Thursday, August 11, 2011

Leo Brouwer: 'This recording won the LATIN GRAMMY for Best Classical Recording in November 2010!'

[Leo Brouwer: The String Quartets and String Trio; The Havana String Quartet; ZOHO Music ZM 201108 (2011)]

Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) is an Afro-Cuban composer, guitarist and conductor who is featured at Leo Brouwer wrote the liner notes for the CD:

“This recording won the LATIN GRAMMY for Best Classical Recording in November 2010!” “Leo Brouwer (Havana, 1939), composer, orchestra conductor, guitarist, researcher and pedagogue, is one of the most important and fascinating figures in international classical music today. His first real teacher Isaac Nicola was a pupil of Emilio Pujol (1886-1980) who in turn had been a pupil of Francesca Tárrega (1852-1909). To further his musical education, he studied composition at the Juilliard School in Manhattan with Vincent Persichetti, Stefan Wolpe, Isadore Preed, J. Diemente and Joseph Iadone. He also studied classical guitar at Hartt College in Hartford, Connecticut.

“The First Quartet, written in 1961 is dedicated 'In Memory of Bela Bartok.'” “The four movements are designed in a cyclical form, and the work is developed utilizing a symmetrical concept of rhythm, sonority and harmony. At this early moment in Brouwer's composing career, the First Quartet identified him as one of he most important and original composers in Latin America; for it, he was awarded First Prize in the 1963 National Composition Competition in Cuba.”

The movements are:
1 Energico 1:52
2 Allegretto 3:47
3 Lento 8:26
4 Finale (Vivace) 5:59

“The Second Quartet [6:17] (1968) titled 'Rem Tene Verba Sequentur' (Know the Matter and the Word will follow) is a work where the composer investigates the world of aleatoric music and improvisation.”
“The String Trio was written in 1959 while Leo Brouwer was studying at the Juilliard School as a scholarship student of Vincent Persichetti. The movements are:

Introduction – Rhythmic and precise 1:01
Allegro 2:21
Moderato e Calmo 3:25
Interludio – Adagio Molta 3:37
Finale – Allegro Giocoso (based on a Classical Theme) 4:14

“In the Fourth Quartet, 'Rem Tene Verba Sequentur II (2007 – World Premiere Recording) [13:11], the composer adds technical resources found in the Second and Third Quartets and expresses it in a more condensed form. Through the use of improvisation and the composer's suggestions of certain fragments found in music's universal repertoire, the listener is presented with a single movement that imitates the flavor of popular music in Cuba.”

“The Third Quartet (1991-97) has four movements whose titles are very descriptive.”

Ritual Voice for New Year's Eve 5:11
Through the Body of the Wind 5:07
Impossible Dance 6:04
The Rhythm of the Night Changed 4:31

“The Havana String Quartet was founded in 1980 on the initiative of Leo Brouwer. The group is known for its unique, cross-cultural repertoire, and its accomplishments in a variety of musical styles.” The members are: Yamir Portuondo, 1st violin; Eugenio Valdés, 2nd violin; Jorge Hernández, viola; Deborah Yamak, cello, born in Beirut, Lebanon. The CD was recorded in Cordoba, Spain in 2008. The website of the Havana String Quartet is:

“The HSQ has performed contemporary chamber works by composers such as Toon de Leeuw, I. Land, Barce, Villarojo and Tomás Marco, but the group's particular strength and talent has been dedicated to Latin American composers such as Revueltas, Ginastera, Villa-Lobos, Manuel Enriquez Garrido-Lecca and of course, Leo Brouwer.

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