Avner Dorman, "Lost Souls" (2009)

Our second commission (a co-commission) was a piano concerto by Avner Dorman, “Lost Souls” written for Alon Goldstein and first performed in Kansas City on November 20th 2009. Six of us traveled to KC to hear the premier and were royally entertained by the Kansas City Symphony and its enthusiastic supporters.

An extended interview with the composer about the piece is located here.  Alon Goldstien wrote in his blog that Lost Souls brings "a spirit from the past into the present and examines what happens when it clashes with our age.  As (conductor) Michael Stern told the orchestra at one point: "think that you are sitting in the "Oak Room" in New York around a few Jazz players having a Martini with Rachmaninov..." 

Timothy McDonald wrote in the Kansas City Star:

"World premieres are always a little risky: untested repertory with uncertain effect. Friday night’s concert by the Kansas City Symphony featured just such a toss of the dice, and everyone left a winner. The orchestra commissioned Avner Dorman’s “Lost Souls, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra,” with pianist Alon Goldstein in mind. Before the performance Dorman described the narrative behind the music: a séance calling forth composers and pianists of the past; a recital that turns demonic and an ultimate exorcism. Opening with eerie and dissonant high-string swoops, the work began without Goldstein at the keyboard. ...the music was marvelous, featuring sprinkles of dissonance among ever present tonal riffs and passages. The rhythms were so intense that one percussionist overturned his bongos near the beginning of the work. Evocations of the styles of Chopin, Bach, Gershwin, Ligeti and others could be heard throughout the work. Dorman employed a clever technique of beginning a melody in the piano and continuing it in the strings in an abnormally high register. While the central portion of the composition flagged in energy and interest, the conclusion was a musical roller coaster ride. Goldstein played convincingly, with a dual musical personality: vibrant lyricism at times followed by highly technical musical athleticism. The work ended with an extended piano trill, high strings, crashing percussion and (more theatrics!) lights out. The orchestra proved a highly skilled partner for Goldstein, impressive in its precision and orchestral colors."