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Dilermando REIS (1916-1977)
Guitar Music
Salvatore Fortunato (guitar)
rec. 2018, Assolo Produzione Musicali, Genzano di Roma, Italy.

Reis – whose full name was Dilermando dos Santos Reis – was long famous as a guitarist, a composer and a teacher in Brazil. He had a considerable influence on Brazilian music, especially that for the guitar, though he was in no way an innovator. Indeed, his music was essentially conservative, belonging to a Romantic tradition and, in its sentimentality and nostalgia, staying largely untouched by more modern developments. He recorded extensively; he began his recording career in the 1940s and was at his most popular in the following two decades.

This selection of Reis’s compositions played by the Italian guitarist Salvatore Fortunato includes a number of Reis’s most famous pieces, such as ‘Caboclino’, ‘Tempo de Crianša’, ‘Xodˇ Da Baiana’, ‘Se Ela Perguntar’, ‘Eterna Saudade’ and ‘Dois Destinos’.

The obvious comparison (though see below, also) is, of course, with Reis’s own recordings of his work. Reis’s interpretations are, for the most part, more impassioned, fuller of saudade (that Brazilian/Portuguese emotion of yearning melancholy) than those of Salvatore Fortunato. But in terms of clarity of articulation Fortunato appears to have the edge – though some of this impression may be due to the fact that Fortunato has the benefit of far better recorded sound than Reis generally had.

Fortunato’s success with these tunes is somewhat mixed. He is heard at his very best in a delightful version of the slow and pleasantly melodious waltz ‘Se ela preguntar’ (If she asks), where both phrasing and rhythm are well judged and the whole has a very pleasant fluency. By way of contrast, ‘Eterna Saudade’, which sounds less ‘natural’ and where the emotion feels somewhat forced and theatrical, is less successful. Waltzes often seem to bring out the best in this guitarist: ‘Uma Valsa e Dois Amores’ is lovely, though ‘Ternura’ which closes the disc doesn’t quite convince, in emotional terms. ‘Alma Apaixonada’ is played with an attractive lilt, but ‘S˙plica’ is rather stilted in places and Fortunato doesn’t really capture the mood of ‘Desengano’ (Disappointment/Despair). Still, ‘Xodˇ Da Baiana’ has an engaging energy and drive and we get a lively and assured reading of the choro ‘Tempo de Crianša’.

Fortunato is an accomplished guitarist, without doubt, and his accomplishments have been properly recognized by the award of a number of international prizes, as detailed in the booklet notes of this disc; they include, for example, awards at ‘Etruria Classica’ in Piombino and the ‘Note sul Mare’ in Rome. He is a professor at the Accademia Chitarristica Castelli Romani. On this recording, however, there are aspects of Reis’s musical sensibility which he doesn’t quite ‘catch’, at least not consistently.

Given that slight inconsistency of empathy, I would recommend, as single CDs of the music of Dilermando Reis, Wim Hoogerwerf’s 2016 album Eterna Saudade (L’Horizon violet) or the 2012 album Denis Sartorato interpra Dilermando Reis (Tratore Brasil); however, this present album, which is more readily available than either of those two, will provide an acceptable introduction to Dilermando Reis. Those unfamiliar with Reis’s music should bear in mind the fact that it occupies a place nearer the ‘popular’ than the ‘classical’ end of the spectrum of Brazilian music for the guitar. Reis, it has to be said, is no Villa-Lobos or even a Marco Pereira.

Glyn Pursglove

Caboclinho [2:58]
Alma Apaixonada [2:45]
Dois destinos [3:16]
Promessa [3:16]
Se Ela Perguntar [2:48]
Gente Boa [1:50]
S˙plica [3:30]
Uma Valsa e Dois Amores [3:14]
Fim de Festa [4:04]
Xodˇ Da Baiana [2:49]
Desengano [2:26]
Eterna Saudade [4:29]
Feitišo [2:36]
Sandrinha [4:20]
Sobradinho [2:17]
Vŕ Se te Agrada [2:23]
Tempo de Crianša [2:54]
Ternura [3:27]

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