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Brazilian pianist Clélia Iruzun is indefatigable in promoting her country’s music. I reviewed a disc devoted to the fiercely contemporary Marlos Nobre in July/August 2013; this new Lorelt is a more relaxing listen all round, for the music of Ernesto Nazareth (or Nazaré, 1863-1934) recalls no-one more than Scott Joplin. He wrote over 200 tangos, polkas, waltzes, foxtrots and so on, in a style where raw Brazilian-ness gives way to indoor salon respectability.

Iruzun’s performances reflect this admirably. Her playing is sensitive, neat and urbane, with en-route hesitations and carefully sustained final chords keeping things well-mannered.

Cleverly, this well-filled disc starts with Escovado, a tune later used by Milhaud in Le Bœuf sur le Toît. I would have buried the irritatingly tinkly Ameno Resedá further along the programme than second. Sample instead the chucklingly comfortable Suculento, Digo or Dengoso (you’ll love Nazareth’s titles!), or the stand-out Plangente, which tugs at the heart-strings. (It was here, incidentally, that I noticed the only uncorrected misprint in this often capriciously proof-read music: a wrong bass-note.)

Two works on this disc were first published as late as 2011, one being a world premiere recording. Conversely many of my own Nazareth favourites – Odeon, Fon-fon, Duvidoso and Sarambeque – are omitted, making me hope for a second volume before too long. Meanwhile, this smoothly recorded and well-annotated disc makes the perfect present for jaded listeners thinking there is no nice music left.

MICHAEL ROUND Read the full review on Agora Classica

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