“It is like giving a soul to things that have been lost,” declares Lucía Caruso, artistic director and co-founder with her husband Pedro H. da Silva of the chamber ensemble Manhattan Camerata. She is speaking of one of their most recent projects: composing and recording original scores for two early 1900s silent films by pioneering French filmmaker Goerges Méliès.”
“Caruso and da Silva have created a score which conveys both the martial and spiritual themes of the piece, and they have skillfully managed the transitions—which are rather abrupt in the film—from scene to scene, smoothing these over and creating a seamless whole.”
“The Manhattan Camerata plays with finesse and passion; the Voices of the Ascension navigate the complex textures and harmonies of the score effortlessly, and the sound engineering cleverly creates a far larger soundscape than the realities of the numbers. Overall, this is a masterful creative effort and one which some recording firm should decide to issue on DVD, both for its innovative film values and its masterful music.”
“The composers chose wisely…in not trying to compose music that sounds as if it were written in 1902. They were equally wise in not making it too modern, or dependent in any way on “spacey” electronic effect.”
“This is a good example of film music that supports the film very well—it doesn’t compete with the images.”
By Raymond Tuttle
“…da Silva and Caruso…have used a chamber ensemble and chorus that brings us grippingly into Joan’s life, and at the same time wrote a through-line for their score that perfectly suits the subject matter.”
“The resulting score is a gem, fulfilling the classic tradition of Hollywood scoring in its emotional excitement and uplift while also incorporating the dignity of a classical music background.”
“Jeanne d’Arc has no title cards or scene transitions, and da Silva and Caruso appropriately change color and mood quickly while using motifs to provide continuity. Altogether, their ingenuity and musical talents have added a new dimension to Méliès’s art, coming as close to restoring the wonder of early cinema as we are likely to get.”
By Huntley Dent
“Coupling this video with the newly scored Jeanne d’Arc on a commercial release would not only preserve Caruso and da Silva’s fascinating musical accomplishment, but would serve to honor two masterpieces of early cinema and win for them modern audiences.”
“Once again the Manhattan Camerata demonstrates its elegance and versatility, and the sound engineering magnifies the impact of the 16-person choral ensemble to lend another, more encompassing dimension."
By Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold
“It’s very welcome that da Silva and Caruso have added such a large measure of delight to the viewing experience and, as with their score for Jeannne d’Arc, this one is well worth hearing on its own, too."
By Huntley Dent
"Despite a piano setup which lacked a degree of clarity, Caruso delivered a wonderfully witty and loving account of Mozart's comparatively rarely-performed Piano Concerto in C, K415. This has long been an OOTS favourite, with a CD recording by Mark Bebbington, and here it came up fresh and new, Caruso's hands well-balanced and articulate, and delivering some delightful spontaneous interjections."
"But the greatest joy was the little encore from Caruso and da Silva, a set of variations on the ancient La Folia bass-line, jointly composed by the couple and featuring Caruso's piano and da Silva's fascinating Portuguese guitar...Within a handful of minutes we moved through half a millennium of musical history, and a good time was genuinely had by all on both sides of the stage."
By Christopher Morley
"At the heart of the project… is Amor é Fogo (Love is Fire), written on Valentine’s Day 2013 by Couple #1, Caruso and da Silva. ... Nathalie Pires’ lilting vocals and Caruso’s keystrokes converge in a sonnet-lullaby of romantic love, going from tender spark to effulgent flame. February 15 will mark three years and a day since its composition.”
“… the most convincing use of the piano as a fado instrument, with Caruso on the pedals and keys, that I have heard."
"The sound it produces, live or recorded, is luxuriant: Caruso’s intensity on the piano, so commanding as to leave an imprint; Ferman’s lighter touch, classical and reflective; the plunge and ascent of da Silva’s fingers on the guitar; the gasp, bellow and slow complaint of Binelli on the bandoneón. Pires is at her best with them…"
“Listening to the CD, one is most aware of the richness of the whole. Live, the musicians add the auras of their presence: the robust Caruso, the scholarly da Silva, the elegant Ferman, the earthy Binelli."
