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Avi Avital – Vivaldi (24/96 FLAC)

Avi Avital - Vivaldi (24/96 FLAC)

Avi Avital – Vivaldi (24/96 FLAC)

Composer: Antonio Lucio Vivaldi
Performer: Avi Avital, Mahan Esfahani, Ophira Zakai, Patrick Sepec, Juan Diego Flórez, Ivano Zanenghi, Daniele Bovo, Lorenzo Feder, Fabio Tricomi
Orchestra: Venice Baroque Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Release: 2015
Size: 0.98 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Concerto in A minor, RV 356 orig. for violin
01. 1. Allegro
02. 2. Largo
03. 3. Presto

Concerto in D major, RV 93 orig. for lute
04. 1. Allegro
05. 2. Largo
06. 3. Allegro

Mandolin Concerto In C Major, RV 425
07. 1. Allegro
08. 2. Largo
09. 3. Allegro

Concerto in C major, RV 443 orig. for flautino
10. Largo
Trio Sonata in C major, RV 82 orig. for violin and lute
11. 1. Allegro non molto (quasi andante)
12. 2. Larghetto
13. 3. Allegro

The Four Seasons – Concerto in G minor, RV 315 “Summer” orig. for violin
14. 1. Allegro non molto
15. 2. Adagio e piano – Presto e forte
16. 3. Presto

Traditional Venetian
17. La biondina in gondoleta

Recorded: Treviso, Teatro delle Voci, 9–10/2014; Berlin, Meistersaal, 12/2014

Grammy-nominated classical mandolinist Avi Avital is an artist who relentlessly pushes at boundaries and defies expectations. From Bach to tangos, from Balkan improvisations to Dvořák string quartets, his concert programmes fearlessly and seamlessly transcend musical genres, while his disco graphy demonstrates a masterful versatility. With his current recording project, however, he brings the mandolin “home”, to the music of Antonio Vivaldi, the beloved Venetian composer whose Mandolin Concerto forms the cornerstone – “the Old Testament”, says Avital – of the instrument’s repertoire.
Yet a virtuoso interpretation of the four Vivaldi concertos here recorded – that for mandolin and its sibling for lute, together with two familiar violin concertos in Avital’s own transcriptions – is not enough. For Avital, as both soloist and musical director, recording a Vivaldi album is not an act of passive veneration, but an open-ended invitation to explore the man’s music and his world. On this journey of discovery there are no taboos: much as in Venice itself, the lines between historical practice and contemporary spirit are blurred, the exalted and the profane sit side by side. Avital is dogmatic only in the spirit of tireless experimentation – daring, risking and teasing startling new sounds out of these familiar pieces.
As the recording sessions unfold, it becomes clear that not only historically-informed performance practice, but also the spirit of rock music is at heart of Avital’s interpretative approach. The music-making is bold, personal and immediate. Avital often uses a dif- ferent plectrum or pick for each section of music. His sense of dynamic contrast pushes the limits of the recording engineers’ technical capacities. Tempos are not defined in strict intervals, but remain as dynamic as volume, subject to the ebb and flow of the melodic architecture. Intonation is precise, but tones are occasionally “bent”, as a jazz musician might, to add exotic spice to moments of emotional extreme. The accompanying lute, cello and harpsichord are given freedom to temperamentally punctuate the music’s structure.

What was surprising was how effective “Summer,” from “The Four Seasons,” sounded on Avital’s mandolin . . . The restless heat of the Adagio was perhaps even better expressed by the mandolin, especially with the orchestra’s very delicate accompaniment . . . Avital’s mandolin gave Vivaldi’s Concerto for Lute in D a shimmer of Venetian water you don’t hear in the original; the Largo was quick and bittersweet . . . [Vivaldi / Mandolin Concerto]: Avital made the Largo swing and sway . . . Avital showed off his own fleet fingers on his solo encore, the Bulgarian folk dance “Bucimis.” The evening closed sweetly with the Largo from Vivaldi’s Flautino Concerto in C, Avital taking the solo part on the mandolin and everyone making it sound as if Venice were in the next room. –Jeffrey Gantz, Boston Globe

Accompanied by the talented and prolific Venice Baroque Orchestra, the album offers an enjoyable fifty-odd minutes of virtuoso mandolin playing . . . Avital is unquestionably a fine mandolin player, his tone sweet and fluid, his tempos well judged, neither too breakneck fast nor too maddeningly slack, and his natural affinity for the instrument always in evidence in his intonation and flexibility. I mean, the thing about Avital is that he makes Vivaldi fun again. After so many Vivaldi recordings that all sound alike, it’s refreshing to hear Avital’s mandolin take on things. His transcriptions are a breath of fresh air, even giving new life to that old chestnut “Summer.” Favorites? I must confess to liking all of them. But I especially enjoyed the dreamy “Largos” in RV 356 and RV 318; the zesty opening “Allegro” in RV 318; the entire RV 425, . . . the lovely, delicate “Trio Sonata”; the sweet yet lusty and fanciful spirit Avital brings to the “Summer” concerto (here, you can practically feel the heat rising from the Venetian pavement in the “Adagio”); and the longing melancholy in the final song, sung by Juan Diego Florez to Avital’s accompaniment. But, as I say, they all sound fresh and beautiful . . . The engineers have captured the sound of the mandolin pretty well, the instrument very clean, very clear, with excellent transient response, and they have integrated the soloist well within the context of the orchestra. –John J. Puccio, Classical Candor

. . . [this] disc has a great deal of charm, much of which lies in mandolinist Avi Avital’s arrangements. In addition to skilfully transcribing each work, . . . he has in most cases also reduced or 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 . . . 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. –Robert Levine, ClassicsToday

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