Alexandra Mascolo-David, Raymond Harvey, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

For the past 20 years I have centered my research efforts on the piano music of Brazilian composer Francisco Mignone (1897-1986). Although Mignone enjoyed wide recognition during his lifetime, today his name is still relatively unknown outside of his home country.

Francisco Mignone’s creative life spanned a period of seventy years, during which he composed prolifically in all the major genres and for a wide variety of instruments. Although most of Mignone’s piano works have considerable musical substance and are worthy of performance, they remain unknown outside of Brazil, which was a major factor in my decision to concentrate my research efforts on them.

In 2001, after years of surmounting obstacles, I released the compact disc of Mignone’s 24 Valsas Brasileiras (Volume 1), and subsequently, in 2007, Volume 2. Soon after completing the Valsas Brasileiras, I chose to embark on a project of even greater proportions: the recording of Mignone’s 4 Fantasias Brasileiras for piano and orchestra. To do this, in 2007 I applied for and received a Research Excellence Fund Grant from Central Michigan University to record the Fantasias with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Raymond Harvey. The entire project took approximately three years to complete.

Francisco Mignone deserves much more international recognition than he currently receives. The quality and versatility of his writing show his mind as one of an exceptional artist. Many prominent musicologists consider Mignone’s Fantasias Brasileiras substantial and significant works of the piano and orchestra repertoire, worthy of the reverence that the piano concertos of Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin enjoy. These four extraordinary works are indeed major pieces of the classical piano concerto repertoire, and I am pleased to have had the unique opportunity to introduce them to a wider audience. The current release represents the first recording of the complete set of the 4 Fantasias Brasileiras for piano and orchestra. It is my hope that this project will stimulate greater interest in Mignone’s music, and that it will contribute to placing him more firmly in the global panorama of classical music.

- Alexandra Mascolo-David