.com,1/1/0001
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