Avi Avital re-imagines the sounds of Venice in this vivid homage to the most beloved composer of the Italian Baroque, Antonio Vivaldi. After his introduction with BACH and the colorful exploration of world music on BETWEEN WORLDS, Avi presents four popular Vivaldi concerti on this album with the great Venice Baroque Orchestra as well as two 18th Century Venetian Gondolier songs, performed with tenor Juan Diego Florez.
"This short-ish (52-minute) disc has a great deal of charm, much of which lies in mandolinist Avi Avital’s arrangements. In addition to skilfully transcribing each work, whether originally for violin, lute, or piccolo (the mandolin concerto was meant for mandolin), he has in most cases also reduced orRead more altered the orchestration, and the wonderful Venice Baroque Orchestra plays with warmth, love, and no particular desire to scratch and scrape its way through the allegros. By eliminating the harpsichord continuo on the mandolin concerto and replacing it with an organ, Avital turns the texture of the piece into something far more suave, and makes it seem like a major piece of Vivaldi, which it most surely is not.
The gorgeous Largo from the piccolo concerto presents a problem: It is one of Vivaldi’s most luscious melodies, an almost breathless legato of flowing gentleness. How to disguise, or soften, the mandolin’s plucking? Well, Avital does it by embellishing the line almost from start to finish, not extravagantly, but merely by supplying the in-between notes that on a wind instrument are not needed. It’s a lovely performance, even if he almost gets hoist by his own technical petard about 30 seconds in when he slurs a note or two in an upward run. Sigh. Life is never perfect.
His reading of the A minor violin concerto from L’estro armonico that opens the CD is attacked energetically, and the slow movement–a beauty–is lyrical and sweet. The presto is fun, with the lower strings an appealing foil for the mandolin. The Trio Sonata originally for violin and lute (Avital takes the violin line) is a bore.
Oh, no!–not “Summer” from The Four Seasons! Well, yes–and quite wonderfully conducted, with a languorous opening and terrific bird-calls at different dynamic levels, along with a creepy, goblins-in-the-woods second movement and a finale that features not so much a summer storm as a tsunami without flying palm trees or buildings. A lagniappe at the CD’s close is an enchanting traditional Venetian song sung by Juan Diego Florez, which the tenor sings like a person rather than an opera singer."
La biondina in gondoletaby Traditional Performer:
Avi Avital (Mandolin),
Daniele Bovo (Cello),
Juan Diego Flórez (Tenor),
Lorenzo Feder (Harpsichord),
Ivano Zanenghi (Lute),
Fabio Tricomi (Guitar)
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
not so good...May 1, 2015By Maria C A. (RICHMOND, CA)See All My Reviews"The music is beautiful, but the quality of the recording/sound makes listening not so pleasant. Sometimes it's too loud, sometimes so low I barely heard it. I still wonder if it's me or my equipment. Since all in my collection works perfectly well, I concluded is this CD in particular the culprit. I don't recommend it."Report Abuse