Art of the Mandolin

Art of the Mandolin

by Avi AvitalAvi Avital


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Mandolinist Avi Avital has put together several impressive albums of music by combining works of Vivaldi and Beethoven, composers who actually did write for the mandolin occasionally, with intelligently chosen transcriptions. Here, for the first time, he offers a program of music entirely, at least theoretically, written for the mandolin. The evidence for Scarlatti's "Sonata in D minor, K. 89," having been written for mandolin and continuo rather than harpsichord, is purely musical, not in the least documentary, but whatever the actual case, it fits into the program very well. Vivaldi and Beethoven are present, but most of the program is given over to works that combine the mandolin with other plucked strings, different in each case. It joins the harp, harpsichord, theorbo, and guitar for a kind of plucked wall of sound in David Bruce's "Death Is a Friend of Ours." Paul Ben-Haim and Hans Werner Henze explore, respectively, the sonorities of mandolin, guitar, and harpsichord, and mandolin, guitar, and harp. Avital's collaborators, led by harpist Anneleen Lenaerts, are top-notch. There is just one solo mandolin piece, the "Prelude for mandolin solo" of contemporary composer Giovanni Sollima. The album as a whole is kaleidoscopic and viscerally exciting, alternating between percussive sounds and Vivaldian lyricism. Best of all is Deutsche Grammophon's engineering, accomplished mostly in Berlin's Teldex Studio. Recording the mandolin is perhaps the black belt of engineering, but here everything is crystal clear, and Avital's remarkable cantabile (not an easy thing to achieve on a mandolin) comes through in full. A lively and vigorous release.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/20/2020
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
UPC: 0028948385348
catalogNumber: 003287202
Rank: 3389


  1. Carillon, Récitatif, Masque, for guitar, mandolin & harp
  2. Sonata a tre, for mandolin, guitar & harpsichord
  3. Keyboard Sonata in D minor, K. 89 (L. 211) (or for solo instrument & continuo)
  4. Prelude for mandolin
  5. Death is a Friend of Ours, for mandolin, guitar, harp, theorbo & harpsichord
  6. Adagio for piano & mandolin in E flat major, WoO 43/2
  7. Double Mandolin Concerto, for 2 mandolins, strings & continuo in G major, RV 532

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Avi Avital   Primary Artist

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