Log In

Reset Password

‘Classical technique’ on display at Guitar Festival

Unforced and unhurried approach: Brazilian composer and guitarist, Antonio Carlos Jobim

Jerremiah Smith took the audience back to the early 1960s with his performance in the Bermuda Guitar Festival on Saturday.

First up was music by the “father of bossa nova”, Antonio Carlos Jobim. Although it sounds relaxed and languid, Jobim’s keyboard music is harmonically complex and very tricky to play on the guitar.

Smith’s classical technique and precise execution enabled him to give Corcovado and Insensatez the unforced, relaxed and unhurried flavour they require.

Next came five original compositions from Smith’s Bermuda Suite. Barcarole (Boating Song) was a lullaby-like arpeggiated melody set over a tender waltz tempo which, while it owed something to Agustin Barrios’s 1938 piece of the same name, avoided its extreme emotionality.

In Reverie Smith showed complete mastery of natural and stopped harmonics mixed with regular chords, emphasising the other worldliness implied in the title.

In Modhina he used an emotive single-string melody technique to invoke nostalgia. He finished with Colina Mariposa (Butterfly Hill), a rollicking waltz with flashes of joyous wonder, using paired thirds in the upper register.

Duo Latino consists of Bermuda School of Music Faculty members Stephen Crawford, on guitar, and Johanna Pino Gonzalez on viola. They performed a selection from Jobim and another Brazilian composer, Celso Machado.

The Machado pieces, all drawn from his Brazilian Suite, were largely named after Brazilian desserts.

Crawford and Pino Gonzalez took the opportunity to phone the composer, who explained that during his studies in Italy he felt an overwhelming nostalgic craving for local food and this suite was a result.

Pacoca(Fudge) is a jaunty and syncopated tango melody over a series of rapid guitar arpeggios.

Johanna’s viola lent the music a slightly husky tenor voice which made an intriguing change from the traditional flute.

Algodoa Doce (Cotton Candy) was a more traditional samba with guitar continuo interleaved with melodies from the viola.

Both musicians played with precise syncopation and the guitar added a percussion effect reminiscent of Piazzolla’s tangos. The standout piece for me was Quebra Queixo(Hard Candy) which sounded like a spontaneous street music jam.

Written in the Choro form, with rapid, improvised bursts of melody overlying insistent bass lines on the guitar, the whole formed an urgent call to join in the dance.

Crawford and Pino Gonzalez finished the concert with two of Jobim’s bossa nova classics.

Garota de Ipanema (The Girl from Ipanema) sounded perfect on the viola, whose lower register added a delicate poignancy which underscored the sheer unattainable longing of the piece.

Finally, Wave, Jobim’s best known composition, rounded out the evening. The viola’s voicing with its almost human register made it into a real song without words.

The Bermuda Guitar Festival took place Saturday at 7.30pm at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published July 05, 2022 at 7:58 am (Updated July 05, 2022 at 7:45 am)

‘Classical technique’ on display at Guitar Festival

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon