Cello Trio

Tango Brasileiro

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Those who think that Brazilian music is defined by the samba and the bossa nova will be shocked by the Cello Trio, as they run through material by some of that country's renowned classical composers, with tangos by Ernesto Nazareth -- the father of the genre -- and opuses by both the great Heitor Villa-Lobos and the modernist Jaime M. Zenamon, among others. They open the door on a world that extends far beyond the beaches and Carnivals of Rio and Salvador, and do it in a most adventurous fashion, since a lineup of three cellos together doesn't fit as standard in anyone's book. However, the beautiful arrangements and exquisite playing bring out rare qualities in the music; there's a moment during Miranda's "Reflexos" where the cellos seem to imitate a steel guitar, while in Villa-Lobos' "Trenzinho Caipira" one of the instruments seems to play notes impossibly high for a cello. The dark, woody tones offer plenty of shade to the melodies, whether it's the slithering grace of Nazareth's tangos or the Bach-ian counterpoint of Zenamon's "Entreé." The composers here stand with the best out of Europe, illustrating that Brazil has much to offer that remains largely undiscovered outside the country. A small gem and a triumph of a disc.

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