David's Review Corner
, September 2019
For the second disc in Naxos’s ‘The Music of Brazil’ we move to instrumental scores composed at the turn of the century when classical music in Europe was in turmoil. In the backdrop to the lives of the composers, Brazil plays a very differing part, the earliest music here coming from Leopoldo Miguez. Born in 1850, his compositional studies took him to France, and it was there that he experienced the influences Wagner was already exerting. His return to Brazil in 1885—for the second time—was marked by the completion of his Violin Sonata, a powerful score in the conventional four movements, the scherzo coming third. It could well have come in direct lineage of Cesar Franck, the piano part being the driving force with the violin often adding the decoration. That is true of the slow movement and finale where the keyboard has the most interesting thematic material. Certainly this is a very fine score worthy of a place in the standard violin repertoire.
The notes with the disc elaborate on the birth of Glauco Velasquez in Italy, and his coming, as a child, to Brazil where he received an education in composition. If I relate Miguez to Franck, then Velasquez had moved to the era of Ravel and Debussy, the language of his two short Violin Sonatas having a seductive beauty. They were completed before his untimely death aged thirty, and we can only speculate what could have been. Emmanuele Baldini was also born in Italy, but his globe-trotting career as a violin soloist has created a particularly close relationship with Brazil. His piano partner is the multi-award winning Karin Fernandes, who judiciously balances the fulsome keyboard writing throughout. The duo enjoy a fine recording, this lovely disc I urge you to hear. © 2019 David’s Review Corner