Bidu Sayão

O Luar Da Minha Terra

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On O luar da minha terra, Brazilian label Revivendo makes available eight more of historic soprano Bidu Sayão's early Brazilian recordings, made in 1935-1936, than have been previously available outside of her home country. A selection of eight showed up on a VAI Audio release Bidu Sayão: Rarities not long before she died in 1999; this one, however, boasts 16 early Brazilian selections, including popular songs in Portuguese, operatic selections, and a couple of numbers from Carlos Gomes' zarzuela Il Guarany and incorporating all of the ones that appeared on VAI. It is filled out by a handful of Sayão's American Columbia recordings from the late '40s, familiar already to those who know her. O luar da minha terra is a little less than absolutely delightful owing to some heavy-handed application of CEDAR noise reduction technology to the originals; while Sayão often comes through clear and strong, sometimes the band behind her sounds like it is playing from the deepest recesses of one's freezer owing to the effect of too much processing. For the later Columbia recordings, O luar da minha terra would be a ridiculous choice; in the famous 1945 Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, Villa-Lobos' eight cellos sound like they need their own mukluks and igloos, their strangled notes rising up from the depths of a deep freeze. For that, Sony Masterworks Heritage's definitive release Bidu Sayão: Arias & Brazilian Folksongs remains the one indisputable choice in compact disc form. It is also true that the VAI remains the preferred option for at least the eight tracks it shares with the Revivendo item. On the other hand, the listener who is an absolute devotee of Bidu Sayão cannot argue against the concept of "more," and that is what Revivendo's O luar da minha terra has to offer; eight more Bidu Sayão recordings that available nowhere else, though that is the only advantage it has over other releases; in every other way it's substandard. Notwithstanding the digital aspect, all of the recordings emphasize what a strong and beautiful instrument Sayão had, apparent even in the most maudlin material. Sometimes the sound of the short breaths she takes to fuel extraordinarily long lines of singing, such as in "Cancão da Felicidade," can heighten the sense of emotional power Sayão is able to sustain, which is uncanny. Indeed, Sayão was a treasure; these digital transfers, however, are more like junk jewelry.

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