LAKE LUZERNE – A whole evening of Brazilian brass music by South American composers and played by mostly Brazilian musicians doesn’t happen often. But the debut Monday night of the Sao Paulo Brass Quintet on the Luzerne Music Center series gave a large crowd some colorful sounds.
All the players perform with the Sao Paulo State Symphony, which was last heard in 2009 at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, to smashing success. Although trumpeters Fernando Dissenha and Marcelo Mato, French hornist Jose Costa Filho, trombonist Darcio Gianelli and American bass trombonist Darrin Milling have played together as a quintet since 2001 with several CDs under their belts, it took a few pieces before they began to sound like the bold and technically expert group one would expect. Much of their repertoire was written by living composers.
The first three works were by Fernando Morais from one of his suites: “Restless”; “Little Pole,” which had jagged rhythms that fell just off the beat in a sunny mood; and “Waltz,” which was a very pretty but melancholy tune before the tempo picked up with a brighter feeling.
Argentinian composer Jose Alberto Kaplan’s short “Quintero de Metais” was based on native war dance rhythms. Trumpets had close work with several tricky licks. Milling then played Morais’ short solo “Bossa Nova” that had long fast lines in upper registers punctuated by short notes in the low register.
Dissenha also played Stanley Friedman’s odd little solo, “Fanfare.” By removing the lower part of one of the trumpet’s valves, the sound seemed to come from far away. The music went back and forth between this effect and a regular trumpet sound with trills, odd gurgles and typical fanfares.
The quintet found its stride in Raimunda Penaforte’s “46th Street” with its well written jazzy harmonies and singing lines. They sparkled with a forceful sound that projected an easy swagger. Alexandre Brasolim’s “Sons de Sao Paulo” was strong as was Osvaldo Lacerda’s “Three Part Invention” for trumpet, French horn and trombone. Edmundo Villani-Cortes’ “Beiraceas” was edgy with muted trumpets, and Lacerda’s “Fantasia e Rondo” began mysteriously and then got faster with lots of notes and a lighter mood. The quintet was tight and expert.
As an encore, they played Edu Lobo’s “Arrastao,” (“For Me”) with a big sound and vivid colors.
The concert next Monday is a trio concert.