Tuesday 21 November 2017

Afluencias: music from Brazil

Villa Lobos, Torres, Pitombeira, Bujes, Huff, Coelho; Paula Bujes, Pedro Huff; Drama Musica
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Oct 13 2017 Star rating: 4.0
Lively disc of new music for violin and cello duo from Brazil

This intriguing new disc is entirely devoted to 20th and 21st century music from Brazil, on the Drama Musica label. And rather enterprisingly all the music on the disc is for violin and cello duo. Paula Bujes (violin) and Pedro Huff (cello) [see the duo's Facebook page] perform music by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Dierson Torres, Liduino Pitombeira, Adriano Coleho and two of their own pieces.

We open with Deux Choros (bis), Villa-Lobos' only work for violin and cello duo. A first movement full of folk-ish hints pits a vigorous cello against a lyrical violin, with the second movement combining rhapsodic moments with rich double stopping and meaty harmonies.

Dierson Torres' Toada e desafio explores what happens when two strong but independent lines interact, again with some vigorous folk-inspired music. Liduino Pitombeira's Jaguaribe is a three movement suite which describes the various musical genres of the areas the river passes through. Again we feel the influence of folk music, but like much of the music on the disc, it is digested into the more complex textures of the music. So we start with strong gestures and rhapsodic moments, and explore a variety of textures, including lyrically intense lines, and tough harmonies. There is something of a restless and uncompromising feeling to the work.
Toque de Caboelinhos, by the violinist on the disc Paula Bujes, combines Brazilian folk-music with classical influences, into something high energy with lots of string crossing. Next follows a group of pieces by the cellist on the disc, Pedro Huff. Two for solo cello, Suburbio and Astoriana move from the evocative to the challenging, with lots of left-hand pizzicato and vigorous playing. Miha Cidado starts by evoking a milonga, the cello elaborating the rhythm whilst the violin making a more lyrical contributions. Despretensioso is more obviously popular in its inspiration,  but still with challenging writing for the violin.  Um dia qualquer is more rhapsodic with percussive effects and vigorous folk style. Finally in this group Frevo do acaso which has fragments of a catchy up-tempo number thrown back and forth between the instruments.

Adirano Coelho's Sandais de coro is a toe tapping piece full of nervous energy, whilst the last item on the disc is an arrangement of Villa Lobos O Trenzinho do Caipira, full of popular melodic hints.

There is something hard core about this disc with its restriction to just violin and cello, and something infectiously up-front about the playing from the two soloists. They bring out a sense of enjoyment, and also the catchy quality which arises from the folk influences underlying much of the music. The disc is from a new label which intends to showcase composers and artists from Brazil, and we look forward to hearing more.

Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) - Deu Choros (bis)
Dierson Torres (born 1953) - Toada e Desafio
Liduino Pitombeira (born 1962) Jaguaribe
Paula Bujes (born 1983) - Toque de caboclinhos
Pedro Huff (born 1977) - Suburbio
Pedro Huff - Astoriana
Pedro Huff - Minha Cidade
Pedro Huff - Despretensioso
Pedro Huff - Um dia qualquer
Pedro Huff - Frevo do Acaso
Adriano Coelho (born 1981) - Sandaia de Coro
Heitor Villa-Lobos - O Trenzinho do Caipira
Paula Bujes (violin)
Petro Huff (cello)
Recorded at Capela Nossa Senhora das Gracas, Insituto Reicardo Brennand, Brazil 29 March to 5 April 2017
Available from Amazon.

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