Prado: Piano Concertos no. 1 & "Fribourgeois" / Rubinsky, Minas Gerais Philharmonic
At the time of his death in 2010, Almeida Prado was one of Brazil’s most internationally admired composers, one who created music of unique sonority and color, rooted in his native country. In Aurora (‘Dawn’) he employs his newly developed ‘transtonality’ to radiant effect, while the Concerto Fribourgeois features a collage technique. In his Piano Concerto No. 1 Almeida Prado explores a cogent structure in which the soloist opens up, rips apart or transforms the theme and variations, in a work that is both grandiose and luminous.
"The performances by Sonia Rubinsky sound like they are totally committed to the music. The range of her expressive control is remarkable. She has all of the requisite strength to deal with the many percussive moments in the music. The Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra, under the expert direction of Fabio Mechetti, provides a well-considered and exemplary accompaniment. The recorded sound is very good."
"The southern border of the vast Brazilian state of Minas Gerais lies roughly 100 miles north of (and is broadly parallel to) the road which connects the more renowned centres of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Its capital Belo Horizonte lies centrally and seems to be the home of the Minas Gerais Philharmonic, which on the evidence of this disc appears to be an impressive orchestral unit.
Aurora is both dramatic and monumental; the engineers have done a splendid job in taming its excesses and realising an ideal balance between the demanding piano part and the orchestra.
The Piano Concerto No. 1...embodies an arch-like structure, framed by brief panels labelled Apelo (Appeal) I and II in which contain the four-note thematic germ which drives the entire work. Apelo I inhabits murky depths whose severity soon yields to a sequence of rapid variations, performed with remarkable incisiveness and clarity by Rubinsky and the orchestra. The Piano Concerto No 1 makes a lasting impact – it’s difficult to imagine a more compelling or definitive account than Rubinsky’s.
The issue concludes with the Concerto Fribourgeois, commissioned in 1985 to celebrate the tricentenary of the birth of J.S. Bach[.] Rubinsky’s supreme commitment to this music provides yet more evidence of her devotion to Almeida Prado, whilst the recording rates highly in its depth and clarity.
I found all three of these very different works most enjoyable; they are each sufficiently colourful and invigorating to merit further reacquaintance.
--MusicWeb International (Richard Hanlon)
Release Date: May 08, 2020
Catalog Number: 8574225
Number of Discs: 1
Period: 20th Century
Composer: José Antônio de Almeida Prado
Conductor: Fabio Mechetti
Orchestra/Ensemble: Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra
Performer: Sonia Rubinsky