CD review: Flow

Mauro Martins
Accompanists: Bernardo Pinhal & Daniel Bernardes
Featuring: Sergio Carolino (tuba)
CD Recording: CDMMF

There is much to admire about the application of technique, but much, much more to love about the appreciation of style.

Although just 25 years of age, Mauro Martins already displays all the qualities of mature euphonium musicianship; the mechanics honed to a razor’s edge of clarity and precision, yet subservient to his engagement of the repertoire performed.  

Unlike many contemporaries, who like a purblind Argus have eyes only for meaningless extravagance, his focus is on the aesthetics of craftsmanship. 

Vitality and understanding

The repertoire stanchions of ‘Flow’ (his premiere release) are firmly embedded into the euphonium’s classical foundations. 

It is playing of vitality and understanding - a rare gift in an age of technical overload, and which makes for an absorbing mix of colours and flavours, especially in the lower register where he combines ethereal delicacy with destructive torque.

It is playing of vitality and understanding - a rare gift in an age of technical overload, and which makes for an absorbing mix of colours and flavours, especially in the lower register where he combines ethereal delicacy with destructive torque.

The Portuguese (as well as his colleagues) has a deft, nimble mind powering his sinewy muscularity. You hear a lucid voice of controlled consideration; resonant, defined, rhythmically dauntless – yet above all else, mature in every sphere.  

That said he can utilise the metallic hammer to fine effect – the dark disturbance to the opening of Barardes’ ‘Ostinato, Interludio e Cancao VII’  a case in point.

Distorted and restless

It’s only part of his armoury though – one that commands the attention from the jazzy incursions of the opening ‘Diurno’  to the languid sultriness of Ravel’s ‘Piece en form de Habanera’  and the delightful ‘Sonata’  by Luis Cardosa, with its symbiotic exchanges between protagonists.

The disturbing diversions of ‘Waldorf_48’, distorted and restless, contrast with the dichotomies of ‘Saxhornia’. 

Elsewhere, ‘Lambonium 235’  is a clever amalgam of inspirations and borrowings; French suave and anise aromatics fused to military bombast and bluff, whilst the closing ‘Ut Orbis’  (with tuba and piano) builds with a tension between instruments that never loses its binary tonal connection.  

It rounds off a hugely impressive recording; a tangent of exploration, fresh, confident and invigorating – and highly recommended.

Iwan Fox 

To purchase: https://www.euphoniumstore.net/new-items/product=cd-flow-mauro-martins-euph-and-bernardo-pinhal-piano

Play list:

1. Diurno  (Anne Victorio d'Almeida)
2. Waldhof_48 (Camila Salome and Francisco Ribeiro)
3. Saxhornia (Jules Selmer-Collery)
4. Piece en Forme de Habanera (Maurice Ravel)
5. Sonata for Euphonium and Piano ( Luis Cardoso)
i. Lento. Allegro moderato
ii. Andante
iv. Allegro giusto. Rondo
8. Lambonium 235 (Vincert Pages)
i. Satane reveil 
ii. Hommage
iii. Apres l'effort
11. Ostinato, Interludio E Cancao VII (Daniel Bernardes)
12. UT Orbis (Luis Cardoso)
i. Allegro giusto
ii. Lento
iii. Vivo
with Sergio Carolino (tuba) and Daniel Bernardes (piano)

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