by Cathleen Rockwell

Music Review: Between Worlds/Avi Avital (Released by Deutsche Grammophon on January 14, 2014)

Between Worlds by Grammy-nominated mandolinist, Avi Avital, is an enchanting and purely magical encounter of world music that takes you on a multicultural experience seemingly throughout the world.

Born in 1978 in Be’er Sheva (located in southern Israel), Avital began his musical journey at the young age of 8 when he started to learn to play the mandolin. He joined the mandolin youth orchestra that was founded and directed by Russian-born violinist extraordinaire, Simcha Nathanson. It was long after Avital graduated from the Jerusalem Music Academy and the Conservatorio Cesare Pollini in Padova, Italy that he released various recordings in different genres of klezmer, baroque and contemporary classical music.

His very successful debut release occurred in 2012, featuring his transcriptions of J. S. Bach Concertos for harpsichord and violin in arrangements for mandolin and orchestra.

Avital’s new album is an ensemble of new and old arrangements as well as traditional and classical pieces.

“A traditional Bulgarian piece, with Georgian miniatures by Tsintsadze,” is a brilliant Eastern European folk arrangement. There is an amazing arrangement of several instruments of Manuel de Falla’s “Siete Canciones Populares Españolas” which includes: Efrain Oscher, flute, Itamar Doari, percussion, Klaus Stoll, double bass, Sacha Rattle, clarinet, Ralf Benesch, guitar, Sarah Verrue, harp and Zvi Plesser, cello.

“Bartok: Romanian Folk Dances” is a gypsy-style folk piece that captures the historical essence of the stories that inspired the music. “Villa-Lobos: Bachianas brasileiras” features the talented Richard Galliano on accordion, which gives this beautiful piece a Mediterranean feel to it.

“Piazzolla: Maria de Buenos Aries Fuga y misterio” has an Argentina-jazzy style and adds the exceptional performance of Giora Feidman on clarinet. “Monti: Csardas” is upbeat and fun while “Traditional Welsh: Hen Ferchetan” is a hidden romantic gem.

Avital successfully takes modern music and combines it with traditional folk music with a mandolin and other special guests on his album. The album is a refreshing take and different style to familiar folk songs.

It is invigorating to see an incredible talent such as Avital introduce old music genres to a younger group of music listeners. His music will appeal to anyone at any age and with this new album, he hopefully will gain a new following as well.


Selections: 1. Tsintsadze: Miniatures Sachidao , 2. Bartok: Romanian Folk Dances 1. Joc cu bata (Stick Dance), 3. Bartok: Romanian Folk Dances 2. Braul (Sash Dance), 4. Bartok: Romanian Folk Dances 3. Pe loc (In One Spot), 5. Bartok: Romanian Folk Dances 4. Buciumeana (Dance of Bucium),6. Bartok: Romanian Folk Dances 5. Poarga Romaneasca (Romanian Polka),7. Bartok: Romanian Folk Dances 6. Marun el (Fast Dance), 8. Traditional Bulgarian: Bucimis, 9. Villa-Lobos: Bachianas brasileiras no. 5 Aria (Cantilena), 10. Piazzolla: Maria de Buenos Aries Fuga y misterio, 11. De Falla: Siete canciones populares espanolas 1. El pano moruno,12. De Falla: Siete canciones populares espanolas 2. Seguidilla murciana, 13. De Falla: Siete canciones populares espanolas 3. Asturiana, 14. De Falla: Siete canciones populares espanolas 4. Jota, 15. De Falla: Siete canciones populares espanolas 5. Nana, 16. De Falla: Siete canciones populares espanolas 6. Cancion, 17. De Falla: Siete canciones populares españolas 7. Polo, 18. Monti: Csardas, 19. Tsintsadze: Miniatures Shepherds Dance, 20. Tsintsadze: Miniatures Song, 21. Tsintsadze: Miniatures Dance Tune, 22. Bloch: Baal Shem: Three Pictures of Chasidic Life Nigun, 23. Chaim: Freilach Ron, 24. Traditional Welsh: Hen Ferchetan

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