:: These reviews were originally published
:: in Daniella Thompson on Brazil.


Leo Peracchi, then and now

A remarkable disc is reprised
in a new mantle.

Daniella Thompson

24 April 2002

Leo Peracchi

Leo Peracchi (1911–1993) was one of Brazil’s most important arrangers. Along with Radamés Gnattali, he’s regarded as the great modernizer of popular music orchestration. In 1958, Peracchi created orchestral arrangements for thirteen unknown songs written by 29-year old composer Antonio Carlos Jobim and his 44-year old lyricist partner, the diplomat Vinicius de Moraes. The songs were recorded by Peracchi’s wife, the soprano Lenita Bruno, accompanied by an orchestra conducted by the maestro.

The following year, these recordings were released under the title Por Toda a Minha Vida by the small Festa label, which specialized in poetry albums and had released Elizeth Cardoso’s 1958 LP Canção do Amor Demais, also comprising songs by Tom and Vinicius and heralding the bossa-nova age through João Gilberto’s participation in “Chega de Saudade” and “Outra Vez.”

Por Toda a Minha Vida is a spectacular album, more art song than pop. All the songs recorded on it are classics now. Their orchestral arrangements are considered by music writers like João Máximo and Mauro Dias to have been the font from which younger arrangers such as Tom Jobim drank (Jobim called Peracchi “meu professor”), as evidenced in João Gilberto’s first three LPs and the work of international arrangers like Claus Ogerman.

The album was reissued on CD in 1999 and soon disappeared from sight again. Peracchi’s arrangements, however, survived intact in the possession of his daughter Myriam. Meanwhile, Mauro Dias, obssessed with the idea of Peracchi’s being the link between the character of Jobim’s compositions and Jobim’s arrangements, played the album to paulista composer Eduardo Gudin, who had been Peracchi’s student. Thus was born the idea of recording the same arrangements again, utilizing up-to-date techniques.

The recording took place during a live concert at Sesc Pompéia in São Paulo, with Gudin conducting the Orquestra Jazz Sinfônica and six of São Paulo’s best singers standing in for Lenita Bruno: Céline Imbert, Mônica Salmaso, Tetê Espíndola, Ná Ozzetti, Vânia Bastos, and Jane Duboc, joined by Myriam Peracchi.

The result, recently released by Dabliú as O Mestre Leo Peracchi e a Jazz Sinfônica – Canções de Tom e Vinicius, is as spectacular as the original. Naturally, the interpretations vary more than they would with a single vocalist, but the whole retains remarkable cohesiveness, with the lyrical qualities of the original magically preserved.

O Mestre Leo Peracchi e a Jazz Sinfônica will no doubt take its place as a classic side-by-side with Por Toda a Minha Vida.

Lenita Bruno & Orchestra: Por Toda a Minha Vida
(Festa LDV 6.006; 1959 [LP]/Festa FT-1802; 1999 [CD]) 37:59 min.
Arranged & conducted by Leo Peracchi

  1. Por Toda a Minha Vida (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes)
  2. Serenata do Adeus (Vinicius de Moraes)
  3. Estrada Branca (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes)
  4. Soneto de Separação (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes)
  5. Valsa de Orfeu (Vinicius de Moraes)
  6. Canção do Amor Demais (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes)
  7. As Praias Desertas (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
  8. Eu Sei Que Vou Te Amar (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes
  9. Canta, Canta Mais (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes)
  10. Modinha (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes)
  11. Cai a Tarde (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
  12. Sem Você (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes)
  13. Eu Não Existo Sem Você (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes)

O Mestre Leo Peracchi e a Jazz Sinfônica – Canções de Tom e Vinicius
(Sesc São Paulo/Dabliú Discos DB0106; 2001/02) 49:02 min.
Eduardo Gudin conducting Leo Peracchi’s arrangements

  1. Por Toda a Minha Vida – Céline Imbert
  2. Serenata do Adeus – Céline Imbert
  3. As Praias Desertas – Mônica Salmaso
  4. Soneto de Separação – Mônica Salmaso
  5. Valsa de Orfeu [Valsa de Euridice] – Tetê Espíndola
  6. Cai a Tarde – Tetê Espíndola
  7. Modinha – Ná Ozzetti
  8. Estrada Branca – Ná Ozzetti
  9. Canta, Canta Mais – Vânia Bastos
  10. Eu Não Existo Sem Você – Vânia Bastos
  11. Canção do Amor Demais – Jane Duboc
  12. Sem Você – Jane Duboc
  13. Eu Sei Que Vou Te Amar – Myriam Peracchi
  14. Eu Sei Que Vou Te Amar – all


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