Commissioned by Byron Fogo & Robert Margo
Program Notes by the composer
Valsas do Rio (Waltzes of Rio) was my first commission, and the first major work for guitars, written while I was still a freshman at Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. It was commissioned by Byron Fogo and Robert Margo, for the Thompson-Godwin duo, and later published on under my father’s guitar works collection “Collection Sergio Assad” on Henry Lemoine.
The inspiration for the piece was my native city of Rio de Janeiro – not the Rio de Janeiro of the early 2000’s, but an earlier, romanticized version of its glorious past, towards the beginning and middle of the 20th century. Each movement explores a different landscape (I. Arcos da Lapa), or a famous neighborhood (II. Laranjeiras). The closing movement depicts the busy Central do Brasil station, opened in the late 1950’s.
The work was recorded by several guitarists including the Assad duo (Nonsuch) since its creation.