Ch. Avison: Allegro ma grazioso

  1. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Charles Avison (1709-1770): Trio Sonata in E minor, Op. 1, No. 5 (c. 1736)
    4. Allegro ma grazioso

    Arranged by Alfred Moffat, 1910. Score from IMSLP:,_Charles%29

    Charles Avison was a mid-18th century English composer, holding the post of organist at (what is now) the cathedral of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. His Italianate trio sonatas, written around 1736, were heavily influenced by Corelli's style. I have played the last movement of the fifth sonata, leaving out the repeats.

    This is one of my favourite Baroque pieces to play on mandolin -- it suits the instrument very well, despite being originally for violins. We play it frequently with our mandolin group, for the fun of how neatly the three voices fit together. This new lockdown recording is a chance to feature my Ceccherini, which I have been neglecting lately but which records really nicely.

    Apologies for the fuzzy video: it's been a gloomy day and my webcam wants more light.

    1890s Umberto Ceccherini mandolin (x2)
    Suzuki MC-815 mandocello

  2. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Very nice, a hard piece I think Martin, especially with the other parts fitting nicely together.
  3. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Ginny! Not actually that hard a piece -- with our mixed-ability group everybody was able to sight-read it just fine when I first introduced it. The best combination: sounding impressive without actually being particularly technically demanding. The neat aspect of the piece is how each part interacts with the others in a sympathetic and natural way.

    Overdubbing the parts during my own recording was a bit trickier than playing it with "live" musicians, but manageable except for needing a few extra takes to get the mandocello solo in the B part lined up with the mandolins. With our group, we play the bass part on octave mandolin (lifting a few of the low notes by an octave to bring them into range) and that makes the fingering on the solo easier.

  4. Frithjof
    This Trio Sonata by Charles Avison is a great piece of Baroque music.
    You played it very well, Martin.

    I downloaded the pdf and tried to play through the Allegro ma grazioso (first and second violin). Itís fun but obviously needs some really accurate practicing to make it sound right solo - not to say as a trio.
    You are playing great music with your group!
  5. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Frithjof. Hope you have fun with the score!

  6. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    You regularly find such fine pieces, Martin. As Frithjof says, your group must provide a great deal of fun for you all. Here's to a return to those times when we can once agiain play live music together.
  7. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Well done Martin, complex, intricate melody and harmonisation, well played.
  8. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, John and Simon!

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