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Avi Avital and the Miraculous Mandolin

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Charles T. Downey, Mandolinist Avi Avital
Washington Post, June 15, 2012

available at Amazon
J. S. Bach, Concertos (arr.), Avi Avital (mandolin), Kammerakademie Potsdam
The mandolin is an odd instrument on which to build a solo performing career as a classical musician, but Avi Avital seems poised to do just that. Born in Israel and trained there and in Italy, he has experimented with crossover ventures, but his first solo album with Deutsche Grammophon, released this week, is devoted to transcriptions of Bach concertos.

As revealed at a concert Wednesday at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, presented by the Washington Performing Arts Society, Avital is an accomplished musician but will probably remain a specialty act. The mandolin’s sound had considerable charm, helped along by discreet but still slightly canned amplification, but it has limitations in holding the ear’s attention over a sustained period. It worked best in music closest to the instrument’s home repertoire, a revelatory performance of Bartok’s “Seven Romanian Dances.” Composed on the piano and later arranged for orchestra, these folk miniatures became hypnotic when arranged for the mandolin, the little dissonant inflections seeming to make perfect sense. [Continue reading]
Avi Avital, mandolin
Washington Performing Arts Society
Sixth and I Historic Synagogue

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