Guitar Music from Brazil

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Guitar Music from Brazil

The guitar has played a major part in the evolution ofBrazilian music, especially throughout the twentieth century. As in Spain, theguitar is Brazil's national instrument and is still the primary instrument usedby many of Brazil's most famous singer/songwriters of today, such as GilbertoGil, Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque, Milton Nascimento, Jo?úo Bosco and others.Most students of the classical guitar come across Brazilian music sooner orlater during their studies. Many fall under the spell of its unique charm andbeauty.

Marco Pereira is today one of Brazil's most importantguitarist composers. As a performer he has played all over the world and hismany compositions for guitar reflect the diverse rhythms and musical formsfound in Brazil. Pixaim, which opens this recording, is a type of Frevo, aquite fast and rhythmic dance normally played by small orchestras with brassand percussion instruments. The dance originates from the North-East of Braziland can especially be heard during Carnival time in places such as Recife andOlinda.

Plainte-Lamento is a beautiful and simple piece composed inthe style of the Brazilian waltz. Num pagode em Planatina is a homage to thegreat singer/songwriter and guitarist, Jo?úo Bosco. Planaltina is a small townin Brazil and pagode a kind of gathering where people meet to sing and dancemainly samba variants. Pereira captures brilliantly Bosco's unique guitaristicstyle with string slaps, rhythmic taps and strummed chords.

The Brazilian Ch??ro form dates back to the late 1800s. Atype of ensemble consisting of guitar, cavaquinho (a small guitar-shapedhigh-pitched instrument) and flute, would come together to play tangos, waltzesand polkas. Eventually the Ch??ro was born from these meetings. For a long timeit was considered the music of the lower middle-class and was rarely acceptedby the ruling classes. The Ch??ro, however, continued to develop and became verypopular during the early years of the twentieth century.

One of Brazil's Ch??ro pioneers was the guitarist Jo?úoPernambuco (1983-1947). He earned his living as an ironworker, but he was alsoan exceptional musician. His Sons de Carilh??es (Sound of Bells) is a Ch??ro thatguitarists know and play throughout the world. I have included two more of hiscompositions on this recording, the cheeky Grauna (Blackbird) and Po de Mico,that literally translates as \itching powder".

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Antonio Carlos Jobim (Tom Jobim)(1927-1994) was a founder of the Bossa Nova movement. His best known song mustbe Garota de Ipanema (Girl from Ipanema). Throughout his career Jobim wrotemany wonderful compositions and classic songs. One of the most beautiful piecesis called Luiza, arranged here for solo guitar by Marco Pereira.

Luis Bonfa (1922-2001), like Jobim, was responsible forbringing Bossa Nova to the masses. A talented guitarist and composer, he firstbecame famous for his song Manh?ú de Carnaval, composed for the film Orfeu Negro(Black Orpheus).

Sergio Assad and his brother, Odair, form the brilliantguitar duo, Duo Assad. In recent years Sergio has devoted more time tocomposition. Aquarelle was written in 1986 for the famous Scottish guitarist,David Russell. The first movement, Divertimiento, is based on a three-notemotif (D - B flat - C) heard at the beginning of the piece. This motif is heardthroughout various registers as this movement develops. The middle movement,Valseana, is an inspired, beautiful melody that leads way to the Preludio eTocatina. After the initial dreamy Preludio there follows a furiously fast andexciting Toccata that closes this piece.

Raphael Rabello (1962-1995) was a wonderful guitarist withextraordinary technical abilities. During his tragically short life (he wasjust 33 years old when he died), he achieved world-wide recognition. Hiscomposition Sete Cordas (Seven Strings) is a haunting homage to theseven-string Brazilian guitar he played so masterfully.

Egberto Gismonti is one of today's best-known Brazilianmusicians. His combination of Brazilian popular music forms mixed withimprovisation have brought Gismonti a wide following. He has composed a vastamount of music and Agua e Vinho (Water and Wine) is a particular favourite ofmine. Gismonti has described Agua e Vinho as being inspired by the "mystery ofCatholicism", life's basic element, a beautiful and contradictory combination.

Probably Brazil's most famous composer is Heitor Villa-Lobos(1887-1959). His Sentimental Melody was written for the film Green Mansions in1957. Its haunting lyricism recalls the spirit and inventiveness of some of hisBachianas Brasilieras. It is here brilliantly arranged for guitar by theBrazilian guitarist, Carlos Barbosa-Lima.

Ronaldo Miranda was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1948. Anextremely talented composer, Appassionata is his only composition for guitar todate. It is a virtuoso work filled with large passionate gestures, moments ofmelancholic reflection and lush harmonies.

It must finally be added that it was very hard to chooserepertoire for this disc. There are so many other wonderful and importantBrazilian composers with lovely pieces that it would have been good to haveincluded. Nevertheless the present recording may at least serve to whet thelistener's appetite for further investigation into the sensual and beautifulsound world of Brazilian music.

Graham Anthony Devine

I would like to dedicate this recording to my family and allmy friends in Brazil. Special thanks to Alun Morgan, and also to Stuart Blagdenfor his dedication to Brazilian music and help with music scores.

Disc: 1
1 Pixaim
2 Sons de Carilhoes (Sound of Bells)
3 Grauna (Blackbird)
4 Plainte (Lamento)
5 Num pagode em Planaltina
6 Luiza
7 Garota de Ipanema (Girl from Ipanema)
8 Manha de Carnaval (Morning of the Carnival)
9 I. Divertimiento
10 II. Valseana
11 III. Preludio e Toccatina
12 Sete Cordas (Seven Strings)
13 O Choro de Juliana
14 Agua e Vinho (Water and Wine)
15 Po de Mico (Itching Powder)
16 Forests of the Amazon: Sentimental Melody
17 Appassionata
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