Voiliers de Rio (composed May 2009) is a three movement collection of dances for piano solo that was inspired by a visit to Rio de Janeiro. Each set is based on a duple tango rhythm and bears the name of a Brazilian city that was visited. The work features bitonal and polytonal characteristics and extended harmonies for bright, colorful effects. The piece is strongly influenced by Brazilian rhythms though using original folk-like melodies throughout the composition.
Unconstrained by the use of traditional formulae or requirements for dramatic tension, these three dances, at times, imitate traditional children’s dances, a harlequinade, and have the distinct impression of capturing the breezy, airy wandering melodies along the beaches of Brazil. Fusing South American influences and impressions, the urban street music which was observed, containing flute, cavaquinho (a Brazilian guitar) and often trombone or percussion, such bands displayed the music of the chorões which was incorporated into the dances.
All three movements use the same dance-infused feeling of the tango, creating a brief impression of the experience of hearing the native music, particularly during chamber music performances. The musical vocabulary uses a free form that was conceived to be incongruous to the form of quartets and sonatas, and instead, employs multi-sectional poema, somewhat like a triptych, that uses multi-layered gestures and shading of voices to create a stylized treatment of simple Brazilian folk melodies across a singularly popular dance mood. Though the treatments are not sophisticated, the formal development that is used breathes life into the personality of this piece that purely uses mixed musical soundscapes to depict the nature disposition and atmospheric mood of the Brazilian people.
The three movements (in order) are:
1. Barra da Tijuca
3. Pão de Açúcar
for Piano Solo