“Samba Prelúdio” is a transatlantic song cycle that merges ‘Lieder’ in the European classical tradition with repertoire from Brazil that is or has become ‘classic’. All arrangements have been tailored to the multicultural musical origins of bossarenova trio’s members: the timelessly beautiful voice of Paula Morelenbaum, the warm trumpet-playing and grooving vocal percussion by Joo Kraus, and the electronically coloured grand piano by Ralf Schmid.
“Melodia Sentimentale” by Brazil’s classical composer Heitor Villa-Lobos opens up the album with the trio’s ‘signature sound’: Paula Morelenbaum’s melancholic voice line floats over a delicate piano accompaniment enhanced by pulsating electronics. Joo Kraus supports with beatbox elements and a lyrical solo on morphed trumpet.
The second song is a true premiere: “Prelude op. 28 No. 4” by Frédéric Chopin and “Insensatez” by Antonio Carlos Jobim have often been played in conjunction with each other to emphasize their obvious relationship. In Ralf Schmid’s sophisticated arrangement these two songs are performed simultaneously: Voice, trumpet and piano travel between Chopin’s and Jobim’s textures, bringing music traditions from Europe and Brazil together in one song.
In the polyphonic Baden Powell composition “Samba em Prelúdio” the music becomes more and more beat-oriented. The urban-electro-coloured sound of “Samba da minha Terra” and the Jobim classic “O morro não tem vez” is achieved via samba percussion (by guest percussionist Marcelo Costa), John Cage-like effects inside Ralf Schmid’s piano, and a driving rap by Joo Kraus.
“Ständchen” by Franz Schubert and the last track on the album, “Clara/Im wunderschönen Monat Mai” by Robert Schumann, are sung in Portuguese. The lyrics were written exclusively for Paula Morelenbaum by Artur Nestrovski, a native Brazilian who states: “The lyrics in Portuguese are closely aligned to the original version in German, but recreated in the manner of Brazilian songs, always very close to everyday speech.”
After the Brazilian standard “Samba de verão” displaying Joo Kraus’s virtuosity in a whistling solo and the capricious soccer theme “1:0” by Brazil’s classic samba composer Pixinguinha, bossarenova trio with guest musician Veit Hübner on bass performs a colourful rendition of the theme “Trenzinho da caipira” by Heitor Villa-Lobos from his orchestral composition “Bachiana Brasileira No. 2”. It tells the story of a little train travelling through the heartland of Brazil.
Another bridge between Europe and Brazil is built using reflections on themes revolving around Orpheus: through “A felicidade” from the movie “Orfeu Negro” and by citing the works of Gluck and Monteverdi. The following song “Primavera verão” is composed by Joo Kraus and Ralf Schmid with lyrics by Paula Morelenbaum and Eucanaã Ferraz.
Robert Schumann’s “Clara / Im wunderschönen Monat Mai” concludes the song cycle in a contemplative vein.