Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 362



Maria Alice Volpe

The Dissertation Committee for Maria Alice Volpe certifies that this is the
approved version of the following dissertation:

Indianismo and Landscape in the Brazilian Age of Progress: Art

Music from Carlos Gomes to Villa-Lobos, 1870s-1930s


Gerard H. Béhague, Supervisor

Elliott M. Antokoletz

Hanns-Bertold Dietz

Michael C. Tusa

Enylton J. de Sá Rego
Indianismo and Landscape in the Brazilian Age of Progress: Art
Music from Carlos Gomes to Villa-Lobos, 1870s-1930s


Maria Alice Volpe, M.M.

Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Music

The University of Texas at Austin

in Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements

for the Degree of

Doctor of Philosophy

The University of Texas at Austin

December, 2001
UMI Number: 3064681

Copyright 2001 by
Volpe, Maria Alice

All rights reserved.


UMI Microform 3064681

Copyright 2003 ProQuest Information and Learning Company.
All rights reserved. This microform edition is protected against
unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code.

ProQuest Information and Learning Company

300 North Zeeb Road
PO Box 1346
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346

To Régis Duprat

First I would like to thank all the scholars who have helped me, in one way or another, to

formulate the questions that I have pursued in this study, although I hold the sole

responsibility for any of its shortcomings. I am especially grateful to Dr. Régis Duprat

for the full and sustained support he has given to my intellectual development since my

undergraduate studies in Brazil, helping me to build my musicological career. Special

thanks to Dr. Gerard H. Béhague, who kindly provided me with the most valuable

opportunity to study under his supervision at The University of Texas at Austin. I

would also like to thank all the members of my Committee, including Dr. Michael C.

Tusa, Dr. Hanns-Bertold Dietz, Dr. Elliott M. Antokoletz and Dr. Enylton J. de Sá

Rego for all the support and enlightenment they provided me throughout my work in

this doctoral degree. They have made all the years that I spent in the U.S. most

enjoyable and beneficial, in my search for knowledge by broadening and challenging

my understanding of musicology and ethnomusicology. The courses and seminars that

I had in the Musicology and Ethnomusicology Program and at the Spanish and

Portuguese Department were very advantageous for the type of research and product

that I have been able to accomplish in this dissertation. I would like to mention, for

instance, reception history, new ways of looking into the issue of nationalism, key

notions concerning the nineteenth century such as Historicism and Romanticism, new
theoretical tools for the analysis of Villa-Lobos’ modernity, the understanding of music

in its cultural context, and issues in the literary studies and Brazilian literature that

greatly enriched my perception and treatment of my dissertation topic.

My research also benefited greatly from the assistance of the librarians of the following

institutions: the Biblioteca Nacional, Rio de Janeiro; the Biblioteca da Escola de Música

of the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro; the Museu Villa-Lobos, Rio de Janeiro;

Instituto de Estudos Brasileiros of the Universidade de São Paulo; the Biblioteca

Pública Municipal, São Paulo; the Benson Latin American Collection, the Fine Arts

Library, and the Inter-Library Loan Service of the University of Texas, Austin. Also, Dr.

Ricardo Tacuchian and Dr. Fátima Tacuchian, provided me with rare recordings of

Brazilian music and facilitated my work at the Rio de Janeiro’s archives. My doctoral

degree in the U.S. was also made possible by the financial support of CAPES

(Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, Ministério da

Educação, Governo Federal, Brasil), from the Fall of 1995 to 1999.

I am indebted to Jairo Correia Geronymo, who encouraged me to come and study in the

U.S., and to Deborah Schwartz-Kates for her support during the most difficult times of

my doctoral studies. I owe a debt of gratitude to Nicholas Parma and Jennifer Suzanne

O’Donnell, who kindly revised my manuscript. The final stage of my work benefited

greatly from the computer wizardry of David Hainsworth and Timothy Shaffer. At the

risk of making omissions, I should also like to mention Ketty Wong, Laura Cervantes,

Rebecca Sager, Rodolfo Coelho de Sousa, Ron Emoff, Rodrigo Herrera, Alberto

Requejo, Hope Munro Smith, Robin Moore, Sherri Canon and Antonio La Pastina for

all the friendship we shared during our graduate school years. I should also like to

mention my dear friends Gilson da Silva Jr., Suzana Salles and Tereza Cristina

Fernandes Gomes for keeping me in their hearts while my work kept me away from


And last but not least, I would like to thank my family for the love, attention,

understanding and patience they devoted to me throughout these years. My father

Narciso Volpe has offered me the paramount example of endurance, optimism, joy,

simplicity and inner strength. I can hardly describe how important my mother Alice

Krepischi Volpe has been throughout my life, but I should mention the chief role she

played in fostering the desire for knowledge and independence in me. I am also very

grateful for her sharing with me the words of wisdom she learned from my deceased

grandfather Horácio Krepischi. My brothers Narciso Volpe Jr., Horácio Curtis Volpe

and Ricardo Alberto Volpe have been the best friends that I could ever have in my life. I

would also like to thank my sister-in-law Renata Aparecida Sotini Volpe for the love and

spirituality with which she filled the chocolate truffles and rocamboles de doce de leite

she made especially for me. I am immensely grateful to my nephews Fábio Curtis

Volpe, Vagner Curtis Volpe and Bruno Krepischi Volpe for bringing so much joy to my

life. Special thanks to my uncle Valdemar Krepischi for the warm family gatherings he

offered me during my visits to Brazil, and my aunts Vilma Krepischi Friestino, Nair

Krepischi Metzker, Isa Amália Dalla Costa Krepischi, Sonia Victorino Krepischi and

Virginia Krepischi for always calling and writing me on my birthdays, and, finally, my

grandmother Antonieta Rossetti Krepischi for being the bedrock of our extended family

and a pioneer feminine model.

Indianismo and Landscape in the Brazilian Age of Progress: Art
Music from Carlos Gomes to Villa-Lobos, 1870s-1930s

Publication No._____________

Maria Alice Volpe, Ph.D.

The University of Texas at Austin, 2001

Supervisor: Gerard H. Béhague

This study is intended to show that Indianismo and Landscape were major

symbols of national identity in Brazilian music between the 1870s and the 1930s. Their

legitimacy was supported by the Carlos Gomes paradigm, their association with literary

and pictorial traditions, the continuous reformulation of their associated meanings so as

to convey shifting ideologies, and their continuous updating with European musical

styles and genres. The association of Indianismo and Landscape with Brazilian literary

and pictorial traditions informed music with a range of meanings that were collectively

recognized by Brazilian elite culture of the time. This study proposes that the

contribution of Indianismo in the nationalization process of Brazilian music needs not to

be denied but reframed, since it did not reside “simply in its literary aspect” (as it is

usually claimed) but carried major ideological issues concerning the construction of

national identity. From Carlos Gomes’ Il Guarany to Delgado de Carvalho’s Moema

and Francisco Braga’s Marabá and Jupyra, the construction of national identity evolves

from the ratification to the undoing of the myth of national foundation, from the positive

to the negative view of miscegenation, up to the representation of Brazil as the land of

outcasts. This study also proposes that Brazilian musical nationalism must be

recognized not only in the use of “folk,” “popular” and “Indian” elements but also in

the musical description of landscape. The development from approaching landscape as

poetic emotion in works such as Gomes’ Al chiaro di luna, Braga’s Paysage, and

Henrique Oswald’s Il Neige, to approaching landscape as a local reality in works such

as Gomes’ Il Guarany (Pery’s scene) and “Alvorada” from Lo Schiavo, Braga’s

Marabá, Alberto Nepomuceno’s “Alvorada na serra” up to Villa-Lobos’ Uirapuru

and Amazonas shows the increasing nationalization of musical landscape. Gomes

established the major elements for the construction of nationalist musical conventions

representing a localized landscape closely associated with the expression of national

“feelings.” Villa-Lobos reshaped nationalist conventions of musical landscape

established by Brazilian Romantic composers, turning landscape into the embodiment of

national “essence.” This group of operatic and symphonic works makes a continuum

from the historicist view of national identity constructed by Indianismo to the

essentialist view constructed by Landscape.

Table of Contents

List of Tables..........................................................................................................xii

List of Musical Examples ......................................................................................xiii

List of Abbreviations...............................................................................................xv




The early symphonic concert scene in Rio de Janeiro.............................................58

The “Music of the Future” in Brazil......................................................................77

Brazilian participation at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago (1893) ...89

The Fourth Centennial of the Discovery of Brazil (1900).......................................95

The Pan-American Congress (1906), the National Exposition (1908), and the
inauguration of the Teatro Municipal (1909) ...............................................112



Indianismo in the History of Brazilian Literature, the Visual Arts and Music .......155

The Myth of National Foundation: Il Guarany.....................................................171

The Undoing of the Myth of National Foundation: Moema .................................187

The Land of Outcasts: Jupyra and Marabá..........................................................204


Landscape as Poetic Emotion: Al chiaro di luna and Paysage..............................229

Landscape as Nationalist topos.............................................................................236

Nationalist conventions of musical landscape: Pery’s scene and “Alvorada”
Landscape and the expression of national feelings: Marabá and “Alvorada na
Landscape and the embodiment of national essence: Uirapuru and Amazonas



Vita .....................................................................................................................344

List of Tables

Table No. 1: Gomes’ “Alvorada”..............................................................................257

Table No. 2: Villa-Lobos’s Uirapuru.........................................................................317

List of Musical Examples

Musical example No. 1a: Carlos Gomes’s Il Guarany, “Introduzione, Ballabili e

Azione Mimica” (Act III)...................................................................................180
Musical example No. 1b: Carlos Gomes’s Il Guarany, “Passo Selvaggio” (Act III)
Musical example No. 1c: Carlos Gomes’s Il Guarany, “Gran marcia – baccanale
indiano” (Act III) ...............................................................................................181
Musical example No. 2: Carvalho’s Moema, Scena e Duetto ‘Se uniti non vivremo”
[Scene 2] Moema and Paolo (S, T).....................................................................194
Musical example No. 3: Carvalho’s Moema, Scena e Duetto “Amore, amore dolce
sogno...” [Scene 6] Moema and Paolo (S, T).....................................................195
Musical example No. 4: Carvalho’s Moema Recitativo e Romanza “Quanta sventura”
[scene 1] (Moema)..............................................................................................201
Musical example No. 5: Carvalho’s Moema, Somber theme, from Preludio...............202
Musical example No. 6: Braga’s Jupyra, scene 4 “L’umile ancella indigena” (Jupyra)
Musical example No. 7: Braga’s Jupyra, scene 5 (Carlito).........................................215
Musical example No. 8: Braga’s Jupyra, scene 5, Chorus “Varia l’amor come la luna
Musical example No. 9: Gomes’s Al chiaro di luna: meditazione for violin and piano
Musical example No. 10: Braga’s Paysage, theme group A.......................................233
Musical example No. 11: Braga’s Paysage, theme group B.......................................233
Musical example No. 12: Gomes’s Il Guarany, the opening of Act II in Pery’s Scena
ed Aria “Son giunto in tempo!” – “Vanto io pur superba cuna”......................244
Musical example No. 13: Gomes’ Lo Schiavo, Prelude “Alvorada,” sabiá bird call..251
Musical example No. 14: Gomes’ Lo Schiavo, Prelude “Alvorada,” long sequence of
varied Brazilian bird calls....................................................................................252
Musical example No. 15: Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, cuckoo call..........................253
Musical example No. 16: Gomes’ Lo Schiavo, Prelude “Alvorada,” cuckoo call......253
Musical example No. 17: Gomes’ Lo Schiavo, Prelude “Alvorada,” Tamoio’s warrior
horn call..............................................................................................................254
Musical example No. 18: Gomes’ Lo Schiavo, Prelude “Alvorada,” ocean waves ....255
Musical example No. 19: Gomes’ Lo Schiavo, Prelude “Alvorada,” opening chords
Musical example No. 20: Braga’s Marabá, Nature theme..........................................274
Musical example No. 21: Braga’s Marabá, Marabá’s tenderness theme ...................275
Musical example No. 22: Braga’s Marabá, Marabá’s sorrow theme.........................275
Musical example No. 23: Braga’s Marabá, Fate theme..............................................276
Musical example No. 24: Braga’s Marabá, Nature theme and Marabá’s sorrow theme
Musical example No. 25: Braga’s Marabá, Nature theme (modified) and Fate theme
Musical example No. 26: Braga’s Marabá, Nature theme and Fate theme.................279
Musical example No. 27: Nepomuceno’s “Alvorada na serra,” sabiá birdcall...........286
Musical example No. 28: Nepomuceno’s “Alvorada na serra,” folk tune “sapo
jururu” ...............................................................................................................286
Musical example No. 29a: Nepomuceno’s “Alvorada na serra,” forest murmurs .....287
Musical example No. 29b: Nepomuceno’s “Alvorada na serra,” forest murmurs.....287
Musical example No. 30: Spruce’s musical transcription of uirapuru bird call...........306
Musical example No. 31: Villa-Lobos’s Uirapuru, Uirapuru theme and Handsome
Indian theme .......................................................................................................313
Musical example No. 32a: Villa-Lobos’s Uirapuru, Ugly Indian theme....................314
Musical example No. 32b: Villa-Lobos’s Uirapuru, Ugly Indian theme....................314
Musical example No. 33: Villa-Lobos’s Uirapuru, Indian Maidens theme................315
Musical example No. 34: Villa-Lobos’s Uirapuru, Uirapuru farewell song...............315

List of Abbreviations

BNRJ Biblioteca Nacional do Rio de Janeiro

CR Cidade do Rio

EM-UFRJ Escola de Música da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

GN Gazeta de Notícias

JC Jornal do Comércio

MASP Museu de Arte de São Paulo

MNBA-RJ the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, Rio de Janeiro

Ms. manuscript

RI Revista Ilustrada

RS Revista da Semana

T&M The regular department “Teatros e Música” in Jornal do Comércio


This study is intended to show that Indianismo (Brazilian Romantic nationalism

that relied on stylized Indian subjects) and Landscape were major symbols of nationality

in Brazilian art music between the 1870s and the 1930s inasmuch as events with some

status of official culture relied upon musical works associated with Indianismo and

Landscape to evoke national identity. Carlos Gomes’ opera Il Guarany (Brazilian

premiere on Emperor D. Pedro II’s birthday, 2 December 1870) was emblematic of the

Second Empire (1832-1889) fostering Indianismo in the construction of Brazilian

national identity, and the Prelude “Alvorada” [Dawn] from Carlos Gomes’ opera Lo

Schiavo (premiered in Rio de Janeiro on Princess Isabel’s birthday, 27 September

1889) reflected a long-lasting tradition of identifying Brazilian uniqueness with local

landscape. Music during the First Republic (1889-1930) kept the Indianist symbology

of Imperial times (although Indianismo was being replaced by other symbols in

literature and discredited by Brazilian social-anthropological thought) and increasingly

made Landscape a mode of national consciousness. Francisco Braga’s symphonic

prelude Paysage (1892) represented Brazil at the 1893 Chicago World Exposition, his

opera Jupyra (1899) was booked for the festivities of The Fourth Centennial of the

Discovery of Brazil in 1900, and his symphonic poem Marabá (1894) was performed

at the Third Pan-American Congress in 1906; Delgado de Carvalho’s opera Moema

(1892) was staged at the inauguration of Teatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro in 1909;

Heitor Villa-Lobos’ symphonic poem/ ballet Uirapuru (1917) was staged at the Pan-

American Congress of Commerce in Argentina in 1935, and his symphonic poem/ ballet

Amazonas (1917) was performed during the visit of the President of Brazil to Argentina

in 1935. Not that these works were the only ones performed during those special events,
but they were the ones identified by contemporary reception as expressing something

particularly Brazilian, reflecting Brazilian uniqueness or expected to do so.

This study elucidates the reasons why Indianismo and Landscape remained

significant national symbols in the music of the First Republican official culture.

Because the new regime failed to create its own national symbols,1 national symbology

of Imperial times still resonated among Brazilians. As the First Republic lacked new,

convincing symbols, the legitimacy of Indianismo and Landscape as expressions of

national identity in music was supported by the Carlos Gomes paradigm, their

association with literary and pictorial traditions, the continuous reformulation of their

associated meanings so as to convey changing ideologies, and their continuous

adjustment to new cosmopolitan stylistic tendencies.

In this study I believe I have shed a new light on a period of music history in

Brazil whose importance is often underestimated if not misunderstood. Brazilian

musical Romanticism (1850s-1920s) has always intrigued me for its underrated status

in Brazilian musicology. Brazilian Romantic music is smashed between the foundational

import of the music of the Colonial period and the nationalist status of twentieth-century

modernism. Brazilian Romantic composers are retrospectively put in the shadow of the

lionized genius of Villa-Lobos, but hardly understood in terms of their own values and

pursuits. It has always been difficult for me to accept the idea that two generations of

composers would be producing cultural products totally empty of social meaning. I have

always believed that the legitimacy of their agenda must be viewed in their own historical

context and in the specific issues they faced. Therefore, before jumping into the

marketable attitude of labeling the Brazilian Romantic composers with Roberto

1 This idea is extensively explicated by Carvalho (1990).

Schwartz’s celebrated notion of “misplaced ideas” (“idéias fora de lugar”), I have

tried to understand how that half-century of art music in Brazil had opened the path to

Villa-Lobos, the composer credited with the fullest and foremost expression of Brazilian

musical nationalism.

I have always suspected that if a historical period cannot be validated in its own

right, we must be analyzing it under an inappropriate light. Therefore, I took the major

criterion of musical nationalism accepted by current musicology on Brazilian music,

namely, the use of folk, indigenous and popular materials by art music composers, as

the central notion to be questioned. I have attempted a revisionist view of the

construction of nationalism in Brazilian music and musical historiography between the

1870s and the 1930s by focusing on two nationalist topoi that had a long-lasting

tradition in a larger cultural setting, especially Brazilian literature and the visual arts, and

that considerably shaped official views of national identity. These topoi were Indianismo

and Landscape.

The importance of Indianismo in Brazilian music has been underestimated. The

fact that Indianismo had run its course in Brazilian literature when Carlos Gomes wrote

the first successful opera on the subject (Il Guarany) lead to the assumption that

Indianismo was a peripheral element in the nationalization of Brazilian music.

Indianismo has been considered merely a literary element in Brazilian opera with no

major consequences to its musical expression and its social-cultural meaning. In this

study I argue that the contribution of Indianismo in the nationalization process of

Brazilian music needs to be reframed, not only because the choice of the literary subject

was central to the operatic genre, but also and above all because Indianismo conveyed

major ideological issues concerning the construction of national identity. Indianist

operas have corroborated or denied the narratives of national foundation conveyed by

literary works largely disseminated among the Brazilian elite. Although Indianismo did

not imply the use of authentic Indian music (obviously it could not do so since no

systematic research on the music of the Brazilian Indians had been undertaken at the

time) its ideological turn was key to the nationalization of Brazilian music during the

Romantic period. The use of Indian and mestizo characters as archetypal figures in

mythical narratives of national foundation and ethnic identity allowed the expression of

the historicist view of nationhood through major musical genres (the opera and the

symphonic poem). Also, and perhaps most importantly, Indianismo provided a major

convention for expressing Brazilian uniqueness through the musical description of


Although a major topos in Brazilian literature and painting, landscape has not

been pursued as a category of its own by current studies on Brazilian music. In this

study I propose the recognition of Brazilian musical nationalism not only through the

use of “folk,” “popular” and “Indian” elements but also through the musical

description of local landscape. Landscape played an important role in the nationalization

of Brazilian music both from the perspective of production and early reception.

Landscape was the most referred topos by contemporary musical criticism as

expressing something particularly Brazilian. Also, I have tried to show in this study that

Brazilian composers made clear and sustained efforts toward the nationalization of

Brazilian music through the search of musical formulae of landscape description. Most

of these formulae relied on conventions and meanings previously constructed in

literature and the visual arts, such as the view of nature as poetic emotion, nature as a

local reality with local color, nature as historical locale, and nature as an Edenic locale in

its mythical and monumental dimensions. The increasing nationalization of musical

landscape, from Carlos Gomes to Villa-Lobos, relied on the musical painting of forest

murmurs and sounds associated with local nature and landscape, such as native bird

calls and the image of the sunrise. Brazilian music of the period reflects “the efforts to

construct a tradition focused on nature” that shaped Brazilian literature and visual arts.2

The meanings associated with landscape reflected different ideologies and

representations of Brazil as a nation, making the continuum from the Romantic

nationalist ideology of expressing national feelings to the Modern nationalist ideology

aiming to encapsulate the national essence.

The relevance of Indianismo and Landscape to the study of Brazilian music of

the period is seen both in their major role in contemporary reception and also in the

specific critical issues that shaped Brazilian literature and painting, and their reflections

on musical criticism and music historiography. Although current musicological studies

recognize Brazilian musical nationalism since the nineteenth century solely in the use of

folk and popular elements, the study of early reception shows that landscape also played

an important role in the nationalization of Brazilian music. Critical criteria of the early

reception of Brazilian music, especially landscape and the use of folklore as national

indexes, were eventually carried on to Brazilian musicological foundational writings.

Landscape was the major nationalist criterion making the historical continuity from the

early reception expressed in musical criticism of the daily or weekly press to the

scholarly representation legitimized by the publication of books on the music history in

Brazil. Chapter 1 deals with the latter body of Brazilian musical historiography offering

2 Coutinho 1973: 36.

a critical analysis from the perspective of the impact of literary criticism on Brazilian

musicology and the construction of musical nationalism.

Chapter 2 discusses the context in which the aforementioned works were

performed during official events of Brazilian First Republic. Chapter 2 also discusses

the development of symphonic concerts in Rio de Janeiro, the vogue of Wagnerism and

“the music of the future,” and their association with cosmopolitan ideals of

“progress” and “civilization.” The present study proposes that the lasting prestige of

Indianismo and Landscape in Brazilian music of the period is due to a large extent to

their continuous adjustment to new stylistic tendencies that could symbolize the

updating of Brazil through European culture, which allowed the gradual shaping of

Brazilian identity integrated into cosmopolitan culture. Brazilian composers combined

the Indianist subject of their operas and symphonic poems with European musical

techniques, genres and styles of their time and preference. Carlos Gomes set Il Guarany

as Italian grand opera; Delgado de Carvalho wrote Moema under the harmonic and

melodic influence of Massenet, and under the impact of the popularity of Mascagni’s

and Leoncavallo’s one-act operas; Francisco Braga wrote Marabá and Jupyra

influenced by Massenet and Wagner, and also adopted the one-act opera fashion; and,

finally, Villa-Lobos promoted the modernization of Indianismo both in its literary and

musical aspects with Uirapuru and Amazonas. From D. Pedro II’s “enlightened”

policy through the First Republic Positivist banner of “progress” until twentieth-

century early “Modernism,” the shaping of Brazilian identity in alignment with the

European world sustained the social validation of Brazilian composers to a great extent

in terms of their ability to master the European model.

Brazil’s goal of integration into the “civilized nations” implied not only the

interplay between “progress” and national symbols but also the social validation of

national achievement and worth. Carlos Gomes was the only Brazilian composer with

international recognition up to the First Republic. As a symbol of national achievement,

the public, the critics and composers of the following generations considered him a

national genius to be emulated or superseded. Indianismo and Landscape were the topoi

that gave him national and international recognition (Il Guarany and Lo Schiavo), and,

therefore, were taken, critically or not, as symbols of national expression. The historical

construction of the Carlos Gomes paradigm, especially during the 1890s, is discussed

more extensively in Chapter 3 based on coeval music criticism and composers’

correspondence currently available.

The association of Indianismo and Landscape with Brazilian literary and

pictorial traditions informed music with a range of meanings that were collectively

recognized by Brazilian official culture of the time. The process of associating meaning

with musical symbols is an important factor for explaining how identity is musically

constructed. This study approaches this issue by accessing the literary and pictorial

tradition informing the topoi selected by Brazilian composers as a basis for their

musical compositions, and the musical criticism that appeared in newspapers and

periodicals at the time of their early reception.

This study aims to determine the symbolic value of a work in its early reception

history by “reconstructing the categories and opinions of contemporary listeners,” and

therefore, not analyzing the work as a self-contained entity but understanding its

“cultural significance.”3 This study proposes to reconstruct contemporary values and

3 Dahlhaus 1983: 156.

meanings by contemplating how the ideologies and critical issues concerning

Indianismo and Landscape in literature and the visual arts may have charged the

production and early reception of Brazilian art music evoking those topoi. Chapters 4

and 5 show different emphasis on reception theory, literary ideological critique, and

imaginaires sociaux theory, due to the different sources available to reconstruct the

meanings associated with the topoi and works under discussion.

Chapter 4 on Indianismo gives a greater emphasis to literary ideological critique

analyzing how the operatic adaptation of Indianist novels and epics affected the

ideological discourse related to the myth of national foundation and the issue of inter-

ethnic contact and miscegenation. The simplification resulting from the adaptation of

literary works into librettos is not discussed as a matter of adjusting literary into operatic

conventions, but rather in its impact on the ideological level of those musical works. The

comparative analysis between the literary sources and the librettos considers (1) what

Indianist myths (among which, the frontier myth, the myth of national origins, the

mythical couple, the Edenic myth, the myth of the good Indian, the myth of primitive

savagery, the captive myth, the diluvian myth, the sacrificial myth, and the identification

of the Indian with surrounding nature) are maintained, omitted or deflated in the opera in

comparison to the literary work upon which it was based, and how this new setting of

mythical relations reconfigures the ideological message of the opera; (2) which

characters and episodes are omitted in the libretto, and what are the consequences for

protagonists’ characterization (from multi-dimensional to mono-dimensional, and from

figures of mythical dimensions to flawed humans), and for the contextualization of their

actions (motivations and past events deepening the meaning of present events and

actions), and how the characters’ decisions are constrained by their historical and

mythical destiny; and, finally, (3) how all those changes impact the mythical narrative

constructing the ideology of national identity conveyed by the opera.

Chapter 5 on Landscape gives a greater emphasis to reception theory and the

imaginaires sociaux theory. Chapter 5 aims to link internal musical analysis and

reception by identifying those aspects of musical discourse that were perceived by

contemporary audiences within the cultural framework of nationalism, Indianismo and

Landscape.4 The analytical interpretation of musical criticism from contemporary

periodicals and their interrelation with internal musical features is justified by the

phenomenon of “literarization of nineteenth-century music through figurative titles and

poetic programs,”5 showing that the hermeneutical attitude (content-related approach as

opposed to the idea of “absolute music”) permeated not only Brazilian composers’

intention but also the early reception of those musical works. The approach to the

relation between musical works and their associated meanings inferred from coeval

music criticism is informed by the categories and issues as defined by literary and visual

arts studies, and studies on Brazilian cultural history of the period, especially the ones

associated with the imaginaires sociaux theory.6 Chapter 5 shows that the different

attitudes towards landscape – namely, nature as poetic emotion, nature as a localized and

temporalized reality (nature as local color, and nature as historical locale), the Edenic

myth, and ufanismo (boastfulness) – shaped the increasing nationalization of Brazilian


4 This approach was particularly inspired by Kallberg (1990).

5 Daverio 1993: 8.
6 I expand the following proposal by Dahlhaus (1983: 163-4), “the analysis of literary evidence as a
way to access the symbolic value of a work in its early reception history,” so as to include not only
literary evidence but a wider range of extra-musical sources as approached by imaginaires sociaux
Indianismo and Landscape were closely related topoi. As far as the general

cultural setting (literature, painting, and music) is concerned, these topoi, although fairly

independent, frequently overlapped. As far as music is concerned, they provide the

historical continuity of nationalism in Brazilian art music. Chapters 4 and 5 are meant as

a unit, since they offer a broad picture of the development of musical nationalism in

relation to the changing views of Brazil as a nation. The present study proposes that the

continuing power of Indianismo and Landscape within Brazilian culture laid in the

continuous reformulation of their symbolic system so as to convey shifting ideologies.

From Carlos Gomes’ Il Guarany to Delgado de Carvalho’s Moema and Francisco

Braga’s Marabá and Jupyra, the construction of national identity evolves from the

ratification to the undoing of the myth of national foundation, from the positive to the

negative view of inter-ethnic contact and miscegenation, up to the representation of

Brazil as the land of outcasts. The development from approaching landscape as a

localized and temporalized reality aiming at “universal” aesthetics with works such as

Gomes’ Al chiaro di luna, Braga’s Paysage, and Oswald’s Il Neige, to conveying

landscape as a local reality (and with local color) with works such as Gomes’

“Alvorada,” Braga’s Marabá, Nepomuceno’s “Alvorada na serra” up to Villa-Lobos’

Uirapuru and Amazonas shows the increasing nationalization of musical landscape

culminating in the representation of the Brazilian “essence.” Therefore, from Gomes’

Il Guarany and “Alvorada” up to Villa-Lobos’s Uirapuru and Amazonas one may

identify a continuum from the historicist view of national identity constructed by

Indianismo to the essentialist view constructed by Landscape. Therefore, Indianismo

and Landscape should be regarded as a unit, not only because they frequently overlap,

but also because they make the continuum between two major views of national identity

from the nineteenth to the twentieth century, namely, the historicist to the essentialist


The overlapping of Indianismo and Landscape posed some challenge in the

distribution of some works within each chapter. Chapter 4 analyzes Indianismo’s

changing ideologies reflected in the operas Il Guarany, Moema, and Jupyra, with a brief

introduction to Marabá. Although the literary tradition of Marabá places the work

within Indianismo’s ideological issues, Braga’s symphonic poem on the subject is

mainly discussed in Chapter 5 because of its close association with Landscape topos by

its early reception. The modern Indianismo of Villa-Lobos’ Uirapuru and Amazonas

framed Indianismo even further within Landscape, for which reason those works are

discussed in Chapter 5.

The interaction between European style and national topics can reveal the extent

to which Brazilian composers were concerned with constructing national identity at that

historical moment, and, most importantly, how a given style relates to a given idea of

national identity. The interaction between the meanings associated with national topoi

and the genres that mediated them reflected changing conceptions of national identity.

Nineteenth-century Indianismo and the revival of its precursory works of the Colonial

period constructed a historicist view of Brazilian identity based on the myth of national

foundation, expressed in literature through epic poems and historical novels, and in

music through opera. Brazilian late nineteenth- and early twentieth- century elite culture

moved to an essentialist view of national identity by evoking social icons, Indian myths

and an “imagined landscape” that embodied the nation’s essence, and was expressed in

music through symphonic poems and ballets. For all that it entails, the association of

genres and topoi constructed discourses reflecting shifting conceptions of national

identity, from historicism to essentialism.

With this study, I hope to have contributed to the broadening of the current

understanding of the nationalist agenda of Brazilian composers from Carlos Gomes to

Villa-Lobos as well as of the cultural framework that constructed their repertoire of

national symbols. Brazilian musical nationalism should not be restricted to the idea of

regionalism and the use of folk and popular materials, but it should also embrace the

historicist and essentialist views constructed by Indianismo and Landscape.


