Picks and Pans Review: Tangos, Waltzes, Polkas of Ernesto Nazareth
updated 07/11/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 07/11/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT
This album couldn't have been released at a more appropriate time of year. The optimism and expectancy of early summer swirl through Nazareth's short piano pieces like a breeze. His tangos and polkas bubble and glisten like a sun-splashed brook, and his waltzes suggest the languor of long afternoons and deep green lawns. Until now Americans have never been introduced to Nazareth, but in his native Brazil he was esteemed during his lifetime and his work has remained popular since his death in 1934. A native and lifelong resident of Rio de Janeiro, he was born in 1863 to middle-class parents and reached adulthood at a time when Brazilian musical life was enriched by such old influences as indigenous folk dances and such new ones as European classical music. The young Nazareth immersed himself in the study of Chopin's compositions. Chopin, in fact, is one of two composers who come to mind upon first hearing Nazareth. The other is Scott Joplin, since, like ragtime, the Brazilian's work abounds in elegance, vivacity and syncopation. The composer's champion in this country has been Lima, 42, a talented and versatile Brazilian pianist who premiered Nazareth in the U.S. at a series of concerts at the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in New York last year. With this album, he clinches his case.