José Maurício Nunes Garcia - REQUIEM


Intro

REQUIEM COVER

A tour of Rio de Janeiro in 1810, commemorating the 250th anniversary of the birth of José Maurício Nunes Garcia - the most important composer in colonial Brazil- and presenting his masterpiece: The 1816 Requiem.

 

Soloists: Sofia Pedro, Michal Okon (sopranos), Anne-Marieke Evers (mezzo soprano), Oshri Segev, Ron Silberstein (tenors), Yair Polishook (bass), Gili Rinot (classical clarinet)
The Upper Galilee Choir (directed by Ron Zarchi)
Conductor, musical director: Myrna Herzog

 

"Myrna Herzog's production of Garcia's Requiem was electrifying. Once again, she has introduced audiences to repertoire not previously heard and in the most uncompromising and authentic manner. In this ground-breaking event of great interest and beauty, the audience was swept into the excitement experienced by the artists involved in the performance." Pamela Hickman



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Booklet

Ensemble PHOENIX REQUIEM

The year of 2017 marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of José Maurício Nunes Garcia (1767-1830), the most important Brazilian colonial composer, whose music PHOENIX had the honor to premiere in Israel at the Abu Gosh Festival. This was the closing of a cycle, since PHOENIX's director, Myrna Herzog, was responsible for the first performances of José Maurício's music on period instruments in 1986, in Rio de Janeiro (her native town), at the Museum of Modern Art.

The program is a musical trip to Rio de Janeiro during 1808-1821, when it was the seat of the Portuguese Empire. It showcases what was heard in Rio's streets, salons, at the Opera, the Church and the concert hall. In addition to José Maurício Nunes Garcia's breath-taking Requiem written in 1816, it includes music by Portuguese composer Marcos Portugal, by Damião Barbosa de Araújo from Bahia (active in Rio during this period), and a popular dance, the Lundú. Everything is performed on period instruments, including classical clarinets, classical bassoons, classical flute, natural horns, early timpani and baroque or classical string instruments played with classical bows. In addition, for the performance of the popular pieces, folk instruments such as the rabeca (a kind of peasant violin) and the cavaquinho (a Portuguese precursor to the ukelele) were used.

The most important works of José Maurício were written after the arrival of the Portuguese Royal Family (fleeing from Napoleon) to Brazil in 1808, when the composer became also Master of the Portuguese Royal Chapel. José Maurício's famous Requiem was composed for the Mother-Queen Maria I (1734 - 1816), who died in Rio de Janeiro in March 20, 1816. Its dramatic intensity is attributed to the fact that the composer's own mother died some days after the Queen.

Born in Lisbon, Marcos Portugal had immense success as an opera composer, achieving international fame still unsurpassed in the history of Portuguese music. He came to Brazil in 1811 at the request of King John VI and remained in Rio de Janeiro when the Portuguese court returned to Portugal, in 1821, continuing to serve his pupil, the king's son. Illustrating the lighter side of the life in Rio de Janeiro in the early 19th century, we present one of Marcos Portugal's modinhas, and an aria from his comic opera "Oro non compra amore" - his first opera staged in Rio, at the birthday of Queen Dona Maria I, on December 17 of the year he arrived, 1811.

The Brazilian composer Damião Barbosa de Araújo had an important musical and compositional activity in Brazil in the first half of the 19th century, as Chapel Master in the Cathedral of Bahia and later in the court of King John VI in Rio de Janeiro. He is presently considered the second most important Brazilian colonial composer after José Maurício. 

The lundú or lundum is a popular sensuous African dance  brought to Brazil by Bantu slaves. The one in our program was collected between 1817 and 1820 by the botanist Johann Baptist Von Spix and the zoologist Carl Friedrich Philipp Von Martius and published in their "Reise in Brasilien" (Travels in Brazil).  
Dr. Myrna Herzog

Soloists: Sofia Pedro, Michal Okon (sopranos), Anne-Marieke Evers (mezzo soprano), Oshri Segev, Ron Silberstein (tenors), Yair Polishook (bass), Gili Rinot (classical clarinet)
The Upper Galilee Choir (directed by Ron Zarchi)
Conductor, musical director: Myrna Herzog

Ensemble PHOENIX on period instruments: Violins: Luís Otávio Santos, Ya'akov Rubinstein, (concertmasters), Lilia Slavny, Lia Raikhlin (leaders of second violins), Sharon Cohen, Noam Gal, Nahara Carmel, Fabiol Cezma; Violas: Miriam Fingert, Tami Borenstein; Cello: Lucia D'Anna; Double bass; Antonino Tertuliano; Classical Flute: Moshe Epstein; Classical Clarinets: Gili Rinot, Nurit Bloom; Classical Bassoons: Ricardo Rapoport , Alexander Fine; Natural Horns: Alon Reuven, Ruty Varon; Timpani: Nadav Ovadi; cello (Modinha) & rabeca (Lundú): Myrna Herzog.


Our hearty thanks to Philippe Castejon & Castejon Music Editions, to Monica Lucas, Roberto Rodrigues & Conjunto de Música Antiga da USP, and to Rosana Lanzelotte & Musica Brasilis, for their invaluable help with the musical scores. 


Special thanks to the Abu Gosh Festival, to Hanna Tsur & Gershon Cohen and to Father Abdou of St. Joseph's Church in Haifa.
This project had the support of the Embassy of Portugal in Israel, of the Camões Institute, and of the embassy of Brazil in Israel.


Live recording by Eliahu Feldman at the Abu Gosh Festival on June 3, 2017 and at St. Joseph's Church in Haifa on December 9, 2017.
Editing by Myrna Herzog.
Mastering by Ben Bernfeld and David Feldman.

  

Reviews

jean-baptiste-debret-slide

"This unique event of the 51st Abu Gosh Vocal Music Festival (June 3rd 2017), researched and conducted by Brazilian-born PHOENIX founder and director Myrna Herzog, offered festival-goers a totally new listening experience, with the ensemble transformed into a full orchestra performing on period instruments from the Classical period. 

Sofia Pedro’s luxuriant, easeful and substantial voice reached all corners of the Kiryat Yearim Church, as she eyed her audience, teasing it with the word-painting of [Marcos Portugal’s] love-struck aria. Gili Rinot's playing of the clarinet obbligato role was suave and richly shaped. 


Herzog's performance of Garcia's Requiem presented the rich possibilities of the work. Her large orchestra highlighted the score's vibrant colors. The result was an orchestral canvas of great richness and subtlety, offering as much interest to the players as to the audience. The Upper Galilee Choir gave a most impressive, finely detailed, well blended and meaningful performance, its choral sound fresh and flexible. The vocal quartet’s teamwork (Pedro, Evers, Segev, Polishook) produced a sympathetic and sensitive blend. Tenor Oshri Segev's full and mellow timbre and musicality were well suited to the work. Especially imposing was Yair Polishook's performance – his vivid mix of bass timbres, careful pacing and compelling dramatic sense drawing the listener with him into the work’s emotional fabric.  


Myrna Herzog's production of Garcia's Requiem was electrifying.  Once again, she has introduced Israeli audiences to repertoire not previously heard in this country and in the most uncompromising and authentic manner.  In this ground-breaking event of great interest and beauty, the audience was swept into the excitement experienced by the artists involved in the performance." 

Pamela Hickman's Concert Critique blog.
Read the whole review here.