This chapter deals with the musicological construction of Brazilian nationalism,

with special emphasis on the analysis of the foundation writings of Brazilian

musicology in the light of nineteenth-century scientific theories that shaped coeval

notions of national identity constructed by Brazilian socio-anthropological thought and

literary studies. Recent musical historiography will be discussed to the extent it has

retained or responded to the issues and views raised by Brazilian early musicological


Studies on Brazilian music have identified nineteenth- and twentieth-century

nationalism (ca. 1870s-1930s) only in the use of folk and popular materials by art

music composers. This approach was influenced by Silvio Romero’s work and reveals

how his version of the Volksgeist hypothesis informed Brazilian scholars well into the

twentieth-century. Recent musicological studies however have not given enough

attention to landscape as nationalist topos, which is somewhat surprising since the first

two books on music history in Brazil (Melo 1908 and Almeida 1926) reflected the

nationalist critical issues that shaped Brazilian literature, literary criticism, art and art

criticism. Local nature was a major element in the nationalization of Brazilian literature

and painting, as well as a valuational element in the criticism that constructed Brazilian

literary history. Most importantly, landscape was extremely relevant to Brazilian

music’s early reception since, as I argue in chapter 5, it was the topos most referenced

by contemporary criticism as expressing something particularly Brazilian.

Brazilian musicology was born and institutionalized in the first half of the

twentieth-century, during a period in which musical nationalism played a major role. The

first book on music history in Brazil, A música no Brasil, desde os tempos coloniais até

o primeiro decênio da República [Music in Brazil from Colonial times to the first

decade of the Republic] (1908), by Guilherme de Melo,1 opens with a statement of

purpose that reveals that the recognition of an entity that could be called “Brazilian

music” was not consolidated until the beginning of the twentieth century. The author

was strongly motivated to “write this book to show with undeniable proofs that we are

not a people without art and literature, as is usually said, and that at the least the music in

Brazil has distinctive and full national features.”2 The author’s need to claim the

existence of his subject of study points to the struggle for national identity with which

the Brazilian musical intelligentsia would increasingly engage. As part of the Brazilian

intelligentsia’s construction of national identity, the writing of Brazilian music history

would only make sense if some degree of originality and autonomy could be claimed

and proved concerning Brazilian musical features, expressiveness or style. The second

book on the subject, História da Música Brasileira [History of Brazilian Music]

(1926), by Renato Almeida,3 carries on the issue of national identity. Reflecting

Romero’s nationalist criterion as the basis of the construction of Brazilian literature,

Almeida views the history of Brazilian music as “the incessant search for its own


Brazilian uniqueness was explained through the Volksgeist hypothesis or the

ideology of the national character (“caráter national”). The historical construction of

1 Guilherme Teodoro Pereira de Melo (1867-1932), Brazilian musicologist, was appointed librarian of
the Instituto Nacional de Música in 1928. According to his Preface, he researched at the Instituto
Geográfico e Histórico da Bahia and at the Gabinete Português de Leitura to write his book.
2 Melo 1908: i. Unless otherwise stated, all translations are the author’s.
3 Renato Almeida (1895-1981), Brazilian folklorist and musicologist, published a second edition,
corrected and enlarged, in 1942.
4 Almeida 1926: 108.

Brazilian music upon the ideology of “caráter national” inaugurated by Melo and

Almeida remained in the mainstream of Brazilian musical historiography with Mário de

Andrade until the latest repercussion of Nationalist Modernism. Therefore, it is

important to understand the different theories accounting for the shaping of the

“national character” springing from the Recife school, or the “1870s generation.”

Since the “1870s generation,” the explanations concerning the formation of Brazilian

national character were based on two theories: geographic determinism and racial

determinism. According to geographic determinism, an anaylisis of the natural

environment of a nation (its topography and its climate) would determine its stage of

and potential for cultural “evolution.” Geographic determinism, also called

environmentalism, had its influence in Brazil through the writings of Montesquieu,

Buffon, Haeckel, Ratzel and Buckle.5 According to racial determinism, the evolutionary

stage of a nation would be determined by the racial “superiority” or “inferiority” of its

people. The cultural differences among the nations were determined by their racial

stock. Racial determinism had Gobineau as its most influential representative in Brazil.6

A more comprehensive framework was offered by the integral determinism of Taine that

included three factors: race, environment and historical moment.7

5 Charles-Louis Montesquieu’s De l’esprit des lois (1748) was a forerunner in the formulation of a
general theory of climate applied to the different cultures of the entire planet. George-Luis Leclerc
Buffon’s Discours sur le style (1753) and Histoire naturelle de l’homme (1749-89) adopted
Montesquieu’s climateic theory. Henry Thomas Buckle (1821-1862), English historian affiliated with
positivism and determinism, applied the methods of science to history. Ernest Heinrich Haeckel (1834-
1919), German biologist and philosopher who defended the fusion of scientific and philosophical
knowledge and created monism, a naturalist and psychological theory that applied Darwin evolutionism
to the entire universe. Haeckel’s Histoire de la création des êtres organisés d’aprés les lois naturelles
(1884) offered a world map illustrating the influence of geographic determinism in differentiating the
many human races. See Ventura (1991: 19-43) for a detailed discussion on the influence of
Montesquieu, Buffon, and Buckle in Brazilian literary criticism.
6 The count Gobineau was a close friend of Emperor D. Pedro II.
7 Hippolyte Adolphe Taine (1828-1893), French literary critic and historian, applied determinism to art
and literary history, which supposedly corresponded to the intellectual and spiritual evolution of each
Geographic determinism had its Brazilian version with Araripe Júnior’s theory

of obnubilação brasílica (Brazilian languishment).8 The obnubilação brasílica was an

environmentalist theory that derives directly from Taine’s three factors (race,

environment, and historical moment) and Buckle’s environmentalism, and indirectly

from Montesquieu and Buffon. With the obnubilação brasílica theory, “Araripe

emphasized environment rather than race by asserting the overwhelming impact of

nature on man, which explains the adjustments and transformations on the European

[settler] incited by the tropical nature and way of life.”9

Racial determinism had its supporter in the figure of Silvio Romero.10 Although

Romero considered race the most determining factor in the formation of Brazilian

culture, he did not hold racial determinism in its entirety. According to Romero’s theory

of miscegenation, the “degeneration” brought by racial mixing could be redeemed by

the continuing whitening (“branqueamento”) of the Brazilian people through racial and

cultural contact with the European.

The parameters of race and environment were the epistemological basis of

Brazilian intellectuals between the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century.
These two concepts are key to the understanding of Brazilian history written
during this period. It was not by chance that Os Sertões [by Euclides da Cunha]
opens with two long, tiresome chapters on The Land and The Man. Silvio
Romero’s first studies on folklore [Popular Songs in Brazil] divided Brazilian
population into inhabitants of the forests, the seashores and riverbanks, the
backlands, and the cities. Nina Rodrigues [Human races and penal
responsibility in Brazil], in his analysis of the Brazilian penal code, makes
numerous considerations regarding the environment’s impact upon man’s

society.For further discussion on the influence of nineteenth-century scientificism on Brazilian

intelectuals, see Candido (1945), Leite (1954), Sodré (1961), Skidmore (1974), Lima (1981), Ortiz
(1985), Ventura (1991), Schwartz (1993), and Weber (1997).
8 Tristão de Alencar Araripe Júnior (1848-1911), Brazilian literary critic and historian, one of the
members of the Escola do Recife, and founding-member of the Academia Brasileira de Letras.
9 Bosi 1978: xiv-xvi.
10 Silvio Vasconcelos da Silveira Ramos Romero (1851-1914), Brazilian literary critic and historian,
one of the members of the Escola do Recife, and founding-member of the Academia Brasileira de Letras.
psychological characteristics. … Environment and race were epistemological
categories that defined the interpretative framework of Brazilian reality.11

The factors, race and environment, had very specific meanings in the nineteenth-

century scientificist theories, and do not exactly coincide with the notions that were later

attached to them. In order to understand where Brazilian early construction of its music

history comes from, Melo’s and Almeida’s writings must be brought to the light of

those scientificist theories in vogue in Brazil during the late-nineteenth and early-

twentieth century. Without neglecting the lasting influence of later interpretations of

Melo’s and Almeida’s writings based upon new notions of race and environment that

came to operate after the 1930s, and Almeida’s own theoretical turn after the 1940s, this

study proposes to discuss Melo’s (1908) and Almeida’s (1926) books from the

perspective of the theoretical frameworks that were most likely to have informed their

conception rather than from the ones that came to function after their publication.

Both Melo and Almeida relied to some extent on the same determinist theories

that informed the historical construction of Brazilian literature since the influential

writings of Silvio Romero and Araripe Júnior. As most intellectuals tuned with the

“new ideas” of the “1870s generation,” Melo and Almeida considered race and

environment as shaping factors of the “national character,” and, therefore, of Brazilian

music and culture. See, for instance, how the following statement by Melo exposing his

approach reveals the same critical issues established by literary studies as indexes of

nationality, namely, local nature or landscape, and ethnic groups making up Brazilian

people and culture:

… I sought for the ethnic laws governing the formation of the genius, the spirit
and the character of Brazilian people and their music, as well as of its ethnology;
in other words, how the Portuguese people changed under the influence of the
American climate and the contact with the Indian and the African, constituting

11 Ortiz 1985: 16.

the mestiço or the Brazilian properly speaking.12 [Note that, in this instance,
Melo does not use the term “race” but “ethnicity.”]

The “influence of the American climate,” mentioned in the excerpt above,

should be interpreted within the theoretical framework of environmentalism and the

dissemination of Araripe Júnior’s theory of obnubilação brasílica among Brazilian

intellectuals. This theory, which is evoked only briefly by Melo, will be fully developed

by Renato Almeida two decades later. Almeida will then propound his own version of

obnubilação brasílica theory applied to music. This theory would soon be abandoned

by Mário de Andrade and the subsequent musicologists.

Melo also advocates local nature as a nationalist topos of Brazilian music. As in

the nationalist ideation (“ideário nacionalista”) of nineteenth-century literature and

painting, nature was a major element differentiating Brazilian from European cultural

expressions. Melo admonishes that “it is necessary to seek inspiration in its pure

fountain, to drink the water that falls directly from the stone; to feel the earth with free

spirit from all prejudices, and not to try to see the Brazilian landscape entangled in

European nature.”13

Although Melo recognizes the importance of the natural environment, the most

direct references to the way music embodies national identity are related to Silvio

Romero’s version of the Volksgeist hypothesis. As Romero had done in literature, Melo

emphasized folk and popular traditions as sources for national music. Citing M. Julien

Tiersot, Melo writes that “popular music is the substratum upon which are based all the

different layers of music from its beginnings until the present.”14 This idea is closely

related to nineteenth-century Volksgeist hypothesis, according to which “the national

12 Melo 1908: 6.
13 Melo 1908: 113.
14 Melo 1908: 58.
spirit manifests itself at an elementary level in folk music and at a high level in art


The musical works selected by Melo as “important works” by Brazilian

composers corroborate the influence of the Volksgeist hypothesis and its emphasis on

folklore and the popular: Nepomuceno’s Galhofeira, “a piece with local color

composed with art” and A. Levy’s Variações sobre um tema brasileiro, “which shows

the composer’s great inventive power and perfect musical education.”16 For Melo,

popular music is the basis for the culture of a people, and culture evolves historically

and constructs the tradition of a people.

Music must do the same as architecture: to delve in history the pilasters of its
foundation, and to make the pedestal of its great works from its tradition. Thus
Wagner, the greatest drama composer of the nineteenth century, and also one of
the most energetic and deepest thinkers of all times, created the German school.
It was from the legends and traditions of his homeland that this great composer
created his masterly operas.17

For Melo, Volksgeist was at play not only as an element of national identity but

also, as in the nineteenth-century European nationalism, in the formation of “the

national character of music [which] would ensure for it a place in universal art.”18 See,

for instance, the following statement:

We feel however in the splendid environment surrounding us, in the energies of

our spirit, the genius that will allow us to create Brazilian music as a marvelous
motive of the universal aesthetics.19

Melo’s work was truly a nationalist manifesto, two decades before Mário de

Andrade’s celebrated Ensaio sobre a música brasileira [Essay on Brazilian music]

(1928). Melo describes the music, musical instruments, genres, and the musicality of

15 Dahlhaus 1989: 82.

16 Melo 1908: 303, 311.
17 Melo 1908: 57.
18 Dahlhaus 1989: 84.
19 Melo 1908: 113.
each ethnic group (Chapter 1, “A influência indígena” [The Indigenous influence];

Chapter 2, “A influência portuguesa, africana e espanhola” [The Portuguese, African

and Spanish influences]), and proposes a general program for the nationalization of art

music, including some specific guidelines for the nationalization of Brazilian opera. In

those guidelines, however, there is no mention of ways in which landscape could be

translated into music. Melo enumerates ways in which folk and popular music could be

integrated into European musical language so as to create a distinctive Brazilian style.

Is it possible that Brazil - the land of music par excellence, where it is difficult to
say what is the most exuberant, if its fauna, its flora, or its music – cannot have
artists who could, as Glinka and Grieg, create national opera out of the popular
songs, the true flowers of national feelings? It is not only the Brazilian modinha
that can serve as a theme or as a basis for the foundation of national opera, as
some European learned men have said, among them lord Beckford, the critic and
historian Stafford, and the famous publicist Freycinet. Our legends and
traditional songs, if treated with art and mindfulness, be it as leitmotiv, main
theme of each act, solo, duetto, aria, cavatina, romance, etc., can be excellent
factors for the foundation of national opera. The Brazilian artist must forge art
as much as possible according to the nativist models that bear the national
feeling, but should also respect the general and fundamental forms of art, which,
as we all know, are cosmopolitan and do not have nationality.20

Melo also expresses the consciousness of music as a socio-cultural

phenomenon with some doses of cultural relativism by recognizing that “the accurate

criteria for assessing the manifestation of the aesthetic genius of a people in any art or

literature lies in the understanding of the social phenomena and forms of each

civilization.”21 However, that socio-cultural approach would only be effected in studies

of Brazilian folk and popular music with the work of Mário de Andrade two decades


Renato Almeida (1895-1981)’s História da Música Brasileira (1926) maintains

Melo’s basic view of Brazilianness in music. On the one hand, Almeida recognizes the

20 Melo 1908: 59-60.

21 Melo 1908: 56.
impact of tropical nature on Brazilian psychology and soul. On the other hand, the

author emphasizes folk and popular expressions in the shaping of national culture.

Renato Almeida is the music scholar who states most clearly the influence of the Recife

School on his work: firstly, by dedicating his book to Graça Aranha,22 the writer and

intellectual who is credited with having carried Recife School’s modern thought to

twentieth-century modernists,23 and, secondly, by developing extensively the theoretical

basis of his aesthetic and critical standpoint.

The introduction “A sinfonia da terra,” [The earth’s symphony]24 which is

frequently skipped by today’s readers because of its embellished writing style, is

exactly where Almeida lays out his aesthetic and critical standpoint. As in Melo’s case,

Almeida’s introduction reflects the influence of literary criticism on music criticism;

namely, the influence of Araripe Júnior’s idea of obnubilação brasílica on Almeida’s

conception of the formation of Brazilian music. Following environmentalist and Araripe

Júnior’s theories, Almeida considered that the “national character” was mostly shaped

by its natural environment rather than by its racial stock. In his introduction Almeida

formulates at length his own version of the obnubilação brasílica theory in Brazilian

music dramatized by the struggle of generations of Portuguese, and later Brazilians, with

tropical nature. Almeida’s introduction will be transcribed in its entirety due to the

importance of its line of reasoning.

First, Almeida describes the tropical environment and its wonders, so one can

understand later his explanation of the impact of nature on individuals. The excessive

use of poetic language in the first paragraph is not simply an exercise of erudition but

22 Graça Aranha (1868-1931) was a pupil of Tobias Barreto, the leading figure of the Recife School.
23 Martins 1977-8, 6: 55; Moraes 1978; and Paes 1992: 15-6.
24 Almeida 1926: 11-17.
rather indicative of the author’s view of nature’s overpowering sensorial impressions

upon humankind’s rationality as well as a metaphorical (or metalinguistic) description

of tropical nature’s musicality.

The surrounding world is all allegory. Girdled by light, things shine and
shimmer touched by gold as in a marvelous flaming. Colors create and
transfigure in subtle, fickle glares among intense tones and light motives in an
amazing harmony. The sun singes, burns the forests, scalds the land and sets on
the sea refinement of sparkles giving joy and torpor, astonishment and
melancholy to nature. In the forest, leaves blister, tree trunks crack from which
warm resins outpour, and even the earth splits out in a voluptuous and cruel
anxiety. The vibration is a hallucination. It gives not only color but also sound.
See the prodigious symphony rising up! Red screams, green melodies, dried
leaves noise, lilac sobbing, and gray imprecations. It is the jungle’s voice
blaring. Sounds of violins, oboes, flutes, cellos, drums, bassoons and tympani
harmonizing a barbarian and grandiose rhythm. Even silence is a disturbing, low
toned voice that resonates and scares. Everything sings; the moaning stalks, the
murmuring rivers, the cascades in choral, the clicking cigarras, the buzzing bees
and moscardos, and all the birds, canaries, arapongas and coleiros, in polytonal
singing and screaming. The wild flowers and fierce fruits are vibrant notes in
this place where everything is sound, in this hesitant rumor of the chaste earth
which is all in all a song of joy and ecstasy.25

Then, Almeida tells the venture of the Portuguese in the tropics in its

psychological dimensions. Almeida’s account has obvious similarities with Araripe

Júnior’s explanation of the process of obnubilação brasílica. Almeida adds the musical

counterpart to the struggle between humankind and nature, reason and natural order.

25 “O mundo em torno é todo ele uma alegoria. Ao meio da luz, rebrilham e fulguram as coisas,
tocadas de oiro, como num incêndio maravilhoso. A cor cria e transfigura, nos reflexos cambiantes e
sutis, entre os tons intensos e os motivos suaves, numa surpreendente harmonia. O sol esbraseia,
queima as florestas, escalda a terra e põe no mar requintes de brilhos, dando à natureza a alegria e o
torpor, o deslumbramento e a melancolia. Na mata, torram as folhagens, arrebentam os troncos, donde
escorrem as resinas mornas, e a terra mesma se abre, numa ânsia cruel e voluptuosa. A soalheira é uma
alucinação. Não só dá cor, mas também som. Vêde a sinfonia prodigiosa que se levanta! Gritos
vermelhos, melopéias verdes, alaridos de folhas secas, soluços lilazes e imprecações cinzentas. São as
vozes da selva que estrugem. Sons de violinos e oboés, flautas, violoncelos, tambores, fagotes e
timbales, harmonizando um ritmo bárbaro e grandioso. Até o silêncio é uma voz grave e perturbadora,
que ressoa e amedronta. Tudo canta; as ramarias gementes, os rios murmurosos, as cascatas em corais,
as cigarras estridentes, os bezouros e os moscardos zumbindo e a passarada, na politonia dos gorjeios e
gritos, dos canários, das arapongas e dos coleiros. As flores silvestres e os frutos bravos são notas
vibrantes e em tudo há som, nesse rumor indeciso da terra virgem, que é toda inteira um canto de alegria
e de êxtase.”
Man came traversing the sea by caravels with nostalgia of the distant homeland,
and acclimatized in the ardent environment of the strange world. Fatigue and
lassitude followed astonishment, and [man] was humiliated by the brutal rhythm
of nature, eloquent in its feast of light and sound, because the tessitura of his
voice was too paltry to match the resounding orchestration. Desolated and sad,
melancholic in a golden palace with precious stones, man cried, and his singing
was a sorrowful melody of longing that came out of his scared heart in the
fulgor of the new land. The timbres of Brazilian symphony, which belittled the
daring foreigner, did not resound [make sense] in the weak imagination of the
European. It was earth’s first defense against the fearless conqueror. Earth
humiliated him and sung a painful, melancholic song in the middle of the
endless flurry of its astounding harmonies.26

The confrontation between nature’s music and man’s music is more than a

metaphor for the struggle between nature and civilization. The author maintains not only

that nature’s sounds impress upon humans, but also that the historical situation of

colonization conditions a psychological characteristic of the new Portuguese and

Brazilian offspring that will be expressed through the sentimentality of their music.

Man still has the superiority of which the great Pascal warns him: you can cry
out to every thing – you do not think but I do! Man would dominate the wild
land with his music of strident metals and long melodies. In the same way man
would not be afraid of facing nature to win her over, crossing the dreadful,
mysterious jungle on every side in dauntless expeditions, he would not silence
himself before the thousand-voice concert. He would sing, although sadly, until
his offspring born in the prodigious setting would feel through the heat of their
blood the harmonious language of the things around, interpreting it and joining
their voices with nature’s in an exalting tone. The ones who were born in the
new country were marked by innate astonishment. They were imaginative. The
wild land’s drive vibrated in their soul but melancholy was still in the bottom of
their heart. Ecstasy ceased once in a while to give place to sadness and
weariness, which were then translated by the lyric strings of acrid
sentimentalism. That pain of their parents remained with them as an implacable
tribute to an origin foreign to the American world. Earth revenges his defiler
once again. As long as nature’s voice resounds in their ears, nostalgia will lash

26 “O homem, que veio singrando os mares nas caravelas, com a nostalgia da pátria distante, pasmou-se
no meio ardente do mundo estranho. Ao deslumbramento sucedeu a fadiga e a lassidão e, ao ritmo brutal
da natureza, eloquente na sua festa de luz e de som, ficou humilhado, porque a tessitura da sua voz era
mesquinha para se altear na orquestração fortíssima. Desolado e triste, melancólico num palácio de ouro
e pedrarias, chorou, e seu canto foi uma melopéia dolente, de saudade, que lhe irrompia do coração
amedrontado no fulgor da terra nova. Na sua fraca imaginativa de europeu não se afinavam os timbres da
sinfonia brasileira, que amesquinhava o estrangeiro ousado. Era a primeira defesa da terra contra o
conquistador audaz. Humilhava-o. Cantaria uma canção dolorosa e melancólica, por entre o alvoroço
perene de suas harmonias formidáveis.”
their hearts of belittled men. This is the basis of the sadness of Brazilian

The uniqueness of Brazilian musicality is now asserted and further explained in

terms of environmental determinism: “we could only be musical.” Tropical nature not

only conditions Brazilian musicality but also grants its originality. The text closes with a

nationalist manifesto that emphasizes the importance of natural environment rather than

of ethnic culture in the shaping of Brazilian musicality.

We could only be musical. Only cold natures are silent and our nature
symphonizes its own light. The forms of popular song, and the autochthonous
and imported transformations are of little importance; what remains is the
Brazilian rhythm with a golden color, full of sunlight, fulgent, and marvelous.
We will create our music with Brazilian rhythm, and those who despise it will
build nothing that will last, because works are flimsy out of their environment. It
is with this crude stone that we will carve the ideal statue, which will reborn to
the blow of the genius, in flesh and blood, translucid and alive. We must listen to
the earth’s voice and create the rhythm of our profound and immortal art.
Hybridization only produces monsters. We must learn how to make every beat
of the natural concert a motive of art and then we will create our own sounding

27 “Resta, porém, ao homem a superioridade de que avisa o grande Pascal: pode gritar às coisas – tu não
pensas e eu penso! Dominaria assim a terra bravia, com sua música de metais estridentes e melodias
largas. Da mesma forma que não temeria o embate da natureza para vencê-la, varando de lado a lado, em
bandeiras destemidas, a selva misteriosa e terrível, não se calaria ante o seu concerto de mil vozes.
Cantaria, triste embora, até que seus filhos, já nascidos no cenário prodigioso, pudessem sentir no calor
do sangue essa linguagem harmoniosa das coisas, interpretando-a e unindo a sua voz à delas no mesmo
tom de exaltação. Os que nasceram no país novo, já traziam a marca do deslumbramento. Eram
imaginosos. Fremiam-lhes na alma as ânsias da terra rude, mas no íntimo do coração ficara o travo de
melancolia. O êxtase, por vezes cessa, para dar lugar à tristeza e ao abatimento, que se traduzem nas
cordas líricas de um sentimentalismo um pouco amargo. Aquela dor de seus pais, perdura neles, como
um tributo implacável da origem diferente ao mundo americano. Mais uma vez a terra se vinga de seu
desvirginador. Enquanto ressoarem nos seus ouvidos as vozes da natureza, aperta-lhes o coração a
nostalgia de amesquinhados. Esse é o fundo de tristeza da psique brasileira.”
28 “Não podíamos deixar de ser musicais. Só as naturezas frias são mudas e a nossa sinfoniza a própria
luz. Pouco importam as formas do canto popular, as modificações autóctones ou importadas; ficou o
ritmo brasileiro, com uma cor dourada, cheia de sol, fulgente, maravilhosa. Com ele havemos de criar a
nossa música e os que o desprezarem não construirão nada de definitivo, porque fora do meio as obras
são precárias. Nessa massa rude é que havemos de plasmar a estátua ideal, que renascerá ao sopro do
gênio, com carne e sangue, viva e translúcida. Ouçamos as vozes da terra e criaremos o ritmo de nossa
arte, profunda e imortal. As enxertias só produzem monstros. Saibamos fazer de todos os toques do
concerto natural um motivo de arte e criaremos o nosso mundo sonoro.”
The acknowledgement of the obnubilação brasílica theory as a guiding concept

in Almeida’s thinking is key to the interpretation of his statement “works are flimsy out

of their environment,” since for Almeida “environment” is nature rather than social

milieu. Considering the influence of Araripe’s obnubilação brasílica theory, which

reinterpreted Taine’s trilogy (race, environment and historical moment) through

Buckle’s emphasis on natural environment, Almeida usually refers to “environment”

meaning primarily “nature.” If Araripe had reinterpreted Taine’s trilogy with emphasis

on historical moment, then one could maintain that Almeida reference to “environment”

implied significantly in social context. Since this is not the case, it would be misleading

to take this particular instance of Almeida’s text as an indication of his sociological


The short statement “hybridization only produces monsters” in Almeida’s

above quoted paragraph reveals the prejudice against miscegenation supported by

nineteenth-century racist scientificism, which is very likely to have informed Almeida’s

preference of nature over race in defining Brazilian uniqueness in proposing that “we

must learn how to make every beat of the natural concert a motive of art and then we will

create our own sounding world.” Considering that Almeida was one of the greatest

promoters of folklore studies in Brazil, his statement about hybridization reveals how

uncomfortable Brazilian intelligentsia was in relation to Brazil’s ethnic stock in the first

decades of the twentieth century. Almeida’s perplexity was not different from Romero’s

or Araripe Júnior’s. Although Almeida’s pragmatic work as a folklorist had more in

common with Romero, his theory of nationalism proposed in his book of 1926 had

more in common with Araripe Júnior.

Almeida admonishes that Brazilian composers should not let the necessary

European schooling to suppress the expression of Brazilian uniqueness and newness.

Although Brazilian composers should learn how to operate upon the European

framework, they should function within a Brazilian frame of mind. The obnubilação

brasílica theory informs Almeida’s nationalist manifesto in urging Brazilian composers

to free themselves from the European bias and delve into the impact of tropical nature so

that their subjectivity will be fully shaped by their environment and express musically

the uniqueness of Brazilian character.

Do not let the lesson that we must learn cut the freshness of our voice, trap us in
prejudices, or blind our eyes! It is necessary to feel the brutal contact with the
universe to keep the mark of the indomitable force that art transfigures without
waning. Let’s be artists touched by our marvelous habitat, where each spirit
must be free and sincere, and feel intensively the mystery of things. In the drives
of imagination and fears of melancholy, let’s make our ecstatic and gentle song
of heroism, tenderness, and pain. The artist, who is a creator of values, cannot
isolate himself from his environment without falling into sterile artificialism.
Enough is to transform life as it presents itself before him in motives of deep
emotion, force and beauty. It is a work of creation, an ever-renewing miracle
shining in man’s genius. The temperament does not eschew from its
environment. Instead, the heat of the environment helps to shape all forms in
which temperament reveals itself. Environment is a category inseparable from
our spirit.29

The overly florid style of Almeida’s text has provoked a negative reaction by

recent scholars concerned with more “academic” or “scientific” approaches to the

study of Brazilian music. However, it is important to realize that the implied meanings of

29 “Que a lição que tivermos de aprender não nos tolde a frescura da voz, não nos encadeie em
preconceitos, não nos escureça os olhos! É preciso sentir o contacto brutal com o universo para guardar
a marca de sua força indomável, que a arte transfigura sem apoucar. Sejamos os artistas comovidos do
nosso habitat maravilhoso, onde cada espírito deve ser livre e sincero, sentindo intensamente o mistério
das coisas. Nos arroubos da imaginação e nos temores da melancolia, façamos o nosso canto extasiado
ou suave, de heroismo, de ternura, ou de dor. O artista, que é um criador de valores, não se pode isolar
do meio sem cair no artificialismo falso e infecundo. Basta-lhe transformar a vida, como se lhe
apresenta, em motivos de emoção profunda, de força, ou de beleza. É a obra de criação, milagre sempre
renovado e fulgurante no gênio dos homens. O temperamento não refoge ao ambiente, mas em todas as
formas que tomar, o seu calor terá auxiliado a modelagem. É uma categoria inseparável do nosso
the metaphors used by Almeida derive from the scientificist view of culture from which

he drew, namely, Taine’s, Buckle’s and Araripe Júnior’s theories of the impact of

nature on individuals and therefore in the shaping of culture. It is from this perspective

that one must interpret Almeida’s discourse constructed upon metaphors in commenting

on the works by Brazilian composers. For instance, later in the book Almeida touches

on the issue of Brazilian landscape by noting its impact on Carlos Gomes’ soul and


Carlos Gomes … had in his eyes the suggestive spectacle of our landscape in its
radiant color and constant wonderment since his childhood. This symphony of
majestic chords would never fade from his ears, and the admirable, strong
impression of the land would remain in his spirit. The clear lines of this first
contact with nature would resonate in his work.30

Tropical nature is also an important element in Villa-Lobos’ music. Villa-Lobos

is a “transfigurador” [transfigurator] and his imagination “develops itself by the

impressions of the environment … as a deep suggestion of the marvelous nature.”31

Almeida mentions neither the works nor the ways in which Gomes and Villa-

Lobos express their sense of nature, but he does mention it in relationship to

Nepomuceno and Francisco Braga. In Chapter 4 “Tendências da música brasileira”

[Tendencies of Brazilian music] Almeida remarks how Alberto Nepomuceno’s music

reveals the composer’s “deep sense of nature.”32

Nepomuceno’s work has the warmth and vibration, the sense of exorbitant
nature that makes man melancholic. … The pictorial note dominates over the
psychological, but the latter comes out sometimes in the sentimentality of many
musics as in his admirable songs that remind us of the vague and luminous
spirit of the land in the gracious fantasy of the motives. The aroused emotion

30 “Carlos Gomes … teve nos olhos desde menino o espetáculo sugestivo da nossa paisagem, em suas
cores radiosas e num deslumbramento constante. Essa sinfonia de acordes majestosos não se lhe
apagaria mais dos ouvidos, e a impressão admirável e pujante da terra, lhe perduraria no espírito. Na sua
obra fulgiriam as linhas claras desse primeiro contato com a natureza.” (Almeida 1926: 84)
31 Almeida 1926: 174.
32 Almeida 1926: 119.

reveals the artist’s profound sincerity towards nature, be it in the skies, in the
forests, or in people’s heart. The artist’s songs are pages of strange flavor and
intense poetry in which natural and sentimental lyricism are fused in a prolonged
vibration of ecstasy and love. There is an instinctive lyricism of exaltation,
tenderness and melancholy in Nepomuceno’s art.33

Almeida believes that Brazilian melancholy and nostalgia result from the impact

of nature on human beings, and considers them “the supreme motif of Brazilian art.”

