Agô!  –  a Musical survey of the African in the Brazilian art song Brazilian   culture   is   very   diverse,   resulting   in   an   extremely   complex   social   environment. People    from    several    continents    have    amalgamated    for    centuries    in    Brazilian    soil. However,   it   is   clear   that   three   basic   germination   elements   of   Brazilian   society   and   its culture   still   remain:   the   Indigenous,   the   European   and   the   African.   When   it   comes   to Brazilian    music    –    or    rather,    the    musicality    of    Brazilians    –    the    African    influence    is unquestionable in defining its character.   Agô   in   the   Yoruba   language   means   "passage   request   ",   "excusing   request",   "protection" or   "blessing"   and   even   "apology":   this   repertoire   allows   the   listener   the   straight   contact with    the    enormous    diversity    of    Afro-Brazilian    expression    forms,    through    ritualistic chants,   love   songs,   lullabies,   evocative   songs   of   joy,   of   resentment,   passion,   malice, unsettling     and     pathetic     songs     besides     those     that     virtually     require     the     active participation   of   the   listener's   imagination.   Some   of   them   tend   to   possess   a   somewhat chamber   character,   others   are   more   popular   -   and   may   be   marked   by   melodies   and subtle   rhythms   or   by   the   predominance   of   the   rhythm   as   the   original,   atavistic   element. There   are   also   those   songs   that   are   characterized   by   the   approach   expressing   a   stylized aesthetic   distance   –   maybe   seeking   the   genuine   spirit   of   the   inspiration   source.   For   the first   time   it   becomes   possible   for   the   European   music   lover   to   get   in   touch   with   a   vast repertoire of Brazilian music, from Lundus of the 19th century to newly created works.   The    peculiarity    of    this    recording    is    in    its    character    of    utter    sincere    interpretive deepening   at   the   heart   of   each   work,   as   if   it   were   a   universe   in   itself.   There   are   no belcantistic    concessions.    The    result    is    a    tension    line    loaded    with    contrast    and continuous   surprise.   The   extremely   diverse   timbre   treatments   present   themselves   as virtuosities,   which   can   only   be   considered   as   a   daring   contribution,   especially   when   you take   into   consideration   the   fact   that   there   still   has   not   been   found   a   coherent   paradigm of   interpretation   of   Brazilian   art   song   in   the   interpretative   tradition.   It   is   known   that   the aesthetic   parameters   of   the   vocal   tradition   of   European   concert   music   are   the   basis   of training   and   interpretation   of   the   conscious   Western   singer,   who   seeks,   in   turn,   the clear   reflections   of   the   particular   culture,   the   way   of   being   and   feeling   of   the   people that   inspire   each   musical   creation   –   and   this   recording   is   a   wonderful   model   of   this conscious   and   responsible   stance.   When   it   comes   to   a   music   genre   exercised   in   such   a complex   social   anthropological   and   cultural   context   the   interpreter   is   at   risk   of   getting lost    in    generalizations    or,    on    the    contrary,    in    a    limiting    individualization    of    the expression   of   the   work.   And,   in   the   evolution   of   this   genus   in   a   context   quite   different from   its   origin,   the   formal   or   interpretive   parameters   "in   force"   seem   to   lose   their effectiveness,    losing    the    comprehensiveness    of    their    validity    and    even    their    sense. What   is   observed   is   that   until   today,   unfortunately,   interpreters   who,   as   a   rule,   have their   grasp   based   exclusively   on   technical   and   stylistic   aspects   originating   in   Europe, have occupied themselves very little in reflections on this theme.   The   baritone   Renato   Mismetti   and   the   pianist   Maximiliano   de   Brito,   without   denying the   interpretative   tradition   and   their   existing   models,   indicate   here   a   new   way   –   and   in a   consistent   manner.   Being   Brazilians,   this   accounts   for   the   interest   and   passion   with which   they   treat   the   interpretative   issue.   In   the   case   of   the   baritone   Mismetti,   we clearly   see   the   absolute   understanding   of   each   word   sung,   as   if   he   tasted   each   syllable and   projected,   ever   so   sensually,   each   image   evoked.   His   volcanic   temperament   does not   interfere   with   the   absolute   control   of   his   voice,   which   elegantly   conducts   lines loaded    at    times    not    only    with    poetry,    tenderness    and    sensuality,    but    also    with contempt   and   malice   and   humor.   His   articulation   of   Brazilian   Portuguese   –   a   country   of almost   continental   dimensions   –   is   natural   and   neutral,   stripped   of   modifications   or omission   of   nasal   and   guttural   sounds,   causing   the   language   to   come   out   with   genuine freshness   and   especially   as   a   true   musical   vehicle.   The   pianist   Maximiliano   de   Brito corresponds,   as   in   a   focused   dialogue,   to   the   attitude   of   the   singer.   With   admirable empathy   and   musical   intelligence,   he   corroborates   elements   of   "afro-brasilianess"   in every   moment   of   his   participation,   immersed   in   a   huge   musical   fantasy   that   allows   he to create an almost "sonic scenery" for the singer and his poetic message.   Throughout   this   achievement,   not   only   is   the   absolute   consistency   of   the   two   artists   in relation   to   the   purpose   of   this   project   clear,   but   also   an   almost   relentless   earnestness. Renato    Mismetti    and    Maximiliano    de    Brito    reached,    through    their    experience    and sensitivity,   an   absolute   and   brilliant   result   –   a   real   musical   sensation!   The   recording work   presented   here   opens   new   paths,   dividing   water,   constituting   a   touchstone   –   an absolute   reference   for   interpreters   of   Brazilian   song   and   for   the   public   that   seeks   an authentic manifestation of this genre.
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Renato   Mismetti  ,   one   of   the   supreme   interprets   of   brazilian   art song   .   .   .   It   would   be   hard   to   imagine   a   better   ambassador   than Renato    Mismetti    to    promote    the    Brazilian    art    song.    It    is    also difficult     to     imagine     a     more     well-suited     accompanist     for     Mr. Mismetti    than    Maximiliano    de    Brito  .    It    is    clear    that    theese gentlemen   enjoy   playing   togehter,   and   it   appears   that   much   of   the world enjoy hearing them do so. New York Concert Review