Monday, February 14, 2011 Odair Assad 'undaunted' by Leo Brouwer’s 'Sonata del Caminante'

[Leo Brouwer]

The Afro-Cuban composeer, guitarist and conductor Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) is profiled at
Music Review
By Allan Kozinn
Published: February 14, 2011
The Brazilian guitarist Odair Assad performs mostly as half of the Assad Brothers, and though his older brother, Sérgio, has pursued an independent musical life as a composer, arranger and player, Odair, until recently, seemed disinclined to build a solo career.

“His recital at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Sunday afternoon made his reticence hard to understand. Not that his technical polish and strong interpretive intuition were surprising. It has long been obvious from the duo’s recordings and concert performances that both the Assads are virtuosic, soulful players. But even though their fraternal bond and, as they have told interviewers, 10 hours of daily practice have helped them cultivate unusual ensemble fluidity, duet performance inevitably requires a measure of personal interpretive restraint.

“Freed of that restraint, Odair Assad proved a remarkably elastic player. In Agustín Barrios’s 'Chôro da Saudade' and Villa-Lobos’s Chôro No. 1, he emphasized the rhythmic freedom inherent in this quintessentially Brazilian popular form, a quality often lost, or at least compromised, in classical performances. Villa-Lobos’s Prelude No. 3 and Étude No. 10 were similarly unbuttoned: Mr. Assad’s phrasing is highly personalized, with extreme rubato and articulation so varied as to sound almost improvised.

Leo Brouwer’s broad-boned 'Sonata del Caminante' was the program’s most involved work, and Mr. Assad, for whom it was written, was undaunted by its contrapuntal thickets. And he gave a spellbinding performance of Kevin Callahan’s 'Red Fantasy,' an inviting study in chordal melodies, speedy single lines and occasional bent pitches.

No comments: