Notes and Editorial Reviews
To the American public, the words Brazilian music almost certainly evoke stereotypes - colorful sambas, sensual bossa nova tunes, and other exotic images. However, Brazil's music spans many styles, ranging from the 19th century Italian-style operas of Carlos Gomes and the nationalistic postcards by Heitor Villa-Lobos to the intricacies of the avant-garde movements of the 1970s. Indeed, during the 20th century Brazil was home to a multitude of composers creating incomparable music in all conceivable genres. This album features works for large, mixed ensembles written during the 1990s by living composers. Two, Tacuchian and Mendes, are from Brazil and three from the United States. Their works display a healthy, thought-provoking postmodern sensibility. Traditional and avant-garde procedures mingle freely throughout in these compositions. While Wayne Peterson and Raoul Pleskow fashion their musical languages around chromatic harmonies and rhythmic intricacies, Christopher James's work is an unabashed romantic tone poem. Somewhere in between are the works by the two Brazilian masters: Tacuchian displays a certain neo-classical touch; Mendes uses humor and minimalism in a subtle, inimitable manner.