The educator Carlos Góes published this book of folk
quatrains in 1916
Darius Milhaud treated all popular music—whether a hit song, a jazz composition, or an instrumental dance tune—as “folklore.” The carnaval of Rio de Janeiro, which greeted the young composer upon his arrival in February 1917, was described in his autobiography as “my first contact with Brazilian folklore.”
The carnaval of 1917 was the one dominated by “Pelo Telefone,” which, wrote Milhaud, “exploded in every corner and haunted us during the entire winter.” That Milhaud paid attention to carnaval songs and popular hits in general is clear by the number of them that made their way into Le Boeuf sur le Toit.
The following are hit tunes of the 1910s quoted in Le Boeuf, listed here according to the rank they reached in their respective years.
Instituto Moreira Salles’ book release concert for O Boi no Telhado. Before the music, there are spoken introductions by Manoel Aranha Corrêa do Lago and Paulo Aragão. Then the choro ensemble Calderata Carioca plays individual tunes quoted by Milhaud in Le Boeuf sur le Toit, followed by Le Boeuf sur le Toit itself, in an adaptation by Paulo Aragão.
Among the scholarly chapters in the book is my modest contribution, “Parceiros em surdina.” The English version of this chapter, titled “Milhaud’s silent partners,” may be read on my website as part of the Boeuf Chronicles series.
Over the years, several Brazilian journalists and filmmakers have contacted me about the Native Brazilian Music saga. First was the film director Marcelo Serra, who interviewed me on camera while I was in Rio de Janeiro 11 years ago. He has been proposing to produce a film titled “Missão Stokowski” and is still hoping to raise production funding.
Next came the journalist Aloisio Milani, who wrote the article O Tesouro Perdido da Missão Stokowski, published in the weekly magazine Carta Capital in April 2002. (The article is no longer on the magazine’s website but may be read on Milani’s blog.)
The latest manifestation from Brazil has come from the journalist Cristiano Bastos, who wrote the article A Caça ao Tesouro, published in the November 2012 edition of Brazilian Rolling Stone. The magazine also provides a hotsite with additional information, including links to Web sources.
But Cristiano Bastos didn’t stop at the article. He initiated some action, mobilizing Museu Villa-Lobos and Itamaraty (the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations) to go after the Native Brazilian Music recordings. As a result of that effort, the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, DC contacted Sony and requested repatriation of the phonograms.
The matrices have been found in the Legacy vaults, and the ball is now in Sony’s court.
When I made the acquaintance of Alexandre Dias in the year 2000, he was a high-school student who played the piano and nurtured a passion for the music of Ernesto Nazareth. To say that this consuming interest was most unusual in a boy of 16 would be an understatement. I found it propitious, since we both shared a love for older music.
At the time, I was researching the Brazilian sources in Darius Milhaud’s Le Boeuf sur le Toit (see The Boeuf Chronicles), and Alexandre (or Shura, as I came to call him) entered wholeheartedly into the search. His initial interest in Le Boeuf may have originated with the four Nazareth tunes quoted by Milhaud, but it quickly branched out to include all the Brazilian composers, known and unknown, who served as Milhaud’s silent partners without their knowledge.
Throughout that time, Alexandre was collecting recordings of Nazareth tunes and building a mammoth database. In 2004, he mounted his first Ernesto Nazareth website in Wandrei Braga’s Chiquinha Gonzaga domain. In 2007, he began publishing Raras de Ernesto Nazareth, an investigative series of articles devoted to Nazareth’s rare compositions, including in each installment a world-première recording played by himself.
In 2009, Alexandre collaborated with the harpsichordist Rosana Lanzelotte in the creation of a publicly funded Ernesto Nazareth website, where 211 complete Nazareth musical scores are available, along with several incomplete compositions and alternate versions. Alexandre coordinated, revised, and corrected the scores from historic editions.
You’d have thought that the time had now come for Alexandre to rest and enjoy the fruits of his labors. Not so. Here comes another Nazareth enterprise: Ernesto Nazareth 150 Anos, published by Instituto Moreira Salles, is not only a countdown to the composer’s 150th birthday (it will occur on 20 March 2013) but a comprehensive resource for all things Nazareth.
Among the principal sections you’ll find:
Obra/Works, a complete database of the composer’s 211 works, with explanatory texts, scores, and link to a discography.
The Imagens/Images gallery currently exhibits 273 pictures of the composer, his milieu, score covers, scanned documents, and other items of historic interest.
Textos/Texts is an ambitious bibliography of writings about Nazareth, currently numbering 295 items. Some of these are linked to the full texts.
Nazareth e Você/Nazareth and You is where readers may contribute their thoughts about Nazareth in the language of their choice and attach a link to a related video. This interesting section includes testimonials by well-known musicians.
There’s also an excellent blog, where Alexandre Dias writes about diverse topics, including the fascinating history of the maxixe as a fad in the United States and in Europe.
One of the giants of Brazilian popular music, the songwriter-singer-guitarist-arranger Dori Caymmi, will appear on Sunday, 11 November 2012, at the Douglas Beach House, 307 Mirada Road in Half Moon Bay.
Dori will perform songs from his latest CD, Poesia Musicada. This widely acclaimed album presents songs composed by Dori, with lyrics by the illustrious poet Paulo Cesar Pinheiro (see Egídio Leitão’s review and listen to audio samples).
Dori will be accompanied by Bill Cantos on piano & keyboard, Mike Shapiro on drums,
and Jerry Watts on bass.
The show is presented by the non-profit Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society. Doors open at 3:00 pm for claiming and enjoying the beach house before two one-hour sets begin at 4:30 (there will be an intermission). Food and beverage buffet will be available from 3:00 pm through the intermission.
The two shows, at 7 pm and 9 pm, will take place at the Healdsburg Center for the Arts, 130 Plaza Street. Tickets ($25) are available for purchase online. Advance purchase is recommended owing to limited seating.