"Tango Fado Project is a delectable mixture of these two popular musical genres of Argentina and Portugal.”
"Their music director, Pedro H. da Silva, in addition to being a deft hand at composing, arranging, and conducting, is a spirited performer on the Portuguese guitar .... Artistic director Lucia Caruso, also a composer and conductor, creates soulful piano solos. Daniel Binelli is a bandoneón player par excellence; this album owes much to his arrangements and performing skills. Polly Ferman is a stylish pianist. Lastly, the fado singer Nathalie Pires is a major presence here, performing vocals with elegance and passion.”
"The CD’s sound engineering is excellent.”
"This is music of emotional seriousness and technical sophistication. It is deeply enriching.”
“… stunningly performed and thoroughly entertaining. The secret behind this music is that it has to make you want to dance, and it has to bring tears to your eyes. The musicians of Manhattan Camerata know the secret, and they know how to make it happen. They also understand the virtuoso aspect: There is a level of showing off your chops that is shared by the whole ensemble, not merely the guest artists, yet it never veers toward parody. When they get into a groove,as in 1=3=7 and Non- absolutist Universal Anthem, the joie de vivre is irresistible.”
"After 10 years of writing for Fanfare I am now in the enviable position of being able to request the releases I wish to review. Occasionally our editor still sends me something unexpected and, more often than not, it turns out to be something special that I would not have known about otherwise. This disc absolutely falls into that category. Manhattan Camerata has made my day.”
"Hearing their Tango Fado Project CD, it’s the visceral impact of this powerful, dramatic, soulful music that seduces and transfixes the listener."
"The music here is wistful and smoky at times, sensual at other times, and dark and even tragic at others. The performances are technically superb and emotionally gripping, virtually ideal."
FANFARE MAGAZINE FEATURE REVIEW: TANGO FADO PROJECT
By Henry Fogel
"[The Manhattan Camerata] seeks to expand the classical genre by incorporating elements from different cultures around the world in a variety of styles. The diverse backgrounds of the Camerata’s musicians point out the group’s eclectic and inclusive nature."
By Maria Nockin
"The arrangements of these pieces are intricate and play to the strengths of the ensemble, allowing for a rich palette of instrumental textures and moments of virtuosic playing, especially by the guitar, bandeón, and piano."
"Among the highlights are Pires’s singing of Minha Lisboa Guerida by Carlos Gardel with its hints of Moorish melody, the lively dance tempo of Viejo Buenos Aires Tango by Raoul Portela, Lucia Caruso’s complex Modernist composition Tanguito Cordobes with da Silva’s supple playing on the Portuguese guitar, and da Silva’s own composition Non- Absolutist Universal Anthem with its dexterous guitar parts. And then Piazzolla’s Suite Troileana, which allows all the resources of the soloists and the Manhattan Camerata to come together and play with passion, crowns the recording."
By Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold
"It isn’t about presenting a genre, or two, with custodial seriousness. It’s more like introducing two of your friends to each other at a party, knowing that they have commonalities, and being delighted when you see them hit it off. The pleasure is both theirs and ours. Recommended!"
By Raymond Tuttle
"Of all the discs I have been sent by this august publication of this kind (that is, ones that include tango and/or fado) this is by far the finest from every angle."
"This disc breathes life, while taking on an important exploration of the relationship between two related forms, tango and fado. Even if you think you don’t like this type of music, it is worth trying. If any disc can win you to their cause, this is it."
By Colin Clarke
Prensa y Comunicación 12.MAYO.14
Gala de piano y guitarra Lucia Caruso and Pedro H. da Silva:
El Independencia albergará la gala de música clásica a beneficio de FundaFem
“En sus conciertos se combina la orquesta de cámara clásica occidental con varios instrumentos del mundo (guitarra portuguesa, bandoneón, sitar, darbuka, etc) generalmente en nuevas composiciones y arreglos por sus fundadores Lucía Caruso y Pedro H. da Silva. “