JOSÉ ANTÔNIO REZENDE DE ALMEIDA PRADO (1943-2010): Complete Cartas Celestes, Vol. 1 - Cartas Celestes No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 15* (* - World Premiere Recording).
Catalogue Number: 06R066
Label: Grand Piano
Description: These 'Star Maps' began in 1974 as music for an exhibition at a São Paulo planetarium, and ended the year before the composer's death with the completion of the fifteenth. Each is a self-contained suite of multiple short sections depicting astronomical phenomena linked by their visibility in the night sky of the composer's native Brazil at certain times of year or by other associations. Prado studied with Messiaen, and the influence is not infrequently audible, not least in the composer's harmonic language in which tonal harmony is used in a coloristic, non-functional manner, and pianistic gestures, textures and rhythmic devices characteristic of the older composer. The pieces are based on a series of twenty-four chords in various transpositions, providing a certain harmonic consistency, but are otherwise very varied in style, from exhilaratingly dancing - very Joie du sang des etoiles - to mysterious and static. The first seems to stand somewhat apart from the others - more abstract, less obviously divided into discrete pieces - perhaps due to its role as part of a multimedia exhibition; this suggests that when the composer started the 'main sequence' of works after seven years he was thinking more in terms of a conventional suite of piano pieces; certainly there seems to be a trend in the direction of greater coherence and accessibility, and in the fifteenth even suggestions of neo-romantic gestures and harmony, and it will be interesting to see if this is confirmed as future releases in this series are issued. Aleyson Scopel (piano).