ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Brasiliana
PERFORMER: Arnaldo Cohen (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-1121
The 31 tracks here represent 21 composers, from two ‘Lessons’ by Luiz Álvares Pinto (1719-89), which are the earliest known Brazilian keyboard pieces, to Cláudio Santoro and César Guerra-Peixe, both of whom died a few years ago when 69 and 79 respectively. No one very up to the minute, then, and the
majority of pieces are from the late 19th or early 20th centuries, many – like Villa-Lobos’s well-known O Polichinello – ideal for encores: short novelties that are rhythmic and witty, sometimes lightly sentimental, but never taking themselves too seriously. Guerra-Peixe’s Preludio tropical No. 2 is about the most dissonant – a quirky bi-modal invention strung on an ostinato. Henrique Oswald’s Il neige
is a charmingly delicate moto perpetuo. Camargo Guarnieri’s Ponteio No. 49 has a Romantic sweep reminiscent of Rachmaninoff, but with Brazilian rhythmic detail. Francisco Mignone’s Valsa de
Esquina No. 1 has intriguingly irregular phrases, and Ernesto Nazareth’s catchy polka, Apanhei-te, Cavaquinho, exploits only the top half of the keyboard to irresistible effect.
In short, a box of treats, most musically played by Arnaldo Cohen and with lovely recorded sound. Adrian Jack