From the evocation of sentiment and nostalgia in Morel's compositions, the biting dissonances in Carlevaro's pieces, the driven momentum within Brouwer's Sonata, to the seductive bossa nova swing of Bellinati's study, in this CD we find an appealing array of atmospheres inspired by the multiple musical idioms of Latin America. Milonga Oriental (1994) Abel Carlevaro (1918-2001) The milonga is a song genre shared by Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, hence the title "Oriental" (eastern) to denote the geographical location of Uruguay within this sphere. A solo guitar version exists in the folk tradition of the cowboys of this vast region, which lends authenticity to this sophisticated vignette by one of the most important guitarists of the XXth Century. Although cast in traditional milonga rhythm, this piece contains light touches of modernism in it's harmonies, all the while staying faithful to the melancholic tinge characteristic of the genre. Introducción y Capricho (1997) In this piece Carlevaro appears--in true Post-modern spirit-- to be inspired by the Five Bagatelles of British composer William Walton, a famous composition in the guitar repertoire. The use of repeated notes, shifting irregular meters, percussive effects and chords based on quartal harmony--often in the same voicings as in Walton's work-- are the salient features in common. Yet the piece is also infused with a strong Latin-American character in it's rhythmic structure. The Introducción utilizes a meter of five beats that is very modernist in it's feel, while the Capricho is heavily colored with syncopation (displaced accents common to Latin music) and in it's middle section reflects the influence of the shortened clave (123,123,12) that is also occurs in the milonga and the tango. Little Serenade (2003) Jorge Morel (b.1931) Jorge Morel is a virtuoso guitarist who has written many works for his chosen instrument, and is a living legend amongst guitarists. The sampling of recent pieces in this recording reflects his interest in Latin music from all traditions, not just his native Argentina. The 'laid back' feeling of Little Serenade derives more from a Latin ballad than from a bolero. Although the initial phrase brings to mind the rhythm of the maracas that accompanied strolling musicians with their guitars and their love songs, the emotional crescendo typical of those songs is here tamed to a more gentle expression that leaves the door open to the next piece by it's final unresolved chord. Homage to Latin Music: Salsa (1999) Before settling in the U.S. Morel lived in Puerto Rico for a time and became acquainted with the popular music called Salsa, which is derivate of the Cuban "son". In this piece he successfully conveys salsa music's sense of motion by utilizing a syncopated bass line and the rhythmic device called "clave". The name both for a musical instrument, two wooden sticks, and for a rhythmic pattern, the "clave' is the background code or time line of Afro-Cuban origin that serves as the guide for the melodies and the accents. Although Morel does not quote directly any Salsa song, there are short riffs that suggest famous tunes. Spicy dissonant chords and intervals also reveal Modernist musical influences. Canción del recuerdo (2004) In this tender composition Morel, now a septuagenarian, muses melodically about the past in ever yearning sequences. Morel's compositions have mostly been inspired by popular rhythms and genres from the southern end of the continent, yet here he displays a poignant lyricism devoid of any specific allusion to folk idioms and charged with emotional depth. I am honored by the dedication of this beautiful piece and grateful for his friendship. Sonata (1990) Leo Brouwer (b.1939) This forceful composition by an artist whose place in the history of the guitar has been assured by many groundbreaking works, was written for the great British guitarist Julian Bream. In the first movement, Fandangos y Boleros Brouwer quotes these rhythmic formulas from early Spanish music in a context that also utilizes the perspective of the XXth century style labeled Minimalism. Beethoven finds his way into Brouwer's vision of an imaginary world in a short quote from the Pastoral Symphony in the coda. The second movement, Sarabanda de Scriabin, which is inspired by an archaic form, uses the slow tempo of this baroque dance in company with a reference to a dissonant chord, presumed to have mystical connotations, devised by the Russian pianist-composer Alexander Scriabin. In the final "La Toccata de Pasquini", the composer strives for the momentum of a toccata, or fast movement, with which great harpsichord composers-performers of the Baroque era such as Pasquini dazzled their audiences. The use of jarring 'pizzicati-Bartok', or snapping strings, is a modernist addition to the sonorities that can be drawn from traditional instruments. This work is a true Post-modern statement in the clever juxtaposition of genres, quotes, modernistic sounds and Minimalist tendencies, and to top it all, a Cuban sensibility in the astute manipulation of rhythm. Brisa do oceano from Estudos Litorâneos Paulo Bellinati (b.1950) Bellinati is recognized as one of Brazil's premier contemporary guitarists and composers for the instrument. This piece, "Ocean Breeze" is the first in a set of three arpeggio "studies from near the sea" that are inspired by the sounds of nature. A bossa nova pulse whose rhythmic pattern is also implied in the arpeggio structure supports it's melodic phrasing. The harmonic language also suggests Brazil's popular music, or MPB, with it's stylish jazz-inflected chord progressions. The sweeping arpeggios cover the range of the guitar's register and conjure the ebb and flow of the tides and the soothing breeze alluded to by the mellifluous title. Notes by Ana María Rosado.