American Record Guide

Avison has enjoyed some renewed popularity in the past few years, with a good deal of the credit for that going to Gordon Dixon, executive director of the Avison Ensemble; he one day found some old music in the back of a cupboard that turned out to be some works by Avison. Apparently the discoveries go on, because two of Avison’s workbooks appeared out of oblivion in 2000 and 2002; together they comprise more than 600 pages of music. These concerto arrangements of Francesco Geminiani’s violin sonatas were in those workbooks.

This recording, then, constitutes something of an event in classical music. Avison apparently did not score an arrangement of Sonata 11, so Pavlo Beznosiuk wrote a concerto arrangement of it himself to make the set complete.

Geminiani was a great influence on Avison; indeed, Avison probably studied with him in London, as Geminiani was already living there when Avison moved there around 1725 at the age of 15. The two formed a close friendship that continued until Geminiani died in 1762.

This is a significant addition to the catalog of Avison’s recorded music. The Avison Ensemble is doing good work in this respect, having already done a few recordings for Naxos of other Avison Concertos. This is a good recording, but I should probably include a note of caution for those who don’t enjoy period ensembles, because this is clearly a period performance. Sometimes the intonation seems less than precise. Good sound and decent notes.