Friday, May 11, 2007

Retratos - Portraits In Music.


During the 1960s the renowned composer Radamés Gnattali and Jacob do Bandolim frequently joined forces in cooperative works and had a close relationship on a friendly basis. One of the joint ventures of Radamés and Jacob was the recording of 'Retratos', a composition by Gnattali for orchestra and solo bandolim. The recording was released 1964 on a LP and has since then also been re-issued on a cd with the same title.

'Retratos'is a suite and consists of four dance movements based on popular forms associated with choro composers of the past. The first movement is a choro entitled "Pixinguinha"; it is followed by a waltz ("Ernesto Nazareth") and a scottische ("Anacleto Medeiros"). The suite ends with a corta jaca dance ("Chiquinha Gonzaga"). The recording of this suite with Jacob do Bandolim as a soloist and Gnattali as director of the orhcestra sat a new standard in choro by incorporating written music in the performance and thus implying study, rehearsals and music reading skills by all involved. Of course, it was not a problem for Jacob do Bandolim to cope with this demanding way of professional work. One of the movements from the suite, the "Pixinguinha" part, was later performed and recorded live at the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Pixinguinha in 1968 - again featuring Jacob do Bandolim as soloist and Gnattali directing a full symphonic orchestra.

As said, the recording of 'Retratos' sat a new standard in choro performance. The choro ensemble Camerata Carioca is more or less formed on the basis of this composition. The story goes that bandolinist Joel Nascimento persuaded Gnattali to arrange the suite for a small group based on the conjunto regional (- the most common formation of a choro group). When the arrangement was ready, Joel gathered together some friends that had accompanied him previously and surprised maestro Gnattali on his 73rd birthday with the first performance for conjunto regional. The group that formed for this occasion was christened Camerata Carioca, and with this group Radamés Gnattali recorded the 'Retratos' in 1979 on a LP as a part of a project paying tribute to the music and influence of Jacob do Bandolim.

If you would like to know more about the influence of Radamés Gnattali in the story of choro and related popular music, I recommend paying a visit to a new website devoted to the life and career of Radamés Gnattali, click on headline to reach this site.

Jo






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