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Fanfare (US) " This is music to savor and be refreshed by, regardless of your preference for musical genres. Highly recommended."

May 24, 2017

Dave Saemann

BRAZILIAN LANDSCAPES  Michala Petri (rcr); Marilyn Mazur (perc); Daniel Murray (gtr)  OUR 6.220618 (SACD: 71:11)

ALEGRE Dreams. BELLINATI Jongo. Pingue-Pongue. JOBIM Olha Maria. MURRAY Cauteous. Song and Dance. NAZARETH Fon-Fon. GISMONTI Karatê. Passion talk. PASCOAL Saint George. RIBEIRO VIII Miniatures. VILLA-LOBOS Choros Nos. 2 and 5

I long have had a soft spot for Michala Petri, ever since I heard her play in Princeton many years ago. So when confronted with her recorder album of Brazilian music, my reaction was anticipation rather than skepticism. Petri excels in cross cultural endeavors. I recommend her YouTube videos paired with a master of the Chinese flute, Chenyue. Petri and Brazilian music are a natural. The arrangements on Brazilian Landscapes are by the Brazilian guitarist/composer Daniel Murray. The arrangements are intelligent, vivid, and sensitive. A good introduction to Murray as arranger and guitarist are his four YouTube videos of music of Egberto Gismonti arranged for solo guitar, in one case for an 11 string guitar. Murray and Petri establish a marvelous rapport on this album, sounding like two old friends just getting together to play for their own pleasure. I wonder how much of the percussion part was written out and how much was left to the performer. Marilyn Mazur is a veteran percussionist of great versatility. Her jazz quartet, the Marilyn Mazur Group, may be seen on YouTube in two of her compositions, Magic Box and Sage Passion. Her playing brings an extra dimension to Brazilian Landscapes, giving it a cache beyond that of a chamber ensemble. This is music of great heart and terrific sound that deserves to appeal to a wide audience, beyond the confines of classical acolytes.
Composer Paulo Bellinati in his program notes stresses the blurring of the lines between classical and popular music in Brazilian culture. Its greatest popular composer, Antonio Carlos Jobim, was influenced by the gestures of classical music, while Heitor Villa-Lobos, the greatest Brazilian classical composer, sought artistic sustenance from popular and folk music. Jobim’s Olha Maria has the dark, sensitive mood of a Latin Shostakovich. Chico Buarque’s haunting lyrics are included in the booklet. Street corner players are evoked by Villa-Lobos’s Choros No. 2. Choros No. 5, subtitled “Brazilian soul,” at times feels like a plaintive lament, while elsewhere it possesses the vigor of folk poetry. I’ve previously alluded to Daniel Murray’s affinity for the music of Egberto Gismonti, and the two arrangements on Brazilian Landscapes are no exception. Karatê really requires a virtuoso solo modern dancer to bring its jagged rhythms completely to life. Passion talk has the depth of feeling of two lovers communicating. This music contains such intimacy of emotion that words really cannot describe it. Mazur’s contribution here adds immeasurably to its allusiveness of meaning. Her participation is very much to the forefront of Dreams by Paulo Porto Alegre. Mazur creates a gossamer aural environment, not unlike electronic music. Petri maintains the overall sonic mood beautifully.
Paulo Bellinati’s music possesses a balletic grace. Daniel Murray’s own compositions are well made, with an appealing melancholy streak. By contrast, Ernesto Nazareth’s Fon-Fon sparkles with joy. The stereo engineering on the CD is superb. I was unable to listen to the surround sound program. Brazilian Landscapes is a delicious, frothy beverage designed to tickle your taste buds. This is music to savor and be refreshed by, regardless of your preference for musical genres. Highly recommended. 25.05.2017 Fanfare Dave Saemann

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