BRAZILIAN TREASURES

Dom Pedro I, Emperor of Brazil, one of only a few members of royalty ever to have become known as an amateur composer as well as a ruler of a country, proclaimed  Brazil’s independence from Portugal in 1822.

Antônio Carlos Gomes lived from 1836 to 1896. He was the first non-European composer to become successful in Italy with his operas Il Guarany and Lo Schiavo, and the first composer of non-European lineage to be accepted into the Classical music circles in both Italy and Germany.

Antônio Francisco Braga’sHino à Bandeira Nacional was adopted as the national anthem of Brazil. Braga studied at the Paris Conservatory of Music with Jules Massenet, whose music deeply influenced his work.

Leopoldo Américo Miguez lived and composed in Brazil in the 19th century.  His Suíte à Antiga, (Suite in the old style) is a lyrical work in five short movements for an all-string chamber orchestra. Miguez composed in a charming style that in harmony and structure reminds one of the works of those composers whose music bridged the transition from late 18th century stile galante to early 19th century Classicism.

Alberto Nepomuceno’s Suíte Antiga (Ancient Suite) is an elegant salute to the Baroque with a four-movement structure made up of an aria, a rigaudon, a minuet, and a serenade. Living between 1864 and 1920, Nepomuceno is arguably the foremost composer of his generation. After encountering Debussy and Mahler during his sojourn in Europe, Nepomuceno succeeded in creating a truly authentic Brazilian sound with woks inspired by the strains of his native country.

With the releases of two intriguing compact discs featuring the music of Dom Pedro I, Antônio Carlos Gomes, Antônio Francisco Braga, Leopoldo Américo Miguez, and Alberto Nepomuceno, Naxos continues its invaluable exploration of the musical heritage of South America’s largest country. The English Chamber Orchestra, led by Neil Thomson does sterling playing, and the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra led by Fabio Mechetti honors the two featured sacred works of Dom Pedro I, Emperor of Brazil.

Rafael de Acha © 2022

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