“Forrobodó” is a first European release for a highly accomplished Brazilian guitar quartet. Formed in 1992, Quaternaglia Guitar Quartet quickly established a reputation for itself via victories at competitions including the International Guitar Contest in Havana and the International Guitar Festival in Montevideo. North American tours and festival appearances and master-classes soon followed.
In Brazil, the guitar quartet as chamber ensemble has risen in popularity over the last 20 years (due in part to the work of composer Leo Brouwer, who wrote extensively for this instrumentation). Quaternaglia is regarded as one of the most outstanding groups currently playing modern Brazilian concert music. In 1997 the Sao Paulo State Secretariat of Culture presented them with the Carlos Gomes prize as Best Chamber Group of the Year. Since 1996 Egberto Gismonti and the Quaternaglia musicians have been working together to develop a new concept of Brazilian music for guitar quartet.
On “Forrobodó”, the Quaternaglia Guitar Quartet plays Brazilian music spanning a hundred years, with compositions by Egberto Gismonti, Paulo Bellinati, Sergio Assad and Ernesto Nazareth.In addition to his own pieces, Gismonti has arranged two tangos by Ernesto Nazareth written at the beginning of the last century. Their sleek elegance brings an adventurous musical journey to a dignified and impeccably-paced conclusion. Quaternaglia covers a lot of ground here, touching on the strongly jazz-inflected music of North Eastern Brazil, carnival rhythms, multiple percussion effects, cinema music and much more, in a fascinating programme.
Gismonti himself makes a guest appearance on “Um Anjo”. As the Carmo boss says, “The beginning of this friendship has been very good. It has been so good that even without a clear demand for new compositions, I couldn’t resist and I sent them two new versions of two good-tempered pieces ‘Karatê’ and ‘Quartetinho’. ‘Forró’ was the first piece to be sent. It is a sort of endurance and musicality test. As a performer, one feels happy when the typical Brazilian character is visible in the middle of technical problems and one jumps to the conclusion that the mixture is good. I would say ‘Forró’ has to do with explorers who don’t know exactly what they’ll find at the end of the path, but who cannot resist the smell of bush, of wet land, traces of tapir on the road, or the distant bark of the dog...?”
The group also excels on contemporary compositions by Assad and Bellinati. Assad (born 1952) is increasingly regarded as one of Brazil’s foremost composers. His ‘Uarekena’, with its strong rhythms, percussion effects and exotic scales, is a homage to the Indian peoples of Brazil and is based on Brazilian Indian themes; it was written especially for guitar quartet.
Guitarist/composer Paulo Bellinati (born 1950) specialises in concert music derived from Brazilian popular rhythms and his compositions are being heard around the world (John Williams, for instance, has recorded his music). Bellinati’s ‘Baião’ uses a popular rhythm from North-eastern Brazil while ‘Furiosa’ is a maxixe, an African-derived musical form used at the beginning of the 20th century in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The composer has dedicated these two pieces to the Quaternaglia Quartet.
The Quaternaglia Guitar Quartet was created by Breno Chaves, Eduardo Fleury, Fabio Ramazzina and Sidney Molina in 1992. In June 1999, Breno Chaves was replaced by Paulo Porto Alegre. Thus Chaves plays in the first part of this CD, recorded in 1998, and Porto Alegre plays in the second part, recorded in 1999.