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Dean Frey
Music for Several Instruments, December 2017

Top Ten Discs for 2017

The second volume in Aleyson Scopel’s complete series of Cartas Celestes by José Antônio Rezende de Almeida Prado shows off this young pianist’s dazzling skills, and it points as well to the importance of this major work of a great 20th/21st century composer. © 2017 Music for Several Instruments

Dean Frey
Music for Several Instruments, February 2017

Brazil has a glorious tradition of great pianists, from Guiomar Novaes to Nelson Freire, and from the evidence of these two discs we can now add the young Aleyson Scopel to the rolls. His technique is outstanding, but he also has the intellectual and emotional discipline to communicate Almeida Prado’s massive structures as something more than clever mathematical constructs. © 2017 Music for Several Instruments Read complete review

Lynn René Bayley
The Art Music Lounge, February 2017

PRADO, J.A.R. de A.: Cartas Celestes, Vol. 1 - Nos. 1-3 and 15 (Scopel) GP709
PRADO, J.A.R. de A.: Cartas Celestes, Vol. 2 - Nos. 4-6 (Scopel) GP710

…Scopel’s pianistic skills are extraordinary but it is primarily his intense identification with this music that makes the performances so great. © 2017 The Art Music Lounge Read complete review

Rebecca Franks
BBC Music Magazine, February 2017

Here are three chunky instalments of the Brazilian composer Almeida Prado’s celestial 18-movement piano cycle, convincingly performed with otherworldly atmosphere by Scopel. © 2017 BBC Music Magazine

Records International, February 2017

These ‘Star Maps’ began in 1974 as music for an exhibition at a São Paulo planetarium, and ended the year before the composer’s death with the completion of the fifteenth. Each is a self-contained suite of multiple short sections depicting astronomical phenomena linked by their visibility in the night sky of the composer’s native Brazil at certain times of year or by other associations. Prado studied with Messiaen, and the influence is not infrequently audible, not least in the composer’s harmonic language in which tonal harmony is used in a coloristic, non-functional manner, and pianistic gestures, textures and rhythmic devices characteristic of the older composer. © 2017 Records International

David Denton
David's Review Corner, February 2017

José Antônio Rezende de Almeida Prado was born in Brazil in 1943 and became one of the nation’s most prolific composers working within a personal world of sound. Boulanger and Messiaen featured among his mentors during his period of education in France, and it would have been there that he would have been encouraged to develop his own musical path. That road was to take him down the enormous score of eighteen Cartas Celestes (Celestial Charts), fifteen of them written for solo piano over a period of thirty-five years, the fifteenth completed in 2009 just months before his death. Being totally dependent on the notes that come with the disc, they have now rather lost me, though I gather that this second disc completes the recording project—but I may well be totally wrong! Repeating my review of the first volume: ‘the whole idea began in 1974 when he was commissioned to write incidental music for a spectacle at the Planetarium of São Paulo’. It then sparked his interest in the Brazilian sky overnight and he tried to depict in sound the sight of Planets in a language he described as ‘transtonality’, a spin-off of Messiaen’s attempt to convey birdsong on the keyboard. The result is certainly intriguing, with a wide range of tempi and dynamics to retain interest, and I would commend the Fourth to you as a starting point. He dedicated the Fifteenth—heard on the previous disc—to the Brazilian pianist, Aleyson Scopel, and it is good to have him recording the works, the music requiring an outstanding technique. The recorded sound is very good. © 2017 David’s Review Corner

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