|Vol. 24 Issue 3 Reviews||Reviews > Recordings > Jorge Antunes: Musica Eletronica|
|Jorge Antunes: Musica Eletronica 70's I-II, Musica Eletronica 90's I|
Reviewed by Osvaldo Budón (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) Born in 1942 in Rio de Janeiro, Jorge Antunes is, with Reginaldo de Carvalho (Guarabira, 1932), Gilberto Mendes (Santos, 1922) and Willy Corra de Oliveira (Recife, 1938), one of the earliest practitioners of electroacoustic music in Brazil. His first experiences go back to 1962, when he had built several generators, filters, modulators and other electronic equipment. Mr. Antunes is presently Director of the Electroacoustic Music Studio of the University of Brasilia and President of the Brazilian Society for Electroacoustic Music. These three mini-CDs present an opportunity to listen to a selection of his compositional output, including both early and recent works.
Musica Eletronica 70's I
Cinta Cita (1969) is a five-minute composition which is the first that Antunes - a student at the time - realized in a professional studio. The purely electronic sound material used includes filtered noise and synthetic sounds created by additive synthesis. The piece presents the interaction between sustained, continuous textures and groups of short sound events which create irregular rhythmic configurations. It works quite well, displaying an effective economy of material and formal clarity.
Auto-Retrato Sobre Paisaje Porteño (1970) incorporates to the electronic sounds an "object trouvé" in the form of an Argentinian tango taken from an old record. Fragments of this material are looped and provide a basic pattern over which the composer builds the characteristic rhythms of Brazilian samba. Halfway through the piece, the spoken voice of Antunes makes its apparition, gradually coming to the foreground. Made of mostly meaningless words, the speech includes however certain understandable words which are intended to convey the concern of the composer with the political situation of Latin America in those years. This is a longer piece (ca.15') and formally as successful as Cinta Cita but in a sense more interesting as it presents the result of a conscious search for a musical identity that will reflect the young composer's belonging to Latin America.
Musica Eletronica 70's II
Dedicated to the composer's first son, Para Nascer Aqui (1971) is organized in 3 sections outlining a kind of ABA' form. Long, slowly evolving complex sounds characterize the A sections, while configurations of mostly short and punctual sounds provide for the contrasting middle section. I very much enjoy the exploration of a limited yet rich sound world and the way in which these materials match the time span over which they evolve.However,I do not find a correspondence between the formal structure and the composer's declared intention that "The music tries to evoque all the dramatic aspects of pregnancy and of delivery". For that reason the weeping of the composer's son and a repeated major chord (elements expected to express "conclusive manifestations of Life and Hope") which are brought in at the end of the piece appear to me as foreign material, unrelated to the composition's internal logic.
Musica Eletronica 90's I
I find the (few) digital transformations of the man's voice to be very unimaginative. Also, in spite of the modern equipment used to generate them, the electronic sounds appear to me as being aged, as belonging to a different decade. I also find that some of the concrete recorded materials (running steps) sound like low-budget radio theatrical sound effects. Moreover, the formal organization of the piece seems rather loose and its temporal extension (20'), excessive. All this is surprising coming from an experienced composer. Perhaps he was not quite at ease with the technological environment he was working in. Or perhaps he trusts the message contained in the material itself (the recording of the beggar's speech) to be strong enough to override all the above mentioned deficiencies. In any case, I was disappointed.
Judging from the program notes, Antunes does indeed have high expectations about the extra musical communicative power of his composition: "The final part of the work takes us to a new and surprising situation. Antunes uses an expressive silence of about ten seconds which will provoke, in the attentive listener, a great and powerful moment for profound reflection on our society and our internal and external worlds." I truly believe that the result does not really measure up to the expectations.
I find these CDs to be uneven in their artistic quality. I would rate Musica Eletronica 70s I as the most interesting, followed by Musica Eletronica 70s II and last, by far, Musica Eletronica 90s I.