For his debut on Deutsche Grammophon, mandolinist Avi Avital has chosen an all-Bach program, performing the Concerto in D minor and the Concerto in G minor (adapted from the original versions for harpsichord), the Concerto in A minor (originally written for violin), and the Sonata in E minor (originally composed for flute). For the sake of building a substantial repertoire for traditionally neglected or undervalued instruments, it's common for musicians to transcribe Bach's music as a practical consideration. In Avital's case, it appears to be a labor of love, for he has played Bach most of his life and always planned to make his music a part of a recording project. Yet the mandolin is particularly well-suited to Bach's linear writing and terraced dynamics, and its thin but pungent tone is easier to hear before a small Baroque orchestra. Avital's attraction to the music is both emotional, intellectual, and shrewdly sensible, for aside from the mandolin concertos of Vivaldi, there is little else that's worthy of his talents. Accompanied in the concertos by the Kammerakademie Potsdam, and in the sonata by cellist Ira Givol and harpsichordist Shalev Ad-El, Avital makes an impressive contribution to the mandolin's small catalog, and will bring more attention to this charming instrument.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052R|
|Concerto in G minor, BWV 1056R|
|Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041|
|Sonata in E minor, BWV 1034|