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Canzonas Americanas


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Audio CD, November 13, 2012
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Product Details

  • Conductor: Alan Pierson
  • Audio CD (November 13, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Cantaloupe
  • ASIN: B009IF131I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #316,606 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Canzonas Americanas marries two postmodern forces - composer/clarinetist Derek Bermel and contemporary chamber band Alarm Will Sound. This marks Bermel's follow-up to his Grammy-nominated Voices album of large orchestral works. The title track Canzonas Americanas was commissioned and premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic led by Gustavo Dudamel.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Daniel R. Coombs on December 17, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Derek Bermel is a truly unique composer with a highly eclectic vision. From his earliest work at MIT, he has sought a style of music that his its origins in several different worlds. An excellent example is the jazzy and Latin tinged "Canzonas Americanas" that opens this set. This four movement twist on Latin styles and Pan-American themes was written for the LA Philharmonic "Green Umbrella" series and is great fun to listen to. The work clearly shows some of the influences of Bermel's collaborations and studies with such artists as Paquito D'Rivera and Wynton Marsalis as well as the Brazilian caxixi master Julio Goes. This wholly engaging little suite is followed by "Three Rivers" which is an earlier work and uses some African style rhythms and quirky melodies to depict three rivers, evocative of Pittsburgh or maybe an imaginary confluence like the strains in the piece. "At the End of the World" is a short, simple and beautiful setting of a poem by Nicole Krauss, sung here wonderfully by Kierra Duffy. Bermel's fascination with African rhythm and Ghanian melodic fragments shows itself nicely in "Hot Zone" Bermel's studies in Ghana collide in a most entertaining way with jazz. "Continental Divide" is the oldest work in the collection and dates from when the composer was studying with Louis Andriessen and is inspired somewhat by the writings by Stephen Hawking about an expanding universe. The rhythmic layering in this work is pretty dense and the sound of the piece is a bit "darker" than the others but there are bursts of tone color and clarity that give the work great complexity (according to booklet notes, this is a very challenging piece) The disc closes with the four movement "Natural Selection", a fascinating exploration of human condition on poems by Wendy Walters and Naomi Nye.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mike Maguire on January 30, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Derek Bermel new CD Canzonas Americanas is distinctly American and full of compositional chops. Rarely does a composer have such a tool box of styles and skill at his disposal (It's Bolcom on Quaaludes). His contrapuntal writing is top notch as well as ubiquitous, while his harmonic language veers between Copland Gershwin to Jazz big band, to any number of ethno-appropriations, to lots of bitonalities and parallel minor 2nds. There is a Nancarrow complexity in the multi-tiered rhythms as well as many splashes from the post-serial, academia contingent. If one was to place him in the NYC uptown-midtown-downtown spectrum, his amazing skill puts him at a Starbucks in Columbia University but in reality, his sheer accessibility puts him one block north of Lincoln Center.
Although a cynic might be dismissive of his pastiche structures and the aggressive persuasiveness of his musicality, people in the know, do know!... this is a person to watch. As the grim reality of life seeps into his aging consciousness, and he doesn't win the Pulitzer etc., this composer could be the future American Schnittke or Shostakovich.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Debra Jan Bibel TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 28, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This, my third album of composer Derek Bermel's music, shines. Alarm Will Sound, that innovative, brash, and accomplished New Music collective of performers is contributor to its merit. Bermel is well-grounded in global idioms, from Thracian folk tunes and Ghanian percussion to Latin and American jazz, and these selections show such familiarity. His wonderful Canzonas Americanas is a result, in part, of Gustave Dudamel's encouragement. It incorporates traditional Latin and Americana spirit but is 21st-century forward-looking classical, with angular blues, sweet nostalgic touches, and jazzy twisted South American dances, also oddly with Beethoven's 5th's 5-note quotes. Imagine if Aaron Copland had married his difficult chamber studies with his popular El Salon México. The final of the suite, Itaparica, is a lovely vocal, performed by Brazilian Luciana Souza. The Three Rivers, I read, are not of a place but of three musical styles that meet: a noir blues, an urban funk, a virtuosic modern classical chamber work (my interpretations). At the End of the World is another vocal piece, here sung by Kiera Duffy, that hypothesizes a regeneration of civilization that takes us to the same place we are. (I suppose scientific chaos and random events are ignored in the poem of Nicole Krauss, and the work speaks metaphorically and mystically.) Hot Zone is supposed to reflect Bermel's African rhythmic studies, but I also detect Afro-Brazilian elements in the beginning. Continental Divide has nothing to do with a river flowing boundary in the Rockies but a more tectonic and physical musical metaphor manifested by clashing rhythms and melodies and energetic bursts that accelerate. As Alarm Will Sound had previously produced the album a/rhythmia, they had the expertise to deal with the complexities.Read more ›
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By ecobud on December 6, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is one of the most exciting ensembles I've listened to and seen in many years. This group, I predict, is the forerunner and innovator of where music is going.
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