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Avi Avital|Concertos

Concertos

Avi Avital, Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini

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Mandolinist Avi Avital is something of a star of his instrument, recording prolifically for the Deutsche Grammophon label. He has certainly recorded concertos before, but this is his first release devoted exclusively to the genre. As such, it includes some works not in common circulation, in which Avital steps out from the Baroque realm. He does well in the Mandolin Concerto in E flat major of Giovanni Paisiello and the still rarer Mandolin Concerto in D major of Emanuele Barbella, another Neapolitan. Works of this period, such as the Mandolin Concerto in G major of Johann Nepomuk Hummel, can plod, but it turns out that what they need is a player of Avital's verve; he brings to life the virtuoso ethos of the day. The other notable thing here is the backing by the historical performance group Il Giardino Armonico and director Giovanni Antonini. Opinions differ about this group's splashy, rhythm-heavy approach, but there is no denying that it fits Avital's intense style to a T. Hear the opening Concerto for four mandolins, strings, and continuo in B minor, an adaptation of one of the concertos in Vivaldi's Op. 3 L'estro armonico collection. Avital plays all four mandolin parts, and there has probably never been a more percussive rendition of this piece. Deutsche Grammophon, working in a pair of venues, backs Avital well with close-up, perhaps amplified mandolin recording that fits his high-voltage approach, although one of the venues seems distinctly more live than the other (it is not possible to tell what was recorded where, because no track information is given). The bottom line is that this album is likely to add to Avital's growing renown. It landed on classical best-seller lists during the holiday season of 2023. Look for an album of contemporary music from Avital one of these days.

© James Manheim /TiVo

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Concertos

Avi Avital

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Concerto in B Minor, RV 580 (Adapt. for 4 Mandolins, Strings and Continuo) (Antonio Vivaldi)

1
I. Allegro
00:03:37

Antonio Vivaldi, Composer - Il Giardino Armonico, Ensemble, MainArtist - Giovanni Antonini, Conductor, MainArtist - Avi Avital, Mandolin, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Moreno, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

2
II. Largo - Larghetto - Adagio - Largo
00:01:56

Antonio Vivaldi, Composer - Il Giardino Armonico, Ensemble, MainArtist - Giovanni Antonini, Conductor, MainArtist - Avi Avital, Mandolin, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Moreno, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

3
III. Allegro
00:03:09

Antonio Vivaldi, Composer - Il Giardino Armonico, Ensemble, MainArtist - Giovanni Antonini, Conductor, MainArtist - Avi Avital, Mandolin, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Moreno, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

Concerto in C Minor, BWV 1060R (Adapt. for Mandolin, Recorder, Strings and Continuo) (Johann Sebastian Bach)

4
I. Allegro
00:04:34

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Il Giardino Armonico, Ensemble, MainArtist - Giovanni Antonini, Conductor, Recorder, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Avi Avital, Mandolin, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Moreno, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

5
II. Adagio
00:04:36

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Il Giardino Armonico, Ensemble, MainArtist - Giovanni Antonini, Conductor, Recorder, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Avi Avital, Mandolin, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Moreno, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

6
III. Allegro
00:03:17

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Il Giardino Armonico, Ensemble, MainArtist - Giovanni Antonini, Conductor, Recorder, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Avi Avital, Mandolin, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Moreno, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

Mandolin Concerto in D Major (Avi Avital)

7
I. Allegro (Cadenza: A. Avital)
00:02:40

Il Giardino Armonico, Ensemble, MainArtist - Giovanni Antonini, Conductor, MainArtist - Avi Avital, Composer, Mandolin, Cadenzor, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Emanuele Barbella, Composer - Juan Moreno, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

8
II. Andantino
00:03:53

Il Giardino Armonico, Ensemble, MainArtist - Giovanni Antonini, Conductor, MainArtist - Avi Avital, Mandolin, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Emanuele Barbella, Composer - Juan Moreno, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

9
III. Giga. Allegro
00:01:37

Il Giardino Armonico, Ensemble, MainArtist - Giovanni Antonini, Conductor, MainArtist - Avi Avital, Mandolin, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Emanuele Barbella, Composer - Juan Moreno, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

Mandolin Concerto in E-Flat Major (Giovanni Paisiello)

10
I. Allegro maestoso
00:05:10

Giovanni Paisiello, Composer - Il Giardino Armonico, Ensemble, MainArtist - Giovanni Antonini, Conductor, MainArtist - Avi Avital, Mandolin, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Moreno, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

11
II. Larghetto grazioso (Cadenza: A. Avital)
00:06:23

Giovanni Paisiello, Composer - Il Giardino Armonico, Ensemble, MainArtist - Giovanni Antonini, Conductor, MainArtist - Avi Avital, Composer, Mandolin, Cadenzor, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Moreno, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

12
III. Allegretto
00:04:20

Giovanni Paisiello, Composer - Il Giardino Armonico, Ensemble, MainArtist - Giovanni Antonini, Conductor, MainArtist - Avi Avital, Mandolin, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Moreno, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

Mandolin Concerto in G Major, S. 28 (Johann Nepomuk Hummel)

13
I. Allegro moderato e grazioso
00:07:22

Il Giardino Armonico, Ensemble, MainArtist - Giovanni Antonini, Conductor, MainArtist - Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Composer - Avi Avital, Mandolin, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Moreno, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

14
II. Andante con variazioni
00:03:48

Il Giardino Armonico, Ensemble, MainArtist - Giovanni Antonini, Conductor, MainArtist - Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Composer - Avi Avital, Mandolin, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Moreno, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

15
III. Rondo. Allegro (Cadenza: A. Avital)
00:04:00

Il Giardino Armonico, Ensemble, MainArtist - Giovanni Antonini, Conductor, MainArtist - Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Composer - Avi Avital, Composer, Mandolin, Cadenzor, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Juan Moreno, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Philip Krause, Producer, Mixer, Editor, Recording Producer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

Album review

Mandolinist Avi Avital is something of a star of his instrument, recording prolifically for the Deutsche Grammophon label. He has certainly recorded concertos before, but this is his first release devoted exclusively to the genre. As such, it includes some works not in common circulation, in which Avital steps out from the Baroque realm. He does well in the Mandolin Concerto in E flat major of Giovanni Paisiello and the still rarer Mandolin Concerto in D major of Emanuele Barbella, another Neapolitan. Works of this period, such as the Mandolin Concerto in G major of Johann Nepomuk Hummel, can plod, but it turns out that what they need is a player of Avital's verve; he brings to life the virtuoso ethos of the day. The other notable thing here is the backing by the historical performance group Il Giardino Armonico and director Giovanni Antonini. Opinions differ about this group's splashy, rhythm-heavy approach, but there is no denying that it fits Avital's intense style to a T. Hear the opening Concerto for four mandolins, strings, and continuo in B minor, an adaptation of one of the concertos in Vivaldi's Op. 3 L'estro armonico collection. Avital plays all four mandolin parts, and there has probably never been a more percussive rendition of this piece. Deutsche Grammophon, working in a pair of venues, backs Avital well with close-up, perhaps amplified mandolin recording that fits his high-voltage approach, although one of the venues seems distinctly more live than the other (it is not possible to tell what was recorded where, because no track information is given). The bottom line is that this album is likely to add to Avital's growing renown. It landed on classical best-seller lists during the holiday season of 2023. Look for an album of contemporary music from Avital one of these days.

© James Manheim /TiVo

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