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Joaquim Antonio Barrozo NETTO (1881-1941)
Works for Piano - Volume 1
Artur Cimirro (piano)
rec. 2017, Opus Dissonus Studios, 4, 11, 20 Nov 2017

Works for Piano - Volume 2
Artur Cimirro (piano)
rec. 2017, Opus Dissonus Studios, 4, 11, 20 Nov 2017

Here Acta Préalable takes a route diversion from unfrequented Polish music for which they are famed. They move, through the inspired agency of Brazilian pianist Artur Cimirro, in studio sound that is both ample and tonally subtle. In doing so they help put right the neglect which has been the fate of the Brazilian composer-pianist-conductor, Joaquim Antonio Barrozo Netto. Born in Rio de Janeiro, his teachers included Alberto Nepomuceno. The short but spicy character pieces on these two discs present to the listening world a composer whose creative life also extended to include film music, the opera Queen of the Night and a now lost Piano Concerto.

These two separately available CDs have on offer 130+ minutes of piano solos. Make no mistake, Netto’s language here is not difficult. The first tracks (Dois Estudos de Concerto) stand out for their crowded and tremulous pianola effect: a little motoric as if in the cushioned and confident grip of a giant mechanism. Feux Follets is flooded with energy and there is a butterfly fragility to Ballado das Borboletas and Flor em Botão. Then Netto reaches for and grasps amusement in the popular Galhofeira pieces - mind you, “Galhofeira” appears to mean “hilarious” and this music provokes a light smile rather than guffaws. There’s a touch of powdered wigs in Tempo di menuetto. Bom humor articulates a smiling amble while Valsa grand, with its sense of forward movement, progresses in a swirl rather than a romantic clinch. There are ominous threatening clouds in Cachimbando, and A minha casinha wafts the listener to warm and breezy evenings. Joy of living skips along happily with its title (and only its title) putting me in mind of the stylistically different Symphony No. 2 Joy of Life (1941) by Australian, Alfred Hill.

On disc 2 the so-called Serenata Diabolica is not at all diabolical, at least not in atmosphere although it may be a pianistic challenge. Em caminha is not very fast but gets there with unhurried delights along the way. Canção Árabe is pleasant but not very North African. The gentle Confidencias is matched adroitly by the good-hearted Polichinelozinho. Na Rede - in hammock - is more turbulent than the relaxation promised by the title. Turn then to the skittering Quasi nada and Redemoinho with typically superb playing from Cimirro. After the Godowsky-like Valso Capricho 1 we end the second disc with the ardour cooled Tempos Idos.

This Netto project is garlanded with Cimirro’s work-specific notes (English and Portuguese); shame about the absence of work-dates. The writing is by no means bland. Cimirro has an excoriating swipe at the reported obstruction presented by the National Library of Rio de Janeiro. Here are two CDs. A third is planned but can only happen when the National Library opens its doors to Mr Cimirro. Mr Cimirro even goes so far as to counsel composers never to donate their personal collections to that institution. Controversy aside, Cimirro has brought to fruition a host of Polish projects for this label: Wieniawski, Zichy, Szanto, Michalowski and Maliszewski. To these Acte Préalable have added Cimirro in Dubois and Tausig as well as a selection of his own compositions.

Rob Barnett

Volume 1
Dois Estudos de Concerto [3:34]
Sete Pequenas peças características [11:00]
[Feux Follets 0:41]
Estudo em ré menor [1:03]
Galhofeiro - Estudo [2:13]
Melodia [2:13]
Galhofeira [2:23]
Esbocetos [13:13]
Brincadeira Interrompida [1:21]
Romance sem palavras [4:53]
Coriscos [1:12]
Álbuminfantil [6:43]
No Ferreiro [1:04
Sinos da Aldea [1:43]
Minha Terra [1:26]
Cachimbando [2:13]
A Minha Casinha [1:34]
Alegria de viver [2:09]

Volume 2
Serenata Diabólica [2:28]
Era uma vez [2:09]
Era outra vez [2:45]
Em Caminho [2:03]
Antonieta [5:08]
Cantilena [1:14]
Canto do Marujo [2:55]
Cavalinho de Pau [1:27]
Cançao Árabe [1:40]
Danse des Fantoches [1:01]
Série infantil [4:47]
Confidencias [1:39]
Humoresca [2:00]
Sorriso Triste [1:52
Natal [2:25]
Polichinelozinho [1:41]
Na Rede [2:22]
Movimento Perpétuo [2:23]
La Plainte d'une Fleur [1:14]
Ite Missa Est [2:59]
Minueto [3:37]
Quasi Nada [0:47]
Diálogo [3:21]
Choro [1:59]
Scherzetto [1:38]
Valse-Scherzo [2:58]
Redemoinho [1:12]
Valse Mignone [1:36]
Página Íntima [0:45]
Duas Valsas Capricho [5:16]
Dois Esboços incompletos [0:25]
Tempos Idos - Valsa Romântica [4:25]


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