After the Rain
It’s always fun if something unexpected is heard on a CD. How about featuring an oboe in Brazilian music? The album Clouds of Rain proves in a most beautiful way that it’s possible. It’s a daring challenge, but it works when the oboe is played by someone who knows what Brazilian music is about. And by someone who can easily let the instrument reflect the musical thoughts of its owner.
Meet Nigel Shore! Born in England (1961), Mr Shore studied at the Royal Academy of Music and at the University of London, where he graduated with three 1st class honors diplomas in oboe, piano and musicology. To perfect his skills, he moved to Berlin, Germany. He joined the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, where he worked under the unforgettable conductor Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989). Besides being an orchestral oboist, Nigel Shore also started a solo career performing chamber music with his Berlin Oboe Quartet, and he performs as guest in orchestras all over the globe. It also brought him to Brazil, where he was soloist with the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra (2008-2011). The music of Brazil had already conquered his musical heart when he was asked by the late composer, singer and guitarist Hans Limburg (1962-2013) to join him on his album From Brazil… With Love, also reviewed here on MúsicaBrasileira. Hans Limburg introduced him to more Brazilian music and thus helped to lead the way to Nigel’s own solo album. Nigel recorded the album in memory of Hans Limburg. At the same time, the CD is a homage to the people of Rio and the music of Brazil.
There’s a nice variation in the chosen compositions, which, by the way, all have warm arrangements by Nigel Shore. The opening “Primavera” sounds like an overture for the album. We first hear waves that break against the (I guess…) Ipanema shore, then the oboe leads to the bossa nova. The classical approach gives an extra beautiful touch to the Carlos Lyra – Vinícius de Moraes composition. The vocal sextet Ordinarius is responsible for the ethereal voices in this song. From then on, we’re taken on a varied trip through the Brazilian music scene. Music composed by Tania Maria, Deodato, Hermeto Pascoal doesn’t have any trouble to be on the same disk with music by Jobim, Marcos Valle and Roberto Menescal. Clever arrangements link all the music on Clouds of Rain together. The clear sound of the oboe easily connects with bossa and MPB. Sometimes it sounds jazzy (“Yatra-Tá”), sometimes it sounds classical (“Marina del Rey”) and sometimes it sounds close to the original (“Baiãozinho”).
“Estamos Aí” opens with a piano line from the French children’s song (possibly composed by Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) “Frére Jacques” (Brother Jacob). With the inclusion of two of his own compositions, Nigel Shore shows that he’s pitiless infected by the music he heard during his three years in Rio. The great Jane Duboc is vocalist on two tracks (“Caminhos Cruzados” and Nigel’s “O Jardim de Amores”). Another special guest is Fabinho Costa, playing the flugelhorn on “Este Seu Olhar.” A few recordings were done in Germany, but the most was done in Brazil with the help of Brazilian musicians. (Marcelo Pereira (drums, percussion), Bráulio Araújo (electric and acoustic bass), Romero Medeiros (keys), Marco Pereira (acoustic guitar), Júnior Xanfer (electric and 12-string guitars) and Leo Sousa (vibes); from Germany (Uruguayan born) Efraín Oscher (flute), (British born) Emily Hoile (harp) and Volker Conrath (percussion).
It’s as clear as the sound of the oboe: Clouds of Rain is a marvelous piece of work that features a rare originality and masterful musicianship by Nigel Shore. After listening you could say that the clouds of rain have been washed away and replaced by a sunny blue sky (to use an obvious cliché…). No matter what, this CD guarantees listening pleasure for many times.
Nigel Shore has his own website.
Clouds Of Rain
Costa Records CR004 (2015)
- Primavera (Carlos Lyra – Vinicius de Moraes)
- Yatra-Tá (Tania Maria)
- Clouds of Rain (Nigel Shore)
- Bebê (Hermeto Pascoal)
- Marina del Rey/ Eu Sei Que Vou Te Amar (Antonio Carlos Jobim – Vinicius de Moraes)
- Baiãozinho (Eumir Deodato)
- Caminhos Cruzados (Antonio Carlos Jobim – Newton Mendonça)
- Esperando o Messias (Marcos Valle – Paulo Sérgio Valle)
- Este Seu Olhar (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
- O Jardim de Amores (Nigel Shore)
- Estamos Aí (Durval Ferreira – Maurício Einhorn)
- Condenados (Fátima Guedes)
- Rio (Roberto Menescal – Ronaldo Bôscoli)
- A volta (Roberto Menescal – Ronaldo Bôscoli)