Formation of Brazilian Music


BRAZILIAN POPULAR SUITE, by Radames Gnattali.  This work is in six parts, each part displaying a different type of Brazilian music, in full scope, showing the wide range of Gnattali's genius.  Melodic rhythms, contemporary harmonic structures and percussion rhythmic variations form the trilogy that molds every movement of this Suite.  All the rhythms, forms, styles applied are authentic and true to its generic title.  All movements were conceived in the A-B-A form, invariably with a contrapuntal interlude in the middle.  Popular Brazilian music fullness started with the awakening of national consciousness in the early 1900's.  The Brazilians, a race emerging from welding of Europeans, Africans and Indians, found themselves in a profusion of rhythms, melodies and quite a few inflections, a medium through which the people expressed their expansive musicality that finally influenced the creative imagination of educated musicians like Radames Gnattali.  The roots of "Bossa Nova" which are not yet completely defined could be attributed to many styles found in this work which was composed back in 1953 before the Bossa Nova came about.

INVOCATION TO XANGO, (Pronounced, "Shango"). A strong melody line resting on a syncopated rhythmic pattern, modulating every so often, is like the title suggests, an evocation of silent mysteries, a boisterous tribute to Xango a God of Macumba, a Brazilian fetichistic ritual or cult that is largely of African origin and combines sorcery with dancing, drumming and chanting. 

TOADA is a type of music showing a dark emotional mood and most of the time comes with words.  Here, however, Gnattali gives us a purely instrumental Toada.  To create the proper "mood" Toada is played on the Fender Rhodes piano from beginning to the end.

CHORO (Pronounced, "Shoro").  The Choro, literally meaning tear, unlike other types of Brazilian music, is not a syncopated one.  Its melodic and rhythmic lines move in a parallel motion usually in eights or other equal valued notes.  The excitement arises from the moving tempo of a heartfelt and "tearful"
 exclamation of love!  Here the piano starts with a rhythmic vamp preparing for the guitar which exposes the "Thema" (Theme) in chromatic descending figures in a question and answer dialogue with the piano, ending with a contrapuntal coda in modulating bass figures.

SAMBA-CANCAO, (Pronounced, Samba-Cansound). Unlike the fervent Samba, this is the moody, romantic, slow moving samba, which could be compared emotionally with American blues.  If instruments made love one could say while hearing this that the piano-guitar and drums were exalting each other in an array of wonderful sounding moods.  The slow, but rhythmic beat follows the song until the break at the coda, where there happens an "a piacere" strain leading the song to the end, with harmonic effects played on the guitar.  To create the right "mood" the Fender Rhodes and the acoustical piano are combined in this piece.

BAIAO, This type of music originated in Bahia (North of Brazil).  Its rhythm is combined by two firm and different beats which compliment each other making up the Baiao motion.  Thus, a dotted quarter note, an eight note tied to a half note on the lower register, against a quarter rest, a quarter note a quarter rest and a quarter note on the upper register.  The Triangle becomes very important as an auxiliary instrument with its flourishing rhythmic variations, accents and inflections away from the rhythm above explained.  The diminished fifth used on the scales of this piece is characteristic of the Northern music of Brazil.

MARCHA, The Brazilian Marcha is not militaristic and most of the time written in a slow pace. being the most favorable of all Brazilian music during Carnaval time.  The "Schools of Samba" which comes down from the "favela" hills of Rio, use the Marcha more than any other type of music for dancing done by the "Pastorinhas" with their colorful costumes on the streets of Rio de Janeiro during Canaval days. 

Radames Gnattali is a prime force in the formulation of Brazilian music being prolific both in the popular and classical vein.

Among his pupils may be such as A.C. Jobim, L. Bonfa. Joao Gilberto, Baden Powel, just to name a few.

The pianist on this CD is brilliant keyboard man Michael Lang whose touch and feeling for this type of music is unsurpassed.  Ther percussion man Charles (Chuck) Flores is a well known name not only on the Latin field but, in fact, in all fields of drum playing. He has been part of many other Laurindo Almeida albums.

Lauindo Almeida alway said, "It is always ungrateful to talk about one's self so I limit myself to saying how grateful I am for what has come to me in the way of understanding and loving my profession, Music".

by Radames Gnattali

Lento (Cantando com simplicidade)
(Laurindo Almeida - Guitar & Martin Ruderman - Flute)

Valse No. 4  by Campargo Guarnieri
(Laurindo Almeida - Guitar & Sanford Schonback - Viola)  [Transcribed for viola by Laurindo Almeida]

Notes by Laurindo Almeida

Gnattali, though not yet as well known in North America as Villa-Lobos, is a versatile instrumentalist and a highly respected conductor and composer.  He has written many other works for the flute and guitar, together or separately, and is a capable player of both instruments.  I am proud that this new Sonatina, full of bravura and solid musical substance, was kindly dedicated to me.  The composer was born in Porto Alegre in 1906.  Camargo Guarnieri is much better known outside of Brazil with a long list of compositions to his credit.

In previous recording I have had the pleasure of working with Mr. Ruderman, a versatile and sensitive partner, and Mr. Schonbach.  We all enjoyed playing this music from the Old World and the New, classic and modern, and hope you will think, as you hear it, that both worlds have their places in everyone's affection.