Celebrated for its elegant and refined music-making, Similia has received many prizes and accolades, including the coveted Prix Félix for Instrumental Album of the Year awarded by ADISQ (Quebec Recording [...]
Nota del Sol
They spoke about it
Maximo Diego Pujol: Suite Buenos Aires and Dos Aires Candomberos
A guitarist and composer from Buenos Aires, Maximo Diego Pujol (1957-) is renowned for his compositions for guitar. In 1988, he was named classical music composer of the year by the Argentinean composers and authors union. Since then, his works have been regularly played and recorded around the world.
Suite Buenos Aires
Suite Buenos Aires takes the listener on a tour of the most well-known areas of Pujol’s home town: the working-class neighbourhood of “Pompea,” where the tango originated; the Italian quarter, “Palermo”; old “San Telmo,” with its cafés and bazaars; and finally, “Microcentro,” the heart of the city, with its business and commercial district and major arteries. The pieces have a clear and poignant style that is effective in evoking the spirit of these places.
Dos Aires Candomberos
Dos Aires Candomberos means “two candombe melodies,” the candombe being to Uruguay what the tango is to Argentina. But while the roots of the tango are Latino-European, the syncopated rhythm of the candombe is African in origin, introduced to Uruguay by black slaves during that country’s colonial period.
In “Nubes de Buenos Aires” (Clouds of Buenos Aires) and “Candombe de los Buenos Tiempos” (Candombe of the good old days), sustained guitar rhythms are tempered by the sad warmth of the flute lines and by the da capo form (intro-ABA’-coda) in which two up-tempo sections (A and A’) contrast with a slower, more meditative, introduction and B section.
Celso Machado: Musiques populaires brésiliennes (three excerpts)
A guitarist and composer of Brazilian origin, Celso Machado (1953-) first attended traditional samba schools, teaching himself to play guitar, before studying with Oscar M. Guerra (a student of a student of the famous Francisco Tarrega). His first recordings, Brasil Violão (1977) and Violão (1980), attracted both music fans and critics. In 1983, he was invited to London, where he was welcomed with such enthusiasm that he remained in Europe for nearly a decade. In 1992, he moved to Vancouver, where, after an invitation to Expo ’86 he became a regular performer at important festivals such as the International Jazz Festival and the Vancouver Folk Festival. The three pieces on this recording are excerpts from a six-dance suite for flute and guitar entitled Musiques populaires brésiliennes.
The pieces have fanciful, evocative titles such as “Piazza Vittorio” (chôro maxixe), the name of a plaza in Rome that made an impression on Machado; “Paçoca” (chôro), a traditional Brazilian dish made from a paste of Yuca flour mixed with other sweet or savoury ingredients; and “Pé de Moleque” (samba), which means “child’s foot” and refers to a Brazilian treat made from nuts and sugar.
Érik Marchelie: Tango
French guitarist and composer Érik Marchelie (1957-) studied at the conservatories of Tours, Versailles, and Paris. He teaches at the École Nationale de Musique in Mantes en Yvelines in addition to pursuing a career as a performer. As a composer, Marchelie writes primarily for his own instrument, both solos and chamber pieces. He wrote Tango for the duo he formed with recorder player Anne Leleu. The composer writes: “Tango was written in 2000 as an homage to Argentinean music—a music that awakens deep and sincere emotions in each of us, a music of resigned despair.”
Two traditional airs from Latin America: La Llorona and a milonga
La Llorona (the weeper) is a romance based on one of the oldest Mexican legends to emerge from the meeting of European and Native cultures following the Spanish conquest (around 1550). Every version of the legend describes a woman dressed in white, her face hidden behind a heavy veil, wailing as she wanders the streets of Mexico City at night.
The milonga—the ancestor of the tango—emerged out of the working class neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires during the 19th-century economic boom that attracted millions of immigrants—mostly single men—to the city.
According to musicologists, the dance exhibits many influences, including the European waltz and polka and the Cuban habanera; its sensual nature is also cited frequently. However, as Jorge Luis Borges explains in Histoire du Tango, the milonga was originally danced by men, who were much more numerous in Buenos Aires at the time. Borges speculates that the dance was actually a stylization of the knife fights that were so prevalent in that male-dominated society.
Astor Piazzolla: Histoire du Tango
Astor Piazzolla (1921–1992) literally revolutionized the tango. Indeed, the history of the genre could be divided into two eras: pre- and post-Piazzolla. He had always been torn between his two passions, the tango and classical music. Finally, in the late 1950s, his teacher, Nadia Boulanger, encouraged him to try and blend the two. He spent the rest of his career crossbreeding them and, in the process, completely redefined the traditional notion of the tango.
In Histoire du Tango, a piece written especially for flute and guitar, Piazzolla conveys the broad evolutionary stages of this dance, which arose out of the working-class districts of Buenos Aires around 1900 and conquered the world, becoming as much the musical trademark of Argentina as flamenco is for Spain. “Bordel 1900” recalls the dance’s somewhat disreputable origins; “Café 1930” evokes the emergence of song, which added a storytelling component to the tango; “Nightclub 1960” depicts how the tango was taken up and watered down by the crooners and “civilized” social dance; and finally, “Concert d’aujourd’hui” illustrates how Piazzolla used fusion compositional techniques to return dignity to the tango and elevate it to a new level.
© 2003, Guy Marchand for Traçantes, the music research, text-writing and translation service of the Société québécoise de recherche en musique. (Translation: Peter Christensen)