“Originis” Live From Brazil – SERGIO ASSAD: Concerto Originis; GINASTERA-ASSAD: Three Argentine Dances; PIAZZOLLA-ASSAD: Milonga per tre; Auscencias; CLARICE ASSAD: Three Sketches – Nadja Solerno-Sonnenberg (violin) and the Assad Brothers (guitars); with Sym. Orch. of the State of Sao Paulo/John Neschling (on Concerto only) – NSS Music CD-NSS-07 *****:

Recorded during a live concert in Sao Paulo in 2004, this CD pairs up an original concerto which Sergio Assad composed especially for the dynamic trio plus symphony orchestra with the type of arrangements and compositions the trio performs regularly on its busy concert schedule. At the same time Solerno-Sonnenberg continues to appear as an acclaimed violin soloist with orchestras thruout the world and the Assad Brothers continue their touring as one of the world’s leading guitar duos.

Violinist Solerno-Sonnenberg reports in her liner notes (the CD is on her own label) that although Sergio had been doing most of the trio’s required transcriptions, she was amazed when he said he wanted to write a concerto featuring the three of them and then delivered it in record time. In five movements, he made the first two reflect Nadja’s Italian background with a tarantella and Neopolitan songs, while the third and fourth concentrate on the Brazilian origin of the Assads with songs and dances of that culture. The final movement brings together many of the earlier themes in rondo form.

At the delightful performance by the trio I just attended, Nadja made a point of praising Sergio’s transcription of Ginastera’s three piano pieces in the Argentine Dances as being better than the originals.The Three Sketches – Ad Lib, Anima and Electrified – are by Sergio’s daughter Clarice, also a budding composer.  The tango-oriented music of Piazzolla has been arranged for many different chamber music combinations, but the two Piazzolla selections on this program capture the music’s captivating mood beautifully without bandoneon, piano or string bass.  Sonics are fine, making this a most enjoyable album.

 – John Sunier