Antonio Vaz Lemes: Sonata Brasileira

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: E Villani Cortes, Mozart Camargo Guarnieri, Andre Mehmari, Marcelo Amazonas

Genre:

Instrumental

Label: Odradek

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: ODRCD332

ODRCD332. Antonio Vaz Lemes: Sonata Brasileira

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Piano Sonata No 1 E Villani Cortes Composer
Antonio Vaz Lemes
Piano Sonata Mozart Camargo Guarnieri Composer
Antonio Vaz Lemes
Sonata for Piano Andre Mehmari Composer
Antonio Vaz Lemes
Sonatina Hommage a Francis Poulenc Antonio Vaz Lemes
Marcelo Amazonas Composer
Here are four sonatas by four Brazilian composers whose careers span three generations. With one arguable exception, their work is most likely unknown outside of specialist circles, a situation that pianist Antonio Vaz Lemes understandably hopes to remedy. In turn, these composers are lucky to have Lemes in their corner. His tonal sheen, wide dynamic range, ear for nuance and pinpoint technique make a compelling case for each work.

André Mehmari’s multifaceted career blurs boundaries between popular and classical worlds, and you hear this in the tuneful, easygoing first movement of his Sonata in A. However, it’s the concluding second movement’s haunting, bell-like high-register writing, stark declamatory chords and carefully deployed sonorities that make the deeper impact.

Marcelo Amazonas’s Sonatina subtitled Hommage à Francis Poulenc evokes the French master’s flippant humour, albeit without his surface élan and harmonic imagination. Indeed, the two movements of E Villani Côrtes’s Sonata No 1 comes closer to the Poulencian mark, but with extended detours into material that wouldn’t be out of place in a Stephen Sondheim musical. The Sonata concludes with a brief, ebullient tarantella, whose repeated notes delightfully dance off the page.

Camargo Guarnieri may be the most familiar of the four composers. His three-movement Sonata represents a terse, dissonant departure from earlier works influenced by folkloric elements. Lemes’s gaunt sonority, laser-like projection, finely calibrated articulation and uncanny rhythmic equilibrium convey blinding clarity and intense concentration at all times. But also check out the recording on Naxos, with Max Barros’s warmer, more flexible pianism and stronger sense of idiomatic ‘swing’ in the third movement fugue. In essence, Lemes is Pollini to Burros’s Rubinstein, and I wouldn’t want to be without either interpretation. Recommended.

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