Friday, January 18, 2008


Ernesto Nazareth (1863-1934) is considered one of the main figures in the shaping of the Brazilian choro, his compositions - although never designated with the term 'choro' by the composer himself - became popular with choro communities early on and some of his most popular pieces are till performed by choro ensembles today.
Recently I found a website in English devoted to Ernesto Nazareth with the aim of publishing his compositions as digitalized scores free available on the internet. The website is still under construction and only midi-soundclips of some of the listed scores are available yet. However, this website and a similar devoted to the works of Chiquinha Gonzaga is worth a visit, if you like to have a short overview of the life and career of the composer, furthermore both mentioned websites have nice historic footage and inserted info from acclaimed sources of research.

To earn his living and support his family, Nazareth had to work as a house-pianist at a shop selling music scores, his task was to play music pieces to be sold demonstrating for the potential buyer how it should be played. Sometimes he would argue with customers about the performance of his own pieces. Around 1924 he got a job at the prestigious cinema of Rio de Jainero, the'Odeon' (see picture above), where he was hired to play at the waiting room for spectators before and during intermission of film performances. Spectators came one hour earlier in order to listen to him, and it was during this period he composed his piece 'Odeon' - designated with the term 'Brazilian tango' and instantly popular with the visiting public of the cinema. The composition soon became popular with choro musians and still belongs to the 'standard' repertoire of many choro groups and performers.

I found a couple of video performances of 'Odeon' I like to share with visitors of this blog. The first is a short sequence featuring Radamés Gnattali performing the first and secound part of the composition on solo piano - the fragment is from a TV homage to Gnattali headed by Tom Jobim, who introduces the sequence. I think the clip also shows the continuity of music tradition in Brazil, anyway, enjoy maestro Gnattali here:

The secound video features the accomplished yong master of the violão, Alessandro Penezzi, performing his version of Nazareth's famous composition, hope you to enjoy



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really interesting Jo !! Thanks !

Keep swinging


18 January, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, folks, nice post about Nazareth! One recommendation for you: Sovaco de Cobra has an investigative musical series on the carioca composer Ernesto Nazareth, presenting first-hand recordings and texts regarding his rarest compositions. Its name is "Rare Music of Ernesto Nazareth" and it has a english version!
Thanks and congratulations for your good job!

25 January, 2008  

Post a Comment

<< Home