Alberto Nepomuceno was a herald of Brazilian musical nationalism. He was one of the first composers in his country to employ elements of folklore in his compositions, he encouraged younger composers such as Villa-Lobos, and his music was conducted by Richard Strauss. The Prelude to O Garatuja, an incomplete opera, is one of his best-known works and an example of a truly Brazilian lyric comedy. Serie Brasileira is a vivacious suite that employs maxixe rhythms and ends with the feverish batuque dance, while the Symphony in G minor is one of the earliest such examples by a Brazilian, a heroic and lyric structure revealing the influence of Brahms.
Alberto Nepomuceno’s claim to fame is that he was the first to introduce Brazilian national elements into concert music. The Symphony in G minor heard here has no national elements at all and is strongly (and competently) derivative of Brahms. The Brazilian sounds are heard in the Série Brasileira (Brazilian Suite), with hints of the maxixe dance and a batuque finale. The Prelude to O Garatuja receives a lively performance. First of a most welcome new series, and recommended.
– All Music Guide (James Manheim)
There is lots of well-crafted, pleasant music here, substantial enough to make careful listening worth your while, with occasionally something special. Fabio Mechetti and the Minas Gerais Philharmonic provide really excellent playing, with especially strong string sections. Their version of the G minor Symphony is vastly better than the other version I’ve heard, by the Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira under Edoardo de Guarnieri from 1958. This is a strong start for the Naxos series, and I look forward to upcoming releases!
– Music for Several Instruments
The four-movement suite is absolutely delightful and quite original in its way. Nepomuceno’s influences are readily apparent. Yet the music also looks ahead, and sometimes in startling ways. This is the first instalment in what’s promised to be a 30-disc survey of Brazilian music. If subsequent volumes maintain the high standards heard here, we have a lot to look forward to. Urgently recommended.
Symphony in G Minorby Alberto Nepomuceno Conductor:
Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra
Average Customer Review: ( 2 Customer Reviews )
Brazilian classical series starts strongJuly 15, 2020By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA)See All My Reviews"This release launches a new series from Naxos -- the Music of Brazil. Working with three Brazilian orchestras, Naxos will record about 100 works by native composers. It should be a phenomenal and revelatory cycle. That's my impression after hearing this first release of music by Alberto Nepomuceno (1864-1920). It's a logical place to start. Nepomuceno was one of the first composers to blend Brazilian traditional music with classical forms. He was a friend and colleague of Edvard Grieg, and his music shares some similarities. Nepomuceno writes in a very clear, economic style. His use of Brazilian musical elements is organic, which makes the works recorded here so successful. Another plus is the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Brazilian conductor Fabio Mechetti. Like a Czech orchestra performing Dvorak, they understand the subtext of music in a way a non-native orchestra couldn't. The orchestra's performances give these works an extra spark that's hard to define, but easy to hear. Nepomuceno's 1893 Symphony in G minor follows a Brahmsian model. The four-movement work lays out its themes and develops them in a logical fashion. But this isn't Brahms. Nepomuceno's strong rhythms and distinctive melodies give it a distinctly Brazilian character. The 1891 Série Brasileira brings Nepomuceno's heritage to the fore. Each movement uses folk elements from different parts of Brazil. The first movement is based on an Amazonian theme and the second based on the Brazilian tango (maxixe). the third movement references Northeastern Brazilian music and the finale the batuque dance of southern Brazil. It's Nepomuceno's most popular work. While the folk elements make it naturally appealing, Fabio Mechetti goes beneath the surface. Under his direction, the Minas Gerais Philharmonic brings out the full richness of Neopmuceno's orchestrations. It turns the work from a set of orchestrated folk songs to an orchestral work incorporating folk elements. In Brazil, Alberto Nepomuceno is a national treasure. This release helps listeners outside the country understand why."Report Abuse
Music from the shadowsFebruary 15, 2019By Dean Frey See All My Reviews"The Villa-Lobos Shadow in Brazilian classical music is wide, and long, and very dark. It reaches forward from the intimidating bulk of the great composer's works, but it also reaches into the past, obscuring the music of fine, or at least respectable, composers who went before. But now, to shine some light on composers in this shadow, we have an exciting new Naxos series called The Music of Brazil, made possible by the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs project Brasil em Concerto. We can look forward to more releases from the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the Goiás Philharmonic Orchestra and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP), from a label that has already done so much for Brazilian classical music. Alberto Nepomuceno is a good composer to begin with: born twenty-three years before Villa-Lobos, he left behind his beginnings in the North-Eastern cities of Fortaleza and Recife for more sophisticated musical surroundings, first in Rio de Janeiro, and then for an extended stay in the European capitals of Rome, Berlin, Vienna and Paris. A progressive in politics as well as art, Nepomuceno worked tirelessly, often behind the scenes, on behalf of new trends in music, but it was Villa-Lobos who gained much of the credit as the foremost home-grown musical modernist. In a coup of self-promotion and clever branding, Villa-Lobos stood virtually alone as the representative of music at the Semana de Arte Moderna in São Paulo in 1922. At that point, unfortunately, Nepomuceno had been dead for nearly two years, though surely more room could be made in the story of avant garde Brazilian music for someone who had translated Schoenbergs Theory of Harmony into Portuguese in 1916, teaching it at his National Institute of Music. Which brings us to the music on the present disc. There is lots of well-crafted, pleasant music here, substantial enough to make careful listening worth your while, with occasionally something special. While I was re-listening to Nepomuceno's G minor Symphony I had a flash-back to some music I had heard earlier in the day on my car radio (on KING-FM), Johan Halvorsen's Symphony no. 1 in D minor. Both had a pleasing, light, Tchaikovskian sound, and I wasn't at all surprised to see that both composers were born in the same year, 1864, though the Brazilian symphony was written in 1893, thirty years before its Norwegian counterpart. It's the beautiful slow movement of this symphony which represents perhaps the peak of Nepomuceno's orchestral music, under the influence, I would guess, of music by composers such as Puccini and Leoncavallo, but prefiguring works by Elgar and Richard Strauss. Fabio Mechetti and the Minas Gerais Philharmonic provide really excellent playing, with especially strong string sections. Their version of the G minor Symphony is vastly better than the other version I've heard, by the Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira under Edoardo de Guarnieri from 1958. This is a strong start for the Naxos series, and I look forward to upcoming releases!"Report Abuse