Album of the Month
Ignore the slightly unimaginative title of Brazilian pianist Fabio Martino´s engaging programme and look instead at Menelaw Sete´s cover painting O Músico, created specifically for this release. The Picasso-like, almost Janus-faced figure provides a better indication of the music´s originality and the vibrancy of the playing. This ist he third solo album by Martino, a serial competition participant with over 20 first prizes his name.
Most of the works given here have appeared on disc before, often in mixed-composer programmes such as this. The focus is primarily on music by Martino´s compatriots Villa-Lobos and Mozart Camargo Guarnieri, separeted by pieces by the Argentinians Alberto Ginastera and Carlos Guastavino. The latter´s Bailecito(´Little dance´, 1953) appears as an encore.
The largest item by far is Villa-Lobos´marvellous Ciclo Brasileiro (1936-7), the slow movement of which is given a beautifully shaped and fluent reading. Even better known ist he briefer Alma brasileira (Chôros No 5, 1925), which receives a nicely polished performance, a touch broader in tempi than, for example, Freire (RCA) or the excellent Guimaraes (Pavane), though fleeter than either of Ortiz´s accounts.
Martino´s interpretations of Guarnieri´s Danzas Selvagem, Negra and Brasileira – three separete pieces composed between 1928 and 1946 but often grouped as a triptych – compete closely with other versions in the market, and Martino adds a fourth piece, the jaw-droppingly virtuosic Lundu, another vibrant dance of African origin not otherwise available and redolent of Ginastera´s final Dance of the Cowboy. Guastavino´s delightful G minor Sonatina (1945) provides nicely lyrical contrast though the pace here is perhaps too relaxed. That minor caveat aside, this is a self-recommending disc with bright, clear sound.