To the American public, the words Brazilian music almost certainly evoke stereotypes – colorful sambas, sensual bossa nova tunes, and exotic images. However, Brazil's music spans a multitude of styles, ranging from the 19th century Italian-style operas of Carlos Gomes and the nationalistic postcards by Heitor Villa-Lobos to the intricacies of the avant-garde movements of the l970s. Indeed, during the 20th century Brazil was home to a multitude of composers creating incomparable music in all conceivable genres.
This album features works for large mixed ensembles written during 1990s by living composers. Two are from Brazil and three from the United States. Their works display a healthy, thought-provoking postmodern sensibility. Traditional and avant-garde procedures mingle freely throughout in these compositions. While Wayne Peterson and Raoul Pleskow fashion their musical languages around chromatic harmonies and rhythmic intricacies, Christopher James's work is an unabashed romantic tone poem. Somewhere in between are the works by the two Brazilian masters: Tacuchian displays a certain neo-classic touch; Mendes uses humor and minimalism in a subtle, inimitable manner.
We faced enormous challenges while completing this recording project were greater than usual. The events of September 11, 2001 disrupted the scheduled rehearsal sessions in New York City and jeopardized this entire project. Not only did we encounter seemingly insurmountable communication and transportation problems, but the concert hall reserved for the recording sessions was also ordered closed indefinitely.
Auspiciously, (as it was the case with the album's companion Millennium Overture – N/S R 1027), the resilient and enthusiastic spirit of the North/South Consonance Ensemble musicians, together with a most cooperative Purchase College Performing Arts Center staff overcame all hurdles. Astoundingly, the album was recorded six days after the attacks on the World Trade Center. Celebrating friendship and artistic understanding between musicians from two countries might be the most appropriate response to such tragic events.
Great care was taken to preserve the integrity of the concert hall ambiance when this album was recorded and mastered. Indeed, the listener will find that the natural resonance of the concert hall and the wide dynamic range of the music were captured successfully. Please use a moderate volume setting when playing this disc.