My wife and I had the pleasure of hearing Avi Avital today at an informal performance space in Cambridge MA (Lilypad is the name of the space). He is the US for a brief East Coast tour promoting his new DG Bach recording.
He played three concertos with an excellent pickup string quartet -- the Vivaldi lute concerto, and two of the Bach (D minor harpsichord and the oboe concerto) that are on the recording. The combination of plucked and bowed sound was very nice and the performances themselves were stylish, vigorous, and highly musical. Even though there could not have been much rehearsal time there was excellent communication between soloist and strings, with lots of attention to detail.
Avi also played two solo pieces, an arrangement of a violin work by Bloch, and Yasuo Kuwahara's "Improvised Poem". The Kuwahara was athletic and ferocious (as it should be). The encore, played solo, was a wild Bulgarian dance in 15/16.
This was the first time I had heard an Israeli mandolin up close and personal. The sound was somewhere between a bowl back vs. an American carved back, somewhat dry and pointillistic -- sort of like a domra if a domra were double strung. It suited the baroque pieces very well.
Here are the remaining dates on the tour. Very highly recommended if you get the chance.
June 13 at 8 p.m.
Sixth & I
600 I Street NW
June 14 at 8 p.m.
20 South 2nd Street
June 17 at 8 p.m.
376 9th Street
June 20, at 7:30 p.m.
Le Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker Street
New York, N.Y.
I am sure these concerts are exceptional. Do you know if he is doing any workshops in the States?
The video is great. It not only shows his amazing skill at the mandolin but you get a good sense of Avi and his humor. I'd love to meet this guy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=bGU44B-aAkU