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Sharing releases, present and past, to brighten your day. WXXI Classical has its eyes and ears on the latest releases from classical artists working today. When we come across a story or a release we think you might enjoy, we’ll be sharing it with you on CD Spotlight. You’ll learn more about the artists online at WXXI Classical, and you’ll hear selections from these artists on FM 91.5. CD Spotlight shares new releases by artists that you’ll want to know and some by great artists and ensembles that deserve to be in the spotlight again.

CD Spotlight: Saudade by Plinio Fernandes

Cover of Plinio Fernandes CD Saudade
Cover of Plinio Fernandes CD Saudade

Brazilian guitarist Plínio Fernandes was born into the music business – his first music teacher was his father. After racking up one success after another in his homeland, the Brazilian Ministry of Education granted him a full scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he now lives. Fernandes’ debut album, Saudade, is a love letter to his is now far-away homeland. It’s filled with timeless music by some of Brazil’s greatest composers: Antônio Carlos Jobim, Milton Nascimento, Violeta Parra, and Heitor Villa-Lobos amongst others. “I chose songs that I grew up listening to,” says Fernandes, “and in many cases I fell in love with the guitar through them.”

Some of the pieces are immediately recognizable: Jobim’s “The Girl from Ipanema” is among the tracks. Some will be less known to your ears, but equally delightful. And Fernandes has some brilliant collaborators on Saudade, including cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason in a heartbreakingly lovely reading of the Aria {Cantilena) from Villa-Lobos’ “Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5.”

As Fernandes makes his name with this new CD, he’ll also be sharing his love of music as part of the Music Masters charity, working as an ambassador with performances, while teaching young musicians, just as his father did for him. It is a career that is going full circle.

A Strong Memorial baby and Greece Arcadia grad, Julia Figueras was the Music Director and mid-day host for WXXI Classical until June 30, 2023 when she retired after more than 26 years of service. She also hosted the award-winning monthly interview/performance show, Backstage Pass.