Mr. Camargo Guarnieri was the outstanding Brazilian composer of the generation after Villa-Lobos. Like the latter, his music is inspired by Brazilian dance rhythms and uses folk melodies. Guarnieri loved counterpoint and his music is more organized than that of the elder composer. His series of seven choirs, composed between 1956 and 1991, take the form of concertinos for solo instrument and medium-sized orchestra. Each takes about 15 minutes.
This version, the second of two, contains the choirs for clarinet (1956), piano (1956), cello (1961) and viola (1975). All four are full of fiery dance passages to syncopated Latin rhythms, alternating with music of pastoral lyricism, and usually end in a festive and carnivalesque atmosphere.
The final pair, for strings, is slightly more modernist: the composer even employs a row of 12 tones in the viola concerto, but its lightness and Brazilian exuberance are unaffected (Guarnieri hated 12-tone music and wrote articles on unnaturalness he found it – then wrote a few to prove he could!) The program also contains an early work for chamber orchestra, Flor de Tremembe (1937), which is jazzy with echoes of Gershwin.
This disc is even funnier than volume 1. The musicians are perfectly at ease with the idiom of Guarnieri: the tempos of Roberto Tibiriçá are right, the soloists are formidable, the sound of first order. This Choros for clarinet should be as popular as the Clarinet Concerto by Copland (who, by the way, was the composer’s friend and benefactor in the United States).
Available on Apple Music
Works: Choros, Flor de Tremembe
Performers: São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Roberto Tibiriçá
Label: NAXOS 8574403