£4.99 – £11.99
Marcelo Bratke – Piano
Rosana Lamosa – Soprano
Love Songs & Popular Songs
Preludes & Paulistanas for solo piano
A tender and beautiful song cycle by one of Brazil’s undiscovered classical treasures, Claudio Santoro. Coupled with two of the composers piano cycles each a series of short and intimate miniatures performed by the celebrated pianist Marcelo Bratke.
The works on this CD come from a period in the life of the Amazonian composer Claudio Santoro (1919-89) when he was intensively involved with Brazilian Nationalism. Under the influence of Hans Joaquin Koellreutter, the major exponent of the atonal movement in post-war Brazil, Santoro began (and ended) his career writing “pure” and rigorously “abstract” music. But from the 1940s-1960s Santoro’s commitment to Brazilian roots stimulated him to experiment and diversify with music which guided by his left wing ideology and desire to create a direct line of communication with his public opened up a huge new space for subjectivism, simple melodic lines, and works which were quintessentially Brazilian in their spontaneous lyricism. It was a productive period during which Santoro wrote the opera Alma, 14 symphonies, concertos, orchestral pieces, chamber music, the first preludes for piano, and some of the most important and compelling song collections (using texts in Portuguese, French and German, including poems by Bertolt Brecht).
Among the works for voice and piano are the Love Songs and Earth Songs written 1958-59 for soprano from poems by Vinicius de Moraes. Songs like Amor que Partiu, Prego de Saudade and Cantiga do Ausente constitute some of the most neglected but inspired works in Brazilian 20th century music, on a par, arguably, with German Lied, Melodie Francaise or Russian Presnia. Here there is a freshness and naturalness: though the pieces are small, they embody a uniquely Brazilian sense of overlapping boundaries between classical and vernacular, anticipating Vinicius’s far-reaching influence on Brazilian popular music and Bossa Nova. To the same period belongs the first book of 12 Preludes for Piano (a second book appeared between 1946 and 1962) which seems to have been meant as an instrumental response to the Songs, with similar compositional material emerging frequently in both.
The notion of alternating the Songs with the Preludes for Piano in this recording creates a dialogue in which the two contrasting voices complement and amplify each other: inhabitants of the same environment of sound; relatives in sensibility and style. After the raw tenderness of the song Em Algum Lugar (In Some Place) and its lyrics “It must exist I know that it must exist/A place where love can live in peace” comes the intensity and introspection of the piano prelude, its harmonic elements nudging the borders of poetic silence. Alternation allows voice and instrument to echo each other in a way which throws new light on the creative processes of one of Brazil’s most multifaceted contemporary composers.
The recording concludes with the complete cycle of Paulistanas, a set of seven pieces for piano solo. Written in 1955, at the same time as Santoro’s Choro for Saxophone and Orchestra, they evoke the resplendent human multiplicity of Sao Paulo alongside the anthropological diversity of popular roots and antagonistic cultures in a vigorous but complementary musical dialogue.
Lauro Machado Coelho
Translated by Vanessa Letts