Avi Avital

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Vivaldi Review

by Blair Sanderson

For his third album on Deutsche Grammophon, mandolinist Avi Avital presents a lively Vivaldi program that includes the popular Mandolin Concerto in C major, RV 425, as well as fresh transcriptions of the Violin Concerto in A minor, RV 356, the Lute Concerto in D major, RV 93, the Largo from the Piccolo Concerto in C major, RV 443, and the "Summer" Concerto in G minor from the Four Seasons, RV 315. As famous as he is for his virtuoso technique, intellectual clarity, and expressive subtlety, Avital is also becoming quite well known for expanding the mandolin's repertoire by adapting works by J.S. Bach for his first album, and releasing a CD of miniatures soon after. In another show of generosity, Avital also shares space with other gifted musicians, notably tenor Juan Diego Flórez in the Venetian song, La biondina in gondoleta, the trio of harpsichorist Mahan Esfahani, lutenist Ophira Zakai, and cellist Patrick Sepec in Vivaldi's Trio Sonata in C major, RV 82, and the Venice Baroque Orchestra in the concertos. While the mandolin's narrow tonal and dynamic ranges might suggest rather limited musical options, the album succeeds because of Avital's energetic playing and charismatic interactions with his fellow musicians, who give everything to these sparkling performances.

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