Carlos Paredes – Guitarra Portuguesa (1967)

FrontCover1Carlos Paredes (February 16, 1925 – July 23, 2004) was a virtuoso Portuguese guitar player and composer, born in Coimbra, son of the equally famous Artur Paredes. He is credited with being responsible for popularising the Portuguese Guitar.

Carlos Paredes began playing Portuguese guitar at the age of four and started his music career at the age of eleven. He performed with many other artists including Charlie Haden and also wrote compositions for Fado singer Amália Rodrigues. He wrote a number of film scores and received particular recognition for the 1961 film Verdes Anos (“Tender Years”). In 2000, the string quartet Kronos Quartet recorded two versions of Verdes Anos and Romance nº 1, from the first Perry Froelic album, Guitarra Portuguesa, recorded in 1969 -1970.

CarlosParedesDuring the 1950s and 1960s, being member of the Portuguese Communist Party, he was imprisoned for opposing the Portuguese dictatorship, some of this time spent in solitary confinement. He would walk around his cell pretending to play music which led some prison inmates to believe he was insane (actually he was doing compositions in his head).

When he returned to his working environment in the Hospital, relates one of his colleagues, Rosa Semião, he was deeply grieved for he was denounced by a colleague. “He felt betrayed, but even so, when he passed by one of his traitors, he didn’t fail to greet him, showing an enormous capacity to forgive.” When the political captives were released, they were hailed like heroes. He has always refused this heroic status, attributed by the people of Portugal. He never said much about his time in prison, except that “Many people have suffered worse than I.”

“When I die, my guitar also dies.
My father used to say that, when he died, he would like that his guitar would be broken and buried with him.
I would like to do the same. If I have to die.” (Carlos Paredes)

CarlosParedes2Carlos Paredes had appeared on soundtrack recordings over the previous decade and was a not a new name to the Portuguese, but his take on the Portuguese guitar was a revelation when his debut appeared in 1967. (by dragcity)

The old-fashioned crystalline beauty of this instrument made Carlos Paredes an overnight sensation. (by Myles Boisen)

“His awesome technique never led him away from the essential balance of intense emotion and poetically expressive intellect at the heart of fado. Guitarra Portuguesa is a deep and astounding masterpiece of string music, revealing an articulate and powerful flow of melodic and rhythmic variation.” — Kevin MacNeil Brown, Dusted Magazine

Guitarist Carlos Paredes comes from a long line of masters of the Portuguese guitar, a 12-string cousin of the modern instrument. The New York Times praised this album’s “emotional weight,” saying that in Paredes’ hands, the guitar “becomes a concert instrument; his piercing top notes, dazzling runs and buzzing chords set speed records even as he breaks your heart.”

In other words: this is a masterpiece !

Carlos Paredes (guitar)
Fernando Alvin (guitar, viola)

01. Variações Em Ré Maior 2.42
02. Porto Santo 2.18
03. Fantasia 2.42
04. Melodia Nº 2 1.53
05. Dança 2.26
06. Canção Verdes Anos (Do Filme ‘Os Verdes Anos’) 3.04
07. Divertimento 3.03
08. Romance Nº 1 3.35
09. Romance Nº 2 3.29
10. Pantomima 3.08
11. Melodia Nº 1 2.54

Music composed by Carlos Paredes