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Brazilian Music

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Author Topic: Brazilian Music  (Read 214 times)
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« on: January 21, 2015, 04:00:27 pm »

Two Brazilian Symphonies- Part 2

About Radames Gnattali
Radamés Gnattali is a fundamental name in Brazilian music. A classically trained composer, conductor, orchestrator, and arranger, he worked for a living in the popular side of the business, deeply influencing Brazilian popular music with his arrangements and conceptions through his omnipresence at the musical direction of Rádio Nacional, the biggest broadcast outing in Brazil during that time. His compositions, both in the erudite and popular fields, concurred to bridge the gap between the two idioms, a self-imposed task that was always kept in sight throughout his whole life.

Both his father and mother were musicians and he started his musical apprenticeship with his mother at age six; later he also took the violin, with his cousin Olga Fossati. At nine, he was decorated by the Italian consul after conducting a child orchestra with his own arrangements. At 14, he was already playing cavaquinho and violão and began his studies with Guilherme Fontainha. In the same year, he was examined by the Escola de Belas Artes de Porto Alegre and was admitted at once to the fifth grade. At 16, he was employed at the Cine Colombo, accompanying silent movies. His desire was to be a concerto pianist, but his parents didn't have the means to provide for his training and he had to work in dances and take in pupils. In 1923, he finished his studies with honors and decided to go to Rio. His professor, Fontainha, used all his prestige to appoint a concert by Gnattali on July 31, 1924, at the Instituto Nacional de Música. In front of a selected audience composed of journalists, musicians, critics, and authorities, he disencumbered himself from the task with greatness that registered with the critics from the period. Soon he met Ernesto Nazareth, who played at the Cinema Odeon, and he then became a frequenter of Galeria Cruzeiro, a piano seller that employed Nazareth as a sheet music demonstrator. After a while, Nazareth asked Gnattali to play for him, receiving enthusiastic applause. Mário de Andrade, a respected musicologist, was, at the time, director of the Conservatório Dramático Musical de São Paulo and invited Gnattali for a performance there.

He returned to Porto Alegre and continued to teach while performing extensively with the Quarteto Henrique Oswald, where he exercised and experimented his string quartet skills as the basis for his firm grasp on the symphonic orchestral writing. In 1929, Fontainha scheduled him again to play in Rio. This time, he played at the biggest pantheon of classical music in Rio, the Teatro Municipal, where he was backed by the Orquestra Sinfônica do Teatro Municipal, conducted by Francisco Braga. In that period, he already had a great number of compositions, both erudite and popular. In 1931, he participated in the IV Concert of the Instituto Nacional de Música's Official Series sided by such composers as Luciano Gallet, Heitor Villa-Lobos, and Lorenzo Fernandez. In the next year, already married, he embraced popular music for a living and was employed by the orchestras of Romeu Silva and Simon Bountman, playing at Carnival balls, operettas, dance parties, and radio shows. In those times, there were virtually no Brazilian arrangements. He began to write arrangements for Brazilian music almost at the same time as Pixinguinha, soon becoming famous for that. Next, he went to Lambari, Minas Gerais, then an elegant watering place, to sub for pianist Mário Martins at the Cassino das Fontes. In that period, he got a job that would profoundly affect his life, at the Rádio Clube do Brasil. In 1932, he become a session arranger and pianist for Victor, debuting there in the recording business with his choros "Espritado" and "Urbano" under the pseudonym Vero (adopted in all his popular pieces). As a pianist, he accompanied Bidu Sayão in 1934, the same year his "Concerto No. 1 para Piano e Orquestra" was conducted by Henrique Spedini, having the very Gnattali as soloist.


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