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Avi Avital - Vivaldi / All Classical Portland: CD Pick & Interview

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Interview with KQAC's John Pitman

Last summer, we introduced you to Avi Avital with "Between Worlds", Mr. Avital's second CD for Deutsche Grammophon, where the Israeli-born mandolinist sought to bridge classical and folk genres, and effortlessly navigated between those "worlds".  Now making Berlin his home, Avi is embarking on a tour with Venice Baroque Orchestra, playing works by that city's most famous son, Antonio Vivaldi, including what is arguably the most famous concerto written for Avi's instrument.  This recording is the result of his collaboration with this remarkably versatile and ambitious orchestra, and Mr. Avital matches them note for note in intensity and creative expression.  He told me in my audio blog that he asked himself "how can I offer the listeners an opportunity to hear it for the first time… again?"

Along the way, Avi reunites with one of the current leading harpsichordists, the Iranian-born Mahan Esfahani (in Vivaldi's C major trio), and Metropolitan Opera star, Juan Diego Florez, bridging the music of the concert hall with that heard in the canals of Venice.  Listen closely, toward the end of my conversation with Avi, to how I painted a picture in sound for you with the traditional Venetian song performed by Mr. Florez.

Avi Avital was a pleasure to speak with: he's an enthusiastic advocate for an instrument that continues to bridge worlds and break down walls between many genres of music.  I think you'll enjoy the time spent listening to our chat.

LISTEN TO John Pitman's Interview