Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Plinio Fernandes, Saudade, Master of the Nylon String Guitar


We all need to be grateful for the continued arrival of great musical artists into our lives. One such for me is Brazilian nylon string guitarist Plinio Fernandes, as heard on his debut album Saudade (Decca Gold CD).

Saudade is the special quality in Portuguese and Brazilian music of a tender sadness for things long gone, things impossible, but too the ecstatic possibility that remains even when all else is absent, if I might interpolate here.

It is a brilliant gathering of saudade drenched music from Brazil and related climes, most beautifully played by Plinio. His tone is ever ravishing and singular, his phrasing beautifully flowing and seamless, and his rubato-ed delivery a thing of poetic beauty. Listen for example to his Jobim medley as arranged for solo guitar by Sergio Assai, to the wonderful "Se Todos Fossem Iguais a Voce" as is contained within that! Now that is phrasing.

But that is just a sample. The old standard "Brasil" gets a well burnished beauty and fingered motility that puts you in a wonderful place. But then too there are some of the Villa-Lobos "Etudes" that project you to where the music ever sounds in your mind. It is a nicely planned and executed selection of music that consistently shines in Plinio's hands and with the performances of some well chosen guests here and there. 

Plinio is a musical blessing that will cause you to perk up and smile from ear-to-ear. Or at least that is what this album is doing to me! High praise I give it for it is a treasure.