Ecstatically entwined – pleasing individually, irresistible in combination.
This Cinderella of a disc plays to Hyperion’s strengths: tasteful but not stultifying, fascinatingly unusual and unfailingly eloquent musical judgements. Perhaps it is my failure of imagination – it usually is – but who else would have thought to get behind a project to record
18th-century Portuguese Love Songs. It rapidly reaps rewards if you apply yourself to this mix of vocal and instrumental tracks.
Here is music in which Mozartean style (try
A minha Nerina) meets poignant and even playful folk-song. Often one can see the time contour stretching forward towards Bizet’s
Carmen and onwards toRead more Portugal’s native composers of the 20
th century including the folk-inflected works of Pedro de Freitas Branco. The folksiness encountered is not that of a Haydn where sophistication predominates - rather a voice that is in touch with the rough realities of street and field. In this the music is helped immensely by the two Portuguese sopranos, Sandra Medeiros and Joana Seara, who are also early music specialists in their own right.
Ganinha, minha Ganinha is all beguiling coloratura and easy-on-the-ear melodies with guitars and sparse percussion.
Tempo que breve passaste is slightly more operatically inclined. In Silva Leite’s
Tocata do Sr Francisco Gerardo the two guitars are confident yet quiet in their animatedly intense conversation.
Foi por mim, foi pela sorte plumbs the depths of despair – a trilling voice sings with natural empathy of the depths of melancholy.
Onde vas linda Negrinha has Medeiros and Seara in music that breathes the Atlantic sea breeze. There are even lightly jazzy moments from the harpsichord. Avondano’s
Minuet IV is a jolly Bachian gigue while his
Minuet VI is an interesting fusion of Bach and Mozart – a tangy moderation between a slightly regretful mood and dance music. The instrumental
É delícia ter amor has drums in chamber mode in this tango-ish piece –– one can imagine a bandoneon joining in with the flute and harpsichord.
Você trata amor em brinco takes us back to the two sopranos in a recorder-led indulgence in sweet melancholia. There’s more Mozartean stuff in
Sobre as asas da ternura from Medeiros and Seara. We’re taken back to an instrumental with de Seixas and his impetuously rushing harpsichord piece:
Toccata No 8. Sombre moods and melancholic lamenting arch over
Que fiz eu à natureza?
Cuidados, tristes cuidados, sung by Medeiros and Gordon, is all sorrows and regretful sighs. This contrasts with José Maurício’s
É amor a lei suave where sorrow is somehow tempered by contentment. Finally
Os ‘me deixas’ que tu dás returns us to Sandra Medeiros and Joana Seara with a jazzy coolness and a hint of bandoneon culture. Not for the first time are we treated to the ecstatic entwining of these two delightful voices – pleasing individually and irresistible in combination.
The disc is well annotated, as is Hyperion’s well entrenched practice, and the original words are printed with translations into English.
This disc is packed full of the charming and the poignant. Surprise yourself. I doubt that anyone with heart will be disappointed.
Minuet no 4by Pedro António Avondano Conductor:
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
WonderfulNovember 27, 2012By John Graham Morgan (Dartmouth, NS)See All My Reviews"When you hear this you'll wonder why most of this music has been unheard for so long. It is a fabulous disc of truly delightful pieces, highly unusual in its mixture of rhythms and syncopations, and its soulfulness and cheery brightness. It is Portuguese 'fado' and Brazilian folk mixed together but, incredibly, from the 18th century. The performances are outstanding, highlighted by the two wonderful singers who sing some of the pieces as duets. Zak Ozmo deserves a great deal of credit for researching this music and bringing it to light through his musical direction and playing."Report Abuse
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