The prelude to Garatuja, written with sweetness and dream, has the warm smell
of earth and expresses the pantheism that tends to love things rather than
decipher them. Nepomuceno felt nature with an ardent inspiration and revealed it
sincerely with notes coming from his heart. … The Série Brasileira [Brazilian
Series] for orchestra shows this spirit of intimacy with nature … brilliantly
flashing in those pages with light and clarity, in its vibrant and marked
expressions, now in intense colors, now in vague notes of a popular motive. …
The grace of his songs is sometimes melancholic, and its lyricism is sometimes
spirited, sometimes affectionate; it is the Brazilian nostalgia of which
Nepomuceno was one of the most sensitive poets. The strange environment, as
we have already shown, makes us sad and we decipher life through the resulting
melancholy. It is the supreme motive of Brazilian art.34

If Nepomuceno’s music expresses and paints nature reflecting nature’s

psychological impact upon the composer, Braga’s music humanizes nature by

conferring it with the emotional attributes of the very culture that nature had affected.

33 “A sua obra [Nepomuceno’s] tem o calor e a vibração, o sentido da natureza exorbitante, que
melancoliza o homem. … A nota pictural domina mais do que a psicológica, mas essa remonta por
vezes, na sentimentalidade de muitas músicas, como nessas admiráveis canções que, ao ouvi-las, se nos
acorda na memória esse vago e luminoso espírito da terra, na fantasia graciosa dos motivos. A emoção
que desperta revela a profunda sinceridade do artista com a natureza, seja nos céus, seja nas matas, ou
seja no coração da gente. Suas canções são páginas de um sabor estranho e de uma poesia intensa, em
que se fundem o lirismo natural com o sentimental, numa vibração prolongada, de êxtase e amor. Na
arte de Nepomuceno há um naturalismo instintivo, de exaltação, de ternura, ou de melancolia.”
(Almeida 1926: 116-7)
34 “No prelúdio do Garatuja, feito com doçura e enlevo, com um cheiro quente da terra, freme um

panteismo amigo das coisas, mais para amá-las do que para decifrá-las. É que sentiu a natureza como
uma inspiração ardente e a revelou sinceramente, em notas vindas do coração. … A Série Brasileira
para orquestra mostra esse espírito próximo da natureza … e que fulge nessas páginas cheias de luz e de
claridade, nas suas expressões vibrantes e marcadas, ora num colorido intenso, ora na leve anotação de
um motivo popular. … Das suas canções … a graça por vezes é melancólica, e o lirismo, ora
espirituoso, ora comovido, é a suave nostalgia brasileira, de que Nepomuceno foi um dos poetas mais
sensíveis. O meio estranho, já o mostramos, nos faz tristes e, na melancolia resultante, vamos
decifrando a vida. É o motivo máximo da arte brasileira.” (Almeida 1926: 117-8)
[Francisco Braga] is a meritorious landscaper in Marabá. In this work he gives
us the impression of our endless, thick forests in the happiness of the sunrise
when everything turns gold in a radiant wonderment of light. One hears
Marabá’s sad song in this ambience and all voices join in the same lyricism as if
the ardent nature needed to humanize itself in that indefinable sorrow. In the
same way Jupyra, the prelude of which is above all a very Brazilian page, is a
poem of our nature in reflecting that melancholy to which we are led by the
surrounding world in its overwhelming opulence.35

In commenting on Villa-Lobos’ music, Almeida reiterates his affiliation to the

obnubilação brasílica theory:

If we needed a vibrant, living proof of the idea we have insisted upon in this
essay, i.e., the influence of the environment upon the artwork, Villa-Lobos’
music would give us the most absolute demonstration. He is neither merely a
landscaper that imitates nature nor a folklorist that stylizes popular motives, but
rather an expansive personality who has the spirit of the land nourishing his art
with the vitality of nature, the melancholy of man, and the uncertain Brazilian
psyche … the characteristics of the Brazilian soul.36

Chapter 1, “A música popular” [Popular music], reveals the broader impact of

the Recife School on Renato Almeida. In this chapter the author continues to lay out his

aesthetic and critical standpoint integrating Araripe Júnior’s obnubilação brasílica

theory with Taine’s three factors (race, environment, and historical moment) and Silvio

Romero’s emphasis on race.

Almeida defines the Volksgeist of “the three races forming the Brazilian

nationality”37 (the Indian, the Black, and the Portuguese), and proposes a series of

35 “Em Marabá [Francisco Braga] é um paisagista de mérito, dando-nos a impressão das nossas matas
espessas e intermináveis, na alegria do amanhecer, quando tudo faz oiro num radioso deslumbramento de
luz. O canto triste de Marabá se ouve nesse ambiente e todas as vozes se unem no mesmo lirismo,
como se a natureza ardente precisasse se humanizar naquela mágoa indefinível. Por igual Jupyra, cujo
prelúdio sobretudo é uma página muito brasileira, é um poema da nossa natureza, no reflexo dessa
melancolia a que somos levados pelo próprio mundo que nos cerca, na sua transbordante opulência.”
(Almeida 1926: 129-30)
36 “Se precisássemos de uma viva e fulgurante demonstração pelo que vimos insistindo neste ensaio,
sobre a influência do meio na obra de arte, a música do Sr. Villa-Lobos nos daria a mais absoluta. Sem
ser um simples paisagista, que copiasse a natureza, nem um folklorista, que viesse aproveitando os
motivos populares para estilizações, sendo antes uma personalidade exorbitante, o Sr. Villa-Lobos tem
a animar a sua arte o espírito da terra, no fulgor da natureza, na melancolia do homem, enfim na incerta
psique brasileira … os característicos da alma brasileira.” (Almeida 1926: ?)
37 Almeida 1926: 31.

psychological characteristics making up their music. The shaping of melancholy, the

common feeling among all three ethnic groups, reveals more clearly how Almeida

articulates Taine’s three factors with Volksgeist:

In the case of new countries, the popular motive came with the conqueror and
reflects this pain of adjustment to which the daring spirit was dedicated. Among
us, in the ardor of exuberant tropical nature, the song was melancholic.
Melancholic was the Indian, hidden away and indolent, who lived full of
nostalgia in a perpetual awe for the surrounding things; melancholic was the
Portuguese, daring but sad, living out in the sea and longing for his homeland,
always in his heart; melancholic was the Black, hunted, stolen and slaved, who
suffered in captivity an incurable, annihilating pain. All voices raised in this
contrasting scenario of magnificent brilliance. The Brazilian soul keeps this
tragic core in which man is afraid of nature and tries to win her through exalted
imagination but falls in tiredness and languor. One cannot find a more vivid
symbol of this first encounter with the environment, of this restless, painful
ecstasy before a hurting hugeness, than in popular song that condenses the
endless melancholy like the marvelous, wild flower’s perfume. It is the mirror of
fear, exaltation, and sadness of human soul that looks at nature as if it was a
phantom, and sees malevolent gods in frightening things.38

Like Melo, Almeida also shares the Volksgeist hypothesis, according to which

the collective spirit of a people is “the truly fundamental, creative and stimulating

element in art.”39

Art needs eternal material for perpetual construction. This material is the soul of
each people, the sum of their joy and pain, the secret inclinations and the violent
drives, the unfulfilled desires and the bitter deceptions, enfin, human experience
in life’s suffering. The peculiar tendencies that mark people in similar

38 “Nos povos novos, o motivo popular veio com o conquistador e reflete essa dor da adaptação, em
que sagrou seu espírito audacioso. Entre nós, no ardor da natureza tropical, cheia de fulgurações, o canto
foi melancólico. Melancólico era o índio fugidio e indolente, que vivia a vida cheio de nostalgia, num
perpétuo espanto pelas coisas que o cercavam; melancólico era o lusitano, ousado mas triste, vivendo
no mar e com a saudade da pátria sempre no coração; melancólico era o negro, caçado, roubado e
escravizado, que sofria no cativeiro uma dor irremediável e aniquilante. Todas essas vozes que se
levantaram eram um contraste com o cenário, de magnífico fulgor. A alma do brasileiro guarda esse
fundo trágico, em que o homem teme a natureza e procura vencê-la pela imaginação exaltada caindo
depois em abatimento e langor. E esse primeiro encontro com o meio, esse inquieto e doloroso êxtase
ante uma grandeza que maltrata, não encontraremos em símbolos mais vivos do que no canto popular,
através da infinda melancolia que resuma, como perfume de flor agreste e maravilhosa. É o espelho do
temor, da exaltação e da tristeza da alma humana, que olha a natureza como um fantasma e cria deuses
adversos nas coisas que assombra.” (Almeida 1926: 23-4)
39 Dahlhaus 1989: 81.

circumstances related to the environment, the whim of the race, and the
necessities of life, constitute the distinguishing elements: the character of each
people that one can see in their monuments and that crystallized itself in the art

The instances in which Almeida enumerates how music embodies Brazilian

identity show the influence of the Volksgeist hypothesis, predominantly conceived

according to Araripe Júnior’s obnubilação brasílica theory, and also following

Romero’s emphasis on folklore and popular traditions.

Almeida (1926: 99-111 on A. Levy; 117-8 on Nepomuceno; 175 on Luciano

Gallet; 176 on Lorenzo Fernandez) enumerates the works in which Brazilian composers

have used folk and popular materials. He considers Levy among the first Brazilian

composers to search for national expression and recognizes a deeper approach to it

since the 1890s generation. However, Almeida concludes that “despite a few attempts,

such as by Alexandre Levy and Alberto Nepomuceno, we have not had a composer who

knew how to drink from the inexhaustible fountain of inspiration and translate the gifts

and drives of the popular soul.”41

Almeida’s book is not only an assessment but also a declaration of Brazilian

musical nationalism. Like Melo’s, Almeida’s view of nationalism is not in complete

opposition to European influences, since national identity should keep up with

modernization processes and ultimately be integrated into the “universal.”

We do not have a perfect cultural formation, and the education of our taste has
not been refined yet. There is the foreign disturbance, an element of corruption

40 “A arte precisa de material eterno para sua construção perpétua. Esse material é a alma de cada povo,
é a soma de suas alegrias e de sua dores, as inclinações secretas e as ânsias violentas, os desejos
insofridos e as decepcões amargas, enfim a experiência humana no sofrimento da vida. As diretivas
peculiares, que dessas circunstâncias sempre iguais marcam os povos, ligadas ao meio físico, às taras da
raça, às necessidades da vida, constituem elementos de distinção: o caráter de cada um deles, que se revê
em seus monumentos e se cristaliza na obra de arte.” (Almeida 1926: 108)
41 “Apesar de algumas tentativas, como Nepomuceno e Levy, ainda não tivemos quem soubesse se
embriagar nessa fonte inesgotável de inspiração, traduzindo os pendores e anseios da alma popular.”
(Almeida 1926: 56).
that deserves attention, and the sterile concerns for schools that we want to
transplant to our environment, which is totally divorced from those quarrels.
Despite all barriers, music in Brazil has freed itself in search of harmonizing the
voices of the land, the fertile, creative rhythm, with the inflow of culture so as to
create an autonomous art that translates all drives of the modern spirit, (…)
aiming to reintegrate music to its origins in the land, and to link it through
culture to the universal spirit.42

The initial Brazilian musicological view of nationalism shows what Dahlhaus

had noted for European nationalism of the first half of the nineteenth century,43 namely,

nationalism had a paradoxical relation with cosmopolitanism searching for a

compromise between national identity and cosmopolitan ideas.

Melo’s and Almeida’s ideas of nationalism encompassed local nature and

popular expressions. Both authors emphasized theoretically the importance of the

Brazilian landscape, and Almeida offered specific examples in which music embodies

nationality through local nature. On the other hand, both authors gave specific examples

of folk and popular materials absorbed into art music, and only this aspect of their work

functioned as a paradigm for subsequent studies. Later studies of Brazilian art music

have mostly neglected landscape and pursued almost exclusively the issue of

nationalism in relation to the use of native, folk and popular materials. Renato Almeida

emphasized the importance of environment in the shaping of culture as a folklorist

affiliated with Araripe Júnior’s obnubilação brasílica theory and influenced by Graça

Aranha, as it is expressed in his book of 1926. The second, corrected and enlarged

edition, published in 1942 shows a theoretical turn in Almeida’s approach to the

42 “Ainda não temos uma formação cultural perfeita e a educação do nosso gosto não está aprimorado
[sic]. Há a perturbação do estrangeirismo, que é um elemento de corrupção digno de nota, e as
preocupações infecundas de escolas, que queremos transportar para o nosso meio, alheio a tais quisilhas.
Mas, através de todos os entraves, a música no Brasil se liberta, buscando harmonizar as vozes da terra,
o ritmo criador e fecundo, com o influxo da cultura, para a criação de uma arte autônoma, que traduza
todas as ânsias do espírito moderno, (…) buscando reintegrar a música nas origens da terra e ligá-la pela
cultura ao espírito universal.” (Almeida 1926: 220-1)
43 Dahlhaus 1989: 82-3.

“national,” probably influenced by Mário de Andrade. Renato Almeida’s theorical turn

reflected increasingly in his activities during the following decades: Almeida created the

Comissão Nacional de Folclore in 1947, promoted the Semanas de Folclore [Folklore

Weeks] in 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1952, the first Congresso Brasileiro de Folclore

[Brazilian Meeting of Folklore] in 1951, and the Campanha de Defesa do Folclore

Nacional [The Salvation Campaign of National Folklore].

The influential work of Mário de Andrade confirms in the Brazilian music

historiography what Nunes (1998, 232) has noted in relation to Brazilian literary

historiography, namely, that “the Romeroan system persisted in its great lines until


Mário de Andrade45 (after 1924) and Renato Almeida’s second phase

(represented by his book of 1942 and his activities as folklorist henceforth) turned to

Silvio Romero’s ideas in framing the issue of nationalism. This perspective was adopted

by later Brazilian musicologists, such as Luis Heitor Correia Azevedo,46 who like

Almeida and Andrade, was also a folklorist. The importance these later Brazilian

musicologists gave to folk and popular expressions in the search of “authentic”

Brazilian characteristics has shaped most of the views about Brazilian art music

production. A number of Brazilian composers and scholars of the time, including

Luciano Gallet47 and Flausino Rodrigues do Vale,48 were scrutinizing what and how

44 Silvio Romero’s thought had a major impact not only on literary but also on social-anthropological
studies. (Leite 1983: 192)
45 Mário de Andrade (1893-1945), Brazilian writer, poet, critic, musicologist and folklorist, founded the
Sociedade de Etnografia e Folclore de São Paulo in 1937.
46 Luis Heitor Correia Azevedo (1905-1992), musicologist and folklorist, was the first professor of
Brazilian folklore at the E.N.M.U.B. (formerly Instituto Nacional de Música, currently EM-UFRJ),
appointed in 1939. In 1943 he founded the first center of folklore research in Brazil.
47 Luciano Gallet (1893-1931), composer and folklorist, published Canções Populares Brasileiras

(1924, 2 vols.; 1926, 3 vols.), and Estudos de folclore (1934; with Introduction by Mário de Andrade).
much of Indian, Portuguese and African contribution one could find in Brazilian folk,

popular, and ultimately art music.

The issue of national identity did not have the same polemic tone among music

scholars as it had in the literary circle. While Romero and Araripe Júnior had battled

over the predominance of race or environment in the formation of Brazilian “caráter

nacional,”49 music scholars adopted one or another theory (Araripe’s or Romero’s)

without further contention among themselves. Almeida privileged Araripe’s

environmentalist theory. With Mário de Andrade, Romero’s view of Volksgeist

hypothesis, with emphasis on race reinterpreted as ethnicity, and miscegenation

predominated as landscape-related issues and Araripe Júnior’s obnubilação brasílica

theory were simply dropped. Andrade’s nationalist ideas on Brazilian music were

epitomized in his Ensaio sobre a música brasileira (1928). Andrade criticizes the

erroneous identification of Brazilian identity with “exoticism” and considers totally

misinformed the European equation of the Brazilian identity with the Indian.

One piece of advice Europeans have given is that if we want to make national
music we must search aboriginal material because only the Indians are
legitimately Brazilian. This is naïve and reflects the ignorance of sociological,
ethnic, psychological and aesthetic problems. (…) The Amerindian does not
participate of those things [social norms, racial elements and geographic
borders], and despite living in our territory they are still Amerindian and not

The last two sentences of the previous quotation echoes Romero’s ideas on the

subject, as does Mário de Andrade’s assessment of the Indian element in Brazilian

48 Flausino Rodrigues do Vale (1894-1954), Brazilian composer, folklorist and musicologist,

published Elementos de folclore musical brasileiro (1936).
49 Ventura (1991: 79-84) provides an in-depth discussion on Romero and Araripe Júnior’s polemics.
50 Andrade 1972: 15-6.

culture, according to which “the Amerindian element is psychologically assimilated but

materially almost nonextant in Brazilian popular culture.”51

Andrade’s idea of national identity in music is a direct transposition of what

Romero held for literature and culture at large. Andrade inherited from Romero the

research attitude towards popular (folk) cultural expressions aiming to apprehend the

national spirit. Andrade was influenced by Romero’s emphasis on Volksgeist and its

echoes in Melo and Almeida in the idea that “the musical characteristics of race … [lay]

in popular music”52 and that “Brazilian popular music is the most complete, the fullest

national, and the strongest creation of our race so far.”53

In defining the elements characterizing Brazilian popular music, Andrade lays

out a nationalist program for the composition of art music:

The musical document … is created according to particular compositional norms

and singing processes, embodies determined forms, expresses within particular
instrumental combinations, and always presents a significant number of melodic
patterns, rhythmic motives, tonal tendencies, and cadence patterns, all of them
traditional, perfectly anonymous and autochthonous, sometimes peculiar, and
always characteristic of the Brazilian.54

Andrade rephrases the same idea as follows: “The artist has only to give a

learned transposition to the already existing elements so as to make art music out of

popular music.”55

Although Andrade had held that “the Brazilian composer must search in

folklore his documental or inspirational source,”56 he emphasized that this attitude

corresponded to his contemporary historical moment57 and remarked that “if we accept

51 Andrade 1972: 16.

52 Andrade 1972: 20.
53 Andrade 1972: 24.
54 Andrade 1972: 165.
55 Andrade 1972: 16.
56 Andrade 1972: 29.
57 Andrade 1972: 20.
as Brazilian only the excessively characteristic we will fall into an exoticism that is

exotic even to ourselves,”58 and that “the composer must be neither exclusionist nor

unilateral. If exclusionist, the composer risks turning his work into a false and falsifying

phenomenon. … If unilateral, the artist becomes anti-national and makes music that is

Amerindian, African, Portuguese or European, but not Brazilian.”59 In this last

statement Andrade is defending Romero’s idea that miscegenation is the fundamental

characteristic of Brazilian people and culture, and therefore, of its Volksgeist (“espírito

popular”). Miscegenation was not circumscribed to regionalism but comprehended the

nation as a whole transcending into a “general spirit” (“espírito geral”), the “Brazilian

special way of feeling” (“sentir especial do brasileiro”), the national spirit.

One of the problems that it has been possible to change in its obsolete sense was
that of literary nationalism. It was an old obsession to search for a somewhat
fluctuant and incorrect nativism that did not even know what it aimed for. This
particular concept of nativism had two phases that must not be mistaken with
each other as it is frequently the case. In the first phase nativism had an ethnic
fancy and looked for a race that characterizes us and therefore despised the other
ones. Sometimes it was the Portuguese, sometimes the Black, sometimes the
caboclo; the latter predominated. Later the nativists were convinced of the
artificiality of these attempts and abandoned the idea of race and adopted the
idea of regional classes based on the large geographical areas of the country.
They did not go any further. It was not the caboclo, or the Black or the
Portuguese anymore. It was the sertanejo, the matuto, the caipira, the praieiro,
etc. All this was only external. They made costumes and dressed these people,
and that was it. However, Brazil is none of these because it is more than all of
these. It is true that those types are real, but they are isolated particularities and
do not fill the entire national gallery. There is the general spirit that comprises
and dominates them; it is the popular spirit, nation’s subjectivity that cannot be
fabricated but has to be spontaneous. The national character lies neither in
mentioning maracás and tangapemas nor in evoking xiba, bumba-meu-boi,
samba, etc. The national character lies in the original feeling, in the Brazilian
especial way of feeling. Therefore, nationalism cannot be an objective literary
thesis … First of all it is necessary to study our contemporary people in their
origins, in their anonymous productions, defining their emotional intimacy, their
artistic vision. It is necessary to study our popular poetry and beliefs convinced

58 Andrade 1972: 27; italics is Andrade’s.

59 Andrade 1972: 29.
of the value of this ethnological contribution, of this anonymous bestowal to the
understanding of the spirit of the nation.60

According to Dante Moreira Leite,61 Silvio Romero’s ideas of “espírito geral”

(general spirit), “espírito popular” (the spirit of the people), and “sentir especial do

brasileiro” (the Brazilian special way of feeling) are related to his espousing of

Völkerpsychologie (the psychology of the people). The twentieth century adopted

Romero’s idea of “sentir especial do brasileiro” and the term “caráter nacional”

translating it into the expression “alma brasileira” (Brazilian soul) which was not by

chance the title of one of Villa-Lobos’ works.

Silvio Romero, in carrying out a sort of ethnographic analysis in his History of

Brazilian Literature, reached the conclusion that the genuine Brazilian is purely
and simply the physically or morally mestiço (miscegenated offspring).62

Mário de Andrade had however left behind the racist theories implied in

Romero’s and Araripe Júnior’s views. This attitude did not originate with Andrade,

since the idea of racial superiority of the European and racial inferiority of the Black, the

60 “Um dos problemas que se conseguiu modificar em seu sentido obsoleto foi o do nacionalismo
literário. Era uma velha teima a de procurar um certo nativismo flutuante e incorreto, que nem mesmo
sabia o que visava. O conceito desse nativismo atravessou duas fases, que não devem mais ser
confundidas como o têm sido comumente. Na primeira tinha veleidades étnicas e andava à procura de
uma raça que nos caracterizasse e, por via de regra, dizia mal das outras. Ora era o português, ora o
negro, ora o caboclo. Este predominou. Convencidos mais tarde os nativistas do que havia de artificial
nessas tentativas, abandonaram a idéia de raça e apegaram-se à de classes fundadas nas grandes divisões
geográficas do país. Ficaram neste ponto. Não era mais o caboclo, ou o negro, ou o luso: passou-se ao
sertanejo, ao matuto, ao caipira, ao praieiro, etc. Tudo isto, porém, externamente. Talhavam-se vestes e
enroupava-se esta gente e nada mais. Entretanto, o Brasil não é nada disto; porque é mais do que tudo
isto. Aqueles são tipos reais, é certo; mas particulares, isolados, e não enchem toda a galeria pátria. Há
o espírito geral que os compreende, que os domina; é o espírito popular, subjetivo à nação, que não
pode fabricar, que deve ser espontâneo. O caráter nacional não está em se falar em maracás e
tangapemas, tampouco está em se lembrar o xiba, o bumba-meu-boi, o samba, etc. Deve estar no
sentimento original, no sentir especial do brasileiro. O nacionalismo não há de, pois, ser uma tese
objetiva de literatura … Deve-se antes estudar o nosso povo atual em suas origens, em suas produções
anônimas, definindo a sua intimidade emocional, a sua visualidade artística. Deve-se proceder ao estudo
de nossa poesia e crenças populares com a convicção do valor dessa contribuição etnológica, desse
subsídio anônimo para a compreensão do espírito da nação.” (Romero 1888, quoted in Weber 1997: 72-
61 Leite 1992: 189-190.
62 Capistrano de Abreu, quoted in Martins 1977-8, 5: 115.

Indian and the miscegenated people has been attacked by Brazilian intellectuals since the

beginning of the twentieth century.

The central point of discussion between Manoel Bonfim63 and Silvio Romero64

was the issue of race and miscegenation. Romero (influenced by Agassiz65 and

Gobineau66) distinguished between inferior and superior races while Bonfim refuted all

the supposedly scientific arguments supporting the doctrine that miscegenated societies

are inferior by definition. The chapter “As Novas Sociedades” [The New Societies] of

his book (1905) advocated that:

Qualities and defects attributed to the Black resulted from the “situation to
which they were constrained” (slavery) and not from their race; the savagery of
the Indians was not worse than the Spanish in Cuba, the British in Carton, the
American in the Philippines, and the Portuguese in the East. Actually, imperialist
nations considered themselves superior and designated inferior the races under
their domination: it was a political, if not a purely material or tautological
concept. (…) The inferiority of South-American nations (where miscegenation
predominates) was not of racial but of historical and psychological order. (…)
The largest part of the defects attributed to mestiços [miscegenated people] were
due to their deficient education and can be corrected by proper education: South-
American nations were not decadent, but nations that had not had their historical
opportunity, and nations to which the benefits of instruction have been
systematically denied.67

Closer to Andrade’s time was the “Propaganda Nativista” [Nativist

Propaganda] initiated in 1919, which adopted the principle of racial equality in its

agenda,68 and Alberto Torres’69 ideas reproaching the uncritical acceptance of European

63 Manoel Bonfim (1868-1932), A América Latina: males de origem. Rio de Janeiro: Garnier, 1905.
64 Romero published a series of 25 articles criticizing Bonfim’s book in the weekly periodical Os
Anais. Romero’s articles were later published in his book of 1906 A América Latina: análise do livro
de igual título do Dr. M. Bonfim. (Ventura 1991: 146)
65 Agassiz, Journey in Brazil (1868).
66 Gobineau, Essai sur l’inegalité des races humaines (c.1854).
67 Quoted in Martins 1977-8: 5, 276-7). For further discussion on the issue, see also Leite (1992: 250-
5), Skidmore (1974), Ortiz (1994: 22-7), and Ventura (1991: 156-8).
68 Ortiz 1994: 35.
69 Alberto Torres (1865-1917), a politician and intelectual, published O problema nacional brasileiro:

introdução a um programa de organização nacional (1914).

racist theories by Brazilian intelligentsia, and the distance between the latter and Brazil’s

social reality.70 In the same decade Álvaro Bomilcar rejected the idea of racial inferiority

in O Preconceito da Raça [Racial Prejudice] (1916), and Manuel Querino in “A raça

africana e seus costumes na Bahia” [The African race and their customs in Bahia]

(1916) made evident that prejudice against race and color was not only non-scientific

but also anti-scientific, twenty years before this idea became a common place in

Brazilian anthropology.71 Some writings on the issue by members of Brazilian

intelligentsia reached out to the arts. The Revista do Brasil (February, 1916) presented

the article “Nacionalização da Arte” [The Nationalization of Art] signed by A. R., in

which the author reacts against racist theories instilled in Brazilian self-image since

Gobineau and Agassiz stating that “we are neither inferior nor decadent people. It is

just that we have not reached the maturity as a nation … with a thinking, a feeling, and a

doing that truly correspond to the synthesis of collective energy.”72

Reinterpreting the Volksgeist hypothesis without Romerian racist scientificism,

Andrade went back to the Herderian concept and searched for Brazilian “caráter

nacional” following “the notion, prevalent in the nineteenth century, that lying in the

depths of the ‘national spirit’ is a musical substratum waiting to be unearthed by a

major composer.”73

In his Ensaio (1928) and in “A música e a canção populares no Brasil” [Music

and popular songs in Brazil] (1936) Andrade “studies some rhythmic, tonal, harmonic,

melodic, and formal patterns and tendencies of popular music in Brazil.”74 In his

70 Leite 1992: 255-8.

71 Martins 1977-8, 6: 53-4.
72 Quoted in Martins 1977-8, 6: 39.
73 Dahlhaus 1989: 217.
74 Alvarenga in Andrade 1972: 7-8.
Compêndio de História da Música [A Short Treatise on Music History] (1929)

Andrade remarks “some coincidences between Carlos Gomes operatic music and our

popular melody,”75 and in his “Evolução social da música no Brasil” [Social evolution

of music in Brazil] (1939) Andrade calls attention to the pioneer role of Alexandre Levy

and Alberto Nepomuceno in the nationalization of Brazilian art music “through popular


Andrade was a very influential voice through his criticism in periodicals, books,

and letters, not to mention his personal contacts and activities with the Brazilian

intellectuals of the period. The impact of Andrade’s thinking is felt in Luís Heitor

Correia de Azevedo’s work as musicologist and folklorist and also in more recent

studies such as Gerard Béhague’s “Popular Musical Currents in the Art Music of the

Early Nationalistic Period in Brazil, ca. 1870-1920” (Ph.D. dissertation, Tulane

University, 1966), a portion of which was later published as The Beginnings of Musical

Nationalism in Brazil (1971). Among many Andradean influences, one may point out

that Azevedo adhered to the idea (stated in Ensaio, 1928 and “Evolução social da

música no Brasil,” 1939) that “music is the most sociological of all arts.”77 This

postulate was also crucial in inspiring Béhague’s earnest transit between musicology

and ethnomusicology. Andrade’s research attitudes summed up in this postulate lead

Béhague to legitimately proclaim the ideologue of modernism and nationalism the first

Brazilian ethnomusicologist.

