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Avi Avital: taking the mandolin out of Italy

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Contemporary mandolinists like Avi Avital are taking things to a whole new level, performing Bach with a facility and sensitivity that would put many violinists to shame. Avital tackles different folk traditions, albeit from a classical perspective – hence the recording's title, Between Worlds. While much here will be familiar – Bartók's Roumanian Folk Dances or Villa Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras No 5 – there are also less well-known works such as Sulkhan Tsintsadze's Miniatures On Georgian Folk Themes. But whether it's Bloch, Monti, Dvorˇák, Falla or Piazzolla, the performances and arrangements here are so fresh and novel that everything sounds new.

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