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Posted March 15, 2014
When one thinks of the mandolin in classical music, they usually start with the concertos of Vivaldi. In American music, the mandolin is often associated with bluegrass music. On this disc by Israeli-born virtuoso Avi Avital, many areas are explored both musically and geographically. Deutsche Grammophon released a promotional video to coincide with the release of this follow-up to Avital’s “Bach” album. Avital, a 2010 Grammy-nominee, explains in the video that this was a very personal album for him, because of the diversity of instrumentation and styles of music.
References to music of the Mediterranean are made in the video, so it should be no surprise that the music of Manuel de Falla should appear on this disc. However, Avital also explores works by Bartok, Villa-Lobos, and Piazzolla as well, along with traditional Bulgarian and Welsh melodies. In the famous aria (cantilena) from Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, the usual orchestral performance becomes an intimate chamber for performance for mandolin, accordion, and double-bass. And “Hen Ferchetan” (the Welsh tune) is performed by Avital and harpist Catrin Finch.
Fans of the mandolin should snap this up right away; listeners who enjoy the mandolin and are interested in hearing it in music from varying parts of the world should also find great enjoyment in this CD, Avital’s second release on Deutsche Grammophon.