Friday, January 25, 2008

Radamés & Rafael Collaboration

Radamés Gnattali had several collaborations with renowned MBP artists during his long career as a composer, director and pianist - in the context of choro his collaboration with Garoto and Jacob do Bandolim is well known. In the early 1950s Gnattali and Garoto collaborated and prepared a work for orchestra and violão by Gnattali with Garoto as the soloist, and in the mid-60s Jacob do Bandolim was deeply involved as a soloist in the first performance and recording of Gnattali's famous 'Retratos' suite. A third example of a fruitful collaboration is the one between Gnattali and Rafael Rabello, the acclaimed maestro of the violão in the 1980s.
Gnattali knew Rabello from his co-work late 70s with the choro ensemble Camerata Carioca, which had Rabello as a member on violão 7 cordas, and in 1982 they joined forces in a duo setting preparing and recording some of Garoto's works and a composition by Gnattali. The project was a part of the Projeto Almirante initiated by the government's cultural department (FUNARTE), and this resulted in a recording by Gnattali and Rabello, 'Tributo a Garoto', which is deservedly famous and still available in the FUNARTE archieve, released on a cd by the Atracão label (click on headline or picture below to learn more).

The cd has five compositions by Garoto: 'Desvairada' • 'Gente Humilde' • 'Enigmático' • 'Nosso Choro'• 'Duas Contas' and a reading of Gnattali's 'Concertinho Para Violão'. The cd features Gnattali on piano and Rabello on violão 7 cordas - perhaps a somewhat unusual example of duo interplay, but nonetheless the music is worth listening, as both musicians excell great virtuosity throughout the performance.

I found a video recording of a TV performance featuring Gnattali and Rabello, audio is a bit distorted, anyway, hope you to enjoy this rendtion of Garoto's 'Desvairada'


Friday, January 18, 2008


Ernesto Nazareth (1863-1934) is considered one of the main figures in the shaping of the Brazilian choro, his compositions - although never designated with the term 'choro' by the composer himself - became popular with choro communities early on and some of his most popular pieces are till performed by choro ensembles today.
Recently I found a website in English devoted to Ernesto Nazareth with the aim of publishing his compositions as digitalized scores free available on the internet. The website is still under construction and only midi-soundclips of some of the listed scores are available yet. However, this website and a similar devoted to the works of Chiquinha Gonzaga is worth a visit, if you like to have a short overview of the life and career of the composer, furthermore both mentioned websites have nice historic footage and inserted info from acclaimed sources of research.

To earn his living and support his family, Nazareth had to work as a house-pianist at a shop selling music scores, his task was to play music pieces to be sold demonstrating for the potential buyer how it should be played. Sometimes he would argue with customers about the performance of his own pieces. Around 1924 he got a job at the prestigious cinema of Rio de Jainero, the'Odeon' (see picture above), where he was hired to play at the waiting room for spectators before and during intermission of film performances. Spectators came one hour earlier in order to listen to him, and it was during this period he composed his piece 'Odeon' - designated with the term 'Brazilian tango' and instantly popular with the visiting public of the cinema. The composition soon became popular with choro musians and still belongs to the 'standard' repertoire of many choro groups and performers.

I found a couple of video performances of 'Odeon' I like to share with visitors of this blog. The first is a short sequence featuring Radamés Gnattali performing the first and secound part of the composition on solo piano - the fragment is from a TV homage to Gnattali headed by Tom Jobim, who introduces the sequence. I think the clip also shows the continuity of music tradition in Brazil, anyway, enjoy maestro Gnattali here:

The secound video features the accomplished yong master of the violão, Alessandro Penezzi, performing his version of Nazareth's famous composition, hope you to enjoy


Friday, January 11, 2008

Frevo 100 Anos

Brazil North East, especially the region of Pernambuco, is rich in traditional music and dances. Frevo (- means “I’m boiling”), is probably the most Pernambucan of all. Like choro, frevo is closely related to the samba, and has grown and adapted into a more modern sound. Musically the frevo is in the form of a march but is distinguished by its characteristic fast syncopation played in a very fast, binary tempo.

Frevo has its origins in the repertoires of the military bands in the second half of the 19th century, in Recife. The maxixe, the Brazilian tango, the quadrille, the gallope, and more particularly, the military two-step and the polka, somehow became combined into a form of hybrid dance, the result of which was - frevo. It is a creation of the Recife carnival, which is celebrated every year - 2007 was announced the century of frevo.
Frevo dancers, called passistas, usually wear bright, shiny, multi-coloured costumes and carry small umbrellas. The dancing itself features very high jumps. Frevo-de-Rua, the most common meaning of the word "frevo", is an instrumental style, played in a fiery fast tempo with brass instruments. A well-known Frevo-de-Rua tune is called "Vassourinhas", I found a video featuring an accomplished guitarist performing this in a great solo version

Frevo de Bloco is also sung and often performend with string instruments. Capiba (1904-1997) was the most famous composer in this style. I found a video performance of a Capiba composition by the same guitar player as above. Enjoy his solo rendition of Capiba's "Madeira que Cupim Não Rói"

To end this small celebration of frevo as adapted by a solo guitar I insert yet another video performance by the above featured player. "Valores do Passado" is a frevo composed by Edgar Moraes and has most of the characteristics of this Pernambucan music style. Again there is a delay between image and audio, however, hope you to enjoy the music, anyway


Friday, January 04, 2008

Streaming Audio

Romero Lubambo

At her weblog Daniella Thompson pointed to a one-hour radio program featuring music by Pixinguinha from a live performance in New York accessable at Lincoln Center radio. The program is available in streaming audio (RealPlayer required), click here. Featured musicians are Romero Lubambo (guitar), Mauro Senise (flute & soprano saxophone), Paula Robison (flute), Cyro Baptista (percussion), Sergio Brandão (cavaquinho), Nilson Matta (bass), and Duduka da Fonseca (drums). Learn more about Romero Lubambo at his official website , here you will also be able to read a review of the mentioned live performance in the Articles section, scroll down to the article by Larry Blumenfeld, who wrote a review in Jazziz, "A TOWERING SLICE OF RIO".

The actual reason for mentioning the Pixinguinha program is a respons to our latest request on subjects or comments at the Choro-Music blog from Michael Reichenbach, Freiburg, Germany. Michael has a website (in German only) devoted to everything concerning mandolin, Mandoisland, to be reached clicking here. You'll also find links to choro related sources and articles at his weblog to be accessed from the menu ('Mein Weblog'). - Michael requests for Brazilian music programmes from radio stations online and mentions the Pixinguinha program as an example. Below I'll add a couple of links to other streaming audio sources.

The Instituto Moreira Salles has their own radio program featuring music from the huge collection of Brasilian recordings at the institute. The Radio IMS is to be accessed as a part of Rádio UOL, click here. Using the search facility at Rádio UOL you are able to access several other Brazilian music broadcasts online, also devoted to choro as well as individual artists.

If you have Windows Mediaplayer installed at your computer, you have an opportunity to listen to online music at Rádio Cultura AM 1200, to be accessed clicking here

If you like to listen to first rate Brasilian music in cd quality, I recommend a visit at the CANAL FUNARTE


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