John Neschling

Camargo Guarnieri: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6; Vila Rica Suite

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This 2004 BIS CD of orchestral music by Camargo Guarneri features world-premiere recordings of the Symphony No. 5 for choir and orchestra (1977) and the purely instrumental Symphony No. 6 (1981) in vigorous performances by the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra conducted by John Neschling. These symphonies are dynamic, serious essays composed in a sophisticated, cosmopolitan style, with only touches of the colorful Brasilidad quality found in Guarneri's popular music. There is clearly a nationalistic element in the choral finale of the Symphony No. 5, particularly in the rhythmic setting of the text, a paean by Rossine Guarneri to the brothers' native village, Tietê. Also, the energetic first movement of the Symphony No. 6 is at times suggestive of Brazilian dance rhythms in its exotic percussion. Otherwise, the symphonies are concerned with matters of counterpoint and development -- more abstract in treatment, to be sure, but accessible and compelling in their straightforward rhetoric. Suíte Vila Rica (1957-1958) was drawn from a score Guarneri composed for the eponymous film and is sandwiched between the symphonies. Its lighter tone and abundant melodies provide a pleasant contrast to the two major works, and it takes only a little imagination to understand Guarneri's effectiveness as a film composer. The recording is exceptionally clear and vivid.

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