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Bach / Avi Avital


Release Date: 06/12/2012 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 001680102  
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Avi AvitalShalev Ad-ElOphira ZakaiIra Givol
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Potsdam Chamber Academy
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Recognized by the New York Times for his “exquisitely sensitive playing” and “stunning agility”, Grammy®-nominated mandolinist Avi Avital is one of the most exciting young musicians on today’s scene — deeply committed to building a fresh legacy for the mandolin through virtuosic performance and refreshing new repertoire.

Israeli-born Avi Avital has won many competitions and received awards including Germany’s Echo Award — and is the first mandolin player to receive a classical Grammy® nomination for “Best Instrumental Soloist Performance” in 2010.

Avital’s debut Deutsche Grammophon recording is an all-Bach album — including transcriptions of concertos for harpsichord and violin in arrangements for
Read more mandolin and orchestra — with Kammerakademie Potsdam.

“Avital has the gift of transforming the seemingly impossible into reality. His magical fingers arrange, shape, and twist the melodious phrases so evocatively that they take on a vocal quality, sounding even more vibrant than the music many violinists or cellists coax from their instruments.” (Jesko Schulze-Reimpell, Donaukurier)

“Avital’s playing, which can be defined as ‘everything you never dreamt a mandolin could do’, was truly breathtaking in virtuosity and dedication.” (Noam Ben Ze’ev, Haaretz Daily)

R E V I E W S:

Vivaldi wrote concertos to feature the mandolin — an Italian instrument, after all — but J.S. Bach did not. Bach’s music is famously malleable when it comes to instrumentation, though, and young Israeli mandolin ace Avi Avital has transcribed for his instrument three of the composer’s concertos for violin and oboe: BWV 1041, 1052 and 1056. In their more familiar guises for such cantabile instruments, these concertos sing, gloriously. With the mandolin’s quick decay — and its lack of ornamental resource compared to the harpsichord, a more usual alternate instrument — it would seem like the soul of this music would go missing. Some is lost in translation, true, but Avital’s virtuosity and imagination are considerable; in his hands, the light, quicksilver tone of the mandolin acts like a dash of Mediterranean sun, making the concertos more ebullient, feathery. A poor soloist-ripieno balance would ruin things, but the modern strings and period continuo of the Kammerakademie Potsdam are vivid without drowning out Avital’s restrained instrument, even if the mandolin should be a touch higher in the mix. Not just for that reason, the album’s highlight is a transcription of Bach’s Flute Sonata BWV 1034; over a bed of theorbo and cello, Avital’s mandolin paints a pointillist rainbow, unlikely and all the more lovely for it.

– Bradley Bambarger, Listen Magazine [Summer 2012]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Harpsichord in D minor, BWV 1052 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Avi Avital (Mandolin), Shalev Ad-El (Harpsichord)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Potsdam Chamber Academy
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
2.
Concerto for Harpsichord in F minor, BWV 1056 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Avi Avital (Mandolin), Shalev Ad-El (Harpsichord)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Potsdam Chamber Academy
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
3.
Concerto for Violin no 1 in A minor, BWV 1041 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Avi Avital (Mandolin), Shalev Ad-El (Harpsichord)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Potsdam Chamber Academy
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
4.
Sonata for Flute and Basso Continuo in E minor, BWV 1034 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Avi Avital (Mandolin), Ophira Zakai (Theorbo), Ira Givol (Cello),
Shalev Ad-El (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1717-1720; ?Cöthen, Germany 

Sound Samples

Concerto for Harpsichord, Strings, and Continuo No.1 in D minor, BWV 1052 - adapted for Mandolin and Orchestra by Avi Avital: 1. Allegro
Concerto for Harpsichord, Strings, and Continuo No.1 in D minor, BWV 1052 - adapted for Mandolin and Orchestra by Avi Avital: 2. Adagio
Concerto for Harpsichord, Strings, and Continuo No.1 in D minor, BWV 1052 - adapted for Mandolin and Orchestra by Avi Avital: 3. Allegro
Concerto for Harpsichord, Strings, and Continuo No.5 in F minor, BWV 1056 - adapted for Mandolin and Orchestra by Avi Avital: 1. (Allegro)
Concerto for Harpsichord, Strings, and Continuo No.5 in F minor, BWV 1056 - adapted for Mandolin and Orchestra by Avi Avital: 2. Largo
Concerto for Harpsichord, Strings, and Continuo No.5 in F minor, BWV 1056 - adapted for Mandolin and Orchestra by Avi Avital: 3. Presto
Violin Concerto No.1 in A minor, BWV 1041 - adapted for Mandolin and Orchestra by Avi Avital: 1. (Allegro moderato)
Violin Concerto No.1 in A minor, BWV 1041 - adapted for Mandolin and Orchestra by Avi Avital: 2. Andante
Violin Concerto No.1 in A minor, BWV 1041 - adapted for Mandolin and Orchestra by Avi Avital: 3. Allegro Assai
Sonata For Flute Or Violin No.5 In E Minor, BWV 1034 - Adapted For Mandolin And Continuo by Avi Avital: 1. Adagio ma non troppo
Sonata for Flute or Violin No.5 in E minor, BWV 1034 - adapted for Mandolin and Continuo by Avi Avital: 2. Allegro
Sonata for Flute or Violin No.5 in E minor, BWV 1034 - adapted for Mandolin and Continuo by Avi Avital: 3. Andante
Sonata for Flute or Violin No.5 in E minor, BWV 1034 - adapted for Mandolin and Continuo by Avi Avital: 4. Allegro

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  8 Customer Reviews )
 What a great discovery! June 10, 2014 By Christine O. (Wexford, PA) See All My Reviews "On my part, of course. I am fond of mandolin. I hope to collect all of this artist's recordings." Report Abuse
 Do U like BACH? September 17, 2013 By Christopher H. (Greenbelt, MD) See All My Reviews "If you like BACH as much as I do this CD is a must. I happen to love the sound of the mandolin, as well, so this CD is a pure treasure!" Report Abuse
 mandolin magic January 19, 2013 By Xenia T. (Montgomery Village, MD) See All My Reviews "A wonderful introduction to the possibilities of the mandolin. Touching and novel rendition of familiar Bach favorites." Report Abuse
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