Edvaldo Cabral: Frevo

Frevo with Clemilson Dantas

(Text extracted from the introduction to the edited work)

In his compositions Edvaldo Cabral makes ample use of counterpoint, associated with a personal approach to harmonics procedures. One of the most striking characteristics of his composition technique - and along with it of his own unmistakable style - is his way of deriving a counterpoint from a single melodic line by means of octave transposition of individual notes.

In the present work, very special effects originate from the application of such a device in passages such as:

in place of, for example:

Frevo, which belongs to Edvaldo Cabral's early compositions for solo guitar, was inspired in the so-called "frevo-de-rua". It is one of his most beautiful compositions and doubtlessly one of the best pieces of this genre ever written.

The frevo is the most characteristic and best representative genre of carnival music and dancing in Recife, the capital of Pernambuco. It is said that there are three sorts of frevo: 1) frevo-de-rua (i>street-frevo), which is the "frevo" itself, played at a quick pace with wind and percussion instruments; >2) frevo-de-bloco, known in the past as marcha-de-bloco, is slower and sung as a group. Besides being played with wind and percussion instruments, it uses also guitars, "cavaquinhos" and banjos; 3) frevo-canção, sung by a soloist with accompaniment.

In order to delimit/confine such a category (rather atypical) of frevo, which is the frevo written for a soloist or for chamber music groups, Cabral used the distinguishing term "frevo-de-concerto" ("concert-frevo"). He wrote five frevos, two of which are for solo guitar (in which the second movement from his Sonatina is included) and the three remaining ones for trios and quartets: Convocação, Tristeza no Frevo and Fuga-Frevo (the latter being a successful demonstration of how to incorporate a popular genre into the academic strictness of the form). On the other hand, while his marchinhas (Marchinha Carnavalesca and Marchinha, 4th movement from the Sonatina for solo guitar) reflect the spirit of frevo-de-bloco, they also evoke the marchinha carioca (from Rio de Janeiro).

Napoleão Costa Lima
Recife, March 2004

Related links:

Edvaldo Cabral: Baião

Edvaldo Cabral: Nuances

Edvaldo Cabral: Toada e Xaxado

Vida e Obra de Edvaldo Cabral by Napoleão Costa Lima

List of Works by Edvaldo Cabral (with audio examples)