Spices, Perfumes, Toxins!
I Will Always Love You
Written by Dolly Parton (From Jolene, 1974)
Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You
Written by Bob Crewe, Bob Gaudio – Sung by Frankie Valli (1967)
When I Fall In Love
Music by Victor Young, Lyrics by Edward Heyman (1952)
Music by Elton John, Lyrics by Bernie Taupin (1970)
River Deep – Mountain High
Ike and Tina Turner (1966)
Written by Phil Spector, Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich
Stevie Wonder (Songs in the Key of Life, 1976)
Believe in You and Me
Music by Sandy Lizer & David Wolfert (1983)
Charlie Smalls, (1975)
(From The Wiz)
Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion (1998)
Written by David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager, Alberto Testa, & Tony Renis
(From These are Special Times, Sogno)
Over The Rainbow
Music by Harold Arlen, Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg (1939)
(From The Wizard of Oz)
Avner Dorman: Spices, Perfumes, Toxins!
To savor a world of musical flavors and states of mind, make a beeline to Avner Dorman’s Spices, Perfumes, Toxins!, the percussion concerto
that opens CityMusic Cleveland’s program. Just look at all of the instruments — nearly 50 — lined up at the front of the stage for the two soloists to play.
They include marimbas, vibraphone, tambourine, and drums hailing from many cultures. And then listen. The influence of Middle Eastern music can be heard,
as can touches of jazz, raga, and rock. The rhythmic aspect of the score is so visceral that you might find your body grooving to the music.
Dorman, music director of CityMusic and an internationally admired composer, wrote Spices, Perfumes, Toxins! in stages. He created the first movement
in 2000 for the percussionists Adi Morag and Tomer Yariv, classmates at the Music Academy of Tel Aviv, who called their duo PercaDu. Morag and Yariv persuaded
their friend to write the piece, which turned out to be a blend of Middle Eastern and Indian colors for marimbas and drums. PercaDu performed Spices for several
years before playing it on a late-night classical-music television show in Tel Aviv. The conductor Zubin Mehta happened to be watching, and he immediately invited
Morag and Yariv to audition for him. Mehta was so taken with their playing — and so captivated by Spices, the piece they played at the audition — that he invited
them to appear with him and the Israel Philharmonic. For their appearance, Dorman received a commission to turn the work into a full-length concerto. Perfumes and
Toxins! joined an expanded Spices to become one of Dorman’s most-played compositions, with more than 80 performances worldwide to date.
Dorman has said the work’s title refers to “three substances that are extremely appealing yet filled with danger,” but he notes that listeners need not
discern specific substances being described at any given point. Rather than suggesting a narrative, the title of each movement served as an impetus to generate
musical material. Spices abstractly evokes — through a spectrum of percussion colors and rhythms — the idea of something added to food to give it flavor,
but that also can become “dangerous” if too much is mixed in. The duality also pervades the slow movement, Perfumes, with its hints of seduction, and the
whirlwind Toxins!, a finale of percussion and orchestra flights that summon images of ecstasy and risk. Throughout the work, the percussionists share material
and answer one another. There are moments during certain mesmerizing marimba passages when the ear is tricked into hearing more musical lines than the eye may
think the soloists are playing.
The concerto had its world premiere in Tel Aviv in 2006, after which numerous orchestras, including the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics, programmed the work. In 2012, Dorman created a reduced version for chamber orchestra using fewer winds, but with the same percussion artillery at the front of the stage, to enable smaller ensembles to perform it. For CityMusic’s concerts, the composer will conduct this version — still highly spiced, perfumed, and intoxicating.
© 2015 Donald Rosenberg
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CityMusic Cleveland is a professional chamber orchestra that performs free concerts throughout Northeast Ohio,often accompanied by exhibits of local artwork.
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CityMusic Cleveland strives for more as it approaches its 15th season Story and photography by Michael C. Butz On a sweltering and stormy evening in mid-May, the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus presented a special Saturday night service, of sorts. It was a program that typically takes place only four times a year at the […]