Here’s something to put in your calendar.  Our friends at the Metropolis Ensemble, led by Artistic Director Andrew Cyr, have a fabulous program called “There and Back Again” lined up for May 24 at the Angel Orensanz Foundation Center for the Arts, highlighted by the U.S. Premiere of Avner Dorman’s Mandolin Concerto.  Mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital (for whom the work was written) and the Metropolis Ensemble Strings will do the honors.  

“The concerto’s main conflicts are between sound and silence and between motion and stasis,’ Dorman says. “One of the things that inspired me to deal with these opposites is the Mandolin’s most basic technique – the tremolo, which is the rapid repetition of notes. The tremolo embodies both motion and stasis. The rapid movement provides momentum, while the pitches stay the same.”

Dorman says the piece draws from the mandolin’s vast repertoire, including Baroque, Russian folk music, Bluegrass, Indian music, Brazilian jazz and Avant-Garde.  

“When Avi approached me to write a concerto for him, my acquaintance with the mandolin was fairly limited,” he says.  “I had used it in chamber pieces only twice before, and did not know most of the repertoire for the instrument. As I got to know the instrument better, I discovered its diverse sonic and expressive possibilities.”

Also featured will be Osvaldo Golijov’s The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind for string quartet and clarinets, with clarinet soloist Tibi Cziger in collaboration with the Metropolis Ensemble Chamber Players, Arnaud Sussmann and Lily Francis, violins, Eric Nowlin, viola, Michal Korman, cello. The program will round out with Shostakovich’s masterpiece Chamber Symphony op. 110a and Bartók’s Rumanian Folk Dances.

That’s Thursday, May 24, 2007 (7:30pm) at the Angel Orensanz Foundation Center for the Arts, (172 Norfolk St, between Houston and Delancey).

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