Continuing to Impress
It was an excellent idea of Thomas Zoells to invite Heloísa Fernandes for a solo recording on a state of the art Fazioli piano. The Swiss born owner of Pianoforte Chicago, the city’s famous piano store, attended a concert (May 3rd, 2014) by Heloísa Fernandes at his own studio in Chicago. He was so impressed by pianist that he wanted to do a recording with her. His piano had never sound so beautiful as when Heloísa played on it. “Pure serendipity,” as he describes it in the cd’s accompanying booklet. The Fazioli 228 piano is characterized by its deep and powerful bass. A quality that Heloísa Fernandes surely can appreciate. Back home, she carefully started to work on the idea and one year later she took the plane to Chicago to accept the invitation.
Heloísa Fernandes, whose two earlier extraordinary releases Fruto (2004) and Candeias (2009) are also reviewed here, most certainly is among the most talented pianists in Brazil. She has the knowledge and talent of combining classical music with jazz and most of all with the roots of Brazilian music (not necessarily in that order). It results in a very own style and approach. It is certainly on Faces, where she performs with a delicate and fragile personal touch. The album was recorded in the Pianoforte studios (Chicago) on the beloved Fazioli 228 grand piano.
Heloísa Fernandes (Presidente Prudente (São Paulo), for more biographical facts I kindly refer to the review of Fruto) composed all 8 tracks for Faces. On the opening “Colheita e Caicó,” Heloísa gratefully features the bass qualities of the piano. At the same time the track reveals the essence of Heloísa’s musical personality. Powerful, playful, contrasting and original in a genius way. During the eleven minutes of music Heloísa accompanies you on a wonderful trip through her world of the piano. “Colheita” was composed for the album Fruto and featured the late great percussionist Naná Vasconcelos (1944-2016). Of course he was on Heloísa’s mind during the recording for Faces. The second part of the song (“Caicó”) is an improvised arrangement of a folkloric melody. The following triptych, “As Três Graças,” refers to three Greek immortal sister goddesses. They were known as the Graces or Charites: Aglaia (“beauty,” “splendor,” “glory”), Thalia (“rich banquet” or “festivity”) and Euphrosyne (“good cheer” or “mirth”), daughters of Zeus and Eurynome. They provide the pianist with a chance to explore this mythology with a personal sentiment. “Mergulho” is another piece of beauty. It opens with mysterious and ominous sounds on the piano and turns out as a succession of emotions, accentuated by the voice of pianist. The triptych “Rios” closes the album. Three beautiful improvisations. Listen in all solitude, without any disturbance to the album’s closing “Abraços.” It’s of an extreme beauty.
Once again Heloísa Fernandes proves to be a pianist who deserves much more attention. Her music is emotional and personal. There are not many pianists who can express themselves in such an intimate way. Strongly recommended. You can visit the pianist on her website in English.
Tracks (all compositions by Heloísa Fernandes):
- Colheita e Caicó
- As Três Graças: Aglaia, A Claridade
- As Três Graças: Thalia, A Que Faz Brotar Flores
- As Três Graças: Euphrosyne, O Sentido da Alegria
- Rios: Reflexos
- Rios: Correntes
- Rios: Abraços