This is an album of eight compositions, mostly for guitar and orchestra (three are for solo guitar) played by Carlos Barbosa-Lima, given the over-all title "O Boto" after one of the works.
The major composition is Concierto Antillano (Antillean Concerto) (1983) for guitar and orchestra by Ernesto Cordero, a Puertorriqueño who has composed at least three other guitar concertos. The form of the title deliberately evokes the concertos of Joaquín Rodrigo, and its gentleness and tunefulness are surely influenced by Rodrigo's many conciertos. Barbosa-Lima (a Brazilian), nicely finds the Caribbean flavor of this concerto as well as Cordero's solo piece Nana Para Una Negrito, which evokes the region's African background with numerous delightful percussion effects.
The album begins with Barbosa-Lima's guitar transcription of Handel's Harp Concerto in B flat. This version is apt and tasteful; harps and guitars produce their sounds in similar manner, and the guitarist phrases with a convincing Baroque feeling. The other large work is Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Capriccio Diabolico, Op. 85b, in its original fuller orchestral form. Andrés Segovia requested the composer to write in the spirit of Paganini, so this is an intensely difficult work. Barbosa-Lima, fully in command of the instrument here as everywhere else on the disc, reveals this as a major addition to the guitar repertory.
There are two more short solo works: Emilio Pujol's Tonadilla and Enric Madriguera's Adiós, played with a touching mood of reflection. Honolulu-born Brian Yasui adds his own Picola Arietta No. 2 for guitar and orchestra (which has touches of Hawaiian musical flavor) and the orchestration of Antonio Carlos Jobim's O Boto. Yasui finds deft orchestral and percussion touches to illustrate this guitar song about a Brazilian spirit-fish.
Accompaniment is by The Sofia [Bulgaria] Soloists conducted by Plamen Djurov, well recorded by Atanas Baynov. A delightful guitar disc.