I bought the CD “Avi Avital Plays Bach” in July. I was intrigued by the marketing words used to describe this project:
Following in the footsteps of Milo and his guitar revival, Deutsche Grammophon presents the charismatic young Israeli musician Avi Avital, champion of yet another beautiful and underestimated stringed instrument the mandolin.
Avi Avital is a young man with a dream. Overflowing with charm, intelligence and enthusiasm he looks set to become the first international superstar of the mandolin.
In 2010, Avi Avital was the first mandolinist to ever receive a Grammy® nomination for Best Instrumental Soloist.
His debut album for Deutsche Grammophon is devoted to one of his great passions: the music of J.S. Bach. The programme includes Avi s own mandolin transcriptions of three concertos and a trio sonata by the great Cantor of Leipzig.
These gifts, and his commitment to expanding the expressive possibilities of the mandolin, are why Deutsche Grammophon will place him on the music world s radar and what better way to begin, than with Bach?
Now that I bought it…
This is one of my best buys ever. I have listened to this CD countless times and every single time I find something new that excites me. I know, this happens with Bach music, due to its complexity and harmonic richness and variety. But it is not only that. The sound quality, the performance of Avi Avital and the performance of the orchestra is excellent. It is so passionate and but also delicate. Can this be? Yes it can.
I made some experiments which were fun and interesting:
Listening the music while working at the garden: Works fantastic. Although Bach music is considered complex, it has a quality that lets me relax and focus to whatever else I am doing. I worked on my small garden and cleaned it up, added some flowers and prepared the lawn. I know, I need to work more… but working while listening to this music was fantastic.
Listening the music with my youngest child, Panos. Well, not bad. He actually liked it, but he only listened for 5 minutes and then he asked for a walk. I think this is normal for a 12 year old, right? Anyway, he got what he wanted and we ended up to a nice park with a small pond full of turtles. It was fun.
Listening the music with my oldest child, Alexandra. Well, this seemed not to work. Alexandra, being a teenager, prefers dance music. If there is no beat, it is just boring. But, it is interesting that she let herself admit that Bach is nice, but not for her. This is something, no?
Do I like it?
Let’s focus now on the CD and what I think of it. Here is the summary:
- Perhaps the best sound recording of mandolin with orchestra, ever.
- Avi Avital virtuosity with the mandolin
- Violin Concerto No.1 in A Minor and especially Part III Allegro Assai is fantastic!!! I love it.
- Due to the excellent sound recording you can hear it for long hours without fatigue
- Not for teenagers! Exceptions may apply though…
I love this release as it excels in every way. Just for the record, here is what I mean:
Sound engineering: This is a release from Deutche Grammophone. This should be enough for those who know, but let me explain why this particular release is interesting: the sound engineer did not try to make the mandolin stand out, but it has made it sound as it would when attending a live performance, i.e. at some parts the orchestra will just cover the mandolin. This is really great.
Mandolin Performance: Avi Avital performance is perfect. Passionate but also delicate, it serves Bach’s music and the instrument he likes so much, the mandolin.
Packaging: Yes, packaging is great. It includes a very nice booklet, where Avi Avital talks about the record. Nice.
Durability: It’s been three months now, and I still hear this CD every day. That is amazing. Not tired at all. (I use the term durability not to describe how long the CD will last, but how long I can hear the release before I get tired or bored)
How to get it
- Buy from Amazon:Bach – Avi Avital
- Buy from iTunes: Bach – Avi Avital
About Johann Sebastian Bach
Bach’s abilities as an organist were highly respected throughout Europe during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the main composers of the Baroque period, and as one of the greatest composers of all time.
There are numerous resources to read more about Bach. I recommend:
About Avi Avital
To read more, check the: