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Guarnieri: Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 2, and 3

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 22, 2005
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2
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6:01
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6:19
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4
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7:44
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8:24
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6:47
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7
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7:55
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Product Details

  • Performer: Max Barros
  • Orchestra: Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Thomas Conlin
  • Composer: Camargo Guarnieri
  • Audio CD (March 22, 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • Run Time: 58 minutes
  • ASIN: B0007ORDXQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,984 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 17, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The name of composer Mozart Camargo Guarnieri was vaguely familiar to me only because I remembered that striking first name but I had never heard any of his music. He was born in S'ão Paulo in 1907, one of nine children of music-loving Sicilian immigrants, and he had brothers named Bellini, Rossini and Verdi. After going by 'Mozart' most of his youth, he renounced the first name in early adulthood, apparently feeling it was presumptuous to be known by the name of such an indisputable genius, and from then on was known as 'Camargo Guarnieri.' He labored most of his life in the shadow of Heitor Villa-Lobos, but that didn't stop him from being a prolific composer. He was also an arts administrator and teacher, culminating in his appointment as director of the S'ão Paulo conservatory. He wrote a public letter to all Brazilian musicians in 1950 that urged them to reject European academicism (atonality, serialism). He later rethought that, and indeed one of his piano concertos (not presented here) uses 12-tone methods. He wrote seven piano concertos and much solo piano music often played in Brazil but rarely anywhere else. On the basis of this disc I'd say that it deserves a wider audience. He was taken up by Leonard Bernstein as well as Aaron Copland, and indeed one of his symphonies, No. 4, is dedicated to Bernstein.

The three piano concertos on this disc (Nos. 1, 2 & 3) are of a piece. They are characterized by French-inspired tonality (he studied for a time in Paris with Charles Koechlin), Stravinskyan rhythmic inventiveness, jazzy, almost Gershwinian harmonies and, most striking, Brazilian dance and folk-song coloring. The outer movements have an irrepressible 'élan, the middle movements are bluesy and hauntingly melodic.
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Sparkling, full of life and intensity

is how I would describe these concertos

By Camargo Guarnieri.Guarnieri now one

of the best Latin-American composers

of the 20th century composed these

concetos beetween 1931 and 1963, the

Piano Concerto #1 is recorded here for

the first time. In the first Piano

concerto we hear a lot of Brazilian

percussion such as the cuica(Friction Drum)

and reco-reco(a scraper) use masterfully

especially in the final movement of

the first concerto. The Second Piano Concerto

is equally fun to listen to, and with a last

movement that opens with a tune that

one would expect to hear out the Rio

carnival. The last concerto #3, is

is also a great work. The soloist

Max Barros is wonderful, and so

are conductor Thomas Collin and

the Warsaw Philharmonic. Indeed

music full of life, emotion and

intensity. Five Stars!!!
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Format: Audio CD
A release like this one fills a major gap in the recording catalogue of Brazilian art music. Camargo Guarnieri was one of the most important and influential Brazilian composers of the 20th century, and his concertos for piano and orchestra offer a complete panorama of his stylistic development. In these works, Guarnieri displays to perfection his skills in blending elements from traditional Brazilian music with techniques indebted to European art music, achieving a synthesis that is at once technically accomplished and musically captivating. It is hard to imagine performances that will do justice to these pieces as magnificently as the teaming of Brazilian pianist Max Barros with American conductor Thomas Conlin leading the Warsaw Philharmonic. The orchestra shows a welcome sensitivity to the lilt and sensuality of the Brazilian rhythms, while Mr. Conlin achieves a sophisticated balance between formal structure and expressive freedom. Max Barros' interpretation is a tour-de-force of virtuosity, elegance, beautiful phrasing, and intuitive response to the lyricism and finesse of Guarnieri's piano writing. He extracts from the piano a range of sonorities that makes one easily imagine these melodies being sung or performed on string instruments, so beautiful and supple are his phrases. In the more rhythmic sections, Mr. Barros displays the full range of his familiarity with the exciting and energetic rhythms of Brazilian traditional music, bringing a freshness and vitality to the concertos that will be difficult to equal, let alone surpass. One waits eagerly for the second volume in this groundbreaking project.
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Nice pieces for the piano, nicely played. Interesting mix of modern and almost romantic styles. I enjoyed them having only listened to them three times through, but anticipate gaining a deeper understanding of them after I've had a chance to live with them for a while longer.
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Rhythmic interesting music that was appreciated by Copland worth at least a few listens, particularly if you like Brazilian music. Not as melodious as Villa-Lobos,however. Good sound.
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