Guarnieri

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COMPOSERS: Guarnieri
LABELS: BIS
WORKS: Symphony No. 2 (Uirapuru); Symphony No. 3; Abertura concertante
PERFORMER: São Paulo State SO/John Neschling
CATALOGUE NO: CD-1220
Mozart Camargo Guarnieri (perhaps understandably, he dropped the ‘Mozart’ from his publications) was a leading Brazilian composer, a younger contemporary of Villa-Lobos. He studied with Koechlin in Paris in the Thirties and was friendly with Copland and Bernstein in the Forties (Copland was the dedicatee of the lively Abertura concertante). Though Guarnieri was open to many of the same influences as Villa-Lobos in terms of Brazilian folk music and urban song he went his own way: his musical personality is more neo-classical, his structures concise and firmly structured, though colourful and rhythmically lively. It’s music of force, wit, elegance and sentiment.

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Guarnieri composed seven symphonies: lets hope this release is the first in a series. No. 2 (1945) is titled Uirapuru and is inspired by the same legend of the mysterious Amazonian bird that is the basis for Villa-Lobos’s more celebrated ballet of that name. No. 3 (1952) is partly based on Amerindian motifs from the Mato Grosso, though one tends to note a more distinct influence of Aaron Copland than in the other two scores on the disc. If not major discoveries, all are vigorous, vividly orchestrated, well-crafted works, clearly performed with dedication and affection in good sound, and which can be safely recommended to enthusiasts for the music of (say) Chávez, Ginastera or Revueltas. Calum MacDonald