Like Andrade, Azevedo also inherited Romero’s legacy. Azevedo’s division of

Brazil’s musical areas is conceived largely upon Romero’s division of Brazil’s

75 Andrade [1929] 1933, second edition: 170.

76 Andrade 1941: 24.
77 Duprat 1998-9: 13.
geographic-cultural areas. In his first folklore studies (such as Cantos Populares do

Brasil [Popular Songs in Brazil], pub. 1883) Romero divided Brazilian population into

inhabitants of the forests (matas), seashores and riverbanks (praias e margens de rio),

backlands (sertões), and cities (cidades).78 Azevedo (1959) distinguished nine musical

areas that coincides largely with geographic-cultural areas: Amazon (which was

musically an incognito for the author), cantoria (which coincides with the sertão), côco

(the Northeastern coast), autos (some areas of the Northeastern, Southeastern and

Southern coasts), [folk-]samba (from the Northeastern to the Southeastern coast),

moda-de-viola (Southeastern to Southern and Western hinterlands), fandango

(Southern coast), gaúcho (Southern hinterlands), and modinha (throughout Brazil).79

In his article “A música brasileira e seus fundamentos” [Brazilian music and its

foundations] (1950) Luís Heitor Correia de Azevedo80 attests his sharing of Gilberto

Freyre’s81 “racial democracy” ideology and corroborates Bilden’s idea that in the

Brazilian case, “the European element, instead of imposing itself as a dominant,

antagonistic class to the Indian and the Black, or merely constituting a superficial layer

that is not representative of the reality of national formation, accepted to cohabit with

them in a fecund leveling that is unique in the entire hemisphere.”82 Azevedo also
78 Ortiz 1985: 16.
79 See map in Béhague’s article “Brazil,” in The New Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians
(1980) vol. 1, 223); see also Rafael José de Menezes Bastos, “Las músicas tradicionales del Brasil,”
Revista Musical Chilena 125 (1974): 21-77, especially pp. 31-73.
80 Regis Duprat (1998-99) “Luís Heitor Corrêa de Azevedo: o cinqüentenário de um livro” offers an
acute discussion of Azevedo’s work in relationship to the development of Brazilian musicology as well
as to compositional issues concerning nationalism and the twentieth-century modernization of the
musical language.
81 Gilberto Freyre (1900-199) studied with Franz Boas at the Columbian University, and was the major
scholar who replaced “race” with “culture” as the guiding concept in Brazilian anthopological studies.
Casa Grande e Senzala (1933).
82 Azevedo 1950: 16-7 paraphrasing Ruediger Bilden, Race relations in Latin America with special

reference to the development of indigenous culture. Instituto of Public Affairs, University of

Virginia, 1931, quoted in Gilberto Freyre, Casa Grande e Senzala (1936: 58).
reiterates Freyre’s idea that the Portuguese was prone to miscegenation even before the

Brazilian Colonial experience.83 From those premises, Azevedo analyzes the

contribution of each of the three ethnic groups (the Indian, the Black, and the

Portuguese) and their miscegenated derivations, and corroborates Romero’s

anthropologically-based conclusion on which Mário de Andrade and Luciano Gallet had

worked in relationship to music, namely, that the Indian had contributed less to Brazilian

culture than the African and the Portuguese.84 As had Andrade, Azevedo asserts the

importance of African and the prominence of the Portuguese influence in Brazilian


Azevedo defended the Romeroan idea inherited by Freyre that miscegenation

(reinterpreting race as culture) was the cornerstone of Brazilian people. Although

Azevedo had stated that “we must search the foundations of Brazilian music in new

layers representing Brazilian ethnic-cultural uniqueness,”85 his book on music history

in Brazil (1956) did not carry the nationalist-manifesto tone of the previous books by

Melo and Almeida. Duprat considers the year 1950 “a watershed in the attitude towards

the issues still faced by Modernism concerning national identity, and the modernization

of aesthetic values, compositional techniques and processes, interpretation and reception

of musical repertories.” Duprat considers as well Luis Heitor Correia Azevedo’s

Música e músicos do Brasil [Music and musicians of Brazil] (1950) the musicological

work that closes an era of which it is emblematic.86

Azevedo's 150 anos de música no Brasil, 1800-1950 [150 years of music in

Brazil] (1956) offers a fairly balanced account of Brazilian composers of both

83 Azevedo 1950: 21.

84 Azevedo 1950: 17-8.
85 Azevedo 1950: 18.
86 Duprat 1998-99: 19.
cosmopolitan and nationalist tendencies. The nature of Azevedo’s comments is usually

of assessing the influence of European on Brazilian composers in relationship to the

latter’s ability to retain and express his own personality and create an individual style, or

in other words, the issue of originality; and how Brazilian composers were able to

reconcile European influences with a “nativist” or national expression, or in other

words, the issue of “national music”, if not of “nationalism” yet.

Andrade consolidated the tendency in Brazilian musical historiography to adopt

“nationalistic” criteria to evaluate, interpret and represent Brazilian music history, and

this can be identified mostly in the various attempts to identify “earlier gestures of

nationalism,” or to frame certain works that present “folk” or “popular” elements

within the rubric of “pre-nationalism,” or to identify this or that composer as the

“father” of musical nationalism in Brazil.87

Many scholars have battled over the earliest piece using popular or folk elements

in Brazilian nineteenth-century music. Levy’s Variações sobre tema brasileiro ‘Vem cá

bitu’ (1887) was claimed to be the first nationalist work by a Brazilian composer. 88

Later, Brasílio Itiberê da Cunha’s A Sertaneja, Op. 15 (pub. 1969), a piano fantasy that

quotes the Brazilian popular tune “Balaio, meu bem, balaio” and presents many other

rhythmic and harmonic characteristics of Brazilian popular genres, was found to be of

an earlier date,89 and many other scholars made efforts to date this piece.90 Finally,

87 The nationalist composer Camargo Guarnieri proclaimed Nepomuceno the “father of Brazilian
music;” Rodrigues Barbosa, among others, considered Nepomuceno the “founder of Brazilian music.”
(Béhague 1967: 271).
88 Gelásio Pimenta (1925) article in São Paulo ano II No. 20.
89 João Itiberê da Cunha, “Um precursor da música brasileira,” Ilustração Musical 1/1 (August,

1930); Andrade Muricy, “Música brasileira moderna,” Revista da Associação Brasileira de Música 1/1
(1932): 2-14; and Renato Almeida (1942: 424). See also Magaldi (1994: 292).
90 Almeida (1942: 424) and Lange (1982: 157) dated this work as 1860; Rezende (1954) dated between
1863 and 1865; and Cameu (1970: 34) dated as 1867 or 1868. See also Magaldi (1994: 291)
Gomes’s A Cayumba (1856), which uses Afro-derived rhythm and pentatonic scale,

was acclaimed the oldest of all.91

Gerard Béhague (1966, 1971) did the most systematic study on the use of

popular material in the art music of the period between 1870 and 1920. The major

contribution of his study lies in the close examination of “the process of transformation

of folksong and dance into urban popular forms, as well as the transformation of

European urban dances into popular forms.”92 It was also the first study to provide a

solid basis for the identification of popular elements in Brazilian art music along with a

competent analysis of their interplay with European style and techniques. Béhague

offers detailed analysis of the following pieces: Cunha’s A Sertaneja, Levy’s Variações

sobre tema brasileiro ‘Vem cá bitu,’ Levy’s Tango brasileiro (1890), Levy’s Suite

Brésilienne (1890), Nepomuceno’s Quarteto Brasileiro (1891), Nepomuceno’s

Galhofeira (1894), Nepomuceno’s Série Brasileira (1897), Nepomuceno’s prelude O

Garatuja (1904), Nepomuceno’s A Brasileira (1919), and Nepomuceno’s songs in

Portuguese Medroso de amor (1894), Coração triste(1903), Numa concha (1914),

Xácara (n.d.), and Jangada (1920).93

Cristina Magaldi (1994, chapter 4) complements Béhague’s study by

uncovering a repertory by foreigners that have influenced Brazilian composers in

absorbing popular elements into European techniques. Magaldi also examines pieces by

immigrant composers using Brazilian popular melodies and rhythms in brilliant piano

pieces, such as: Sigismund Neukomm’s fantasie for flute and piano L’Amoureux

91 Carlos Penteado de Resende “A música em São Paulo,” São Paulo, terra e povo (Porto Alegre,
1967: 266) dated this piece as 1857. Magaldi (1994: 288) gives a definitive proof that this piece was
published in 1856.
92 Béhague 1966: 2.
93 Béhague 1966: 167-178, 181-189, 190-195, 195-218, 224-238, 238-241, 241-254, 254-258, 258-
261, 263-271.
(1819), based on the modinha La Melancolie by the Brazilian mulatto Joaquim Manuel

da Câmara, and caprice O Amor Brasileiro or L’Amour Brésilien sur un Londú

Brésilien (1819), which makes use of a lundu; Ercole Pinzarrone’s piano fantasia A

Saloia, based on the popular cantilena Moda da Saloia (185?) by Angelo Frondoni, and

variation on the waltz Terna Paixão (1854); Fantasia Brasileira (185?) based on a

lundu melody; and Arthur Napoleão’s Caprice Brésilien, which uses some rhythms of

polka-tango.94 Magaldi calls attention to the fact that “foreign visitors preceded native

composers in the use of local melodies in their pieces.”95

Recent studies96 on nineteenth-century European music have pointed to the

practice of arrangements, fantasies and variation on popular tunes, which could be

extracted either from the operatic repertory or from folk music. In the last case, it

corresponded to the practice of “exoticism” or to the market practice of virtuosi, such

as Gottschalk, to pick up a local theme to pay homage to his audiences during his tours.

The practice of arrangements on popular themes calls into question whether Itiberê da

Cunha’s Lisztian piano piece was motivated by nationalism or “exoticism.” Another

case in point is Carlos Gomes’ suite Quilombo, quadrilha sobre os motivos dos

negros (1857-8). Recently, Magaldi has discovered that the pieces “Bamboula” and

“Bananeira” from Gomes’ suite Quilombo, are actually simplified versions of

Gottschalk’s pieces with the same title, namely, the Bamboula, Danse de Nègre,

Fantasie pour piano, Op. 2 (1844-5) on New Orleans Creole-rhythms, and Le

Bananier (1845-6) derived from the Creole song “En avan’ Grenadie.”97 That finding

puts former nationalistic claims to Gomes’ suite under a new perspective. The fact that

94 Magaldi 1994: 240, 265, 266-271, 282.

95 Magaldi 1994: 240.
96 Samson 1985: 44; and Taruskin 1983: 190-1.
97 Magaldi 1994: 252-257, 284-291.
two pieces from Gomes’ supposedly nationalist suite are not based on Brazilian folk

music calls into question whether this suite was composed and perceived through the

ideology of “exoticism” or nationalism. These works illustrate an interesting case of

twentieth-century musicology reinterpreting its own past under its “nationalist” bias,

rather than making an effort to access nineteenth-century ideology and the cultural

significance of those pieces during their early reception history.

The period between 1870 and 1920 has been considered the beginning of

musical nationalism in Brazil on the basis that the use of popular sources would

necessarily imply some sort of “nationalist” content. However, if we agree with

Dahlhaus that nationalism is a matter of reception and intention rather than of internal

musical features, we will have to give more attention to “the meaning invested in a piece

of music or a complex of musical characteristics by a sufficient number of the people

who make and hear the music.”98 This kind of approach will certainly enrich and

possibly bring about a revision of current understanding of the period.

The scholarship on Villa-Lobos has developed from the premise attributed early

in his career by Ronald de Carvalho, on the occasion of the Week of Modern Art

(1922), that

the music of Villa-Lobos is one of the most accurate expressions of our culture.
In it quivers the flame of our race, what is most beautiful and original in the
Brazilian race. It does not represent a partial state of our psyche. It is not the
Portuguese, African or Indigenous temperament, or the simple symbiosis of
these ethnic quantities that we perceive in it. What it shows us is a new entity, the
special character of a people that begins to define itself freely.99

This concept of “new entity” perceived by Carvalho and many of his

contemporaries shows how the modernists advanced from Romero’s idea of “general

98Dahlhaus 1980: 85-88.

99Quoted in Béhague 1994: 13. As Béhague (1994: 161) remarked, the word “race” was used in this
context without any racial or racist implication, but refered to a cultural category.
spirit” and Brazilian “special way of feeling.” As Béhague noted, “Andrade advocated

the recognition of Brazilian culture and its music in toto.”100 Andrade and Carvalho

inherited from Romero the idea that Brazilian identity is neither compartmentalized into

Indian, African or Portuguese traits and influences nor corresponds to their regional

mixed derivations, but rather encompasses all of these, and it is more than all of these.

As Romero (1888) stated, “Brazil is none of these; because it is more than all of these”

(“o Brasil não é nada disto; porque é mais do que tudo isto”). Carvalho’s idea of a

“new entity” derives from Romero’s concept of “sentimento original.”101 Romerian

ideas of a Brazilian miscegenated, non-compartmentalized identity operates from the

1920s with Andrade and Carvalho through the 1950s with Azevedo and Muricy up to

the 1970s with scholars such as José Maria Neves. In his acute study on Villa-Lobos’

Choros, Neves considers these works a “synthesis” and states:

One finds in [Villa-Lobos’ Choros] neither Indian…, nor Black, nor European
music, but something that descends directly from these many musical roots. It is
Villa-Lobos. It is Brazil. The notorious assimilation of the different ethnic
groups forming the people of this country and their culture, the breaking down
of racial boundaries that will characterize the social and cultural development of
the people, who found in Villa-Lobos their utmost composer.102

Villa-Lobos was perceived by early (and late) reception as the first Brazilian art

music composer to express Brazilian identity truly and fully. That perception has

shaped most of the studies on Villa-Lobos’ nationalism and the views on his role in

Brazilian music history. Among numerous examples are Neves (1977) statements such

as “the result of the odd combination of [Brazilian folklore’s] elements was the most

complete synthesis produced in Brazil and one of the most original musical

100 Béhague 1994: 15.

101 See Romero (1888) quoted above.
102 Neves 1977: 87.
manifestations of our time;” and “Villa-Lobos [was] the great composer who

established the synthesis of the musical sensibility of his people.”103

As discussed earlier in this chapter, Almeida (1926) considered tropical nature

an important element in Villa-Lobos’ music. In this case, nature not only stimulated

Villa-Lobos’s imagination but, more importantly, was subjected to transformation by the

composer’s personality. Villa-Lobos was a “transfigurador” [transfigurator] and his

imagination “develops from the impressions of the environment … as a deep

suggestion of the marvelous nature.”104

Andrade also considered tropical nature as a chief element of identity in Villa-

Lobos’ music. In commenting on the tone poem/ ballet Amazonas, Andrade (Música,

doce música, 1930) proclaims that Villa-Lobos “rescued the marvels of the entire nature

of his country”105 and continues:

These elements, these sonorous forces are profoundly “nature,” and the little
they take from the Amerindian musical aesthetics is not sufficient to place [the
work] within [the category] of indigenous music. It is more than this. Or less, if
you want. It is not Brazilian either: it is nature. They appear like voices, sounds,
noises, thuds, whirring sounds, symbols coming out of meteorological
phenomena, of geological accidents and irrational beings. It is the rowdy
impudence of the virgin land106

The identification of Villa-Lobos’ music with tropical nature and the idea of

abundance and exuberance of a wild, mythical place has gone beyond Villa-Lobos’

early reception and has persisted in recent musicological studies. Two musicologists

who illustrate this are Beaufils and Neves. For instance, Beaufils qualifies Villa-Lobos’

orchestra “violently timbred” (“violentamente timbrada”) comparing its sound

qualities with the profusion of the sertão and the Amazonian forest: “Frequently Villa-

103 Neves 1977: 15, 90.

104 Almeida 1926: 174.
105 Andrade, quoted in Neves 1977: 13.
106 Quoted in Neves 1977: 86; translation by Béhague 1994: 57-8.
Lobos says ‘poetic impression of forest’ instead of simply ‘forest.’”107 Following the

same line, Neves (1977) states in the opening and closing pages of his study:

Villa-Lobos was a great lover of nature, the man who left in music the
indestructible mark of his land. More than the singer of this people, Villa-Lobos
was the singer of his country’s nature.108

Villa-Lobos was above all the composer of nature, of the virgin, indomitable, hot
nature of his country. His works reflect the history of his nation’s fields and
forests with their undecipherable magic, their myths and gods, their fauna and
native inhabitants.109

The above-mentioned studies illustrate the overriding idea that Villa-Lobos’

music is the synthesis of Brazilian identity in its ethnic, environmental, psychological

and cultural aspects.

The study of nationalism in Villa-Lobos’ music had a new spin with José

Miguel Wisnik’s O Coro dos Contrários: a música em torno da semana de 22

(1977), Bruno Kiefer’s Villa-Lobos e o modernismo brasileiro (1981), and Gerard

Béhague’s Heitor Villa-Lobos: the search for Brazil’s musical soul (1994). These

authors offered a revisionist study on Villa-Lobos by approaching it from the

perspective of ideology and reception.

Wisnik sheds a new light on the problem of nationalism and modernism in

Brazilian music by contextualizing these issues in relation to the aesthetic and

ideological background of the 1920s expressed in literature, manifestos, articles and

music dissemination, and to the reception of the music presented during the Week of

Modern Art at the Teatro Municipal of São Paulo in 1922. The musical analysis

provided by the author aims to show that Villa-Lobos’ music presented during the

Week was neither as nationalist as the later nationalist modernism would lead one to

107 Beaufils 1967: 116.

108 Neves 1977: 5.
109 Neves 1977: 86.
believe nor as modern as 1922 reception and Villa-Lobos’ later output would lead one

to conclude. Wisnik also discusses how the expansion of Villa-Lobos’ compositional

techniques towards the boundaries of music and noise was associated with a sense of

exuberant nature, primitive and future that made up Brazil’s ufanista image, “the

ideology of a country that was imagined as ‘potential.’”110

Kiefer contextualized Villa-Lobos’ music presented during the Week of

Modern Art (1922) in relationship to the composer’s early production, to music

dissemination in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo between 1900 and 1922, and to early

reception including the audience’s reaction and the critics’ articles. Kiefer approaches

the issue of modernism rather than of nationalism in Villa-Lobos’ music, and discusses

the repercussion of the Week of 1922 in Villa-Lobos’ works between 1922 and 1930.

Like Wisnik, Kiefer aims at a revision of current understanding of Villa-Lobos’ role in

Brazilian music history by proposing a more accurate identification of the modern

aspects of Villa-Lobos’ early works and its relationship with Rio de Janeiro’s and São

Paulo’s cultural life.

Béhague engages in a revision of the composer’s place in Brazilian music

history by tackling the problem of nationalism as a matter of ideology and reception

rather than of internal musical features.

Musical nationalism as an ideology, therefore, can and does take place outside
the preconceived notion of a stylistic format. What seems to define it, therefore,
is the whole complex of attitudes consciously expressed or not toward specific
sets of cultural values, equally perceived by the transmitters and the receptors as
possessing qualities of collective and individual identity. Certainly, many
specific musical parameters relate to that identity, but those relations are
culturally determined by association or invention. Indeed, numerous purely
sound structures that appear similar or identical in the abstract may be given
totally different significance in different cultures. Moreover, the potential

110 Wisnik 1977: 170.

relationships of sound to social/ cultural identity follow a regular process of
transformation over a period of time.111

On the other hand, Béhague does not neglect internal musical features and

discusses the use of local sources manipulated by Villa-Lobos into a modern musical

language. Few scholars are more knowledgeable than Béhague in distinguishing the

folk, popular and Indian sources in Brazilian art music and in discussing the problem of

“authenticity” concerning Villa-Lobos nationalism.112 Béhague gives special attention


the actual national contents of some of [Villa-Lobos’] best known “nationalist”

works, and particularly to the real extent of his knowledge and use of
“authentic” Brazilian folk and popular musical components, a controversial
topic in Brazilian music studies.113

The problem of “authenticity” in Villa-Lobos’ use of Indian musical material

has attracted a significant number of scholars, including Rossini Tavares de Lima

(1969), Olin Downes (1969), Lisa Peppercorn (1972) Eero Tarasti (1980, 1987), Simon

Wright (1992), and Béhague (1994).114 The sources of folk and popular material have

always been a matter of discussion among virtually all scholars who have approached

Villa-Lobos’ work. Béhague has given a new perspective on Villa-Lobos’ nationalism

by taking into consideration Dahlhaus’ propositions on the issue.115

The thorny question of authenticity of attitude in relation to folk cultures and,

hence, of the type of use of folk or folk-like materials, also has direct relevance
to whether or not the listeners of a piece of music perceive it to be national in

111 Béhague 1994: 147-8.

112 See, for example, accurate elucidation in Béhague (1994: 8) on Villa-Lobos’ Danças
Características Africanas.
113 Béhague 1994: xv.
114 See, for example, Peppercorn (1991: 30-1, 53, 55, 57, 105-6); Tarasti’s “Heitor Villa-Lobos e a
música dos índios brasileiros” (1980); Wright (1992: 48, 50, 64-6, 69-71); Tarasti (1995: 39-40, 97-8,
116, 223-9, 237-8, 381, 385-6); and Béhague (1994: 76-9, 90-9, 154-5, 161, 166).
115 See, especially, Béhague (1994: 149-155), “The special brand of Villa-Lobos’ nationalism.”
116 Béhague 1994: 148.

In the specific case of Villa-Lobos, Béhague argues that there was the

combination of two important elements: on one hand, Villa-Lobos constructed his image

so as to legitimate his knowledge of folk, popular and Indian musical sources; on the

other hand, the public recognized Villa-Lobos as the spokesperson of his country.

Regardless of the degree of true assimilation and the amount of field collection
of Brazilian folk and primitive musical cultures and his long and curious trips
around the country, he [Villa-Lobos] came back to the big city, the nest of the
Brazilian intelligentsia, presumably with the knowledge of the musical
“realities” of the common people and the Indians, as no other composer could
claim at the time. This in itself was a prodigious accomplishment because it gave
him veracity and credibility that no one else in the 1910s and 1920s could

In addition to the subjective selection and reinterpretation of numerous musical-

cultural symbols of the Brazilian community at large, Villa-Lobos created his
own individual symbols of identity and made them acceptable by his country as
uniquely national symbols.118

Villa-Lobos was perceived to have made his own “synthesis” of Brazilian

sound, and his synthesis has been explained in many ways.

Orrego-Salas (1965) asserts that the undeniable originality of the Brazilian

master lies exactly in the heterogeneity of languages combined, and in the power
with which they fuse within a stable general direction. In this way, Villa-Lobos
created an extremely personal idiom from the fusion of well-known

Béhague has stressed that Villa-Lobos’ success in achieving “a highly personal

style (…) is the result of his attempts to integrate national sources of music with various

contemporary European techniques of composition.”120

Another approach to Villa-Lobos’ “synthesis” has been proposed by Elliott

Antokoletz (1992) in his analysis of Choros No. 10 further exploring the problems of

117 Béhague 1994: 149-150.

118 Béhague 1994: 154.
119 Neves 1977: 9.
120 Béhague 1994: xv.
twentieth-century harmonic/ tonal language.121 Antokoletz proposes an analytical

method that fully integrates the use of local musical material (be it folk, Indian, popular,

or sounds of nature such as birdcalls and forest sounds) into the tonal fabric (updated

with contemporary techniques) by defining pitch and intervallic connections among

local planes and layers, which are distinguished by their own intervallic construction,

rhythmic pattern, contour, and timber.122 For example, the use of azulão birdcall is

explained in relationship to the structural role it plays in the pitch-sets of its section

(block 1) and of the work as a whole. The Parecis Indian chant is explained in the

context of its thematic relation (a chromatic manifestation of the choral theme) and its

significance in the pitch-set polarities at work. Antokoletz’s perspective on Villa-Lobos’

compositional technique explains how “unity is produced by special pitch-set

interactions and transformations between octatonic and pentatonic/diatonic forms

primarily.”123 A major contribution of Antokoletz’s analytical method is the

demystification of Villa-Lobos’ supposedly unsystematic compositional technique

(often compared to the chaotic abundance of tropical forests) due to his lack of formal

musical education and his irreverent personality. Also, Antokoletz’s analytical approach

makes it possible to recontextualize the issue of nationalism by offering a fuller

explanation of how the use of local musical sources became more and more structural in

the musical fabric of works that came to be recognized as “national” music.

As we have demonstrated in this chapter, nationalism motivated the first

endeavors by Brazilian scholars in writing the history of music in Brazil. The

construction of a canon demanded the establishment of an aesthetic of Brazilian music

121 See Antokoletz 1992: 231-235.

122 Antokoletz 1992: 231.
123 Antokoletz 1992: 235.
and its identity. During the last decades of the nineteenth century and the first decades

of the twentieth century, race and natural environment were the guiding principles of the

discussion of Brazilian identity. The issue of nationalism was discussed in terms of two

main theoretical lines accounting for the shape of the “national character” (Volksgeist):

the environmentalist theory represented by Araripe Júnior’s obnubiliação brasílica, and

the folklorist line represented by Silvio Romero’s theory of racial and cultural

miscegenation. The folklorist line eventually predominated and the Romerian approach

to national identity remained in its broad lines in Brazilian musicology throughout the

twentieth century.


The first decades of the Brazilian Republic (1889-1909) were characterized by a

cosmopolitan ideal of “civilization” and “progress” that aimed to integrate the nation

into world economy and emulate the European life-style.1 The reurbanization of the

Brazilian capital in French style that reflected that cosmopolitan ideal and the

consequent transformation of the public space had its parallel in Rio de Janeiro’s

musical life, especially in the renovation of opera and concert music repertory, the

changes in the official school of music’s goals and program, the increasing number of

symphonic and popular concerts, the production of musical performances associated

with official events, and the building of Rio de Janeiro’s Teatro Municipal.

The association of some members of Rio de Janeiro’s musical circle with

Republican ideals gave them access to institutional power after the Proclamation of the

Republic on 15 November 1889. The major agents of negotiation between the state

power and music institutions were the composer Leopoldo Miguez and the music critic

José Rodrigues Barbosa.2 The friendship between Rodrigues Barbosa and Marshal

Deodoro da Fonseca, chief of the Provisional Government, and with Aristides Lobo,

Minister of the Interior, was critical to the reshaping of the official music school’s rank

within the institutional power structure.

In 1855, the Conservatory had become an annex (the fifth section) of the

Academy of Fine Arts. However, the Conservatory and the Academy of Fine Arts

continued independent from each other. The conservatory retained its autonomy because
1 Sevcenko (1983: chapter 1 “A Inserção Compulsória do Brasil na Belle Époque”) and Needell (1987)
provide extensive discussions on Rio de Janeiro’s cultural history of the period.
2 José Rodrigues Barbosa (MG 1857-RJ 1939), music critic, contributed to the Jornal do Comércio

since the 1890s.

of the prestige and leadership of its founder and director Francisco Manuel da Silva.

Since the latter’s death in 1865, the Conservatory had lost much of its self-ruling power

and direct access to the monarchical authorities. Fifteen days after the Proclamation of

the Republic establishing the new regime, Rodrigues Barbosa’s request to Fonseca and

Lobo resulted in the nomination of the committee, of which Rodrigues Barbosa,

Leopoldo Miguez and Alfredo Bevilacqua were members, that dissolved the

Conservatory and created the Instituto Nacional de Música as an independent unity on

12 January 1890 (Decree No. 143). Most importantly, the Instituto Nacional de Música

maintained its direct access to the Department of the Treasury’s funding.3

Among the first measures of the new regime was the appointment of Republican

devotees to leadership positions in official institutions. Leopoldo Miguez, a professed

Republican who had close relations with Republican partisans, was appointed the head

of the Instituto Nacional de Música. Miguez substantially changed the official school of

music’s profile. With Miguez’s administration, the Instituto Nacional de Música

deprioritized the instruction of musicians for the opera house, which had been the

Conservatory’s chief goal during Imperial times,4 and gave emphasis to instrumental

and symphonic music of German and French traditions. Miguez’s report on the

organization of European conservatories of music (1897) reflects his preference for

German educational system, and, as Azevedo has pointed out, “the tendency of current

Brazilian thought, so clear in Tobias Barreto’s and Silvio Romero’s work, to search in

German culture the impetus that it had drawn hitherto exclusively from the French

spirit.”5 Despite Miguez’s personal preference for Wagnerism and “the music of the

3 Azevedo 1950: 81, 114; Siqueira 1972: 43, 63-5; Marcondes 1998: 514.
4 Magaldi 1994: 13-14.
5 Azevedo 1956: 132.
future,” his educational management at the Instituto Nacional de Música was very open

minded. “His administration was liberal and allowed free teaching, essential in art,

avoiding also prejudices and restrictions of compositional schools, so negative to the

development of composers’ individuality.”6

The new direction taken by the Instituto Nacional de Música catalyzed a

substantial change in the federal capital’s musical culture during the First Republic.

From a predominantly operatic musical culture (Italian and French), Rio de Janeiro

gradually shifted to a broader instrumental repertory that included the “music of the

future,” French composers such as Massenet, Fauré, Saint-Saëns, César Franck,

D’Indy, and Debussy, in addition to having its Wagnerian vogue. All these changes

resulted from the cosmopolitan aspirations of the Brazilian music circle to update with

European cultural “progress.” The late nineteenth-century paradigm of “civilization”

gave an “educational” dimension to musical Romanticism in Brazil as nationalism had

done to the literary Romanticism of the first half of the nineteenth century.7 Some

Brazilian composers, professors and critics of the last decades of the nineteenth century

can be considered part of the Brazilian intelligentsia, since their self-attributed function

can be compared to Brazilian writers and intellectuals of the period; they all shared the

attitude of having a mission to “civilize” the country, and that was taken as a patriotic

contribution. Composers’ “civilizing” function was recognized by elite society at large,

as it is demonstrated by the following newspaper article:

The artistic success of Francisco Braga keeps increasing and a curious fact is
that even our musical Montechi and Capuleti congregated spiritually to honor
the young musician with the most eloquent demonstrations of esteem and
admiration for his brilliant talent. As far as we know, there has never been

6Almeida1926: 215.
7I apply here to Brazilian art musicians the idea proposed by Barros (1973) in relationship to the
Brazilian literary circle and the educative function of Brazilian Romantic movement.
greater unanimity of opinion in our milieu. All of them – liberals and ultra-
radicals, moderate and unyielding, in the art of sound – accorded that if
Francisco Braga keeps his track the way he has done so far, he will contribute
immensely to the musical development of our country providing it with
inestimable service.8

Brazilian composers, professors and critics however cannot be compared to

Brazilian intelligentsia at large since they were neither tackling critical issues of national

import (such as miscegenation) nor “thinking the nation” more broadly.9

The efforts to renovate the Brazilian musical scene since the 1870s found a

fertile environment with the new regime in the 1890s showing its impact in opera with

Wagnerism, and in concert music with the symphonic poem, and German, French and

Russian symphonic music.

The early symphonic concert scene in Rio de Janeiro

The first attempts to introduce the Classical and Romantic instrumental

repertory10 to the Brazilian public resulted from isolated initiatives of music

businessmen such as Tiago Henrique Canongia and Angelo Carrero in the 1860s,11

8 “O sucesso artístico de Francisco Braga continua, pois, em aumento sempre crescente e, fato curioso,
até os nossos Monteceli [sic] e Capuleti musicais congregaram-se espiritualmente, para prestar o jovem
músico as mais eloquentes demonstrações de simpatia e de admiração pelo seu brilhante talento./ Ao
que nos consta, nunca houve neste nosso meio maior unanimidade de opiniões. / Todos -- liberais e
ultra-radicais, moderados e intransigentes, na arte dos sons – todos são acordes em considerar
Francisco Braga o artista que, se proseguir no caminho até aqui trilhado, contribuirá poderosamente para
o desenvolvimento musical do nosso país, prestando com isso um serviço inestimável.” (JC, 26 Jan.
1901, p. 3, T&M, article about Francisco Braga’s concert of 22 January 1901 by unidentified São
Paulo’s special correspondent)
9 On the Brazilian writers’ role in “thinking the nation,” see Sevcenko (1983), especially chapter 3 “O
exército intelectual como atitude política: os escritores-cidadãos” [The intellectual army as a political
attitude: the citizen-writers].
10 The term “classical music” was then used as opposed to “operatic music” and referred to the
Classical and Romantic repertory by “the great German masters, Chopin, Liszt, Saint-Säens, and some
Brazilian composers.” (Azevedo 1956: 217-8)
11 Magaldi 1994: 23.

piano teachers such as Alfredo Bevilacqua in Rio de Janeiro after the 1870s12, Luigi

Chiaffarelli in São Paulo after the 1880s,13 virtuosi such as the Ritter-Patti-Sarasate Trio

in Rio de Janeiro in the 1870s,14 and José White in Rio de Janeiro in the 1880s,15 and

virtuoso-composers such as Robert Kinsman Benjamin in Rio de Janeiro in the

1880s.16 Most of these performances however targeted a selected public, usually people

belonging to music societies.

