Monday, September 29, 2014

Rio Paris: Brazilian songs with a French connection

I've finally had a chance to listen to the Erato CD Rio Paris, a project by guitarist Liat Cohen, with the involvement of three special singers: Natalie Dessay, Agnes Jaoui and Helena Noguerra. Seven of the 17 tracks are by Villa-Lobos, but I also really enjoyed Cohen's choice by more recent composers, beginning with my favourite Tom Jobim song, Waters of March.

The centre-piece of the disc is the Aria of Bachianas Brasileiras #5, presented in Villa-Lobos's own arrangement for guitar and voice, and performed by Liat Cohen and Natalie Dessay. Two little-known early songs by Villa-Lobos with Cohen and Dessay are also included: Les Meres, op.45, and L'oiseau besse d'une fleche, op. 10 (most VL pieces with opus numbers are from the beginning of his career: these are from 1913 and 1914).

There are plenty of other delights included.  I especially appreciated three spare arrangements for guitar and voice by Rafi Kadishson:
  • Agua e vinho by Egberto Gismondi, sung by Helena Noguerra
  • the Baden Powell/Vinicius de Moraes Samba em preludio, sung by Agnes Jaoui and Helena Noguerra
  • the Jobim standard Desafinado sung by Helena Noguerra
The liner notes by Villa-Lobos scholar Rémi Jacobs show the serious side of the project, but you can tell from Liat Cohen's notes, the pictures included in the booklet, and the music itself, everyone involved seems to have had a lot of fun.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Irina Kulikova plays Guitar Music by Russian Composers 

Guitarist Irina Kulikova's excellent new CD of guitar music by Russian composers includes a piece by Konstantin Vassiliev entitled Mogiana in memoriam Heitor Villa-Lobos.  Named for the Mogiana district of Sao Paulo State, this piece is Villa-Lobosian, but it also has a strong Tom Jobim vibe. The entire disc is highly recommended, for excellent playing as well as the usual strong production and engineering provided by Bonnie and Norbert Kraft. Like so many great Naxos guitar discs, this was recorded at St. John Chrysostom Church in Newmarket Ontario.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Villa-Lobos A New Way

Villa-Lobos A New Way is a project begun by pianist, composer & arranger Alberto Conde and poet, playwright, novelist & musicologist JR Bustamante. The musicians in Conde's version of Choros #10 are:
  • Alberto Conde, piano 
  • Carmen Durán, soprano 
  • Nirankar Khalsa, percussion 
  • Kin Garcia, bass 
  • Miguel Cabana, drums