5

Ithamara Koorax: Opus Classico

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Ithamara Koorax: Opus Classico Throughout her career, Ithamara Koorax has consistently exercised a singing voice that approaches the eternal; Ira Gitler once famously described Koorax's singing as "celestial elegance." On Opus Clássico, that amazing voice finds material to match: Vocal and vocalized melodies written by such master composers as Frederic Chopin, Claude Debussy, Sergie Rachmaninoff and Heitor Villa-Lobos, lovingly and gorgeously rendered by Koorax's astounding voice in tandem with pianist Filipe Bernardo and guitarist Rodrigo Lima (who worked with Koorax on Arirang [2010, EMI]).

Koorax explores the feathered fringes of her ballad style in the breathless "Iluminada/Balada en Sol Menor No. 1," a medley which Bernardo's piano weaves together so seamlessly that it sounds like he's been playing, and Koorax has been singing, it forever. Lima strews guitar notes into a pathway of miniature golden petals that reaches up to guide her vocal through "Prelúdio de Solidão/ Prelúdio No. 3."

Piano and guitar jointly paint the soft opening shades of "Adagio do 'Concierto de Aranjuez'" and then shift to drive through a more exciting and brilliant, faster tempo, with (almost flamenco) solos and flourishes from Lima's guitar which sound just as dazzling as the voice and song they support. Bernardo's piano introduction lays down a gorgeous, cushioned framework for Koorax's vocal to recline under "The Lamp is Low/Pavane"; the phrase "The lamp is low" flows so thickly and lushly from her lips and mouth, the last "s" of "is" melting into the opening "l" of "low," that it pours into your ear like a thick, heady burgundy.

But the principals save the best for last, an eight-minute medley that opens with "Stranger in Paradise," features a solo verse by trombonist Raul DeSouza, and concludes with Debussy's "My Reverie." Koorax's tone and enunciation in the opening line, "Take my hand, I'm a stranger in paradise," overflows with magic and wonder, and she progresses through a performance that's as full of stardust and moonbeams as that brilliant lyric.

In smaller hands or vision, Opus Classico might have sounded like a recital program, an academic exercise in good taste. But Arnaldo DeSouteiro's pristine (not sterile) production helps each piano key and guitar string ring out in a timeless, beautiful musical procession with each performer's passion animating this classic material with blood, sweat and tears. You will wish you could remain lost in some of these songs forever.


Track Listing: Vocalise; Iluminada/Balada en Sol Menor No. 1; O Trenzinho do Caipira; Ária das Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5; Prelúdio de Solidão/ Prelúdio No. 3; Corpo e Luz/ Ária de ópera Tristão e Isolda; Adagio do 'Concierto de Aranjuez'; Pavane; The Lamp is Low/Pavane; As Pombas; Coração Triste; Modinha; O Canto do Pajé; Stranger in Paradise/Danças Polovtzianas/My Reverie.

Personnel: Ithamara Koorax: vocals; Rodrigo Lima: guitar; Filipe Bernardo: piano; Raul de Souza: trombone.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Petrobras


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "In Paris: The ORTF Recordings" CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The ORTF Recordings
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 2, 2016
Read "Euro Swing Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Euro Swing Vol. 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 24, 2016
Read "A Handful Of Songs" CD/LP/Track Review A Handful Of Songs
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2016
Read "Collectables" CD/LP/Track Review Collectables
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 2, 2016
Read "Petal" CD/LP/Track Review Petal
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: May 6, 2016
Read "Madjafalao" CD/LP/Track Review Madjafalao
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 19, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!