Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1863, Ernesto Nazareth was given his first musical instructions by his mother, and when she died 10 years later, the young Ernesto forged ahead doggedly with his studies and also tried his hand at composition. Although he was exposed to several foreign influences, Nazareth remained faithful to his Brazilian origins and his many tangos and polkas were what the pop hits of today now are.
He gave recitals in theatres, hotels and luxury cinemas where he also played live soundtracks to silent films. His concerts included performances of the chorinhas alongside Chopin and Beethoven, and his playing attained legendary status, attracting huge audiences wherever he went. He died tragically in a mental hospital in 1934 after a series of painful events that included the deaths of his wife and daughter, coupled with a gradual loss of hearing.
This hugely enjoyable issue includes 17 of his most attractive piano pieces, a compilation of waltzes and tangos which reveal the composer's natural gift of rhythm and colour coupled with his imaginative use of Brazilian sounds which he is able to ooze out from just one instrument.
Marcelo Bratke performs the works of his compatriot with stylish freshness and breezy élan, and in his hands the music has an irresistible charm and swagger that keeps one's feet tapping all along – a feisty dance feast from beginning to end.
Copyright © 2009, Gerald Fenech