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Cosmos I 13:22
Cosmos II 06:30
Cosmos III 18:04
Cosmos IV 15:40


Live concert recorded at Cosmos Campolide, Lisbon, by João Madeira on January 19th 2022.
Mastered by João Madeira.
Collage by Nina Frazer.
Graphic design by Carlos Santos.
Production by Ernesto Rodrigues.


Although the primacy of small string ensembles for superior musical expression has been confirmed since at least the 18th Century, there are still adornments that can be added to those configurations. While Portugal’s Ernesto Rodrigues (viola), Guilherme Rodrigues (cello) and João Madeira (bass) expand their Cosmos with a trio variation in traditional instruments, New York’s’ VEER led by violinist Sarah Bernstein and Montréal’s Quatuor Bozzini innovate using standard string quartet instrumentation. The resulting performances pinpoint the division between the creativity reacted to from the improvised or the notated side of musical performance.

Working through the four-part Cosmos suite, the Rodrigues duo and Madeira turn away from the melodic mores of their instruments to scratch, stretch and strop timbers even as the piece evolves in broken octave triple counterpoint. Halving and doubling the tempo at various junctures, the two higher-pitched instruments use spiccato jumps and jolts to advance the exposition while the bassist’s thumps and pulls steady the advancement. As the tri-layer narrative is established, all three torque the presentation with additional buzzes and strains. Energy expressed in whistling string squeaks and guiro-like ratcheting creates the discordant but open presto strokes that conclude the combinations “Cosmos III” provides the greatest improvisational scope. At 18-minute plus, the simple moderato tempo moves up to staccato sawing so that the 12 strings respond with such vigor that the bows appear to bounce off the strings into the air. Wood vibrating hard plucks from the cello and bass become so percussive that they reorient the track towards full dissonance, only to be drawn back when near-cooing lyricism from the viola transforms contrast into connection.
- Ken Waxman (www.jazzword.com)


released March 4, 2022

Ernesto Rodrigues - Viola
Guilherme Rodrigues - Cello
João Madeira - Double Bass


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Guilherme Rodrigues Berlin, Germany

Guilherme Rodrigues is a cellist, improviser and composer from Lisboa, Portugal.
He was born in 1988 in Lisboa and started to learn cello and trumpet when he was seven at Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa and later in Conservatório Nacional de Música de Lisboa to study classical and music theory until his twenty-three. With an intuitive approach to improvisation and exploration of the timbres... ... more

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