Brazilian Landscapes

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Alegre,Bellinatii,D Murray,Gismonti,Jobim,Nazareth,Pascoal,Ribeiro & Villa-Lobos
LABELS: OUR Recordings
ALBUM TITLE: Brazilian Landscapes
WORKS: Works by Alegre, Bellinatii, Jobim, Gismonti, D Murray, Nazareth, Pascoal, Ribeiro & Villa-Lobos
PERFORMER: Michala Petri (recorder), Marilyn Mazur (percussion), Daniel Murray (guitar)
CATALOGUE NO: 6.220618

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Brazil has long been a melting pot of musical traditions from Portuguese folk music to Angolan drumming. In the 1930s, celebrated Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos fused the sonorities of his homeland with Baroque compositional technique, creating the enchanting Bachianas Brasileiras and sparking fresh interest in musical adventuring among Brazilian composers. This niche but enjoyable disc continues this tradition, featuring a wide range of contemporary Brazilian works written (or arranged) for recorder, percussion and guitar. This trio may seem an unlikely combination but has its roots in the traditional ‘choro’ ensemble – a popular music genre which originated in 19th-century Rio de Janeiro – and the disc’s varied works playfully reimagine and reframe longstanding Brazilian musical traditions.

Highlights include Ernesto Nazareth’s Fon-Fon!, which evokes a ‘roda a choro’  – a kind of lively jam session – and ripples with humour and energy, while Paulo Bellinati’s whirling Jongo draws on the complex rhythms of the ritual songs and dances once practised by slaves working in the coffee plantations of South-eastern Brazil. There are a few slips in intonation and ensemble but performances are otherwise spirited and lyrical.

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Kate Wakeling