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Guarnieri: Violin Sonatas 2, 3 & 7, Etc / Larsen, Müllenbach

Release Date: 08/05/1997 
Label:  Marco Polo   Catalog #: 223885   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Camargo Mozart Guarnieri
Performer:  Alexander MüllenbachLavard Skou Larsen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Guarnieri is the most impressive Brazilian composer who thrived in the wake of Villa-Lobos. Canção sertaneja is a genuine gem from a composer whose lush and lively corpus of works needs much more exposure on disc.

Probably the most impressive composer who thrived in the wake of Villa-Lobos's single-handed inception of Brazilian musical nationalism would have to be Camargo Guarnieri (1907-93). In fact, compared to the well-deserved attention that the recording industry (Marco Polo in particular) has recently lavished on his predecessor and mentor, it seems that the force and vitality of Guarnieri's accomplishments have been somewhat slighted.

Although Guarnieri's mature idiom is unmistakably
Read more indebted to the indigenous melos pioneered by Villa-Lobos (who was about 20 years his senior), Guarnieri, rather than turning toward the Gallic traditions—both post-Franckian and Impressionist—that fortified Villa-Lobos, imbibed from the very beginning the stirrings of Neoclassicism during the 1920s and emerged almost fully formed as an exponent of a vigorously well-mortared, cosmopolitan language with strong Latin American inflections.

While the core of Guarnieri's output remains his extensive orchestral catalog (there are at least four symphonies and as many piano concertos as well as numerous other concerted works plus assorted overtures, suites, and programmatic pieces), his series of violin sonatas—written over more than four decades—are highly regarded. This companion volume to Marco Polo's earlier release of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Sonatas offers the remaining three (the first having been lost) in the cycle. Both the Second and the Third Sonatas were recorded on LP and have probably been the most frequently performed.

The earliest dates from 1933 and clearly indicates that Guarnieri's dramatic style, whose traditional formal inclinations were already well established even before his belated studies in Paris with Koechlin and his important contacts there with Milhaud and Boulanger during the years just before the outbreak of World War II. All the sonatas are conceived in three fast-slow-fast movements (the triptych was Guarnieri's favorite format) of some 15 to 20 minutes in duration. The ideas are clearly and forcefully articulated and their development, though sometimes partaking of the rhapsodic mode, is always tightly constructed, while the overall form is quite compellingly logical and symmetrical. But this music is hardly dry and formulaic—it is full of rhythmic élan and an expressive lyricism, as some representative tempo designations (Sem pressa ben ritmado; Profundamente terno; and Impetuoso) would indicate. This is most listenable music, and it is given a firm send-off and advocacy by the well-attuned team of Larsen and Müllenbach.

During the 1970s Guarnieri, like some other elder Brazilians such as Mignoné, lost faith in the validity of his nationalist manner and dabbled in more "experimental" efforts. The Seventh Sonata of 1977, although still imbued with the same temperament as the earlier works, is completely lacking in their charm and appeal because the harshly impersonal, almost atonal language has absolutely no Brazilian resonance and seems highly inimical to Guarnieri's peculiar strengths.

The program closes with a ravishingly melancholy Canção sertaneja (Song of the Backwoodsman), marked Dolentemente in Guarnieri's best and most engaging "upcountry" manner—a genuine gem from a composer whose lush and lively corpus of works needs much more exposure on disc. Let's hope Marco Polo has plans afoot!

-- Paul A. Snook, FANFARE [1/1998]
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Works on This Recording

Sonata for Violin and Piano no 2 by Camargo Mozart Guarnieri
Performer:  Alexander Müllenbach (Piano), Lavard Skou Larsen (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933; Brazil 
Date of Recording: 04/1996 
Sonata for Violin and Piano no 3 by Camargo Mozart Guarnieri
Performer:  Alexander Müllenbach (Piano), Lavard Skou Larsen (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950; Brazil 
Date of Recording: 04/1996 
Sonata for Violin and Piano no 7 by Camargo Mozart Guarnieri
Performer:  Lavard Skou Larsen (Violin), Alexander Müllenbach (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Brazil 
Date of Recording: 04/1996 
Cançao sertaneja: Dolentemente by Camargo Mozart Guarnieri
Performer:  Alexander Müllenbach (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; Brazil 
Date of Recording: 04/1996 

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