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Between Worlds

Manchester Chamber Concerts Society

RNCM Concert Hall, 16 February 2015

A delightful concert, yes, yet also enlightening and eye-opening, transforming your understanding of what music is or can be.

With ‘Between Worlds’ Avi Avital (mandolin), Ksenija Sidorova (accordion) and Itamar Doari (percussion) set out to explore the space where classical and traditional (or folk) music meet.  It had Bach, Bartok and Bloch (the latter’s Nigun movement from Baal-Shem) along with traditional music from several lands, including Turkey, Bulgaria and Georgia.  Manuel de Falla’s Seven Spanish Folk Songs was a highlight, though in truth it was a concert jam-packed with highlights.

Reflecting a little on why it worked so well and had the impact it did, one reason was undoubtedly that the musicians showed a good understanding, having performed together for this kind of concert over 40 times.  Another reason: they play unusual instruments with great virtuosity and are clearly familiar with the classical repertoire: a rare combination.  It was only afterwards that I learnt that Avi Avital had recorded a CD of Bach’s music – on mandolin.  And, in addition, the choice of music here was wildly unexpected, a jolt.  How often do you hear Nikolai Budashkin’s Concerto in A minor, or any of Heitor Villa Lobos’s Bachianas brasileiras, or Sulkhan Tsintsadze’s Three Miniatures?  All of these factors, taken together (and others too, no doubt), created a concert at once revelatory and resplendent with beauty.

A pity Ralph went home early.  Who’s Ralph?

Avi Avital’s website is here.

Details of the final MCCS concert, which features the Endellion Quartet, can be found here.