Disk of 2024

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Avi Avital - Concerts recorded by Avi Avital on mandolin and the ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, conducted by Giovanni Antonini

Avi Avital is today a singular and highly respected artist - the best-known Grammy-nominated mandolin virtuoso in the classical repertoire. He has already recorded 5 albums for the famous Deutsche Grammophon label, starting in 2014, and this sixth one, released on November 17th, 2023, is a special one, because it fulfills an old dream of the Israeli artist, that of recording with a famous specialized ensemble in classical music - Il giardino armonico, conductor Giovanni Antonini.

An album of baroque and classical concerts -There it is a new triumph for the mandolinist Avi Avital, whose repertoire preferences consist of a very wide palette. He debuted in 2014 at Deutsche Grammophon with a repertoire that emphasized the heritage of traditional music - a field he also exploited in his first concert in Bucharest, held in September 2023 as part of the George Enescu festival. He performed baroque music - Bach and Vivaldi - on two other discs to public and critical acclaim. He also performed jazz, together with his compatriot Omer Avital, on a 2017 disc.

​For 2023, he returns to the cult repertoire, admirably performed with the Il Giardino Armonico Ensemble, led by Giovanni Antonini. There are two baroque and three classical concerts on this last album, including a repertory discovery - a concert by Emanuele Barbella, a Neapolitan composer who lived between 1717 and 1777, in whose creation we also find reminiscences of the baroque, but also the structure and clarity of classicism.

Avi Avital is a special artist - with an energy, inventiveness, brilliance that shine through even in his recordings. To transform the mandolin, an instrument used mostly in popular music, into a star of the cult music scenes is a feat by itself, and Avi Avital stands proudly alongside other great artists who have transformed instruments that were rather considered minor or intended only for the orchestral ensemble, in solo instruments. Avi Avital achieve the almost unbelievable - to make the mandolin sound like a violin, or maybe even a cello, in the concerts he himself transcribed. Or give memorable auditions in concertos designed for mandolin and orchestra, which are, in fact, so few in the history of music. One of them: Concerto in E flat major for mandolin and orchestra by Giovanni Paisiello.

The dawn of romanticism begins to rise in the music written by the last composer included by Avi Avital on his disc dedicated to concerts for mandolin and orchestra: Johann Nepomuk Hummel. Throughthis disc, we listen to a work with a classical structure, to which Avi Avital gives a special brilliance, using an unusual technical lightness. The cadence is signed, as in the case of Paisiello's concerto, by Avi Avital. Special mention to Il Giardino armonico and conductor Giovanni Antonini who know exactly how to follow a soloist of the high caliber of Avi Avital and who impresses with suppleness and wide dynamic palette.

Cristina Comandașu