Brouwer and Bellinati Concertos: masterworks masterfully played

This release features world premiere recordings of two works by master guitarists played by two master guitarists.

Music by Cuban guitarist Leo Brouwer has become mainstays of the repertoire. His 2003 Book of Signs uses Western classical music as a foundation. The first movement deconstructs the theme to Beethoven’s 32 Variations in C minor. The third, with its Afro-Cuban dance rhythms, references Brouwer’s Decameron Negro.

Brazilian guitarist Paulo Bellinati based his Concerto Cabolco on traditional music. It was commissioned by the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and the Brasil Guitar Duo. Fittingly, Bellinati incorporates elements of folk music from the São Paulo State. This music is also guitar-based, making it a natural fit for the duo.

The Brazil Guitar Duo perform both works with a firey precision. They understand the traditions behind these works and incorporate them into their playing. It’s a perfect match of music and musicians.

I especially loved the perfectly shaped tones they coaxed out of their guitars in the slow, lyrical passages.

The Delaware Symphony Orchestra does a credible job as well. At times, I thought the full ensemble sounded a little thin. But that just might be the way they were recorded.

Whether you enjoy classical guitar music, Brazilian music, Cuban music, or just well-written classical music, there’s plenty for you here in this recording.

Leo Brouwer: The Book of Signs
Paulo Bellinati: Concerto Caboclo
Brasil Guitar Duo
Delaware Symphony Orchestra; David Amado, conductor
Naxos 8.573603

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