Thursday, October 20, 2011
Acervo Digital Chiquinha GonzagaHundreds of scores now available free online.
Brazilian copyright law releases intellectual property 70 years after the author’s death. Thus, the works of Chiquinha Gonzaga (1847–1935) fell into the public domain in 2005. This occurrence, however, did not automatically make the compositions accessible that year. Of the composer’s vast body of work, only about 12 scores were commercially available.
The young pianists and music researchers Alexandre Dias and Wandrei Braga, both residents of Brasília and specialists in Ernesto Nazareth and Chiquinha Gonzaga, respectively, undertook to remedy the situation.
Wandrei Braga (l) and Alexandre Dias
For more than three years, they hunted for sheet music in libraries and private collections. By 2010, with the help of Instituto Moreira Salles, they had managed to accumulate over 300 scores of Chiquinha Gonzaga compositions. These have just been published on the Chiquinha Gonzaga website under the name Acervo Digital Chiquinha Gonzaga.
The compositions range across a vast spectrum of genres, including valsas, tangos brasileiros, canções, polkas, fados, habaneras, romances, duets, baladas, marchas, religious tunes, serenatas, barcarolas, modinhas, gavotas, mazurkas, dobrados, and choros.
On the website, the tunes are arranged alphabetically by title and can also be searched by title, genre, or instrumentation. Each one is accompanied by background notes written by Edinha Diniz, author of Chiquinha Gonzaga: Uma História de Vida. Many include guitar tabs and lyrics.
This heroic effort is merely the first phase in the project to resurrect the composer’s complete body of work. Braga and Dias hope to follow it up by including Chiquinha Gonzaga’s hundreds of stage tunes.
Dias and Braga at the launch party in Rio, 18 Oct. 2011