Music from Brazil and Argentina took the Fifth Floor Gallery stage May 9 at this month’s installment of the Arts and Resilience series.
Members from the chamber music group Aperio delighted the audience with classic and popular music for the cello and piano during the more than hour-long performance.
“The music of Brazil blurs the boundary between classical and popular music,” explained Michael Zuraw, pianist and artistic director of Aperio.
Aperio performs the music of contemporary composers across the Americas and has been active in the Greater Houston area for 13 years. Zuraw was joined by Aperio member Daniel Saenz on cello.
The duo’s first set included music of Brazil, which showcased its traditions of jazz and samba as well as folk elements of indigenous and African cultures. Selections included “Acalanto de Rosa” by Claudio Santoro; “Song of the Black Swan” by Villa-Lobos; and the third movement of “Elementos” by Clarice Assad.
The Assad selection symbolized water, Zuraw said, and was both a representation of a jellyfish floating in the water as well as a depiction her hometown of Rio de Janerio. “It is also an allegory for our lives – we can only go where the water takes us,” he said.
They closed the Brazilian selections with pieces by Marlos Nobre, “Three songs of Iemanjá” and the romantic “Poema” before turning to works from Argentina.
The pieces from Argentina included an arrangement, “Alfonsina y el Mar,” written by Ariel Ramírez in memory of a poet who wrote a note, “I’m going to the ocean,” and never was seen again.
A piece by renown composer Astor Piazzolla, known for creating tango nueva, which is marked by American jazz influences, followed. The recital concluded with “Graciala in Buenos Aires,” by José Bragato, a cellist and close friend to Piazzolla.
The Arts and Resilience program is sponsored by the Dean’s Office in collaboration with the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics. For more information and a schedule, visit the program’s website here.