Dance and Brazilian music are often regarded as more or less synonymous, in the same way that the samba to many of us is Brazilian dance! But the many acclaimed recordings by the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra of symphonic works, tone poems and operas by Villa-Lobos, Camargo Guarnieri and other Brazilian composers, have demonstrated the variety of their national music, and in the same way this disc brings proof of the rich and many-faceted nature of Brazilian dance.
Alongside the ubiquitous samba, the batuques, congadas and mourãos included here give us hints of the fascinating universe of regional and ethnic traditions that make up Brazil. It is a fact that dance music, in all its variety, has played an important part in the development of Brazilian art music: as the search for a national identity intensified, Brazilian composers turned to the popular traditions of the cities and countryside for their material. This process began in earnest around 1890 with Alexandre Levy’s Samba and Alberto Nepomuceno’s Batuque, early examples of a Brazilian art music which draws heavily on the dance rhythms of popular music. Similar cross-fertilization between genres has become a time-honoured tradition, employed by the composers included in this selection and many others. Notable latter-day examples are Antônio ‘Tom’ Jobim of bossa nova-fame and his Chegada dos Candangos from 1960 and Edino Krieger’s Passacaglia for the New Millennium, first performed in December 1999 by the very team that has recorded it here.
Roberto Minczuk has previously led the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra in acclaimed performances of Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras on BIS, and here returns with this colourful collection of dances for symphony orchestra.
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