Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire’s eagerly awaited new album, Brasileiro: Villa-Lobos & Friends, pays tribute to his country’s greatest composer, Heitor Villa-Lobos, upon the 125th anniversary of his birth.
In containing Freire’s personal choice of rarely recorded pieces by seven other lesser-known Brazilian composers whose music helped shape his artistic personality during his formative early years, the album also offers a sonic “portrait of the pianist as a young man”.
Comprising works that roughly span the seventy or so years of Villa-Lobos’s own lifetime, Freire’s chosen repertoire chronicles the efforts of three generations of Brazilian composers to forge a recognisably national musical language out of anRead more amalgam of European influences and indigenous folk and popular styles.
In combination with his trademark technical mastery and legendary sense of melodic line, Nelson Freire’s quintessentially Latin American temperament and innate sense of rhythmic ease ensure that he brings a uniquely authentic touch to the rarely heard piano music of his native land.
"Is Brazil the next major classical music hotbed waiting to be rediscovered? Perhaps because Latin-American composers have written such a vast range of music, it’s easier to sidestep rather than face this overwhelming catalog point by point. Fortunately, Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire is tackling the musical output of his native country with renewed zest. “Brasileiro” offers a finely chosen cross-section of Brazilian piano compositions that take their cue from traditional dance and song, most of which were composed in the period between roughly 1890 and 1960. It spans three generations of composers and there’s a lot here besides the standard-bearer, Heitor Villa-Lobos. Although Freire has seldom devoted much of his career to the works of his homeland, he makes up for lost time on this collection, showing a natural feel for the Latin rhythms and colors."
Fine Brazilian CollectionSeptember 19, 2012By L. Weil (El Cerrito,, CA)See All My Reviews"This is a marvelous recording, and it has particular interest because many of the works on it are completely unfamiliar to me and I suspect would be unfamiliar to most concert-goers. The words by Villa-Lobos confirm his mastery as a composer, but the other compositions are well worth becoming better known."Report Abuse
What? No Nazaeth?August 18, 2012By Fred C. (Akron, OH)See All My Reviews"To omit any of the glorious tangos of Ernesto Nazareth in any survey of Brazilian piano music is unpardonable!"Report Abuse