Friday, August 24, 2012

"Brasileiro," New CD From Nelson Freire

Brazilian classical pianist Nelson Freire, who is internationally famous and who has recorded a large number of albums, has just issued a new CD entitled "Brasileiro." 

On the album, Freire performs 30 solo piano pieces by Villa-Lobos and other Brazilian composers. 

The CD received an enthusiastic 5-star review from the "Guardian," which closed with this comment: "There's more than enough here for you to hope that Freire might put together a second volume, perhaps including a few more substantial works; in the meantime, if there is a more perfectly played piano disc released this year, we will be very lucky indeed."

You can sample it on Amazon or iTunes. I just finished listening to samples of all 30 tracks on iTunes and the CD has been added to my wish list. (Note: both iTunes and Amazon incorrectly list the first six selections as being part of the "Carnaval das Çriancas," when we know that the cedilla belongs on the *second* "c," not the first one). 

A side note: with all due respect to Mr. Freire, who is a brilliant pianist, and who looks pretty good for a 66-year-old guy, why do classical record companies so often choose to use a photo of the performer or conductor for their cover art? A classical album is not like an album of popular music, where listeners want to see their pop idol. I think it's a lot more appropriate to include a classical artist's photo in the booklet that comes with the CD. For the cover, artwork or a photo featuring a Brazilian landmark or its scenic beauty would have evoked the spirit of this music just as effectively as a photo of Mr. Freire with the ocean behind him. 

This cover art for a multi-disc set of Villa-Lobos' works issued by BIS is a good example of what can be done instead:

Here's one from Naxos that uses a photograph on the cover (I would have made the photo bigger, but at least they've got the right idea):

Finally, here's an example of how to put the artist on the cover, but in a way that makes it feel a little more...Brazilian. OK, maybe the parrot and the sunglasses are a bit over the top, but it's colorful and it makes you smile.

If you're asking yourself what the hell this has to do with Freire's CD, the answer is "nothing at all," so I apologize for getting off-topic.

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