It was an evening of magic, in that beautiful concert hall De Doelen in Rotterdam, Holland. For this special occasion, the graceful Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra was conducted by Manuel López-Gómez (1983, Caracas, Venezuela). His name is known all around the world also because of his inspiring knowledge of the Latin music tradition. He managed to make the renowned orchestra from Rotterdam sound like the perfect musical partner of Paulinho da Viola.
The memorable evening started with impressive renditions of two movements of Antônio Carlos Jobim’s “Sinfônia da Alvorada” (1959). Jobim wrote this challenging orchestral work in an Heitor Villa-Lobos’s style, highlighting the sounds and colors of the jungle. The influence was clearly featured in the perfectly performed movements “O Planalto Deserto” and “O Homem.” The work of Villa-Lobos was honored with the “Ária (Cantilena)” (1938) from his Bachianas No. 5 for soprano and cello. The orchestra was reduced to 8 cellists who accompanied the Dutch soprano Renate Arends.
After that it was time for the great Yamandú Costa (1980, Passo Fundo, Rio Grande do Sul) to show his exceptional skills on the acoustic 7-string guitar. He performed the first three parts of his ambitious “Concerto de Fronteira (for guitar and orchestra)” (2014) that he recorded last year for Kuarup Records with the Orquestra do Estado de Mato Grosso. “Fiesta,” “Coração de Camalote” and “Contrabando” impressed the audience with surprising arrangements and emotional soloing by the guitarist. The amazing technical skills of Yamandú are no surprise to anymore, but to hear him with a large orchestra made his performance even more dazzling. He’s a true Brazilian ambassador, dedicating his life to the musical tradition of his Brazil.
Speaking of ambassadors… After the intermission, Paulinho da Viola (1942, Rio de Janeiro) made his appearance. Gentle and kind as always he found his place as a soloist next to the conductor. The importance of Paulinho da Viola in the Brazilian music history is unquestionable. It was a joy to see him during his rare concert dates outside Brazil. The audience, with a large Brazilian percentage, welcomed Paulinho’s famous sambas and choros with a hearty appreciation. How good it was to hear these classics interpreted by the master himself and that fantastic orchestra! Although at rare moments the arrangements were a bit too crowded for the 73-year-old voice from the star of the evening. Paulinho was vocally backed-up by the Dutch Brazilian music expert and singer Josee Koning with Femke Smit and Ana Beck. Of course the percussion needed and got special attention as well this evening. The multi-talented percussionist Simone Sou enjoyed the trip back to the roots, along with percussionists Felipe Veiga and Matthias Haffner. On the acoustic guitar, Paulinho’s son João Rabello found a prominent role in the orchestra as well. Among the repertoire were “Sinal Fechado,” “Inesquecível,” “Coração Imprudente,” “Timoneiro” with a wonderful intro by the orchestra’s Julien Hervé on clarinet; of course “Dança da Solidão,” an impressive rendition of the instrumentals “Choro Negro” and “Sarau Para Radamés” with Paulinho on his inseparable cavaquinho, “Onde a Dor Não Tem Razão” and “Foi Um Rio Que Passou Em Minha Vida” — that was repeated as an encore after the minutes long standing ovation by the audience.
The evening didn’t miss its goal; it was a beautiful and impressive dedication to the music of Brazil. With stars like Yamandú Costa and Paulinho da Viola and such an enthusiastic orchestra, Brasil Sinfônico turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime occasion. The evening was repeated the next day, on June 3rd and then it was over, leaving the audiences behind with an evening to cherish and to remember!
CONCERT ON JUNE 2ND, 2016; ROTTERDAM, HOLLAND
THE ROTTERDAM PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
featuring YAMANDÚ COSTA AND PAULINHO DA VIOLA