> BRASILIANA BISCD1121 [PW]: Classical Reviews- February 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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BRASILIANA: Three Centuries Of Brazilian Music
Cláudio SANTORO (1919-1989)

1. Paulistana no 4 1’40"
2. Paulistana no 1 1’23"
Mozart Camargo GUARNIERI (1907-1993)

3. Dança Negra 3’28"
4. Ponteio no 49 1’39"
Henrique OSWALD (1852-1931)

5. Il neige 2’50"
Francisco MIGNONE (1987-1986)

6. Valse de Esquina no 1 2’45"
Francisco BRAGA (1868-1945)

7. Corrupio 0’59"
Luiz LEVY (1861-1935)

8. Valsa Lenta no 4 4’06"
César Guerra PEIXE (1914-1993)

9. Prelúdio Tropical no 2 1’28"
Eduardo DUTRA (1908?-1963/4?)

10. Prelude in f sharp minor Op32 2’01"
Octavio PINTO (1890-1950)

from ‘Cenas Infantis’
11. March, little soldier! 0’53"
12. Sleeping time 1’47"
Leopoldo MIGUEZ (1850-1902)

from ‘12 Peças Características’
13. Peça no 3 0’38"
14. Peça no 8 1’46"
Luiz Álvares PINTO (1719-1789)

from ‘Solfejo Lessons’
15. No 24 in a minor 0’47"
16. No 21 in d minor 0’48"
Francisco (Chiquinha) GONZAGA (1847-1935)

17. Gaúcho - Tango Brasileiro 1’50"
Alberto NEPOMUCENO (1864-1920)

18. Air (from Suite Antiga) 4’34"
José Mauricio Nunes GARCIA (1767-1830)

19. Fantasia para Pianoforte no 4 1’57"
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)

20. O Polichinello 1’32"
21. Valsa da Dor 5’47"
Radames GNATTALI (1906-1988)

22. Valsa no 7 1’36"
José SIQUEIRA (1907-1985)

23. Valsa no 3 2’22"
Ernesto NAZARETH (1863-1934)

24. Apanhei-te, Cavaquinho 2’39"
Alexandre LEVY (1864-1892)

25. Cœur blessé 3’50"
Francisco MIGNONE (1897-1986)

26. Congada (Dança brasiliera) 2’57"
Fructuoso VIANNA (1896-1976)
27. Serenata Espanhola Op1 no2 2’38"
Ernesto NAZARETH (1863-1934)

28. Odeon - Tango Brasiliero 2’41"
Oscar Lorenzo FERNANDEZ (1897-1948)

Suite Brasiliera no 2
29. Ponteio 1’37"
30. Moda 2’01"
31. Cateretê 1’30"

Arnaldo Cohen - piano
Recordings made in the former Academy of Music, Stockholm in June 2000
BIS CD-1121 [71.31]


To people living in Western Europe the tendency to view music history from an exclusively Western European perspective is all too easy to acquire. This disc really illustrates the error of such a view. As the detailed booklet notes by Paul Myers point out, Brasil "can probably boast more piano music over the past three centuries than virtually any other nation in the world." Of course it is an enormous country which has always been heavily populated and has had strong European connections for many centuries. The list of composers seen above gives some idea of the richness of music available. There is clearly a great deal more to Brasilian music than Villa-Lobos, who only appears on two tracks - although the Valsa da Dor is an extensive and fine example of his massive talent.

Arnaldo Cohen’s playing is characterful and dynamic. He wears his virtuosity with ease and the more technically brilliant pieces positively sparkle. He does not seem to be quite so comfortable with the earlier repertoire. The ‘lessons’ by Luiz Pinto come across as rather dry pieces of academe and the Fantasia para Pianoforte of José Garcia, while still showing the panache of right-hand fluency suffers from a rather stolid balance between the hands.

It is where the music is at its most "Brazilian" that the performances come across as most impressive. The opening track by Cláudio Santoro bursts forth with all the colour and vigour of the carnival, while the various tangos (although of course not properly a ‘brazilian’ invention) come across with poise, flair and excitement. The Tango Brasileiro by Ernesto Nazareth is a particularly fine example, a rondo structure with carefully woven variations. Cohen’s performance is wonderful and the recording is of exemplary clarity.

None of the tracks on this disc are much longer than five minutes; most are only around two minutes, so this cannot be described as heavyweight listening - definitely more in the ‘easy’ category, but nonetheless effective for it. The lineage of European tradition is apparent, but the flavour of South America which colours all the works, and permeates the performances adds a distinctive character that is immediately enjoyable. BIS once again demonstrates their commitment to recording music that many of the larger labels would not. Thank goodness that somebody does. Fascinating listening.

Peter Wells


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