These private clubs [1867-1900] were enterprises ruled by the privileged few
whose money, political position, or intellectual status qualified them to become
members. Concerts organized by these institutions were never advertised
alongside the activities of the theater in the public entertainment section of daily
newspapers. Instead, short notices usually appeared in the ‘communications’
section as reminders to members of important administrative meetings or

Symphonic concerts directed to a larger public had a meager start in the 1860s

with isolated attempts such as the Concertos Populares [Popular Concerts] (1862)

organized by Tiago Henrique Canongia and Angelo Carrero, and took place more

regularly in Rio de Janeiro’s musical life only in the 1880s and 1890s with Carlos

12 Azevedo 1956: 217-8.

13 Junqueira (1982) offers an extensive study on Chiaffarelli’s activities in São Paulo.
14 Théodore Ritter (pianist), Carlotta Patti (singer and sister of the diva Adelina Patti), and Pablo
Sarasate (violinist) visited Rio de Janeiro in 1870, in the occasion of which Ritter performed
Mendelssohn’s piano concerto and Sarasate performed Mendelssohn’s violin concerto for the first time
in Brazil with orchestral accompaniment. The Ritter-Patti-Sarasate trio claimed to have introduced the
“true” classical music to Rio de Janeiro’s public and renovated its outdated concert music programs.
(Azevedo 1956: 92-4)
15 The Cuban violin player José White (1836-1918) organized the Sociedade de Concertos Clássicos

from 1883 to 1889, the concerts of which introduced the German canon to Brazilian audiences (Magaldi
1994: 24). For further information on the Sociedade de Concertos Clássicos’ activities, see Almeida
(1942: 390-1), and Magaldi (1994: 85-88).
16 Benjamin promoted recitals, chamber and symphonic concerts in the Clube Beethoven from 1882-

1890 (Azevedo 1956: 95). According to Magaldi (1994: 110), these symphonic concerts were in a
three-part format: the first part opened with an orchestra overture, the second started with a Beethoven
symphony, and the third ended with an orchestral piece. For further information on the Clube
Beethoven’s activities, see Almeida (1942: 390), Needell (1987: 64-5), and Magaldi (1994: 66-74,
17 Magaldi 1995: 62.

Mesquita’s series of Concertos Populares (1887-1893; 1897-1902).18 Mesquita’s first

series of public symphonic concerts (1887) introduced the French repertory to Rio de

Janeiro’s public, including symphonic works by Massenet, Franck, Delibes, and Saint-

Saëns.19 One of the greatest merits of Mesquita’s concerts was to constantly perform a

substantial number of works largely unknown to the Brazilian public. That was still the

case with Mesquita’s 1901 matinee series at the Teatro S. Pedro de Alcântara, which

was praised in advance by the Jornal do Comércio’s music critic, Rodrigues Barbosa,

“for the performance of descriptive and symphonic works never heard in Rio de Janeiro


As usual in Mesquita’s series, this concert consisted mostly of French

repertory: Massenet’s Sevilhana, Benjamin Godard’s Le Rêve de la Nikia, Bizet’s

Cavatina from the opera Pêcheurs de Perles, Ernesto Giraud’s Suite d’orchestre, Saint-

Säens’ Rhapsodie Bretonne, Bolzoni’s Minuete, Gelli’s Farfalla (valsa), and

Massenet’s Scénes pittoresques.21 Magaldi (1994: 24) informs that Mesquita’s

concerts also introduced the German canon to Brazilian audiences, and considers

Mesquita’s Concertos Populares “one of the most influential series of public

symphonic concerts ever held in Rio de Janeiro.”

18 Magaldi 1994: 23-4, 111.

19Azevedo (1956: 97) and Magaldi (1994: 112).
20 JC, 3 April 1901, T&M, p.1. The first concert of the 1901 series was advertised in the last page of
the newspaper more than a month in advance: “Teatro S. Pedro de Alcântara/ Ano IV/ Concertos
Populares/ Fundados e dirigidos por/ Carlos de Mesquita/ 1ª matinée/ Domingo 6 de maio de 1901/
Orquestra de 50 professores, violino solo Sr. Ernestso Ronchini/ Assinatura para 3 matinées nas casas
Fertin de Vasconcelos e Manoel Antonio Guimarães (antiga Bushmann & Guimarães)/ Preços da
assinatura: Frisa e camarote de 1ª ordem, 50$; cadeiras de 1ª ordem, 15$; cadeiras de 2ª galerias nobres,
8$000. Preço de cada matinée: 35$, 20$, 6$, 3$, e galerias 1$500.” This concert was announced again
by JC during the week that preceded its performance, on 29 and 30 April 1901; 4 and 5 May 1901. The
prices lowered two days before the concert: JC, 4 and 5 May 1901 inform: “Frisas e camarotes de 1ª
ordem, 35$; ditos de 2ª, 20$; cadeiras de 1ª classe, 6$; galerias nobres e cadeiras de 2ª classe, 3$;
galeria, 1$500.”
21 JC, 30 April 1901, T&M, p. 2; JC, 6 May 1901, T&M, p. 2.

Contemporary criticism noted the relevance of public symphonic concerts in the

renovation of Brazilian musical values. The profile of those popular symphonic concerts

was the judicious mixing of light with serious compositions, so audiences would

gradually become acquainted and fond of art music by listening to art compositions in

concerts that were able to keep the audience’s attention throughout the session by the

intermittent appeal of popular pieces.

It is commonly believed that lyric opera is the loftiest musical expression. This
is the source of the great enthusiasm with which the public celebrates the opera
companies every season, and of the best attendance to these spectacles that have
become a matter of fashion and a requisite of good taste. Unfortunately, this is a
totally erroneous concept, the implications of which result in the delay of
upgrading musical education among us. Maestro Carlos de Mesquita, who
founded among us the Concertos Populares, was one of the first artists to
realize the need of giving a new, upright direction to Rio de Janeiro’s musical
dilettantism by offering the audition of absolute and symphonic music. Maestro
Carlos de Mesquita revealed the abilities of a disseminator by rejecting
unjustifiable intolerance and recognizing the need to fulfill public taste with
concerts combining classical works based on irrepressible forms of beauty and
inspiration with compositions associated with genres in which predominate
picturesque elements and rhythmic cadences rather than developed ideas
elaborated under complex compositional techniques. This propaganda,
interrupted by the absence of Maestro Carlos de Mesquita, had continuators
with Vincenzo Cernicchiaro and Maestro Alberto Nepomuceno after his return
from Europe in 1895.22

22 “De ordinário se acredita que a ópera lírica é a mais elevada expressão musical: daí o grande
entusiasmo com que o público festeja as companhias que fazem as temporadas, a afluência da melhor
sociedade nesses espetáculos que se tornam uma questão de moda, uma condição de bom tom.
Infelizmente aquele conceito é erradíssimo e a convicção que dele resulta tem contribuído enormemente
para retardar os progressos da educação musical entre nós. // Um dos primeiros artistas que
compreenderam a necessidade de dar direção nova e acertada ao diletantismo musical fluminense,
proporcionando-lhe a audição da música pura, da música sinfônica, foi o Maestro Carlos de Mesquita,
que fundou entre nós os Concertos populares. // Sem intransigência descabidas, ao contrário,
reconhecendo a necessidade de satisfazer em parte o gosto do público, o Maestro Carlos de Mesquita
revelou a habilidade de um vulgarizador, arranjando os seus programas de modo que, depois da audição
de um trabalho clássico moldado em formas irrepreensíveis e de beleza de inspiração, se ouvisse
também a composição de gênero em que predomina, não a idéia desenvolvida, artisticamente com os
recursos complexos da técnica, mas o elemento pitoresco e as cadências do ritmo. // Essa propaganda,
interrompida pela ausência do Maestro Carlos de Mesquita, teve depois continuadores no professor
Vincenzo Cernicchiaro e no Maestro Alberto Nepomuceno quando regressou da Europa em 1895. (JC, 6
May 1901, T&M, p. 2)
Public symphonic concerts had its expansion since the 1890s with the

contribution of immigrants such as Vincenzo Cernicchiaro’s Concertos Sinfônicos

(1892-7)23 and Cordiglia Lavalle’s Festival Sinfônico (1900), and other Brazilian

composers who like Mesquita had recently returned from their studies in Europe,

among which one may mention Alberto Nepomuceno’s Concertos Populares (1896-

7),24 Jerônimo Queirós’ Concerto Histórico (1896)25 and Concerto Sinfônico (1899),26

Leopoldo Miguez’s four symphonic concerts Ciclo Miguez (1897),27 Centro

Artístico’s two symphonic concerts (1898) directed by Miguez and Nepomuceno,28

Leopoldo Miguez’s four Concertos Populares (1900),29 Francisco Braga’s Concertos

Sinfônicos (1900-1901),30 and Luís Cândido de Figueiredo’s four Concertos

23 According to Magaldi (1994: 111), Cernicchiaro’s series started in 1892. Concert note BNRJ
indicates that this series was still presented in 1897: “Aos Amadores do Rio de Janeiro/ Teatro Lírico/
Grande Concerto Sinfônico/ 30 de Setembro/ Ano de 1897/ Rio de Janeiro (…) Organizado e Dirigido
pelo maestro V. Cernicchiaro, obsequiosamente coadjuvado pelos mais notáveis amadores desta Capital.
Orquestra de 80 executantes.” For an institutional study about the Teatro Lírico, Rio de Janeiro, see
Needell (1987: 77-81).
24 Nepomuceno was appointed the director of the Associação de Concertos Populares and promoted two
series of concerts in1896 and 1897 (EMB 1998: 563). Concert notes BNRJ inform that the concerts
were held at the Teatro Lírico, with an orchestra of 60 “professors” conducted Alberto Nepomuceno.
The 1897 second series had the first concert on 7 June; the second concert on 11 July; the third concert
on 25 July; and the fourth concert on 8 August.
25 “Teatro Lírico/ Domingo 28 de Junho de 1896/ À 1 hora da tarde/ Grande Concerto Histórico/
Organizado pelo Pianista/ J[erônimo] Queirós/ Orquestra de 60 professores reforçada por alguns sócios
amadores do Clube Sinfônico, que gentilmente se prestam a abrilhantar esta festa artística./ Rio de
Janeiro/ Typ. Carneiro & C. – General Câmara 29/ 1896.” The program was divided into four parts
dedicated, respectively, to the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. (Concert note BNRJ)
26 “Teatro S. Pedro de Alcântara, Concerto Sinfônico do pianista J. Queirós, hoje, domingo 1 de
outubro de 1899, à 1 1/2 da tarde. Preços: frisas e camarotes de primeira, 50$; Camarotes de segunda,
30$; Galerias nobre 10$; Cadeiras de primeira 10$; ditas de segunda, 6$; galerias 2$.” (JC, 1 Oct.
1899, last page)
27 JC, 2 Oct. 1899, p. 3; Concert note BNRJ.
28 JC, 2 Oct. 1899, p. 3.
29 “Maestro Miguez: o regente da orquestra das ex-companhias Aranaz e Lucas está organizando uma
série de 4 concertos populares, com grande orquestra de escolhidos professores. Serão executados os
melhores trabalhos dos mais notáveis compositores estrangeiros e nacionais. O primeiro desses
concertos deverá ser no domingo, 21, no Lírico ou no S. Pedro de Alcântara.” (CR, 13 Oct. 1900, p. 2)
30 The 1900 concert series in Rio de Janeiro were held on 18 and 25 November at the Teatro Lírico
(JC, 14 Aug. 1900, p. 3; JC, 19 and 23 Nov. 1900, p. 2). The subscription for both 1900 Rio de
Figueiredo (1901),31 and the Clube dos Diários symphonic concerts (1900-1901),

directed by Alberto Nepomuceno.32

In addition to renovating the kind of European repertory leard in Brazil, these

symphonic concerts also promoted recently composed Brazilian music. In his

Concertos Populares Mesquita presented his own compositions and works by other

Brazilian composers, in addition to French late-Romantic music. Mesquita premiered

the Fantasia-Abertura for orchestra by his pupil Francisco Braga in his first popular

concert on 4 June 1887 at the Teatro S. Pedro de Alcântara, Rio de Janeiro, and repeated

it on 21 August 1887 at the same theater.33 The second matinee of Mesquita’s 1901

first series, at the Teatro S. Pedro de Alcântara on 12 May, premiered in Brazil the 1º

Episódio Sinfônico, by Carlos de Mesquita, the Intermezzo Sinfônico from the opera

Dhalma, by Ernesto Ronchini, and the Suite d’Orchestre, by Saint-Säens, and presented

Scénes Napolitaines, by Massenet, and the Suite d’Orchestre, by E. Giraud, among

Janeiro concerts were advertised with the following prices: “Camarotes de 1ª ordem, 120$000; Ditos de
2ª ordem, 80$000; cadeiras e Varandas de 1ª classe, 20$000; Cadeiras e Varandas de 2ª classe, 12$000.”
The add also remarked the the concerts counted with an orchestra of 60 “professors” (JC, 31 Oct. 1900,
p. 10). The 1901 concert series in São Paulo were held on 17, 22 and ca. 24-26 January at the Teatro
Santana (CR, 24 Jan. 1901, Gambiarras). Although the first concert in São Paulo was previously
announced for 8 January 1901 (CR, 4 Jan. 1901, p. 2, Gambiarras), it actually happened on 17 January
(JC, 14 Jan. 1901 p. 2 and JC, 23 Jan. 1901 p. 4). Braga’s tour to São Paulo was announced in the
newspapers since the month before (JC, 1 and 15 Dec. 1900, p. 2). The newspaper articles repeatedly
called attention to the fact that the orchestra consisted almost entirely of “professors” especially brought
from Rio de Janeiro to perform in those concerts (CR, 4 Jan. 1901, p. 2, Gambiarras; JC, 14, 23 and
31 Jan. 1901, T&M). The 1901 concert series in Rio de Janeiro were held on 26 May, and 2, 7 and 14
June at the Teatro S. Pedro de Alcântara. (JC, 23 and 26 May 1901; JC, 2, 7 and 14 June 1901). The
prices of each concert lowered in that year, so that the subscription to Braga’s four symphonic concerts
of 1901 was the following: “Frisas e camarotes de 1ª ordem, 130$000; camarotes de 2ª ordem, 90$;
cadeiras de 1ª classe, 20$; cadeiras de 2ª classe, 12$; galeria nobre, 15$000” (JC, 26 May 1901, p. 8,
entertainment advertsiment section).
31 JC, 5, 10, 12, 19 and 28 Dec. 1901.
32 JC, 22 July 1900, p. 2; CR Nº 162, 10 July 1900, p. 2, Vida Social; CR Nº 166, 14 July 1900, p.

1. For an institutional study about the Clube dos Diários, see Needell (1987: 72-74).
33 Santos 1945: 17-8.

other works. The second matinee of Mesquita’s 1901 second series, at the Teatro S.

Pedro de Alcântara on 1 December, premiered in Brazil Delgado de Carvalho’s Marcha

Solene.34 Cordiglia Lavalle’s Festival Sinfônico (1900) premiered Braga’s Episódio

Sinfônico and presented French composers such as Saint-Saëns and Pierné.35 Francisco

Braga’s two Concertos Sinfônicos held in Rio de Janeiro in November of 1900 and

repeated in São Paulo in January of 1901, and the four Concertos Sinfônicos held in

Rio de Janeiro in May-June 1901, presented his own compositions, other Brazilian

composer’s works (such as Carlos Gomes’s Protofonia of Il Guarany), and French

and German-canon composers. For instance, the first symphonic concert of the 1901

Rio de Janeiro series at the Teatro S. Pedro de Alcântara on 26 May presented

Schubert’s Rosamunde Ouverture, Mozart’s Symphony No. 39, Saint-Säens’s Scherzo

for two pianos op. 37 and Gavotte in C minor, Braga’s Episódio Sinfônico, Giraud’s

Entreacto de galante aventure, Wagner’s First song of Wottan (from Tannhäuser), A.

Levy’s Andante for string orchestra, and Gounod’s Marcha festiva. The second

symphonic concert on 2 June 1901 presented Weber’s Euryanthe overture,

Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony, Wagner’s Träume, Braga’s Dá-me as pétalas de rosa,

and Schubert’s Rosamunde ouverture. The third symphonic concert on 7 June 1901

presented Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony and Piano concerto in D minor No. 20,

Braga’s Marabá and Wagner’s Flying Dutchman overture, among others. And the

fourth symphonic concert on 14 June 1901 presented Tchaikovsky’s Ouvertura

solemne 1812, Op. 49, F. Braga’s Minuette for string orchestra, Saint-Säens’s Gavotta

34 JC, 9 May 1901, p. 2, T&M; JC 11 May 1901, last page; JC, 1 Dec. 1901, p. 12.
35 JC, 24 Oct. 1900, p. 3; JC 25 Oct. 1900, p. 2. Half of the revenue of Lavalle’s symphonic concert
at the Cassino Fluminense, Rio de Janeiro, on 28 October 1900, was collected in benefit to the victims
of Ceará drought (JC, 23 and 24 Oct. 1900, p. 2). For an institutional study about the Cassino
Fluminense, see Needell (1987: 64-72).
in C minor, C. Gomes’ Aria de Zuleida (from the opera O Condor), Braga’s Marabá

and Cauchemar, Wagner’s Flying Dutchman overture, Vieuxtemps’ Ballade e

Polonaise for violin and orchestra, Lima Coutinho’s Hino Sinfônico (premiere), and

Mozart’s Serenata and Duetto from the opera Don Juan.36

Some Brazilian composers achieved great success with the performance of their

own compositions as the public demanded a second hearing. Francisco Braga’s

Marabá had an encore in the concert at the Teatro Santana of São Paulo between 24 and

26 of January, 1901; and so did his Episódio Sinfônico in the concert at the Teatro S.

Pedro de Alcântara of Rio de Janeiro on 26 May 1901.37 Jerônimo Queirós’ Concerto

Sinfônico (1899) presented a program that, as remarked by the Jornal do Comércio’s

music critic Rodrigues Barbosa, “if it wasn’t for Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, the

concert would have consisted entirely of Brazilian music – at least in its origin since

these musical works lack any Brazilian national school’s blueprint.” In addition to

Beethoven’s already mentioned work, Queirós conducted his Scherzando for orchestra,

Coquette for orchestra, and played his Apassionato and Capri e Pastoral for piano and

orchestra; Lima Coutinho conducted his Preludio, Henrique Alves de Mesquita’s

“Protofonia” of Il Vagabondo, Nepomuceno’s Rigodon for string orchestra, Miguez’s

Sylvia for string orchestra, F. Braga’s Minuetto for string orchestra, and João Gomes

Araújo’s Scherzo.38

Public symphonic concerts contributed also to the conception of musical

nationalism in Brazil, not only by music critic’s assessments such as the one above and

36 JC, 26 May 1901, p. 10; JC, 2 June 1901, p. 10; (JC, 7 June 1901, p. 3, T&M; JC, 14 June
1901, p. 3, T&M.
37 JC, 31 Jan. 1901, p. 3, T&M; JC, 27 May 1901, p. 2, T&M.
38 JC, 2 Oct. 1899, p. 3.

his extensive article on exoticism in music,39 but also by performing European repertory

associated with national schools and folklore. Some examples are Saint-Säens’

Rhapsodie Bretonne, which “is already known here [in Brazil] as a good result of

French musical folklore,”40 and Glinka’s Kamarinskaya, “a work composed by the

chief of the young Russian school and fairly well-known in Brazil.”41

The visits of Henrique Oswald to Brazil in 1896, 1897, 1899 and 1900 and his

final settlement in Rio de Janeiro in 1903 were crucial to the renovation of Brazilian

musical culture with a repertory strongly influenced by French late Romanticism. The

composer and pianist, who taught in both areas, affected an entire generation of

composers and musicians.42 The visits of Camille Saint-Saëns to São Paulo and Rio de

Janeiro in 1899 and 1904 also had significant impact in updating musical culture in

Brazil, not only by the performance of his own works, but also by discussing recent

issues of European music while interacting with Brazilian musical circles.43

The expansion of public symphonic concerts in Rio de Janeiro was due to two

main factors: on the one hand, many Brazilian composers of the generations following

Gomes who had significant impact in Brazilian musical life studied in European musical

centers other than Italy, namely, France, Belgium and Germany, and returned to Brazil

with new ideals, including a higher valuation of instrumental and symphonic music.44

On the other hand, the expansion of a new social class with the establishment of the

39 Rodrigues Barbosa’s “O exotismo na música” (1899).

40 Article about Carlos de Mesquita’s “Concertos Populares” of 6 May 1901 at the Teatro S. Pedro de
Alcântara, Rio de Janeiro. (JC, 6 May 1901, T&M, p. 2)
41 Article about the symphonic concert promoted by the Clube dos Diários at the Cassino Fluminense,
Rio de Janeiro, on 20 July 1900, produced and conducted by Alberto Nepomceno. (JC, 22 July 1900,
p. 2)
42 See Azevedo (1956: 126-7) for an insightful short discussion; and Martins (1995) for an in-depth
43 See JC, June-July, 1899; and Martins 1995: 59-65.
44 Volpe 1994/95.

Republican regime created a different market, whose non-aristocratic origins demanded

new ways of negotiating and legitimizing social status, among which subscription

concerts were quite befitting.

Differing from the symphonic concerts held in music societies, these public

symphonic concerts were advertised in the public entertainment section of daily

newspapers, and had also short notes in the music critic’s section announcing them and

encouraging the public to attend them. These public symphonic concerts usually

received extensive articles of music criticism in newspapers the day(s) after the concert,

reflecting the Brazilian intelligentsia’s campaign for educating the public at large

towards a new repertory.

Public attendance in the 1890s and 1900s was usually meager, which made

those endeavors financially troublesome. According to the music critic (Rodrigues

Barbosa) of Jornal do Comércio, the four symphonic concerts Ciclo Miguez (1897) a

loss of Rs. 8:000$000 and the two symphonic concerts promoted by the Centro

Artístico (1898) suffered a loss of Rs. 2:000$000. The critic also points out that

financial difficulties affected the quality of those performaces.45

The scanty attendance of symphonic concerts was due to many reasons,

including the low quality of the orchestral performance, the lack of education of Rio de

Janeiro’s public at large, and the appeal of other kinds of entertainment. In an ironic

assessment, Jornal do Comércio’s music critic assured that the lacking attendance of

Mesquita’s symphonic concert in early May 1901 could not be attributed to poor

publicity, since it was extensively advertised by the media, but rather to the preference of

Rio de Janeiro’s public at large for “light” entertainment:

45 JC, 2 Oct. 1899, p. 3.

Unfortunately, art is a difficult affair here and finds such public resistance due to
the population’s illiteracy, which has caused so much discussion and has lately
been proved to be undeniable. That’s why the Centro Artístico disappeared; and
naturally that’s why there haven’t been symphonic concerts in continuation to
the ones that had been made with unquestionable success. It seems however that
the symphonic campaign will resume, and this time by the one who had started
it. Yesterday, at the Teatro S. Pedro de Alcântara, the Maestro Carlos de
Mesquita gave the first of a series of popular concerts. Despite the
advertisements, the newspaper calls, and the lovely weather inviting an
intellectual amusement by listening to beautiful music, the room was empty.
What do you want? Café-concerts offered matinees accompanied by amber-
colored fresh beer in between two coplas of cançoneta brejeira [national
chanson]. Art can wait its turn. Art can wait until it is pleasing to the public. (…)
We could comment on the orchestra, but its unsatisfactory aspects are justified
by the lack of educated ensembles and insufficient rehearsals. We prefer
however to wait for the following concerts when the orchestra will be better

However, none of the competing factors for the dispersion of Rio de Janeiro’s

larger public seemed to provide a cogent explanation for the withdrawing of the elite

from symphonic concerts. If poor orchestral performance was among the reasons for

the sparse attendance of Mesquita’s concert of May 1901, that was definitely not the

case with Braga’s concert of June 1901.

Maestro Francisco Braga has advertised his concerts more than enough. Also,
all press of this capital calls extensively the public to all kinds of spectacles and
musical auditions, and referred daily to Braga’s concerts remarking upon its
excellent value and program. Very well! At 2 p.m. yesterday, the Teatro S. Pedro
de Alcântara was empty! The spectators could be handcounted as some dozens
in that cold room. Where did the dilettantes of this capital go yesterday? Is it
true that Rio de Janeiro has public only to the Cafés-Concerts happening at the

46 “Infelizmente as coisas de arte são difíceis aqui e encontram no público uma resistência que se
explica pelo analfabetismo da população, que tanto se tem falado ultimamente com demonstrações
irrecusáveis. Foi por isso que desapareceu o Centro Artístico; foi por isso naturalmente que não mais se
fizeram concertos sinfônicos em continuação aos que já se tinham realizado com êxito incontestável.
Parece, entretanto, que a campanha vai recomeçar, e desta vez travada por que iniciou a propaganda.
Ontem, no teatro S. Pedro de Alcântara, o Maestro Carlos de Mesquita deu o primeiro de uma série de
concertos populares; apesar dos anúncios, das referências dos jornais, e do magnífico tempo que
convidava a uma diversão intelectual na audição de bela música, a sala estava vazia. Que querem? Os
café-concerto davam matinées e por lá havia, além do mais, o atrativo do chopp gelado, cor de âmbar,
levispumoso, entre duas coplas da cançoneta brejeira. A arte que espere a sua vez, para quando for do
agrado do público. (…) Poderíamos dizer algo da orquestra, mas o que haveria a notar está justificado
pela falta de conjuntos que eduquem e pela insuficiência dos ensaios; preferimos, porém, esperar os
futuros concertos, quando o conjunto estiver mais bem equilibrado.” (JC, 6 May 1901, T&M, p. 2)
same time? Is this the compensation that such a superior artist deserves,
especially if one considers that Francisco Braga also has the credit of being a
Brazilian? Or is this condition an anathema? However, the concert was excellent.
(…) The program was excellently performed. And how much work and money
demanded this fine performance to a audience of only fifty people! The public is
definitely becoming an undecipherable enigma, and day after day we understand
them less and less. That is not to say that we reproach the ones who go to café-
concerts and similar entertainment. Not at all! Rio de Janeiro has population to
fill all these events. What we want to know is what has happened to the
intellectual sector of our society and that particular class whose education,
resources, artistic and literary relations and concerns would impel them to attend
maestro F. Braga’s second symphonic concert. Is that possible that a weird
phenomenon has transformed the flower of our society into a rude crust?47

Although some people claimed that the poor attendance was due to the large

number of other public entertainment happening simultaneously with Braga’s second

symphonic concert, Jornal do Comércio’s critic insists that Rio de Janeiro’s public

simply neglected “high art.” Furthermore, the critic considered a social anomaly that

the elite, namely, that one percent of Rio de Janeiro’s 800,000 population would not

attend symphonic concerts during days that there were no other especial event. The critic

closes the article suggesting that the lacking education of the public at large and the

47 “O maestro Francisco Braga tem anunciado mais que suficientemente os seus concertos sinfônicos.
Além disso, toda a imprensa desta Capital, que prodigaliza espaço para chamar o público a tudo o que
seja um espetáculo ou uma audição musical, referiu-se quotidianamente a esses concertos, realçando-lhes
o valor, o excelente programa. Pois bem! Às 2 horas da tarde, ontem, o teatro S. Pedro de Alcântara
estava vazio! Fazia frio na sala, onde os espectadores podiam ser contados em números de algumas
dezenas. // Onde se meteu ontem o diletantismo desta Capital? // Porventura o Rio de Janeiro só tem
público para os Cafés-Concerto que regorgitavam à mesma hora? // É essa a recompensa que se dê a
um artista superior como Francisco Braga, que tem ainda a seu crédito a condição da nacionalidade? Ou
essa condição é um anátema? // Entretanto o concerto foi excelente. (…) Todo esse programa teve
excelente execução. E quanto trabalho e despeza custou essa interpretação, polida e esmerada, para um
auditório de cinquenta pessoas! // Decididamente o público vai se tornando um enigma indecifrável, e
dia para dia menos o compreendemos. // Não é que nos revoltemos contra quem vai para os cafés-
concerto ou para outras diversões semelhantes, não; o Rio de Janeiro tem população para tudo isso. // O
que desejaríamos que nos explicassem é o que foi feito da parte intelectual da nossa sociedade, de certa
classe que pela sua educação, pelos seus recursos, pelas suas relações e pelas suas preocupações
literárias e artísticas, deveria estar ontem no segundo concerto sinfônico do maestro F. Braga. // Será
possível que um fenômeno estranho tenha transformado em uma camada groseira a flor da nossa
sociedade?” (JC, 3 June 1901, p. 1, T&M)
neglect of the elite for “high art” were a phenomenon of social concern that deserved

the attention of the official authorities.

Some people said that we were unfair when we censured the lack of public
attendance at Francisco Braga’s second symphonic concert because there were
many other parties attracting the population’s preferences on that particular day.
As if there were some intellectual amusement higher than a symphonic session
presenting acclaimed composers!… As if a city of 800,000 inhabitants cannot
have one percent of its population attending Sunday [symphonic] parties! Very
well, it was a lovely Sunday yesterday; it was a sunny, fresh day with a
tenderness delighting the ones who like to contemplate the incomparable
beauties of our land, where the Winter has all the enchantments of other
countries’ Spring! Newspaper announced only a few theater matinees and a
horse race. The theaters had short attendance; and so were the races. The Teatro
S. Pedro de Alcântara, where Francisco Braga offered his third symphonic
concert, was not as empty as it was on the second, but had only an audience of
three hundred people. Where was that limited percentage of Rio de Janeiro’s
population that could have attended the [symphonic] parties? Where were the
ones who expressed sorry for the undeserved abandonment to which Francisco
Braga had been left, and promised to be present in the next concert? We do not
even want to explain this phenomenon. We leave it here by only reporting the
fact as a worrying symptom of our social state that deserves the attention and
study of the ones who govern us.48

The potential public of those popular symphonic concerts was the “expanding

elite and middle-sector market” defined by Needell49 as “the narrow sector of Carioca

population … probably composed of elite women, middle-sector women of elite tastes,

48 “Algumas pessoas disseram que foramos injustos censurando a ausência do público no segundo
concerto sinfônico do maestro Francisco Braga, porque nesse dia houve muitas outas festas que atraíram
de preferência a população. // Como se houvesse mais elevada diversão intelectual do que uma sessão
sinfônica de compositores consagrados!… Como se uma cidade de 800.000 habitantes não pudesse dar
um contingente de um por cento, ao menos, para as festas de domingo! // Pois bem, ontem tivemos
um domingo magnífico, um dia de sol, luminoso, fresco, com uma doçura a deliciar os que se
comprazem em admirar as belezas inigualáveis da nossa terra, onde o inverno tem todos os encantos da
primavera dos outros países! Não constava nos jornais senão umas matinées de teatro e uma corrida de
cavalos. // Os teatros tiveram pouca gente; o mesmo aconteceu às corridas. O teatro S. Pedro de
Alcântara, onde se dava o terceiro concerto sinfônico do maestro brasileiro, não estava deserto como no
dia 2, mas tinha apenas um auditório de trezentas pessoas. Onde estava ontem aquela porcentagem
limitadíssima de população que podia comparecer às festas? Onde estavam os que mostravam
compungidos do abandono imerecido a que foi votado o maestro Francisco Braga e prometeram a si
mesmos não faltar ao concerto seguinte? // Não queremos nem mesmo tentar explicar o fato; deixamo-
lo aqui, apenas consignado, como um sintoma grave do nosso estado social, que reclama a atenção e o
estudo daqueles que nos governam.” (JC, 10 June 1901, p. 2, T&M)
49 Needell 1987: 197.

and a masculine contingent of students, literati, and would-be literati” to which one

could add music students, composers and musicians, would-be composers and

musicians, and people associated with the fine arts.

