TRANSITS: Minimal to Mayhem, his fifth full Navona Records release, is an abridged sequence of five works from a set time and concrete place that maps composer Sergio Cervetti’s creative progression over four decades of composing.
Written in 2013, Concertino for piano, woodwinds and timpani is a rowdy and raucous array of South American rhythms tempered by a tender quote from Gustav Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder. One of Cervetti’s last minimalist works, Exiles (1980), was created on the Synclavier and begins with a slow piano rendition of a melodic theme from the Uruguayan patriotic song Mi Bandera, which is soon overwhelmed by electronic textures. In contrast, Guitar Music (the bottom of the iceberg) is an early minimalist work for solo guitar from 1975 that is an experiment with “restricted pitch-classes” and a nuanced tour-de-force with a soupçon of flamenco.
The two works that complete TRANSITS are based on the history and culture of the Río de la Plata where Cervetti was born and raised. El Río de los Pájaros Pintados (1979) seamlessly integrates the bandoneón with electronics, its title being the Spanish translation of the native Guarani Indian word “Uru-Guay” meaning “The River of the Painted Birds.” Candombe for Orchestra is the 1996 orchestration of Candombe for Harpsichord (1984), both works indebted to a Uruguayan national dance of African origin designated by UNESCO as an intangible cultural treasure.