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J.S. Bach: Three Concertos; Trio Sonata / Avi Avital, mandolin

Audio Samples

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Concerto for Violin, strings & continuo in D minor (reconstruction), BWV 1052R
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Concerto for Oboe in G minor, BWV 1056
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Concerto for Violin in D minor, BWV 1052
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sonata for flute & continuo in E minor, BWV 1034

Album Summary

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Concerto for Violin, strings & continuo in D minor (reconstruction), BWV 1052R
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Concerto for Oboe in G minor, BWV 1056
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Concerto for Violin in D minor, BWV 1052
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sonata for flute & continuo in E minor, BWV 1034
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The New York Times recognizes Avi Avital for his "exquisitely sensitive playing" and "stunning agility".

These gifts, and his commitment to expanding the expressive possibilities of the mandolin, are why Deutsche Grammophon will place him on the music world's radar.

Israeli born, Italian trained, Avi Avital has won many competitions, his awards include Germany's Echo.

In 2010, Avi Avital was the first mandolinist to ever receive a Grammy nomination for "Best Instrumental Soloist".

His Deutsche Grammophon debut is an all-Bach album recorded with the Kammerakademie Potsdam.

Haaretz Daily
Avita's playing, which can be defined as everything you never dreamt a mandolin could do', was truly breath-taking in virtuosity and dedication.

Ionarts
The mandolin is an odd instrument on which to build a solo performing career as a classical musician, but Avi Avital seems poised to do just that. Born in Israel and trained there and in Italy, he has experimented with crossover ventures, but his first solo album with Deutsche Grammophon, released this week, is devoted to transcriptions of Bach concertos.

As revealed at a concert Wednesday at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, presented by the Washington Performing Arts Society, Avital is an accomplished musician but will probably remain a specialty act. The mandolin's sound had considerable charm, helped along by discreet but still slightly canned amplification, but it has limitations in holding the ear's attention over a sustained period. It worked best in music closest to the instrument's home repertoire, a revelatory performance of Bartok's "Seven Romanian Dances." Composed on the piano and later arranged for orchestra, these folk miniatures became hypnotic when arranged for the mandolin, the little dissonant inflections seeming to make perfect sense.

The Washington Post
Particularly moving were the solo pieces substituted in the concert. Nigun from Baal Shem by Ernest Bloch was a revelation. Avital reduced the original solo violin and orchestra to his few strings with no loss of emotional power or expression. One could hardly applaud afterwards knowing this was a prayer, not a "performance". His own composition was particularly exciting for its modernity without losing sight of its "folk" origins from his own personal relationship with Israel and the Mediterranean countries of his studies and experiences. The Bartok Romanian Dances were a most satisfying culmination to the evening.

Perhaps the wonderful space and acoustics of the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue could be taken further advantage of by opening up the balcony level to the audience. Sound tends to rise more than project forward plus the view from above would make a special experience even more so. The A/C level was set to a very cool temperature and maintained by a rather loud venting system that intruded on those sitting on the far right side. This had significant impact on the quiet, delicate sounds of the ensemble. Thanks to the WPAS for using this venue to take advantage of its features for this delightful concert. We hope for more in the future.

Amazon
Not just fantastic music, but the interesting arrangements by an amazing musician who plays the mandolin like no other, makes this a Bach you have never heard before!

Following in the footsteps of Milo and his guitar revival, Deutsche Grammophon presents the charismatic young Israeli musician Avi Avital, champion of yet another beautiful and underestimated stringed instrument the mandolin. Avi Avital is a young man with a dream. Overflowing with charm, intelligence and enthusiasm he looks set to become the first international superstar of the mandolin.

His debut album for Deutsche Grammophon is devoted to one of his great passions: the music of J.S. Bach. The program includes Avi s own mandolin transcriptions of three concertos and a trio sonata by the great Cantor of Leipzig.

American Record Guide, November/December 2012
Avi Avital is one of a number of slickly marketed, young, attractive musicians who flood today's classical market. (Sony has a CD out, 2 Cellos, where two lads in leather jackets regale listeners with cello duet arrangements of songs by NIN, Michael Jackson, and Guns N' Roses.) But Avital is a fine musician who offers incisive, even hard-driving performances of Bach's concertos in D minor and G minor (both arranged by him from the scholarly reconstructions of Harpsichord Concertos 1 and 5 as violin and flute concertos). His performance of Bach's A-minor Violin Concerto is very fine: the slow movement is lyrical and shot through with subtle rubato, while the last movement made my hair stand on end. A sonically rich performance of the Flute Sonata in E minor (with cello and theorbo continuo) completes the attractive program.

BBC Music Magazine, December 2012
All three works transfer well to the mandolin, tuned like the violin. The resulting soun is entrancing. Avital stylishly meets the challenge of moulding plectrum-plucked sound into long, shapely phrases and figurations...Avital's mandolin is hauntingly beautiful, putting this firmly on the wish-list of any Baroque enthusiast.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Funkhaus Berlin Nalepastraáe, Saal (09/2011/10/2011).



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Works Details

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Concerto for Violin, strings & continuo in D minor (reconstruction), BWV 1052R
  • Performer: Avi Avital (Mandolin)
  • Conductor: Shalev Ad-El
  • Ensemble: Kammerakademie Potsdam
  • Running Time: 20 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1970

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Concerto for Oboe in G minor, BWV 1056
  • Performer: Avi Avital (Mandolin)
  • Ensemble: Kammerakademie Potsdam
  • Running Time: 9 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1926

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Concerto for Violin in D minor, BWV 1052
  • Performer: Avi Avital (Mandolin)
  • Ensemble: Kammerakademie Potsdam
  • Running Time: 12 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1730

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sonata for flute & continuo in E minor, BWV 1034
  • Performers: Avi Avital (Mandolin); Shalev Ad-El (Harpsichord); Ophira Zakaï (Theorbo); Ira Givol (Cello)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1724