The year 1901 reflected great concerns about the development of the

“symphonic concert industry” in the Federal Capital. As the beginning of the season

was imprinted by the critic’s hopeless remark, “doesn’t the reader find it useless to ask

the public not to abandon the concerts?,”50 the end of the season was sealed by a

discouraging assessment about the way those orchestras operated as business:

Innumerable antecedents have proved that the symphonic concert industry – be it

popular or not – is impossible here. It is very probable that the cause of this
failure is a curious system by which orchestral musicians work among us. Any
artist of any area takes in jobs to which one is proficient, and is paid only by the
work actually accomplished because no one is willing to pay someone else to
learn what one has to do, and also for the execution of what was learned.
However, that is what happens to orchestral musicians. In this original
phenomenon, the impresario pays the musician to sit at the stand to learn the
music until the musician can play it in ensembles. [The musician will also be
paid to perform in concerts.] But that is not all. The conductor schedules the
rehearsal, let’s say, at 9 a.m.. At this time some rare musicians show up – the
ones who are punctual. At 9:30 a.m. some other musicians show up; and at 9:40
a.m. the rehearsal starts with half of the musicians, and the remaining ones
successively and slowly arrive, so that when the last musicians come in, the first
ones start leaving the room either because they have been there long enough or
because they have a party or another job to do. How can one have efficient
rehearsals under this condition? But there is more, and we will touch on the
critical point. Musicians are not sufficiently skilled in their instruments and
cannot master some difficulties so that they compel the frequent repetition of
those passages taking a lot of rehearsal time away, disturbing the course of the
work and spoiling the impresario. And we repeat, that is a curious phenomenon:
musicians are paid to learn their part since they do not rehearse for free.
Therefore, the impresario is in a awkward situation: if he invests his capital in an
amount of rehearsals necessary to assure the quality of the performance, he will
not have any profit even with a full-house concert; if he falls short in rehearsals,
the poor quality of the concert will drive the public away, which by the way has

50“Não acha o leitor que é inútil pedir ao público que não abandone os concertos?” (JC, 6 May 1901,
T&M, p. 2)
happened already so that those [symphonic] parties have not had good

The Concertos Figueiredo, a series of four subscription concerts promoted by

Luís Cândido de Figueiredo at the Teatro Lucinda of Rio de Janeiro in December of

1901, was perceived as having contributed significantly to a new approach to concert

music enterprise by targeting and making concerts accessible to the general public.

Rodrigues Barbosa explained that “the concerts organized by the cellist Mr. Luís

Cândido de Figueiredo are essentially popular … popular because they are accessible to

all pockets and associated with a genre, limited to chamber music and string orchestra,

understandable to all intellects.”52

51 “Está provado por inúmeros precedentes que a indústria dos concertos sinfônicos – populares ou não
–é inviável entre nós, sendo muito provável que a razão desse insucesso proceda do sistema curioso por
que os músicos de orquestra exercem entre nós a sua profissão. // Qualquer artista, de qualquer ramo
profissional, só se incumbe de trabalho que esteja habilitado a fazer, e só recebe retribuição pelo
trabalho realmente feito, porque ninguém está disposto a pagar-lhe para aprender e depois para
confeccionar o que aprendeu a fazer; entretanto, com o músico de orquestra dá-se justamente este
fenômeno original: o empresário paga-lhe para que ele se sente junto a uma estante e aprenda a música
que lhe foi distribuída até que a saiba e possa executá-la em conjunto. E não é só isso. O regente marca
o ensaio, por exemplo, para nove horas da manhã. A essa hora aparecem alguns músicos raros – os que
são pontuais; às nove e meia começam a chegar outros; às nove e quarente começa o ensaio com a
metade dos músicos, e os outros vão chegando sucessiva e lentamente, de modo que, quando chegam os
últimos, os primeiros vão saindo, ou porque já estão ali há muito tempo, ou porque têm uma festa ou
outro serviço qualquer a fazer. Como obter bons ensaios nessas condições? // Não para por aí, e vamos
tocar o ponto essencial. Músicos que não têm execução suficiente no seu instrumento e não podem
vencer certas dificuldades que se lhes oferecem, de modo que forçam a repeticão frequente desses trechos,
tomando tempo, embaraçando o adiantamento dos ensaios, prejudicando o empresário, e (o que é, como
dissemos, curioso) sendo pago para aprender a sua parte, porque ele não ensaia de graça. // Assim sendo,
o empresário, ou terá de despender um capital, que não encontrará compensação, ainda que o concerto
seja muito concorrido, ou terá de economizar ensaios, e o concerto, deixando a desejar na sua realizacão
artística, afugentará o público – o que aliás, já se dá, de modo que essas festas não têm concorrência.”
(JC, 26 Nov. 1901, p. 3, T&M, article commenting upon Mesquita’s Concertos Populares second
52 “São essencialmente populares os concertos organizados pelo violoncelista Sr. Luís Cândido de
Figueiredo … populares porque estão ao alcance de todas as bolsas e porque se cingem a um gênero
compreensível para todas as inteligências, limitado à música de câmara e a conjunto de instrumentos de
corda” (JC, 5 Dec. 1901, p. 2). The prices advertised were the following: “Camarotes 30$; Cadeiras de
1ª classe 5$; Entradas 2$000” (JC, 10 Dec 1901, p. 8).
Concertos Figueiredo combined solo, vocal, chamber music and music for small

orchestra, and presented “thirty-eight national compositions, premiering twenty-one of

them.”53 Among the works by Brazilian composers were Ernesto Ronchini’s Quarteto

in C and Lamento de Cupido for string orchestra, Nepomuceno’s Suite antique for

string orchestra, Henrique Braga’s Gavota and Minuete for string orchestra, Francisco

Braga’s Madrigal Pavana and Aubade for string orchestra, Alexandre Levy’s Andante

for string orchestra, Delgado de Carvalho’s Gavote et Musette for string orchestra;

works by foreign composers included Schumann’s Träumerei (transcribed for string

orchestra), Lidner’s Canção Sueca for string orchestra, Saint-Säens’ Piano Trio,

Sarasate’s Romance andaluz and Jota aragonesa.54

The critic also suggested that the good attendance of these series was due to the

fact that “Rio de Janeiro’s public has realized that it is better to listen to a well-

organized, well-rehearsed concert performed by soloists and a selected string ensemble

than to attend a poorly rehearsed, imperfectly performed symphonic concert.”55

Contemporary criticism also noted that the increasing number of symphonic

concerts contributed to the improvement of musicians’ skills for orchestral


Our musicians, little used to ensembles to which is necessary a special

education, have accomplished admirable progress. It is still in everybody’s
memory the superior performance and the refined cohesion achieved by maestro
Leopoldo Miguez, first in the Ciclo Miguez’s concerts and later in Centro
Artístico’s two concerts.56

53 JC, 28 Dec. 1901, p. 3.

54 JC, 5 Dec. 1901, p. 2; JC, 10 Dec. 1901, p. 8.
55 “O público tem compreendido, e com razão, que é preferível ouvir um concerto bem organizado,
ensaiado com esmero, executado por solistas e por um conjunto escolhido de instrumentos de arco, a
assistir a uma sessão sinfônica mal ensaiada e com realização imperfeitíssima.” (JC, 12 Dec. 1901)
56 “Os nossos músicos, poucos habituados ao conjunto, para cuja homogeneidade é indispensável uma
educação especial, fizeram então progressos admiráveis, e ainda está na memória de todos a superioridade
de execução e a refinada coesão obtidas pelo Maestro Leopoldo Miguez, primeiramente nos concertos do
The presence of Campos Sales in the third matinee of Mesquita’s Concertos

Populares series of 1901 indicates the integration of symphonic popular concerts into

official cultural symbols.57 The attendance at symphonic concerts, although fluctuating

for different reasons, corresponded not only to taste change but also, and perhaps most

importantly, to Rio de Janeiro society’s increasing recognition of their cultural value and

the attached social status of participating in what was then considered high culture. The

notion of high culture in Brazil had a lot to do with French models.58

The French influence in Brazil reached all areas, from philosophy, science, and

politics, to literature, architecture, sculpture, painting, and music. The Francophile culture

in Rio de Janeiro belle epoque was associated, in Needell’s words, with “the

strengthening fantasy of Civilization … [of] elite’s culture,”59 and included social

behavior, values and status symbols embodied in fashion, entertainment and public

spaces. In that sense, Mesquita’s French-dominated symphonic concerts were

representative of Brazilian intelligentsia’s “fantasy of Civilization,” as were Ciclo

Miguez’s and Centro Artístico’s symphonic poem- and Wagnerian-dominated

repertory that, as discussed below, were brought to Brazil mostly through the

Francophile influence.

The Francophile culture in Brazil bridged political and musical affairs. La

Marseillaise was the anthem of the Brazilian republican movement symbolizing the anti-

monarchical, revolutionary ideology, and it was sung in street demonstrations and after

Ciclo Miguez e depois em dois concertos sinfônicos do Centro Artístico.” (JC, 6 May 1901, T&M, p.
57 The concert was “honored with the presence of your excellency Mr. President of the Republic and
his excellent family.” (JC, 19 May 1901, p. 10)
58 See insightful summary in Needell 1987: 198.
59 Needell 1987: 179.

the pro-republican’s meetings.60 Bastille Day was national holiday in Brazil during the

first decades of Brazilian First Republic. Levy’s Himne au 14 Juliet in Eb for orchestra

and fanfare (using themes reminiscent of Chant du Départ and Marseillaise), was

composed for the 1889 celebrations.61 A decade later, the celebrations included the Fête

Nationale Française du 14 Juliet at the Teatro S. Pedro de Alcântara. The concert

opened with La Marseillaise and the Brazilian National Anthem, and presented 14

works by French or French-career composers, performed by Brazilian and French

musicians. The works included Aime Maillart’s Ouverture and “Espoir Charmant”

from the opera Dragons de Villars, Saint-Säens’ Allegro appasionato for piano, V.

Massé’s “Sa couleur est blonde et vermeille,” from the opera Galathée, Vieuxtemps’s

Polonaise for violin, Gounod’s “Depuis hier je cherche en vain mon maître,” from the

opera Roméo et Juliette, Raoul Pugno’s Valse lente for piano, Tagliafico’s O nuit!,

romance for voice, Meyerbeer’s “Va-va, dit elle,” from the opera Robert le Diable,

Sarasate’s Bolero for violin, Boursaut’s Les Deu baverdes, and Ambroise Thomas’s

France, France! for chorus; the concert closed with Rouget de L’Isle’s La

Marseillaise, and Méhul’s Le Chant du Départ.62 In 1900, the French community

promoted the 14th of July Celebrations with morning and night concerts, the last of

which was attended by the President of the Brazilian Republic, in addition to Italian and

U.S. ambassadors.63

The revolutionary and patriotic tone of Republic’s first decade fostered the

composition of a significant amount of pomp and circumstance music. On 22

60 Carvalho 1990: 122; Medeiros de Albuquerque’s Quando eu era vivo: 90-1, 116-7; Azevedo 1956:
61 Azevedo 1956: 159-160.
62 JC, 14 July 1899, p. 6.
63 JC, 16 July 1900, p. 2)

November 1889 the Provisional Government set a competition for the music of the

Republican anthem adopting Medeiros de Albuquerque’s lyrics, which was until then

sung to the tune of La Marseillaise. The jury, members of the Provisional Government,

and a full audience gathered at the Teatro Lírico on 20 January 1890, to hear, campaign

and vote for the best musical setting among thirty-six pieces. The most important

composers of the period submitted their compositions: Francisco Braga, Alberto

Nepomuceno, Jerônimo Queirós, and Leopoldo Miguez, among others.64 The director

of the Instituto Nacional de Música, Leopoldo Miguez, won over strong competition by

Francisco Braga and Alberto Nepomuceno, who were then awarded a grant to study in

Europe.65 Miguez’s anthem, paraphrasing La Marsellaise, reveals once more the impact

of Francophile political culture in Brazil.

The 1890s sees the opening of the Federal Capital’s culture to a larger


After founding symphonic concerts in its popular guise among us, Mr. Carlos
de Mesquita stayed away for a long time. Returning after many years, he
thought that we had not made any advance in musical matters, and that he could
take from where he left. He was totally mistaken. Our public is much more
educated today, and neither exclusionist programs nor the limited symphonic
literature of Mr. Carlos de Mesquita (whose musical culture is not very
extensive) satisfy our public anymore. This became clear in the last three
symphonic concerts, which are without any doubt inferior to all the symphonic
concerts that we have had in the last ten years.66

64 For an insightful study on the social and symbolic dimensions of the Brazilian national and
republican anthems, see Carvalho 1990: 122-128.
65 “Pouco depois da Proclamação da República, o Governo Provisório abriu concurso para a
composição de um hino republicano. Escolhido o de Miguez, entendeu o mesmo governo que o alto
mérito revelado por Francisco Braga e Alberto Nepomuceno merecia ser premiado e pensionou-os para
que fosse à Europa aperfeiçoar-se. (CR, 29 July 1900, p. 90) Braga’s grant to study at the Paris
Conservatory for two years was later extended to four years upon Massenet’s appeal. Nepomuceno
studied at the Meister Schulle in Berlin upon the Republican government’s grant for two years (1890 to
1892). For a systematic approach to Brazilian Romantic composers’s study in Europe, see Volpe
(1994-5: 51-76).
66 “Depois de ter fundado entre nós o gênero popular do concerto sinfônico, o Sr. Carlos de Mesquita
ausentou-se por muito tempo. Acreditou, talvez, que nada tivéssemos adiantado em matéria musical, e
Although Mesquita had been among the pioneers of musical renovation in

Brazil, the French-dominated repertory of his symphonic concerts were considered

limited by Rio de Janeiro’s public and critics in the 1890s. Paradoxically, that

perception was the result of a larger cultural diversification brought by French

connections. The Francophile culture was a major venue of the dissemination of

German culture in Brazil. This was a large phenomenon that included not only music

but also philosophy. German authors were known in Brazil through French translations.

The “Music of the Future” in Brazil

The “music of the future” (referring to program music as postulated by Berlioz

and Liszt, Wagner’s music drama, and their followers) was no exception and entered

Brazil mostly through Francophile connections. Composers who most disseminated the

symphonic poem and the Wagnerian drama in Brazil got acquainted with the “music of

the future” while in Paris and in French-dominated centers. Leopoldo Miguez studied

in the Francophile Conservatory of Brussels and returned to Brazil in 1884 a zealous

Wagnerian advocate; Miguez wrote symphonic poems and the first Brazilian musical

drama.67 Alexandre Levy, who studied at the Paris Conservatory in 1887, wrote
symphonic poems, and in the end of his life studied Wagner’s scores dearly but died

before writing any Wagnerian work.68 Composers such as Francisco Braga, Alberto

Nepomuceno, Carlos Mesquita, Francisco Vale and Elpídio Pereira studied in Paris

regressando depois de muitos anos decorridos, pensou que poderia recomeçar do ponto em que nos
deixara. Enganou-se completamente. O nosso público está muito mais educado, e já não lhe satisfazem
os programas exclusivos, nem a limitada literatura sinfônica do Sr. Carlos de Mesquita, cuja cultura é
muito pouco extensa, como ficou evidenciado nestes três concertos sinfônicos, inferiores, sem dúvida, a
tudo que temos tido de há dez anos a esta parte.” (JC, 20 May 1901, p. 2, T&M)
67 Azevedo 1956: 97-8. See also Volpe 1994/5: 54.
68 Azevedo 1956: 161.

during the decade of greatest polemic and dissemination of Wagnerian music in France.

In his auto-biography Elpídio Pereira recounts the strenuous polemics around Charles

Lamoureux’s production of Lohengrin’s premiere at the Opéra de Paris in 1891.

Pereira recalls how the French people hated Wagner and would not allow any of his

works to be performed in a French theater. The triumph of Lamoreux’s performance

opened the doors of many other French theaters to Wagner’s music resulting in its

dissemination to the French public at large.69 As we shall see later, the triumph of

Wagnerism in Brazil succeeded only by one year its French acclamation. Braga moved

from Paris to Dresden in 1896 searching for a direct contact with Wagnerism and had

the opportunity to make the pilgrimage to Bayreuth twice to attend Der Ring des

Nibelungen (1896) and Parsifal (June 1897).70 Braga composed his symphonic poem

Marabá and his opera Jupyra in Dresden under the influence of Wagnerism.

The “music of the future” entered Brazil in the 1880s but had a broader public

exposure and acceptance only in the 1890s. Thereafter symphonic poems and

Wagnerian operas were a large portion of works that gave more visibility to Brazilian

musicians as far as their compositional worth. That is the case with Francisco Braga’s

recognition with his symphonic poem Marabá in 1900-1, and his acclaim with his

Wagnerian opera Jupyra in 1900. That is also the case with Leopoldo Miguez’s

plaudits with his symphonic poem Ave Libertas!, and his ultimate acclaim with his

Wagnerian opera I Salduni in 1901.

Wagnerism initially found resistance among the Brazilian public. Emperor D.

Pedro II’s widely known admiration for Wagner’s music was not enough to persuade

69 Volpe 1994/5: 54.

70 Azevedo 1956: 180; Hora 1953: 29-31.
public taste.71 Wagner’s debut in Brazil was a fiasco. On 19 September 1883 the

Ferrari Opera Company premiered Lohengrin in Rio de Janeiro with poor reception.

The work was considered “monotonous and tiresome,” and a considerable number of

people left the theater scandalized in the last intermission.72 Rienzi’s first performance

in Brazil on 27 September 1889 had no better fate.73

It seems however that only the modernization brought by the Republican regime,

especially the urban reforms in Rio de Janeiro and the increasing middle-sector market

followed by the development of cultural industry, effectively created a propitious

environment for musical renovation. A month after Tannhäuser’s successful premiere

in Rio de Janeiro, Machado de Assis noted that modernization and progress were the

common ground between urban improvements and musical innovation in the Federal

Capital. The modernization brought by the first electric streetcars in Rio de Janeiro was

ironically compared to Wagner’s musical revolution.

We finally have these novelties on earth. Teatro Lírico impresario did us the
favor of bringing the famous opera by Wagner, while Botafogo Company
brought us faster transportation. Will the donkey and Verdi fall all at once? It
will all depend upon the circumstances.74

Wagnerism had gathered a limited number of sympathizers in Brazil with the

foundation of the Club Ricardo Wagner in Rio de Janeiro around 1883, but had a

breakthrough in Rio de Janeiro’s musical life only with Mancinelli opera seasons after

1892, and the foundation of the Centro Artístico in 1893. Contemporary critic attests

71 See detailed study on Emperor D. Pedro II and Wagner in Lacombe (1993). See also Schwarcz
(1999: 152).
72 Bevilacqua 1934: 6; Azevedo 1956: 97-8.
73 Bevilacqua 1934: 7.
74 “Temos finalmente na terra essas grandes novidades. O empresário do Teatro Lírico fez-nos o favor
de dar a famosa ópera de Wagner, enquanto a Companhia de Botafogo tomou a peito transportar-nos
mais depressa. Cairão de uma vez o burro e Verdi? Tudo depende das circunstâncias.” (Machado de
Assis’ chronicle “Tannhauser e bonds elétricos,” 2 October 1892, in Obra Completa 1973: 546, quoted
in Hollanda 1992: 123)
that only the authority of the Italian maestro Marino Mancinelli had the power to open

the way to Wagner’s music drama into Rio de Janeiro public at large triggering a

tangible revolution in the Federal Capital musical scene.75 Mancinelli’s premiere of

Tannhäuser on 1 October 1892 was enthusiastically received by Rio de Janeiro public

and considered a social and artistic happening76

Lohengrin and Tannhäuser were performed in the opera seasons of the

following years along with operas such as: Donizetti’s Vespri Siciliani; Verdi’s Il

Trovatore, Un Ballo in Maschera, Aida and Hamlet; Gomes’ Lo Schiavo and Il

Guarany; Boito’s Mefistofele; Mascagni’s Cavallaria Rusticana and Iris;

Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci; Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, La Bohème and Tosca; A.

Thomas’s Mignon; Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots, Le Prophète and L’africaine;

Gounod’s Faust; Massenet’s Werther; Saint-Saëns’ Sanson et Dalila; Bizet’s

Carmen; usually in Italian versions.77 Tannhäuser had a special place in Mancinelli’s

1893 opera season and gained increasing public favor in the following years.78 The

popularity of Tannhäuser was such that Mancinelli had to book it in the place of Il

Trovatore upon the request of the subscribers of the 1894 opera season.79 The

75 “O maestro Marino Mancinelli foi incontestavelmente o eco dos progressos da escola wagnerista
[sic] no Rio de Janeiro; introduzindo com o peso de sua autoridade óperas de Wagner no nosso
repertório lírico, promoveu uma verdadeira revolução no nosso meio musical, deixando boquiabertos os
que, denunciando competência de profissionais, não acreditavam que o Tannhauser fizesse carreira no
Rio de Janeiro e diziam que o Lohengrin era ópera que fazia adormecer.” (JC, 17 Aug. 1894, p. 1)
76 JC, 2 Oct. 1901, p. 4, T&M. Bevilacqua 1934: 6.
77 See for instance, JC, 28 July 1894, p. 2, T&M; JC, 3 Aug. 1894, p. 10, advertisement; JC, 4 Aug.

1900, p. 2, T&M; JC, 11 Aug. 1900, p. 8.

78 JC, 24 Aug. 1894, p. 1.
79 JC, 3 Aug. 1894, p. 10, advertisement.

performance of Lohengrin in the 1894 opera season went with a nearly full-house and

was frequently interrupted by the audience’s applause.80

Wagner’s music was also popularized by symphonic concerts. The Associação

de Concertos Populares, directed by Nepomuceno, performed many Wagnerian scores

in its symphonic concerts during 1896 and 1897, as, for instance, the “Einzug der

Götter in Walhall” from Das Rheingold, and “Der Ritt der Walküren.”81 Even the

Italian maestro V. Cernicchiaro, criticized for his Italian exclusionism in his book on

music history in Brazil (1926), conducted Wagner’s Tannhäuser overture.82

The 1900 opera season of the Italian Lyric Company G. Sansone, at the Teatro

Lírico of Rio de Janeiro, gave special emphasis to Wagnerian music. The program

consisted of four Wagnerian operas. Tannhäuser, staged on 4 and 18 August 1900,83

Lohengrin, staged on 22 and 26 September 1900,84 and Francisco Braga’s Jupyra,

staged on 8 October 1900, were enthusiastically received by the public and widely

commented by the critics.85 Although advertised, Leopoldo Miguez’s I Salduni was not

staged in 1900, but only in the 1901 opera season upon the campaign of the Rio de

Janeiro Wagnerian clique.

80 “A sala, quasi completamente cheia, explodia frequentemente em aplausos a Mancinelli e aos
cantores (…) que cantaram muito bem a difícil partitura wagneriana.” (JC, 8 Aug. 1894, p. 1, T&M)
See also, JC, 29 Aug. 1894 p. 1, T&M.
81 Azevedo 1956: 97; Concert notes BNRJ of 7 July 1897; 11 July 1897; and 8 August 1897, at the
Teatro Lírico.
82 Concert note BNRJ of 30 September 1897, at the Teatro Lírico.
83 Public entertainment section of JC, 4 Aug. 1900, p. 10 announced: “Camarotes de 1ª ordem, 125$;

ditos de 2ª, 80$; cadeiras de 1ª classe, 25$; cadeiras de 2ª, 12$; varandas de 1ª, 25$; ditas de 2ª, 15$;
galerias de 2ª e 3ª fila, 5$000.” The prices for the last perfomance on 18 August 1900 rised to the
following: “Camarotes de 1ª ordem, 150$; ditos de 2ª, 100$; cadeiras de 1ª classe, 30$; ditas de 2ª (da
letra N a H), 15$; $; ditas de 2ª (da letra G a A), 12$; varandas de 1ª, 30$; ditas de 2ª, 20$000. A
empresa resolveu não alterar os preços das galerias.”
84 Public entertainment section of JC, 22 Sept. 1900, p. 10 announced: “Camarotes de 1ª ordem, 75$;

ditos de 2ª, 40$; cadeiras de 1ª classe, 15$; cadeiras de 2ª, 8$; varandas de 1ª classe, 15$; ditas de 2ª,
10$; galerias, 3$000.”
85 JC, 5 Aug. 1900, p. 3; 28 Sept. 1900, p. 2, T&M.

The different reception of Wagner’s music reflects not only a changing musical

taste but also a changed political institution that needed to dissociate itself from the

regime it had just overthrown by promoting new cultural symbols. Wagnerism earned

currency in Brazil during a period in which the breaking with the old political regime

needed to be actualized at the symbolic and cultural levels. The increasing acceptance of

German music, which had had a limited dissemination in Brazil until then, meant a

rupture with the monarchical culture. The musical culture of monarchical era was

dominated by Italian opera, and its institutions were predominantly devoted to that

genre: the chief goal of Rio de Janeiro Conservatory of Music was to prepare singers

and musicians for the opera theater, Rio de Janeiro musical societies and domestic

music cultivated vocal and instrumental music related to the operatic culture, and even

nineteenth-century church music was strongly influenced by bel canto. Wagnerian

opera and symphonic poem were associated with the advent of the republican regime in

Brazil and symbolized the cutting off from monarchy. The Instituto Nacional de Música

was founded upon the dictum of symphonic music and Wagnerism. The “music of the

future” inaugurated a new era in Brazilian political history that was legitimized to a

large extent by the ideology of “progress.”

Contemporary articles frequently associated Wagner’s music with epithets such

as “modern musical form,” “progress,” and “grandiose descriptive conception.”86

Those ideas also legitimized contemporary production of Brazilian composers engaged

in the “music of the future” cause. In the 1890s the central concern of Brazilian

musical intelligentsia was the updating of Brazilian music with European trends rather

than the revision of its major symbols of national identity. This is very clear in the sole

86See, for instance, article on Lohengrin that preceded its performance at the Teatro Lírico of Rio de
Janeiro on 10 August 1894 in JC, 9 Aug. 1894, p. 2.
organized musical society that promoted some reevaluation of Brazilian art music

standards, the Centro Artístico.

It was under the ideology of “progress” that in 1893, a group of intellectuals,

artists and elite members founded the Centro Artístico aiming to “elevate and dignify

Brazilian art” and “resuscitate the national lyric theater.” The Centro Artístico was

directed by the composer and conductor Leopoldo Miguez, and had the contribution of

personalities such as the writers Coelho Neto and Artur Azevedo, the music critics Luís

de Castro and Rodrigues Barbosa, the composer and conductor Alberto Nepomuceno,

the composer, pianist and music publisher Artur Napoleão, the dilettante composer

Delgado de Carvalho, renowned artists such as Bernardelli and Amoedo, and other

members of Brazilian elite such as Antonio Bustamante, the Bacharel Silvio Bevilcqua,

and Dr. Ildefonso Dutra.87 The leading figures of this association were strongly bound

by the ideology of artistic “progress” and had the fostering of Wagnerism in Brazil as

a major item in Centro Artístico’s agenda.88 Coelho Neto was designated honorary

librettist of the “new Brazilian opera” and contributed with Miguez in I Salduni and

Pelo amor!, Nepomuceno in Artemis, and Delgado de Carvalho in Hóstia.89 After

almost a decade of activities, the Centro Artístico was dissolved in May of 1901.90 Pelo

amor! was produced by the Centro Artístico and staged at the Cassino Fluminense on

87 Azevedo 1950: 51; Azevedo 1956: 97-8, 111-112, 384. “Seguiu-se a eleição da nova Diretoria que
ficou constituída do seguinte modo: Leopoldo Miguez, Presidente e Antonio Bustamente, 1º Secretário
(reeleitos); Bacharel Silvio Bevilcqua, 2º Secretário e Dr. Ildefonso Dutra, Tesoureiro.” (JC, 16 May
1900, p. 3)
88 Azevedo (1956: 111-112) considers the Centro Artístico the headquarters of the “apostolado de
Wagner no Brasil.”
89 Azevedo 1950: 51.
90 “Centro Artístico, que desapareceu ingloriamente, se é verdade o que sobre ele publicou há poucos

dias um dos colaboradores da Gazeta de Notícias.” JC, 6 May 1901, T&M, p. 2. The contributor of
the Gazeta de Notícias was one of the members of the Centro Artístico, Luís de Castro.
24 August 1897.91 Artemis and Hóstia were performed in Centro Artístico’s fourth

subscription concert on 4 November 1898 at the Teatro S. Pedro Alcântara.92 I Salduni,

produced by Sansone’s opera company, premiered on 20 September 1901 at the Teatro

Lírico of Rio de Janeiro, after the dissolution of the Centro Artístico and in the year

before the composer’s death. The musical production fostered by the Centro Artístico

makes evident that national subjects and symbols were not at stake in the resurrection of

national theater in the 1890s, and to dignify Brazilian art meant to emulate European

models of “civilization” and “progress,” which were identified by Brazilian musical

intelligentsia with the Wagnerian musical drama and the symphonic poem.

The dissemination of the symphonic poem in Brazil seems to be quite puzzling.

