Egberto Gismonti: Kuarup (CARMO/4)

Kuarup

Egberto Gismonti
Kuarup

Egberto Gismonti piano, guitar, bamboo flute, bambuzal, conductor
Dulce Bressane voice (on “Sônia”)
Jaques Morelenbaum cello (on “Sônia”), conductor
Recorded at Transmérica Studios
Engineers: Eduardo Costa and Edú Mello e Souza
Mixed at Synth Studios by Edú Mello e Souza
Produced by Carmo and Grapho Produções Artísticas Ltda
Release date: May 1, 1991

This obscure movie soundtrack was written by Egberto Gismonti for the 1989 film Kuarup (dir. Ruy Guerra). Based on the novel by Antonio Callado, it tells the story of a Jesuit Priest named Taumaturgo Ferreira, who forsook the life he knew to be among the Xingu Indians. The music is as tense as it is subdued, looming like a spirit calling from within the very landscape Ferreira falls in love with. Two orchestras—the first conducted by cellist Jaques Morelenbaum, the second (Transarmônica D’Alma D’Omrac) by Gismonti—add verdant expansion, providing a pillowed berth for Gismonti’s guitar in such tracks as “Valsa de Francisca I.”

Gismonti blends textures with artisanal subtlety. His bamboo flute adds decorative integrity to the segues (e.g., “Anta”), while his synthesizer begs for filmic context in some cases (especially in “A Dança da Floresta”) and in others stands on its own (“O Som da Floresta”). Either way, I much prefer the orchestral writing of “A Morte da Floresta,” which draws a thread of commonality through piano, arco strings, and pizzicato stippling. The soundtrack’s centerpiece is the moodier “Sônia,” which features the voice of Gismonti’s longtime production assistant, Dulce Bressane and Morelenbaum’s legato cello. A tender brush with love in an unloving world.

It would probably be better to hear this music along with the film, as it doesn’t quite hold form by its own skin. Still, it’s a lovely archival curio to have in one’s Gismonti cabinet.

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