Jobim Sinfônico pays tribute to
Brazil's musical genius,
by LAWRENCE BUDMEN
Antonio Carlos Jobim (1927-1994) was Brazil's musical voice. Trained as a classical musician, Jobim created a new sound in the late 1950s. Fusing his classical roots with American jazz, the African rhythms of the Brazilian samba, and Portuguese ballads, Jobim gave birth to the Bossa Nova -- one of the first manifestations of World Music to gain international acclaim. Following Jobim's death in 1994 his son Paulo Jobim and his long time arranger Mario Adnet created Jobim Sinfonico -- completing Jobim's musical journey. This symphonic portrait of Jobim's extensive creative output won the Classical Latin Grammy Award in 2004. The American première of this adventurous multicultural project took place on 11 March 2005 at the Broward Center in Ft Lauderdale, Florida, USA.
Even as he became one of Latin America's most famous composers of pop music, Jobim continued to explore his classical roots. One of the most interesting aspects of this concert was the presentation of several of Jobim's classical works -- an unfamiliar side of this composer's creative oeuvre. For the dedication of the new capital of Brasilia in 1960 Jobim composed Brasilia, Sinfonia del Alvorada -- a four movement symphony. This ambitious work is remarkably astringent and contemporary. Driving motor rhythms, motivic cells, and bursts of dissonance abound. The slow movement is dominated by a gorgeous, sultry theme for the cellos. A voiceless choral ensemble joins in the eloquent finale. Jobim's orchestration is colorful and large in scale. The sounds of Stravinsky's instrumentation are not far away. If one did not know who the composer of this score was, Heitor Villa-Lobos (in his Hollywood mode) would seem a natural. The Ft Lauderdale based Symphony of the Americas (reinforced by several former Florida Philharmonic players) gave a rousing performance of this multicolored score. Claudio Cruz -- Resident Conductor of Brazil's Sao Paulo State Symphony (which gave a superb concert in Miami several seasons ago under the baton of its founder and artistic director John Neschling) -- led a rich hued, rhythmically galvanizing performance. An important revival of a magnum opus that spotlights a rarely heard side of a musical genius!
Copyright © 3 April 2005
Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA