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Alex Theatre
between Wilson and California 216 N. Brand Blvd. Glendale, CA 91203
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Persian Treasure
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Quotes & Highlights

Vali’s Toward that Endless Plain “uses the orchestra… interactively as a part of a scenario based on a Persian mystical poem. The piece is resourcefully made and compelling in effect; the ney part was played with passion and imagination by Khosrow Soltani.”  —The Boston Globe



Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1 in D major, “Classical,” Op. 25 (1917)

Vali: Toward that Endless Plain, concerto for the Persian ney

Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 5 in D major, “Reformation,” Op. 107 (1832)

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Jeffrey Kahane, conductor

Khosrow Soltani, Persian ney

East meets West in Reza Vali’s moving concerto for the ancient Persian ney, a flute-like instrument with a performance tradition of almost 5,000 years. The concerto, entitled Toward That Endless Plain, journeys from chaos to a state of peace.

A forerunner of the modern flute, the Persian ney has been played continuously for 4,500 to 5,000 years, making it one of the oldest instruments still in use. Depictions of ney players appear in wall paintings in the Egyptian pyramids, and actual neys have been found in the excavations at Ur. The ney consists of a hollow cane or reed (“ney” is the old Persian word for reed) with finger holes. More modern neys may be made of metal. Its compelling sound, unlike that of any other wind instrument, comes from the unique way it is blown. The upper edge of the ney is placed between the two upper front teeth, inside the mouth. A small stream of air is directed with the tongue, and the upper lip surrounds the upper part of the ney. Moving the lip and tongue changes the pitch and tone quality. This technique is very difficult to learn, but once mastered, gives great control over the timbre.