Monday, July 19, 2010

Remembering Paulo Moura

The sad news came last week: Brazilian musician Paulo Moura was dead at the age of 77.  Larry Rohter's fine tribute in a July 18, 2010 New York Times article shows Moura's versatility and his importance as a musician in his native land and abroad.  Moura, like many Brazilian musicians, was absolutely at home in both the classical and popular musical worlds.

Moura has recorded a number of Villa-Lobos pieces over the years.  One of the most important of all Villa-Lobos recordings is the great CD on the Kuarup label Os choros de câmara.  Moura played the clarinet in Choros #02, and the alto saxophone in Choros #07.  It's a shame that this disc (and the rest of the Kuarup catalogue) is no longer available; if you ever see a copy on eBay or in a used record shop, buy it!

In 1983 Moura recorded the Saxophone Fantasia in the version with piano (with the great pianist Clara Sverner), though again one would be hard-pressed to come across this Brazilian EMI LP that I don't believe has ever been re-released on CD.

Moura also recorded the Saxophone Fantasia in its original orchestral version, in 1992 with the Orquestra de Câmara Brasileira, conducted by Bernardo Bessler.  This is at least available on CD, from Le Chant du Monde, and may be available from online vendors.

Luckily, many of Moura's jazz and MPB recordings are easily available.  I especially recommend his Latin Grammy winning Pixinguinha, from 1998.

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