On the one hand, very few concerts presented the European repertory of the genre, and

the newspapers and magazines did not promote a campaign for the genre through

educational articles and debates among critics, as happened with Wagnerism. On the

other hand, the significant number of symphonic poems by Brazilian composers, many

of them performed to the Brazilian public, indicates that this genre earned currency in

Brazil. Among the few symphonic poems by European composers performed in Rio de

Janeiro during the 1890s were Saint-Säens’ Phaeton, Liszt’s Les Preludes, and

Glinka’s Kamarinskaya. Saint-Säens’ Phaeton opened the Grande Festival Artístico

for Carlos Gomes monument, organized by Federal Capital high school students and

conducted by Cordiglia Lavalle at the Teatro Lírico on 8 November 1896,93 and was also

performed in Carlos Mesquita’s Concertos Populares. Liszt’s Les Preludes was

91 Azevedo 1956: 117; Marcondes 1998: 514.

92 Concert note BNRJ. That was the fourth subscription concert promoted by the Centro Artístico
during the 1898 season. Artemis was conducted by Leopoldo Miguez, and Hóstia was conducted by
Assis Pacheco.
93 Concert note BNRJ.

conducted by Nepomuceno at the Teatro Lírico on 4 October 1898.94 The Brazilian

premiere of Liszt’s Mazeppa was only on 24 November 1901 with Carlos Mesquita’s

Concertos Populares.95 Glinka’s Kamarinskaya was conducted by Nepomuceno

during the 10th concert of the Associação de Concertos Populares at the Teatro Lírico

on 27 June 1897, and repeated during the 11th concert of the Associação de Concertos

Populares at the Teatro Lírico on 11 July 1897.96 The small number of European

symphonic poems performed in Rio de Janeiro contrasts with the large number of

symphonic poems written by Brazilian composers since the 1880s, most of them

performed for the Brazilian public: Henrique Oswald’s Festa (1885), Alexandre Levy’s

Poema Sinfônico (n.d.), Werther (1888), and Comala (1890);97 Leopoldo Miguez’

Symphonic Poem No. 1 Parisina (1888),98 Symphonic Poem No. 2, Op. 18 Ave

Libertas! (1890),99 and Symphonic Poem No. 3, Op. 21 Prometheus (1891);100

Francisco Vale’s Telêmaco (1891),101 and Depois da Guerra (1897)102; Assis

94 Corrêa 1985: 33.

95 JC, 24 Nov. 1901, p. 10.
96 Corrêa 1985: 32-3.
97 Performed only in 1930 promoted by the Sociedade de Concertos Sinfonicos of São Paulo. “Obra
mais caracteristicamente nacional.” (Azevedo 1956: 160)
98 Published by Leipzig, J. Rieter-Biedermann, n.d., and reprinted by Rio de Janeiro, FUNARTE,
1982. Premiered in the concert of the Associação de Concertos Populares, conducted by Alberto
Nepomuceno, at the Teatro Lírico on 5 July 1896 (Concert note BNRJ), and performed during the
Ciclo Miguez, in 1897, conducted by the composer (Azevedo 1956: 116). Based on Byron’s poem.
99 Published by Leipzig, J. Rieter-Biedermann, n.d., and reprinted by Rio de Janeiro, FUNARTE,
1982. Program and performances are exposed below in this chapter.
100 Published by Leipzig, J. Rieter-Biedermann, 1895, and reprinted by Rio de Janeiro, FUNARTE,
1982. Performed in the concert of the Associação de Concertos Populares, conducted by Alberto
Nepomuceno, at the Teatro Lírico on 30 August 1896, and also during the Ciclo Miguez in 1897,
conducted by the composer. According to Viana da Mota, this symphonic poem is “the best work by
Miguez” (Azevedo 1956: 116-7). Based on the classical myth of Prometheus.
101 Francisco Vale’s Telêmaco was conducted by the composer at the Teatro São Pedro de Alcântara of

Rio de Janeiro, after Vale’s return from his studies at the Conservatory of Paris (1887-1891) with
Charles-Marie Widor and Charles-Wilfrid Bériot. This work was performed again in Rio de Janeiro in
1906. (Marcondes 1998: 798-9)
102 Premiered at the Teatro Lírico on 25 July 1897, in a symphonic concert promoted by Associação de
Concertos Populares, conducted by Alberto Nepomuceno. (Concert note BNRJ)
Pacheco’s Romeu e Julieta (1892);103 Francisco Braga’s Marabá (1894),104

Cauchemar (1895)105 and Insônia (1908);106 Elpídio Pereira’s Após a Vitória (n.d.),

and A Missão de Jesus (n.d.);107 Silvio Deolindo Fróes’ Poema Sinfônico (n.d.);108 and

Ernesto Ronchini’s Pedro Álvares Cabral (n.d.).109 There are also some orchestral

works in symphonic poem-related genres, such as Francisco Braga’ symphonic prelude

Paysage (1892)110 and Episódio Sinfônico (1898),111 Carlos de Mesquita’s First

Episódio Sinfônico,112 and Elpídio Pereira’s Prelúdio Sinfônico (n.d.).113

The symphonic poem’s and Wagnerian drama’s claim to represent musical

“progress”114 fit timely Brazilian intelligentsia’s ideology of “civilization” and

“progress” as well as Brazilian First Republic’s need to dissociate itself from the
103 Marcondes 1998: 599.
104 Sources and performances of Marabá are exposed in chapter 5 on Landscape.
105 Performed during the concerts of Brazilian music directed by Francisco Braga in Paris, at the Salle
s’Harcourt in 1895, and at the Galerie des Champs Elysées in 1896. (Azevedo 1956: 179). Conducted
by Nepomuceno at the Teatro Lírico, Rio de Janeiro on 5 January 1903. (Corrêa 1985: 34) Performed
in Rio de Janeiro at the Teatro S. Pedro de Alcântara on 16 June 1901, conducted by the composer.
Based on The Dream, by Shakespeare. (JC, 14 June 1901, p. 10)
106 Performed during the innauguration of the Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro in 1909.
107 Both of them were performed at the Instituto Nacional de Música on 13 June 1904. (Concert note
108 Azevedo 1956: 101.
109 Premiered during the National Exposition, symphonic concert conducted by Alberto Nepomuceno
at the Pavilhão da Praia Vermelha on 27 August 1908. (Corrêa 1985: 35)
110 Sources and performances of Paysage are exposed in chapter 5 on Landscape.
111 Dedicated to José Rodrigues de Azevedo Pinheiro, his former teacher and the director of the Instituto
Profissional of Rio de Janeiro. Inspired by Gonçalves Dias’s poem. Published by Rio de Janeiro, Vieira
Machado & C. n.d., and reprinted by Rio de Janeiro, FUNARTE, 1982. Premiered at the Festival
Sinfônico directed by Cordiglia Lavalle at the Cassino Fluminense on 28 October 1900. Half of the
profits of this concert were in benefit of the victims of the drought in Ceará state. (JC, 23, 24, and 25
Oct. 1900, p. 2). Performed at the Teatro Lírico on 18 and 25 November 1900, and at the Teatro S.
Pedro de Alcântara of Rio de Janeiro on 26 May 1901, conducted by the composer; also in the
Concerto-Festival organized by Artur Napoleão at the Instituto Nacional de Música on 20 October
1904. (Concert note BNRJ; and JC, 19 and 26 Nov. 1900, p. 2; 27 May 1901, p. 2)
112 Premiered in Carlos de Mesquita’s Concertos Populares at the Teatro S. Pedro de Alcântara of Rio
de Janeiro on 12 May 1901, conducted by the composer. (JC, 13 May 1901, p. 2)
113 This work was performed at the Instituto Nacional de Música on 13 June 1904. (Concert note
114 According to Dahlhaus’s (1989: 243) discussion on the symphonic poem.

cultural symbols of the old monarchical regime. In addition to this, and perhaps most

importantly, the symphonic poem allowed the expression of patriotic feelings so

meaningful during times of establishing a new regime and reshaping national identity.

The revolutionary tone of the Brazilian Republic’s first decade motivated the

composition of works evoking patriotic nationalism, among which Miguez’s Ave

Libertas! is the foremost example of the symphonic poem genre. This work was

composed to celebrate the Proclamation of the Republic’s first anniversary and was

dedicated to Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca, chief of the Provisional Government. Ave

Libertas! was inspired by the following text “describing the triumph of the republican

idea in Brazil:”115

Our spirit is disturbed by evanescent hopes of freedom. Sad presages augur

aspirations inflating rebellious feelings. The imprecation of heated spirits, the
lament of languished ones, and the murmur of the vacillating, incoherent crowd
consorted in that moment. What hearty sound is this in the middle of such a
confusion brought about by so much mixed feelings? Is it freedom’s aurora
festive song or the jubilating despotism’s warning? Unutterable moment of
anguish that muddles the action and subjugates the soul. Finally the distant
fanfare rumor cheers. Enthusiasm reawakes to clarion’s fiery call, and, when
freedom’s anthem sounds closer, our soul relieves intoning hosanna to victory.
Hail, Freedom!116

115 Melo 1908: 315.

116 Concert note of the concert held at the Salão do Instituto Nacional de Música on 14 July 1897 (4th
symphonic concert) presents the following text for Miguez’ Ave Libertas: “E conturbara-se-nos o
espírito ao ver desvanecidas as esperanças de liberdade. Tristes presságios agoiravam o aniquilamento
das nossas aspirações fazendo em muitos explodir o sentimento de revolta. As imprecações dos
impacientes, as queixas dos esmorecidos, e o murmúrio da turba vacilante e incoerente consorciavam-se
em tal momento. No tumulto que a confusão de sentimentos tão opostos produzia, que nota é essa,
porém, que a todos surpreende? Será o canto festivo da aurora da liberdade ou o prenúncio do despotismo
jubiloso? Indizível momento de angústia que a ação entorpece e a alma subjuga. Mas, eis que se
distingue o rumor longíquo das fanfarras. Ao som estrídulo do clarim renasce o entusiasmo, e, quando
mais perto soa o hino da liberdade, expande-se-nos a alma entoando hosanas à vitória. Ave, Libertas!”
This work was premiered at the Teatro Lírico of Rio de Janeiro, on 15 November

1890.117 The concert note of a later performance states the patriotic tone of this work as

the following:

The composer of Parisina has condensed in this brilliant page of Ave, Libertas!
all his ideals as a Brazilian, and all his enthusiasm as an artist; his inspiration is
large, and his orchestration has amazing splendors. This poem evokes the past,
since the first grumbling of the victims smashed by the tyrants for having dreamt
a patriotic ideal. These victims tell us their aspirations, their suffering and torture,
and how they disappeared in gibbets and in exile. The battle continues and
harshens. Tumult increases and the crowd takes on. The apostles of the holy
idea advance unfurling the banner, and triumphal fanfares strike the heroic
march of victory as the sun of 15 November 1889 rises.118

Miguez’ Ave Libertas! kept its strong patriotic appeal in the following decades,

as is indicated by its later performances, all of which were associated with humanizing

and civilizing causes of local and national interest. The fourth symphonic concert on 14

July 1897 at the Salão do Instituto Nacional de Música closed the Ciclo Miguez

symphonic concerts series, “the profits of which were destined to the Caixa Beneficente

dos Professores of the Instituto Nacional de Música; the Rs. 500$000 awards to

national students who assiduously and expediently attended the Instituto in the classes

of horn, bassoon, bass and oboe; and the acquisition of musical works and instruments

for the Instituto.”119 A second performance on 27 September of the same year, was

included in the benefit concert for the widows and orphans of Canudos War soldiers

(praças de pret) and disabled soldiers. This work was presented again during the

117 Concert note BNRJ of the concert held at the Teatro Lírico on 15 November 1916.
118 “O autor da Parisina condensou nessa página brilhante do Ave, Libertas! todos os seus ideais de
brasileiro, todos os seus entusiasmos de artista; a inspiração é larga, a orquestração tem esplendores que
deslumbram. Há nesse poema como que uma evocação do passado, desde o gemido das primeiras
vítimas esmagadas pelos tiranos por terem sonhado um ideal patriótico. Essas vítimas nos contam as
suas aspirações, os seus sofrimentos e torturas, como desapareceram na forca e no exílio. A luta
perdura, recrudesce; aumenta-se o tumulto, empenha-se o prélio; os apóstolos da idéia santa avançam
desfraldando o lábaro e as fanfarras triunfais entoam a marcha heróica da vitória ao raiar o sol de 15 de
Novembro de 1889!” (Concert note BNRJ idem.)
119 Concert note EM-UFRJ.

Festival in benefit to the victims of the drought in Northern Brazil held at the Instituto

Nacional de Música on 29 June 1904, performed by an orchestra of 40 professors

conducted by Francisco Braga. Ave Libertas! was the last number performed before the

National Flag Anthem that closed the Symphonic Concert of Brazilian Music held at the

Teatro Lírico of Rio de Janeiro on 15 August 1906, on the occasion of the Third Pan-

American Congress. This work was performed again in the Proclamation of the

Republic’s Day Commemoration Concert promoted by Centro Musical at the Teatro

Lírico of Rio de Janeiro, on 15 November 1916.120

Later reception sustained Ave Libertas!’ nationalist appeal, as is indicated by the

following statement:

Ave Libertas! is a perfectly national poem the impetuosity and lyric emotion of
which embodies much of the impulsive at the same time ecstatic Brazilian
enthusiasm. (…) Its motives became allegories and created ornamental
suggestions that abound to compensate subjective flaws.121

Brazilian participation at the World’s Columbian Exposition in

Chicago (1893)

The revolutionary and patriotic tone of Republic’s first decade contrasted with

crisis in crucial areas. The period of the military administration (1889-1898,

corresponding to the Provisional Government, Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca’s and

Marshal Floriano Peixoto’s terms) was a period of political and economic instability.

The 1889 coup provoked great hesitation; capital was withdrawn from Brazil, and

foreign credit was being denied.

120 Concert notes BNRJ.
121 “O Ave Libertas! é um poema perfeitamente nacional e aquele arroubo e aquela emoção lírica e
exuberante revêm muito do ardor brasileiro, impulsivo e extático. (…) Os motivos se transformam em
alegorias e criam a sugestão ornamental, que avulta para suprir as deficiências íntimas.” (Almeida 1926:
The military coup unsettled foreign bankers and businessmen. The major
funding agents in Brazil, the Rothschilds, refused credit until the next elections
and the reestablishment of a legitimate government. Businessmen sent large
amounts of gold abroad fearing political and economic instability.122

The economic policy of Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca’s administration (in the

hands of the Minister of Finance Rui Barbosa) continued along the same lines of the

preceding monarchical government (in the hands of the Minister of Finance Ouro

Preto). The crash of 1892 resulting from a period of unsustainable economic growth,

financial speculation, and untrustworthy privileges (the boom period based on a great

speculative wave known as encilhamento, race track lingo for the saddling-up)123

harshened domestic criticism towards the Republican government and shook Brazilian

image abroad one more time.

The Republican government attempted to improve Brazilian image abroad

through several ways, among which was its participation at the World’s Columbian

Exposition in Chicago (1893). Marshal Floriano Peixoto’s administration attempted to

repeat D. Pedro II’s last participation at Paris World’s Fair (1889)124 by constructing

Brazil’s image as a nation aiming to integrate itself into North-Atlantic tenets of

progress, cosmopolitanism, and citizenship. Those ideologies were symbolically

represented by the European mixed-style of Brazilian Building’s architecture, and

Brazilian fine arts and music exhibits. It was as if highbrow culture would redeem

Brazil’s from the stigmas of a nation recently emerged from its Colonial, monarchical,

and slaver-holding past.

122 Schulz 1996: 82.

123 Dean 1989: 221. For in-deepth study on Encilhamento, see Schulz 1996: 75-100; and Tannuri
124 For an insightful study on the Brazilian participation at national and world’s fairs during Imperial
times, see Schwarcz (1999: 385-407). See also Hardman (1988: 67-96) for the Brazilian participation at
national and world’s fairs during Imperial and the First Republic.
The Brazilian Building constructed in French eclectic style of the École des

Beaux-Arts was the showcase of Brazilian aspirations towards “civilization.” The Fine

Arts Department offered the most impressive representation of Brazilian high culture by

exhibiting 109 items including sculpture, oil painting, water color painting, carvings and

engravings.125 The fine arts exhibit indicates that the Republic did not have much to

show of its own yet and had to resort to Imperial times’ artistic output. Most artists

exposed were offspring of monarchy’s institutional framework and D. Pedro II’s

patronage: Vítor Meireles, Pedro Américo, Rodolfo Amoedo, Antônio Parreiras, and

Rodolfo Bernardelli, professors of the former Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, then

National School of Fine Arts, the last of them nominated director of the institution under

the Republican regime; Almeida Júnior, João Batista da Costa, Aurélio de Figueiredo,

Belmiro de Almeida, Modesto Brocos y Gomes, students of the same institution, the last

two, along with Henrique Bernardelli, were nominated professor of the National School

of Fine Arts. Other artists included Eliseu Visconti, student of the Liceu Imperial de

Artes e Ofícios, Agostino da Mota, J. B. Castagneto, Martinelli, N. Fachinetti, Firmino

Monteiro, J. Fiuza Guimarães, Oliveira Brasiliense, Pedro Peres, Pedro Wangartner, T.

Pacheco, Rafael Figueiredo, H. B. Caron.

The fine arts exhibit timidly exalted Republican authority with an oil painting

portrait of the recently deceased Deodoro da Fonseca (1892) by Henrique Bernardelli,

and the Republican spearhead Benjamin Constant with a bronze bust by Rodolfo

Bernardelli, and an engraved gem by A. Giradet. The President Floriano Peixoto did not

have any portrait, sculpture or gem exhibited. The fine arts exhibit also paid tribute (or

perhaps a late apology) to the mercilessly deposed, exiled emperor D. Pedro II (recently

125 Catalogue of the Brazilian Section at the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893: 103-109).
deceased on 5 December 1891) with a marble bust by Rodolfo Bernardelli. Some

images of monarchical times also found a place in the Republic’s first display at a

world’s fair for their liberal ideologies, as it is the case with José Bonifácio’s marble

bust by Martinelli, and Tiradentes’ oil painting portrait by Aurélio Figueiredo,126 and

for their national foundation ideology, as it is the case with A primeira missa no Brasil,

by Vítor Meireles. Among the works that gave greater visibility to Brazilian participation

in Chicago’s fine arts was Amoedo’s oil painting Marabá.

The Music and Theater Division had a fair representation that exhibited about

two hundred works by 31 composers, and music collections of five music publishers:

Artur Napoleão, Isidoro Bevilacqua, and Buschmann & Guimarães, from Rio de

Janeiro; Costa e Silva & Cia., from Pará; and Vitor Préalle, from Pernambuco.127 The

catalogue lists compositions for piano by Abdon Milanez, A.[ntonio] Cardoso de

Menezes, Artur Cassani, A. S. Chirol, João J.[osé] Costa Júnior, [Carlos] F. de

Carvalho, F. Guzzman, Francisco [Francisca?] Gonzaga, Frederico Mallio, Gregório de

Resende, J. F. de Lima Coutinho, Júlio Reis, Miguel de Vasconcelos, Misael

Domingues, the dilettante Flávio Elísio (Alfredo d’Escragnolle Taunay’s penname),128

[Carlos Severiano] Cavallier Darbilly, Henrique Eulálio Gurjão, I. Porto Alegre,

J.[erônimo] Queirós, João Gomes de Araújo, Carlos de Mesquita, Alfredo Bevilacqua,

Alfredo Napoleão, Henrique Braga, Paulo Faulhaber, Leopoldo Miguez, and Francisco

Braga. For some unknown reason, the Mexican composer Juventino Rosas is also listed

126 After the Proclamation of the Republic, the civilian cult to Tiradentes increased and the day of his
death, 21 April, was established a national holiday in 1890, along with 15 November, the
Proclamation of the Republic’s Day. (Carvalho 1990: 64) For an in depth study on the construction of
Tiradentes myth and its relation to Republican ideologies, see Carvalho (1990: 55-73) “Tiradentes, um
herói para a República.”
127 Catalogue of the Brazilian Section at the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893: 131-133).
128 According to Magaldi 1994: 198.

in the Brazilian catalogue. Considering the composers mentioned and the commercial

line of those publishing houses, one may infer that a significant portion of these piano

pieces refer to musical theater and salon music, and include popular genres associated

with stylized dance in process of nationalization such as valsa, polka and schottische,

and the new synthesis of Brazilian tango. This piano repertory also includes virtuoso,

lyric and character pieces most of which were associated with the European style. The

catalogue also refers to some compositions for piano and orchestra by Francisco Braga,

and the dilettante Antonio C.[arlos] R.[ibeiro] de Andrada [Machado] e Silva.129

Leopoldo Miguez, who became “an indispensable man to the Republican government

concerning musical affairs in the last decade of the nineteenth century,”130 had

published until 1893 only his piano compositions, and therefore did not have his

symphonic music and his Sonata for violin and piano (which were published only in

1895 by Leipzig publishing house J. Rieter-Biedermann) exhibited in Chicago World

Fair. No work by the Alberto Nepomuceno is listed in the already mentioned catalogue.

The catalogue indicates that lyric opera was the silver of the house since they

were the only compositions listed by title: Carlos Gomes’ Il Guarany, Fosca, Salvator

Rosa, Maria Tudor, Lo Schiavo, Condor, and Colombo; and Henrique Eulálio Gurjão’s

Idália. It seems that symphonic music was not highly regarded by the Brazilian

Commission since orchestral works were not distinguished by a full title listing.

Brazilian music representation relied on the experience and prestige of Carlos

Gomes, who was nominated Brazilian Commission’s secretary of musical affairs

129 Antonio Carlos Ribeiro de Andrada Machado e Silva was “um dos mais esforçados apreciadores de
música … em cuja casa se davam frequentes reuniões musicais, pelo que era sempre procurado e
frequentado pelos artistas que vinham a esta capital [São Paulo].” (Conference by Chiafarreli published
in JC, 14 Dec. 1900, p. 3)
130 Azevedo 1956: 113.

despite the composer’s well-known monarchical conviction, and the performance of his

emblematic Il Guarany protofonia (symphony) was among the Brazilian concerts’

highlights. Carlos Gomes composed his vocal symphonic poem Colombo for the

competition that would select the cantata to be performed at the World’s Columbian in

Chicago (1893), but in the end several problems precluded the performance of this

work.131 The Brazilian participation in Chicago World Exposition’s musical affairs

capitalized on the respectability that the performance of Carlos Gomes’s works would

grant. On the other hand, Brazilian music had to be illustrated by works of composers

supported by the Republican government.

Francisco Braga showed the results of his studies at the Paris Conservatory

supported by the Republican government grant with his symphonic prelude Paysage

asserting Brazilian official educational policy: the commitment of the Republican

government to progress meant the continuation of Emperor D. Pedro II’s cosmopolitan

perspective in keeping Brazilian composers updated with recent trends in European

music. Paysage was awarded a medal by this Exposition132 indicating not only that

symphonic music was the genre that musically represented Brazilian alignment with

“civilization” and “progress” but also that landscape topos was a major symbol of

Brazilian identity for outsider’s perception, although this particular work was not

perceived by Brazilians as expressing something particularly national. Like the high

number of landscape paintings of the Fine Arts Department, Braga’s Paysage could

evoke a wide range of meanings associated with the landscape topos, from the

131 Azevedo (1950: 27). Colombo premiered on 12 October 1892 by the Companhia Lírica Italiana
“Ducci & Ciacchi,” directed by Marino Mancineli at the Teatro Lírico in Rio de Janeiro. (André
Cardoso, article in CD EM-UFRJ 004)
132 Francisco Braga received in September, by way of José de Souza Rocha, a great friend since his
childhood, the medal with which Braga had been awarded by the Exposicao Internacional de Chicago for
his symphonic poem Paysage. (Exposição [1968]: 14)
exuberance and local color of Brazilian tropical nature to the refinement of Romantic


The management of Brazilian image abroad and domestic affairs had bad timing.

Although Floriano Peixoto’s administration initially improved the Brazilian economic

situation, it was a period of political instability with violent upheavals in early 1892,

constant rebellions due to the dismissal of governors, the Revolta da Armada on 6

September 1893, and the armed conflicts in Rio Grande do Sul from February 1893 to

July 1895.134 It was in this context that Brazil participated in the World’s Columbian

Exposition in Chicago (1893), which explains, at least partially, the unfavorable

conditions with which Carlos Gomes had to deal in promoting the Brazilian musical

participation in this Exposition.

The Fourth Centennial of the Discovery of Brazil (1900)

The Brazilian Republic tended towards greater financial stability with the civilian

administration, which put in office presidents representing the São Paulo coffee

oligarchy’s force – Prudente de Moraes (1894-8), Campos Sales (1898-1902),

Rodrigues Alves (1902-6) – and Minas Gerais oligarchy’s force – Afonso Pena (1906-

1909), and Nilo Peçanha (1909-1910). Moraes still had to deal with armed conflicts, of

which the Canudos War (1896-7) was the bloodiest and the deadliest.

The previously mentioned benefit concert for the widows and orphans of

Canudos War soldiers and disabled soldiers135 underscores Rio de Janeiro elite’s

133 See further discussion in Chapter 5 on Landscape.

134 Schulz 1996: 119.
135 Symphonic concert at the Teatro Lírico, RJ on 27 September 1897, organized by Arthur Napoleão,
regido por L. Miguez. (Concert note BNRJ)
support of the Republican regime, since it was in benefit of the ones who helped the

winning side, and not the massacred group perceived as anti-republican, pro-monarchic

fanatics. Once more, Miguez’ Ave Libertas! extolled patriotic feelings and the triumph

of the Republican regime over its opponents. The lack of remorse for such a slaughter

was rationalized by Nina Rodrigues’ scientificist interpretation of this war that was

made public through the publication of his article “A loucura epidêmica de Canudos”

[The epidemic madness in Canudos] in Revista Brasileira of 1 November 1897.

According to Nina Rodrigues’ evolutionist interpretation, the resistance of that

Northeastern community was a collective psychosis and their monarchism was a

political feeling that corresponded to their inferior mental and sociological stage in an

evolutionist line in which republicanism was a more advanced stage.136 Therefore, the

bloody victory of the republican regime over those fanatics was legitimized by the

inevitability of the progress of Brazilian nation that would place it in the “civilized”

world. Progress was musically equated with “the music of the future.” The choice of

the symphonic poem Ave Libertas! to crown that concert refers to the ideology of

progress implied in its genre symbolically representing the victory of the most advanced

regime over the old one in conjunction with its literary program that located progress in

national domain. The symphonic poem Ave Libertas! conveyed not only patriotism but

also the reshaping of national identity through the ideology of progress and civilization.

The year 1897 in Brazil is recognized as “a moment of intense search for national

identity,”137 of which the Canudos campaign was among the nationalist manifestations

that most affected contemporary imagination, especially if one considers the impact of

Euclides da Cunha’s field reports published in a contemporary newspaper and soon

136 Martins 1977-8, 5: 4.

137 Martins 1977-8, 5: 3.
collected in the book Os Sertões (1902), and the opposite view offered by the

monarchist Afonso Arinos in his “novela sertaneja” (regionalist novel) Os Jagunços

(1898). National identity was therefore central to turn-of-the century Brazil.

The Fourth Centennial of the Discovery of Brazil in 1900 aroused Brazilian

citizen’s nationalist feelings. The celebration of that event was not an official initiative

but came from members of Brazilian intelligentsia in response to Coelho Neto’s call

that initiated a campaign in the newspaper Gazeta de Notícias extolling patriotic feelings

and compelling Brazilians to exercise their civic responsibilities.

One of the most telling symptoms that we are a social collectivity with strong
and well-defined national feelings is that movement for celebrating the Fourth
Centennial of the glorious event of discovery of Brazil. What makes that
movement so nice and gives it the highest meaning is its origin and propelling
power: it was born in the press, when a writer reminded his compatriots every
day of the civilian duty to be fulfilled, and received from private sector the
necessary elements to its completion. That movement spread all over the
Union’s States in its increasing march bringing to every corner where a
Brazilian heart beats the conviction that the day recording the fourth century of
Brazilian communion must be celebrated. A small group of citizens answered to
Coelho Neto’s daily call in the Gazeta de Notícias, and gathered to work for the
patriotic aspiration; this group soon became larger and larger as a snow ball, and
the Fourth Centennial Association was promptly founded. That task was not
unattainable, and despite the short time left to make arrangements of such major
festivity, great triumphs could be attained if the private initiative had official
support. State’s high power preferred however to omit itself, so that only the
people has the glory of what has been and will be done, and that is the nicest and
most eloquent note of that celebration.138

138 “Um dos sintomas mais característicos de que somos uma coletividade social com o sentimento de
nacionalidade bem acentuado e definido, é esse movimento que se operou para comemorar no 4º
Centenário o fato glorioso do descobrimento do Brasil. E o que torna esse movimento mais simpático e
lhe dá mais alta significação é a sua origem e a força que o impulsiona: ele nasceu da imprensa, onde
um escritor lembrava todos os dias aos seus concidadãos o dever cívico a cumprir, e recebeu da
iniciativa particular os elementos necessários para a realização que se propunha. Na sua marcha
crescente esse movimento irradiou-se pelos Estados da União, levando a todas as localidades onde
palpitavam corações brasileiros, a convicção de que deviam festejar a data que marcava o IV século da
vida brasileira na comunhão social. // Ao apelo cotidiano do Sr. Coelho Neto nas colunas da Gazeta de
Notícias respondeu um pequeno grupo de cidadãos que se reuniram para trabalhar em prol da aspiração
patriótica da comemoração; esse pequeno grupo em breve se avolumou como a bola de neve, e dentro
em pouco estava organizada a Associação do IV Centenário do Brasil. A tarefa não era irrealizável,
conquanto fosse limitado oprazo para preparar festa de tanta monta e grandes triunfos poderiam ser
Campos Sales’ administration (1898-1902), characterized by the “política dos

governadores” (the governors’ politics),139 was not concerned with constructing

national unity in Brazilian imagination as much as it was with regional power relations.

The Fourth Centennial committee in charge of organizing the celebrations consisted of

civilians, and financial support was raised in the private sector. Therefore, the honors in

gratitude to the contributions received were directed to non-governmental institutions

and civilians.

The board of directors of the Sociedade Comemorativa do 4º centenário do

descobrimento do Brasil, established in the city of S. Vicente, in São Paulo state,
and gathering the best society’s gentlemen, honored the Cidade do Rio’s writing
board represented by its director José do Patrocínio, with diplomas conferring
them rights as honorary members of this patriotic association. The diplomas
follow B. Calixto’s artistic plan … and offer a nice composition enhanced by
B. Calixto’s picture A Fundação de S. Vicente, and the late Brazilian painter
Almeida Júnior’s masterpiece Partida de Monção.140

Although the committee was praised for the great weight it gave to art in

celebrating the Fourth Centennial, it was also criticized for not having included music

among its key events.

When it was time to evoke in all spirits the glorious fact that immortalized
Cabral; when it was necessary to unify the national spirit through this evocation;
when it was imperative to establish communication among all consciousness so

colhidos se a iniciativa particular tivesse os favores do bafejo oficial. Os altos poderes do Estado
preferiram, porém, abster-se, de modo que só o povo tem a glória do que está feito e ainda se há de
fazer, e é justamente essa a nota mais simpática e mais eloquente da comemoração.” (JC, 8 May 1900,
p. 3, T&M)
139 This expression refers to a Brazilian version of American federalism, or more specifically, to Sales’
decentralizing politics in a reciprocal power relation between the Federal government and its states in
which Sales’s power was strengthened by his policy of giving greater autonomy to each state’s
governor, and vice-versa.
140 “A diretoria da Sociedade Comemorativa do 4º centenário do descobrimento do Brasil, instalada em
S. Vicente, estado de São Paulo, composta de cavalheiros da melhor sociedade, distinguiu a redação da
Cidade do Rio, e pessoalmente o nosso diretor José do Patrocínio, com diplomas que lhes conferem os
direitos de sócios honorários desta patriótica sociedade. Os diplomas obedecem ao plano artístico de B.
Calixto, … e oferecem um belo conjunto onde se destaca a cópia do quadro A Fundação de S. Vicente,
trabalho de B. Calixto, e a da Partida de Monção, a obra-prima do saudoso pintor brasileiro Almeida
Júnior.” (CR, 31 Aug. 1900, p. 1)
that they would awake in the glorification of the heroes that brought the first ray
of the civilizing light to the cradle of Brazilian nation – what was the powerful
element that was able to bring together the feeling of so many millions of
Brazilians to this work of justice, gratitude and glorification? Art! Yes, Art
because only Art has the marvelous faculty of creating communion of feelings,
only Art has the irresistible power of joining all souls in the same aspiration;
only Art can the make all heart’s aims beat in the same rhythm; finally, only Art
can socialize. (…) We are convinced that the Associação do IV Centenário
realized that Art should the essential element of its celebrations.141

Music is considered by the critic as the most powerful tool of arousing collective

consciousness and feelings, and therefore, it should had been explored more extensively

during that national celebration. Contemporary unanimity on the social effectiveness of

music is the most striking aspect of the following statement.

