Leopoldo Miguez and Glauco Velasquez were both leading figures in Brazil’s classical music scene at the turn of the 20th century, bringing back influences from Europe to a homeland in a state of enormous social upheaval. The lyrical character of Miguez’s ambitious Violin Sonata, Op. 14 is developed in far more sophisticated and contrapuntal manner to anything previously experienced in Brazil, while Velasquez’s two sonatas are even richer in nuance. The tropical Romanticism of these three works marked an important change in Brazil’s chamber music, from pieces intended largely for domestic use to works equal to the noble expression of its new Republic.
Velasquez’s First Sonata burstsRead more onto the scene with ringing romantic lyricism brought to the boil. This three-movement score from 1909 triangulates between Brahms, Franck, Liszt and, surely unwittingly, William Baines, and early Delius. High fervour smokes and radiates from these pages. The only ‘departure’ comes in the final hazily impressionistic pages.
The Miguez dates from well into the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Again, lyricism spills forth and does so fluently but mixed in with some Kreislerian sweetness.
The disc concludes with Velasquez’s Second Sonata. It was completed when the composer was only 27 and had just three more years to live. It again plunges and swings its way through three movements in a Grieg-like style. The finale is bold and confident and at 11:03 not at all perfunctory. The composer shapes it as a substantial statement of romantic substance and mastery. Its peroration ends at high pulse and temperature.
The recording and the playing of Baldini and Fernandes and are quite exemplary.