“Derek Bermel is the quintessential 21st-century musician…staggering eclecticism from a true musical renaissance man.” – Gramophone Magazine
“…intricate, witty, clear-spoken, tender and extraordinarily beautiful.” - San Francisco Chronicle
Canzonas Americanas marries two postmodern forces – American composer/clarinetist Derek Bermel and the contemporary chamber band Alarm Will Sound. Sharing a joy for stylistic eclecticism, complexity, and clashing dissonances, they form a remarkable recording that combines Bermel’s wild range of instrumental colors with the tight rhythmic ensemble that his music demands. This marks Bermel’s follow-up CD to the Grammy-nominated Derek Bermel: Voices (BMOP/sound) album of large orchestral works.
“Canzonas Americanas establishes Derek as a composer firmly in an American tradition; like Copland, Ives, Gershwin, and Ellington before him,” says Alan Pierson, Artistic Director/Conductor of Alarm Will Sound and the Brooklyn Philharmonic. “Derek synthesizes the diverse musical languages of his time into a unique, thoroughly individual American voice that is tuneful and rich, engaging and sophisticated.”
The versatile Bermel has been widely hailed for his creativity and theatricality. He re-imagines the sounds of indigenous world music, jazz, rock, and funk in his uniquely virtuosic and dynamic compositions. Canzonas Americanas takes listeners on a rhythmic and sonic journey – from the yearning, pulsating chôros at a club in Rio di Janeiro to the intricate, colorful xylophone music of a West African village. “Music is a prism through which I see and reflect the world,” says Bermel.
The title track Canzonas Americanas (2010) was commissioned and premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic led by Gustavo Dudamel. Through a wide array of American popular music idioms and Latin rhythms, Canzonas Americanas evokes the spirit of Gershwin, Ellington, Villa-Lobos, Bernstein, and other trailblazing composers who have been indelibly influenced by both North and South American musical traditions.