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Phillip Scott
Fanfare, July 2013

The bulk of this two-disc set is taken up by the 50 Ponteios…Many of the Ponteios tend to be dreamy and introverted…The Sonata is a sophisticated piece of work, which…ought to be more widely performed.

Barros certainly does a fine job of bringing this music to our attention, and to life, on these warmly recorded discs. His use of the sustain pedal is especially effective in coloring and illuminating the textures. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

Mark L Lehman
American Record Guide, May 2013

Barros is just right for this music: deeply versed in Guarnieri’s idiom, he plays with confident brio and sensitivity and far overshadows other recordings I’ve heard of Guarnieri’s piano pieces. The sound is excellent. Anyone interested in 20th Century Latin American piano music will want this release. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

James Manheim, February 2013

Those new to [Guarnieri’s] music might try one of Brazilian-American pianist Max Barros’ recordings of Camargo Guarnieri’s six piano concertos, well-crafted works falling between Villa-Lobos and Bartók. The centerpiece is the group of five sets of Ponteios, a term that denotes the tuning improvisation engaged in by guitarists. They are essentially piano preludes, but they’re of a special sort: they are very simple and similar in form, basically binary, and they have a minimal quality that brings to mind the music of Mompou. They’re fascinating…Barros[’]…commitment to and knowledge of this music is enthusiastic. Recommended for all interested in Latin American music. © 2013 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2013

With Mozart as his first christen name, it seems predestined that Guarnieri should have become an outstanding pianist, composer and conductor. In fact he become the most progressive South American composer working in 20th century, and as a teacher passing on his influence to those who have followed. His music primarily involves the piano, this first volume of solo music largely devoted to his Ponteios, which, as the excellent programme notes relate, is a twist on words and would infer the more generally used term, Prelude. He wrote fifty, the complete five books spread over the two discs, a task that had been on-going through twenty-eight years of his life. They are essentially miniatures, some only lasting a matter of seconds, and many have a feel of improvisation, with Brazilian folk music ever present. They are well juxtaposed in mood and tempo, and at times you can imagine you are walking into some sophisticated night spot with the pianist quietly doodling in some dark recess. Starting out in the 1930’s there was to be a gap of twelve years before he began work on the second book, by which time a spiky atonality had become evident. A Brazilian version of Prokofiev had emerged for the third book that was begun in 1954, the harmonies exploring new avenues, only occasionally returning to well-trodden paths, as in the peaceful Calmo (the sixth of the third book). That book was quickly followed by the fourth and fifth, the texture often more slender, though at the same time a jazz influence creeps in, the move to atonality somewhat modified. Suite Mirim contains four very short pieces with a descriptive Brazilian title to each, the total score lasting little more than five minutes. In the context of one work, the most extended score comes in the 1972 Sonata, the work totally embracing atonality as a Latin American version of a latter-day Bartók. Throughout both discs we find him flirting with light music particularly in the Danca Brasilieira, and he would have been exceedingly successful in that genre. Having already recorded the composer’s six Piano Concertos for Naxos, Max Barros—an American-born pianist of Brazilian parents in whose country he grew up—is again a technically superb champion for Guarnieri. It is fitfully an extremely demanding disc in terms of dexterity, but in the more relaxed passages, the music needs the shaping and artistry Barros adds to the score. The sound is a model in the art of piano recording. © 2013 David’s Review Corner

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