Actually, the Associação do IV Centenário has shown to fully ignore that,

among all arts, Music distinguished for the excellence of its high social value,
for its superior power of evocation, for its prodigious action in representing life,
and for its irresistible power of attraction. Numerous assemblage do not gather
to admire pictures of the great masters, to contemplate great works of
architecture, to reflect on the beauty of finely carved marbles, or the majestic
greatness of ingeniously conceived and audaciously built monuments. Those
creations are noted by amazed visitors that come one after another and by people
that are casually passing by. However, Music has the power of gathering big
crowds and numerous assemblies raising a collective feeling that condenses all
listeners’ emotion. In addition to this, Music is the most intimate art that
penetrates in our soul. (…) We could go into detail about all the sociological
value of Music in its history, nature and effects. We think however that this is
not necessary since no one contests the truths accepted by unanimous
consensus. Despite all this, what role was given to Music in the festivities of the
Centennial? Not one. Null. And we can declare that this was an error without
intending to charge an offense or demerit to the Associação do IV Centenário, in
which men of sciences, letters, and illustrious representatives of diverse social
classes – all of them meritorious for their heroic effort and for the valuable

141 “Quando se cogitava de evocar no espírito de todos o acontecimento glorioso que imortalizou
Cabral; quando era necessário unificar nessa evocação o sentimento nacional; quando cumpria
estabelecer comunicação entre todas as consciências para que acordassem na glorificação dos heróis que
trouxeram o primeiro raio da luz civilizadora ao berço da nacionalidade brasileira – qual o elemento
poderoso capaz de fazer convergir para essa obra de justiça, de gratidão e de glorificação o sentimento de
tantos milhares de Brasileiros? // – A arte! // Sim, a Arte porque só ela tem a faculdade maravilhosa de
criar comunhão de sentimentos; só ela tem o poder irresistível de fundar todas as almas na mesma
aspiração; só ela consegue concertar no mesmo ritmo os anseios de todos os corações; finalmente, só
ela pode socializar. (…) estamos convencidos de que a Associação do IV Centenário compreendeu que
a Arte deveria ser o elemento essencial dos festejos de comemoração.” (JC, 8 May 1900, p. 3, T&M)
service they have done for the sake of this patriotic celebration, but susceptible to
error for its human contingency.142

The Associação do IV Centenário had some engagement with musical affairs,

but few of them went through, and none of its musical works earned canonization as

happened with the fine arts. The association established a competition for the Centennial

Anthem, which was won by Nicolino Milano.143 Ernesto Ronchini run with “a beautiful

march in triple meter … that does not lack refinement” but it was disqualified because

the jury considered the piece’s meter inappropriate to its genre.144 The domestic
142 “Efetivamente, a Associação do IV Centenário mostrou desconhecer completamente que, entre
todas as artes, a Música distingue-se por excelência pelo seu alto valor social, pelo seu poder superior
de evocação, pela sua ação prodigiosa na representação da vida, e também pela sua força irresistível de
atração. // Não se reúnem assembléias numerosas para, num momento dado, admirar os quadros dos
grandes mestres, para contemplar as grandes obras da arquitetura, para considerar a beleza dos mármores
primorosamente trabalhados ou a grandeza majestosa dos monumentos genialmente concebidos e
audaciosamente realizados. Essas criações constatam-se com a admiração de visitantes que se sucedem
ou dos transeuntes que passam. // A Música, porém, tem o dom de formar os grandes ajuntamentos, as
numerosas assembléias, fazendo nascer no seio dessas multidões um sentimento coletivo que condensa a
emoção de todos os ouvintes. Além disso, a Música é a arte que mais intimamente penetra na nossa
alma (…) Poderíamos detalhar todo o valor sociológico da Música, já na sua história, já na sua
natureza, já nos seus efeitos; cremos, porém, não ser preciso fazê-lo, porque ninguém contesta verdades
aceitas por consenso unânime. // Entretanto, que papel foi reservado à Música nos festejos da
comemoração? // Papel nulo, e aí está o erro, podemos afirmá-lo, sem que nisso pretendamos irrogar
uma ofensa ou um demérito à Associação do IV Centenário, na qual figuram homens de ciência,
homens de letras e representantes ilustres de diversas classes sociais – todos eles benemérios pelo
heróico esforço e pelo serviço ingente que têm prestado nessa comemoração patriótica, mas susceptíveis
de erro pela sua contingência humana. (JC, 8 May 1900, p. 3, T&M).
143 JC, 4 Feb. 1900, p. 2; and 4 May 1900, p. 6.
144 “Uma bela marcha em três tempos … que nada tinha de vulgar,” (JC, 13 May 1901, p. 2, T&M).

“Hino a Cabral, é o título de uma composição de R. R. Caramuru, de que são editores os Srs. Fertin de
Vasconcelos, Morand & C. Essa composição tem a sua pequena história que covém referir. Quando
esteve em concurso o Hino do Quarto Centenário Brasileiro, entre as composições apresentadas
encontrava-se uma firmada com o pseudônimo Caramuru e que, dizem, foi rejeitada por artista eminente
consultado pela Associação do centenário sob o retexto de que não era um hino, por causo do ritmo
ternário. Não queremos crer tão estranha versão que não pode significar a opinião do iluestre artista
aludido, diremos mesmo que o ritmo preferido nessa composição concorre, e não pouco, para dar-lhe
uma forma pouco comum, mas traduzindo perfeitamente na idéia da composição um caráter nobre e
cheio de dignidade. O próprio autor já nos revelou, em carta, que em tempo publicamos, que sua
composição fora muito bem classificada pelo Sr. Leopoldo Miguez, a quem ninguém contestará
competência inteira no assunto. Se a composição em questão nada mereceu da Associação do
Centeneario, nem por isso deixa de merecer dos competentes um apluaso significativo, única
recompensa que satisfará realmente o seu autor, o Sr. Ernesto Ronchini, Professor do Instituto Nacional
de Música.” (JC, 4 Feb. 1900, p. 2)
entertainment sector also took advantage of this centennial to make its profits with piano

music, as was the case with J. Paranhos’ Valsa do Centenário, published by Casa Fertin

de Vasconcelos, Morand & C., and the Marcha do Quarto Centenário, arranged by

José Croccia, and published by Casa Vieira Machado & C.,145 the latter submitted to the

mentioned competition.

The Fourth Centennial opened with a music festival.146 Contemporary

newspaper informs that “the Associação included a lyric spectacle in its program” and

planned to support the production of a “national opera.”147 The committee of the

association considered at least three operas by Brazilian composers, and reportedly

made initial arrangements for the performance of two of them, although only one was

finally staged on that occasion, and that was apparently without the association’s

financial support.

The cantata Brasil was written by the poet Olavo Bilac upon the request of the

association, and its text was intended to be set to music and performed during the 1900

celebrations. The nationalist tone of Bilac’s poem is revealed by its episodes recounted

in three parts: “A Partida” [The departure], “Terra” [The Land], and “A Cruz” [The

Cross]. Bilac’s Brasil was read by the author during the magna session of 3 May 1899,

and set to music by his friend Assis Pacheco, who was awarded with the first prize by

the Associação in January of 1900.148

145 JC, 13 May 1900. p. 3.

146 “Festival do Quarto Centenário – Na impossibilidade de comparecer, no dia 1 do corrente, ao
festival da Associação do Quarto Centenário, por se achar de nojo [luto], deixa, por isso, o encarregado
desta seção de emitir juízo sobre as composições que nele se executaram.” (JC, 4 Jan. 1900, p. 2)
147 JC, 8 May 1900, p. 3.
148 Marcondes 1998: 599. Martins (1977-8, 5: 80-1) mistakenly assumes that Bilac’s cantata Brasil

was not set to music.

The association made arrangements with the leading Italian impresario

producing opera seasons in the Federal Capital, Giovanni Sansone, to perform the

operas I Salduni, by Leopoldo Miguez, and Jupyra, by Francisco Braga. In a postcard

of November 1899 to F. Buschmann, Braga informs that he has been invited to present

his opera Jupyra in Rio de Janeiro by the Committee of the Centennial. In a letter of 20

February 1900 Braga informs that Sansone proposed the performance of Jupyra in Rio

de Janeiro, “since my opera was officially selected by the Fourth Centennial

Committee.”149 Miguez (Instituto Nacional de Música’s and Centro Artístico’s

director) seems to have arranged with Coelho Neto (Centro Artístico’s and Associação

do 4º Centenário’s committee member) the performance of I Salduni during the Fourth

Centennial. On that account, the Centro Artístico announced in a contemporary

newspaper its intention to promote “an art festival of the loftiest rank,”150 but this was

never mentioned again. Coelho Neto, author of I Salduni libretto, states in a

contemporary newspaper that “the Associação has committed itself with the maestro

Leopoldo Miguez to promote the performance of the lyric drama Saldunes during the

festivities of the Fourth Centennial.” In the same article, Coelho Neto denounced the

association’s mistaken decision to deny the already-promised financial support for the

operatic production of this work concerning stage setting, costume, miscellanies, and

some extra-musicians to be added to the orchestra.151

The impresario Sansone kept his plan of performing both operas at least until

August, stating in a contemporary newspaper that “the Company will perform other

149 “pois minha opera foi oficialmente escolhida pela comissão do 4º Centenário do Brasil.” Exposição
[1968]: 34.
150 “O Centro Artístico pretende comemorar o IV Centenário do Brasil com uma festa de arte da maior
elevação.” [The Centro Artístico intends to celebrate Brazilian Fourth Centennial with an art festival of
the loftiest rank] (JC, 16 May 1900. p. 3, T&M)
151 GN, 1 May 1900; partially reprinted in JC, 8 May 1900, p. 3.

operas that did not figure in its earlier prospect, including two operas by national

composers: Saldunes, by Leopoldo Miguez, and Jupyra, by Francisco Braga.”152

The arrangements preceding the staging of Braga’s Jupyra at the Teatro Lírico

of Rio de Janeiro on 7 October 1900 were quarrelsome, but only understatedly reported

in contemporary newspapers since it involved one of the highest musical authorities of

Rio de Janeiro’s official institutions, Leopoldo Miguez, his prestigious rival Francisco

Braga, the leading Italian impresario producing opera seasons in the Federal Capital,

Giovanni Sansone, and the association’s committee member and librettist of the rival

opera, Coelho Neto. In addition, the music critics of the daily newspapers that most

commented upon that affair were either directly involved in it, as it was the case with

Coelho Neto in Gazeta de Notícias, or had friendly relationships with the contesting

parts and did not want to openly take sides, as had done Rodrigues Barbosa in Jornal

do Comércio.

Miguez attempted to impose the performance of his opera Saldunes through the

prestige of his institutional status. Francisco Braga had a good reputation among public

opinion, especially after a newspaper article publicized the commendatory criticism that

his opera Jupyra had received from the German conductor Herman Levy.153 Sansone

152 “A empresa conta dar outras óperas que não constam do seu prospecto, dizendo-se até que serão
cantadas duas óperas de autores nacionais: Saldunes, do Maestro Leopoldo Miguez e Jupyra, do
Maestro Francisco Braga.” (JC, 4 Aug. 1900, p. 2)
153 Herman Levy’s assessment of Braga’s opera Jupyra was published in JC, 16 Oct. 1899.

(Exposição [1968]: 34). Francisco Braga was also a well-articulated man and engaged many contacts to
make possible the European performance of Jupyra. In Dresden Braga showed his opera Jupyra to
Herman Levy (a distinguished musician who had friendly relationships with Richard Wagner) and
received unrestricted aproval: “none of its notes can be changed”( “não podia ser mudada uma só de suas
notas”). Levy mediated Braga’s contact with the directors of the Royal Theater of Munich, who
promised to stage Jupyra. (Tapajós Gomes 1937: 16) Postcard dated April 1899 from Braga to F.
Buschmann informs his travel to Munich to make arrangements for the performance of Jupyra in that
city: “I don’t know if it will be worth it… anyway… let’s see…” (“Não sei se valerá a pena ...Em todo
caso... Veremos em que dará...”). Braga’s postcards of July and August 1899 to Buschmann indicate the
did not want to clash with any of his Brazilian colleagues and decided to cancel the

performance of both operas.154 Towards the end of the 1900 opera season, the finances

of Sansone company were in a dismal state, and the impresario made the last-minute

decision of producing Jupyra.155 Due to a financial dispute between the Companhia

Lírica and its impresario,156 the performance of Jupyra went without Sansone’s

partnership. The eve of Jupyra’s premiere, Sansone’s name was absent from its

advertisement,157 and on the day of its performance the Lyric Company communicated

composer’s hopes: “Having Levy’s letter in my hands, I came back here with Jupyra, my dear little
mestizo Indian, upon the request of the gentle and celebrated Director of the Munich Theater.” (“Tendo
tido uma carta do Levi, para aqui voltei com a Jupyra, a minha carina caboclinha, às ordens do amável e
célebre Diretor do Teatro de München.”) Letter dated 25 March 1900 from Braga to Villaça mentions
the possibility of staging Jupyra in Paris (Exposição [1968]: 34). See also Santos 1945: 32-3.
154 “Sansone teve medo de provocar ressentimentos nos brasileiros, e as operas de Braga e Miguez
forma canceladas do programa.” (Hora 1953: 15-6)
155 Hora (1953: 15-6). Sansone’s financial problems are flagrant in September 1900. The Italian
empresario had the following communications published in a daily newspaper: “Giovanni Sansone,
empresário da companhia Lírica Italiana, deve ao público, especialmente aos Srs. assinantes, explicando
o motivo porquê resolveu suspender os espetáculos. Alguns artistas não tendo recebido adiantadamente
no dia 18 do corrente a quinzena a findar em 3 de outubro vindouro, e exigindo o seu pagamento
adiantado, sem atenção à crise que atravessa a praça, e que naturalmente atingiu os frequentadores do
teatro, diminuindo a concurrência, recusaram-se a representar os respectivos papéis, de tal modo a
impedir a continuação dos espetáculos até que possa ser feito o pagamento exigido, não aceitando o
pagamento no dia de vencimento da quinzena, como foi proposto pela Empresa. Este é, pois, o motivos
de suspensão dos espetáculos, cuja série continuará se os artistas aceitarem o pagamento por quinzenas
vencidas. Convém fazer saber o respeitável público, que pagamentos de importância superior aos
exigidos pelos aludidos artistas estão feitos adiantadamente até 30 deste mês.” (JC, 23 Sept. 1900, p.
3) “Houve acordo entre o empresário Sansone e os artistas da companhia lírica. Os espetáculos
continuam … – Escreve-nos o Sr. Sansone: ‘tenho a honra de comunicar ao respeitável público que,
tendo efetuado uma reunião com os meus artistas, achei-os cavalheirosamente e gentilmente dispostos a
entrar em acordo para que se possa concluir a estação lírica e satisfazer os empenhos com os assinantes.
Esclarecidas, pois, as dúvidas que determinaram a suspensão dos espetáculos nesses dois dias, recomeça
amanhã com a representacão da Tosca. Peço aos frequentadores do Lírico para mim e para todos os
artistas aquela benevolência que sempre nos dispuseram. Rio, 24 set. 1900. Giovanni Sansone.” (JC,
25 Sept. 1900, p. 3)
156 Sansone’s payment to the singers and orchestra musicians was past due. It seems that he had the
means but did not want to settle the issue. See detailed report of the meeting of Sansone, his
musicians, and Braga witnessed by some members of Rio de Janeiro society interested in the issue, in
CR, 6 Oct. 1900, p. 2.
157 JC, 7 Oct. 1900, p. 10.

that it had split up with its impresario Sansone and would carry the last three spectacles

of the season on its own. The Lyric Company remarked that Sansone had yielded all the

necessary material for the performance, and the theater’s owner had freed the Company

from rent charges.158

Jupyra premiered in extremely unfavorable conditions. The Lyric Company was

totally disorganized and deprived of its best artists; the orchestra was reduced by half

and was no longer conducted by the “energetic baton” of Mascheroni. The uneven

orchestral group had not rehearsed sufficiently to “penetrate the soul and emotions of

the art work” since the musicians were “concerned with the box office rather than with

translating the instrumental polyphony of the opera.” Due to the contingencies of the

moment, Braga had to make last-minute changes in the opera that affected major aspects

of the composition. The one-act opera was divided into two acts, and some segments

had to be cut off. Originally written for a dramatic soprano, Jupyra’s part was rewritten

for soprano leggero, and was extensively modified so that it would be adjusted to the

abilities of the “inexperienced and limited” singer, who lacked “dramatic qualities as

an actress,” and whose “vocal mechanism was unable to translate the intensity of

passion” of the character. All those factors made it imperative for Braga to rehearse and

conduct his opera himself.159

158 “A companhia lírica, que trabalhava nesse teatro por conta da empresa Sansone, rompeu seus
compromissos com o empresário, dando por sua conta os três últimos espetáculos, tendo obtido, para
esse fim, do referido empresário o material necessário, e do proprietário do teatro permissão gratuita
para dar ali as récitas. … hoje será cantada a Jupyra, do maestro Francisco Braga, repetindo-se amanhã o
mesmo espetáculo para a despedida da Companhia. Os Srs. assinantes têm direito à récita de hoje.” (JC,
8 Oct. 1900, p. 2)
159 “A temporada terminou ingloriamente com a Companhia inteiramente desorganizada e já privada
dos seus mais valiosos elementos. Foi nesse último período de dissolução, quando a orquestra, reduzida
quase à metade, já não era animada pela batuta enérgica de Mascheroni, e quando eram escassos os
recursos do corpo de cantores, foi então que coube ao maestro Francisco Braga o ensejo de fazer cantar a
sua ópera em um ato Jupyra, dividida em dois atos por circunstâncias e exigências do momento. (…)
Francisco Braga teve de sacrificar a sua ópera, modificando tanto ou quanto a parte da protagonista,
Despite all of the shortcomings, Jupyra’s premiere was a great success. The

same newspaper article reports that Francisco Braga was enthusiastically applauded

before, during and after the performace,160 and the opera was repeated the following


Thus, Jupyra’s performance was initially included in the Forth Centennial

events and ultimately carried out by the composer himself and the Companhia Lírica

Italiana without Sansone’s partnership. In addition, its last advertisements do not make

any reference to the national holiday and to the Associação do IV Centenário.162

There is some indication that the Associação withheld financial support to

musical spectacles due to dissension within its Committee. In commenting upon the

escrita originalmente para soprano dramático, afim de confiá-la a um soprano ligeiro, inexperiente, sem
qualidades aprecieaveis que recomendasse a cantora como atriz, e possuindo um órgão vocal incapaz de
traduzir a intensidade da paixão de que se acha revestida a figura da protagonista do libretto do Sr.
Escragnolle Doria. Essa modificação, já essencial, porque afeta o caráter do personagem que move todo
o drama, não foi a única concessão do autor, que teve de consentir também em alguns cortes,
precisando, ele mesmo, ensaiar e reger a sua partitura, confiada a uma orquestra desigual e deficiente e
mais preocupada com a receita dos espetáculos para o seu pagamento do que com a tradução da polifonia
instrumental da ópera. Acrescente-se a tudo isso a falta de ensaios em número suficiente para que os
próprios cantores e orquestra chegassem a penetrar o sentimento da obra de arte e a compreender a
espiritualidade da composição, e ninguém dirá que a Jupyra teve a execução que merecia do amor dos
artistas que a interpretaram.” (JC, 10 Oct. 1900, p. 3) CR, 6 Oct. 1900 also comments on the
difficulties of Jupyra’s production.
160 “Quando o maestro Francisco Braga ocupou a cadeira de regente, sobre ele choveram flores e o
público vitoriou-o por muito tempo. (…) [after Quirino’s phrase ‘Come la mia non vibra La sua
passion giammai’] O auditório rompeu então em aplausos prolongados. (…) Interrompeu-se o ato final
da sexta cena, e o público aplaudiu durante mais de um quarto de hora: os moços das galerias foram à
caixa e por muitas vezes trouxeram à cena, vitoriando-o, o maestro Francisco Braga, e depois os artistas
encarregados da representacão, Tromben, Berlendi, Rambaldi e Arcangelli. Continuou depois a
representação.” (JC, 10 Oct. 1900, p. 3) Article in CR, 9 Oct. 1900, p. 2, “No mundo da solfa”
corroborates the enthusiastic reception of Jupyra’s premiere.
161 JC, 9 Oct. 1900, p. 8; advertisement. The box office of Jupyra’s second performance was bound

for the orchestra’s musicians and chorus. “em benefício dos professores de orquestra e corpo de coros.”
(JC, 8 Oct. 1900, p. 6, advertisement)
162 See, for instance, JC, 4 Oct. 1900, p. 10; 5 Oct. 1900, p. 8; 7 Oct. 1900, p. 10; 8 Oct. 1900, p.

6; 9 Oct. 1900, p. 8.
withdrawing of I Salduni’s performance, Coelho Neto elegantly insinuates the

Committee’s privileging of some other arts and artists.

The Fourth Centennial gives us the beautiful monument by Bernardelli; why

can’t we be more patriotic about our music, an art that is so innate to us, and
make efforts so that music will be nobly represented in the great cyclic
apotheosis that is coming?163

While the Associação clique’s bias was probably real, there is some evidence

that neither I Salduni nor Jupyra had the ideological substance capable of securing the

committee’s support at large. As a contemporary critic had noted, I Salduni is a work

whose subject “has nothing to do with Brazilian geography and ethnography, and with

the tradition of the melodic spirit of the people to which the poet and the composer

belong.”164 On the other hand, Francisco Braga’s opera Jupyra is based on a short

novel by Bernardo Guimarães with the same title that conveys a pessimistic view of

Brazilian ethnic origins and its future as a miscegenated nation.165 Although Jupyra’s

Indianist literary tradition assured its association with national symbols, its ideological

spin to the myth of national foundation (consolidated during the Second Empire) did

not fit the conservative tone demanded for such a kind of patriotic celebration.

This point is corroborated by another musical event celebrating the Fourth

Centennial that, although it was not directly supported by the Associação, kept

163 “Fica-nos do Centenário o formoso monumento de Bernardelli, por que não nos havemos de mover
com um pouco de patriotismo para que a música, que é a nossa arte ingênita, seja também representada
e nobremente, na grande apoteose cíclica que se prepara?” (GN, 1 May 1900; partially reprinted in JC,
8 May 1900, p. 3)
164 “… pela geografia e pela etnografia, não tem nada que ver com as tradições do espírito melodioso do
povo a que pertencem o poeta e o músico.” (“Saldunes,” article [probably by Lobo Cordeiro] in JC, 10
May 1900, p. 3)
165 For a comparative study between José de Alencar’s positive view of the integration of the Indian
into Brazilian society as a process of national foundation expressed in his novel Iracema, and Bernardo
Guimarães’ pessimistic view on the issue expressed in his short novel Jupyra, see Magrans (1995).
For a comparitive analysis between Guimarães’s short novel Jupyra and the libretto of Francisco
Braga’s opera and their ideological implications, see chapter 4 on Indianismo.
ceremonial relations with it. The Gala Recital celebrating the Fourth Centennial of the

Discovery of Brazil to which were invited the President of Brazilian Republic, the

Portuguese Ambassador, and the Executive Committee of the Fourth Centennial, by the

Empresa Dramática Fluminense at the Teatro Apollo of Rio de Janeiro on 4 May 1900,

premiered O Centenário, a “patriotic epopee in three acts by Eugênio Silveira e Manoel

de Figueiredo with music by maestro Nicolino Milano,” among other numbers. This

musical theater piece conveys a very conservative ideology of national foundation

extolling the Portuguese origins of Brazil. Its characters include allegorical

personifications of Portugal, Brazil, America, the European nations, and the American

nations; historical figures of Nuno Alves Pereira, Bartolomeu Dias, Vasco da Gama; the

poet who immortalized Portuguese conquests, Camões; and allegorical figures of Fame,

Calliope, and the Muses.166 This patriotic epopee illustrates Brazilian bonding relations

with Portugal and the persisting Lusophile culture in spite of a century of anti-

Portuguese feelings in Brazil.

The comparison between the conservative ideology of O Centenário and the

contexts of Jupyra and I Salduni indicates the unsuitability of the operas for the Fourth

Centennial celebrations bestowed with official favor. Although Jupyra’s Indianismo

was already outdated in relation to Brazilian intelligentsia’s socio-anthropological views

of national identity concerning its ethnic stock,167 its pessimistic view of miscegenation

not only downplayed the myth of national origins (if miscegenation was strictly

166 “Récita de gala comemorativa do 4º Centenário do Descobrimento do Brasil e para a qual foram
convidados o Exm. Presidente da República, o Exm. Embaixador de Portugal e a Comissão Executiva
do 4º Centenário do Brasil” … “epopéia patriótica em 3 quadros, original de Eugênio Silveira e Manoel
de Figueiredo, música do maestro Nicolino Milano.” (JC, 4 May 1900, p. 6)
167 Indianismo was criticized for electing the miscegenation of the Indian and the Portuguese as
representative of Brazilian identity, once Brazilian intellectuals associated with folklore studies and
anthropology acknowledged that the Black corresponded to the largest portion of Brazilian ethnic and
cultural mix. See further discussion on this issue in chapter 4 on Indianismo.
interpreted as between the Indian and the Portuguese) but also shed a dooming light on

Brazil’s future (if the character Jupyra is taken as a metaphor for miscegenation as a

larger phenomenon including the Black). Likewise, although I Salduni’s theme of

comrade loyalty and warrior heroism could be associated with the revolutionary and

patriotic ideology of the origins of Brazilian Republic, it could also evoke the political

instability of a decade of rebellions against the Republican government. Furthermore, a

comparative analysis of the Fourth Centennial official iconography as a whole

corroborates Melo’s estimation that perhaps the actual reason for the turning down of

“this important opera,” I Salduni, was the fact that the “wise and distinguished”

Committee of the Associação do 4º Centenário realized early on that the national

celebration was “essentially of local color” and it would be awkward to include a work

whose subject “had nothing to do with Brazilian tradition, geography and


The musical theater piece O Centenário follows the official vantage point made

clear in the iconography of commemorative stamps suggested by the Jornal Philatelico

in 1897,169 and in the many symbols endorsed by the Associação, such as Olavo

Bilac’s poem Brasil, Rodolfo Bernardelli’s bronze monument to Pedro Álvares Cabral,

Aurélio de Figueiredo’s painting, Amadeu Zani’s bas-relief, and the Fourth Centennial


The Fourth Centennial’s construction of national history reiterated the myths of

national foundation that had been consolidated during Imperial times exalting the

168 “Talvez que a verdadeira causa que determinou a supressão desta importante ópera fosse o ter a sábia
e distinta Diretoria compreendido logo cedo que o programa do Centenário agravar-se-ia aproveitando
para assunto de uma festa nacional e essencialmente de cor local, uma ópera cujo lance dramático, tanto
pela geografia como pela etnografia, nada tinha que ver com as nossas tradições.” (Melo 1947: 299)
169 Costa and Schwarcz 2000: 110-1.
170 Melo 1947: 298.

Portuguese and the noble savage. The Rs. $20 stamp and Bernardelli’s monument exalt

the braveness of Pedro Álvares Cabral, the Portuguese navigator who discovered Brazil

and represents the arrival of Western civilization. The civilizing role of the Portuguese is

also represented in the Rs. 1$000 stamp illustrated with Meireles’ famous painting A

primeira missa no Brasil dealing with the myth of conversion that legitimized the

Portuguese conquest over the Indian. The Rs. $10 stamp portrays the indigenous

population in its primitive guise rather than in its noble savage idealization legitimizing

once more the Portuguese colonization implied in the victory of “civilization” over the

“primitive.” Other iconographical items construct national history through civilian

martyrs (Tiradentes), independence heroes (José Bonifácio, and D. Pedro I) and

milestone (the Rs. 2$000 stamp illustrated with Pedro Américo’s oil painting

Independência ou Morte!, also known as O grito do Ipiranga), Republican heroes

(Benjamin Constant, Deodoro da Fonseca) and milestone (the Rs. 5$000 stamp

illustrated with Henrique Bernardelli’s painting A proclamação da República).

The Fourth Centennial was also an opportunity for the Brazilian elite to express

its ideals of civilization and progress. The above mentioned Fourth Centennial stamps

suggested by the Jornal Philatelico convey in its assemblage an evolutionist view of

Brazilian history from the lowest valued Rs. $10 stamp portraying the primitive Indian

to the highest valued Rs. 10$000 stamp illustrated with the “Alegoria da civilização”

[Allegory of civilization], passing through symbols of Brazilian political evolution from

monarchy to republic. This evolutionist view asserting the victory of civilization also

influenced the group that dominated Rio de Janeiro’s major music institutions and

considered the performance of a Wagnerian opera during the Fourth Centennial as a

culminating symbol of “progress.” Although Jupyra reflected some Wagnerian

influence on Braga, Miguez’s I Salduni was the only one that sufficiently adopted

Wagnerian music drama precepts.

Leopoldo Miguez’ I Salduni is the foremost musical example of Brazilian

elite’s fantasy of civilization and progress. This lyric drama in four acts, based on

Coelho Neto’s poem “Os Saldunes, ou o Crepúsculo das Gálias” (translated into

Italian by Heitor Malaguti), was conceived in the most orthodox Wagnerian spirit, and

can be considered an abridged version of Wagner’s tetralogy. Each episode of Coelho

Neto’s poem can be associated with situations of the Wagnerian dramatic cycle, and

each page of Miguez’s music can be associated with some movement, process or

leitmotif of the Wagner’s tetralogy.171 As a work dedicated to the music critics

Rodrigues Barbosa and Luís de Castro, “the two relentless fighters who have done so

much for the victory of the lyric drama in Brazil,”172 I Salduni was widely commented

upon in Brazilian newspapers and magazines from 1899 to 1901. The numerous articles

campaigning for the performance of I Salduni and elucidating the public on its

compositional aspects can be considered among the most exhaustive Wagnerian

propagandizing in Brazil. The prospect of performing I Salduni during the Fourth

Centennial was considered “an opportunity to show a work that will make us proud,

and will demonstrate to foreigners our artistic development if it goes beyond our

borders,”173 and its cancellation was taken with deep frustration. From the perspective

of the Wagnerian clique, Brazilian music missed the opportunity to show its progress.

The Fourth Centennial however demanded not only a display of “civilization” but also

171 Azevedo 1950: 51; and 1956: 117-8.

172 “os dous infatigáveis batalhadores que tanto têm feito para a vitória do drama Lírico no Brasil,
dedico de coração esse escorço.” JC,
173 “ocasião tão oportuna [de] dar-nos um trabalho que nos encherá de justo orgulho e que, se transpuzer
a nossa fronteira, demonstrará plenamente ao estrangeiro o nosso adiantamento artístico.” (GN, 1 May
1900; partially reprinted in JC, 8 May 1900, p. 3)
of national symbols, something that I Salduni certainly lacked. Universalistic ideals of

civilization could play in those celebrations only if integrated into the gallery of national

symbols legitimizing the four centuries of Brazilian history.

The Pan-American Congress (1906), the National Exposition (1908),

and the inauguration of the Teatro Municipal (1909)

The Republic’s administrations until Campos Sales had focused on political

survival consolidation, and the reestablishment of a sound economy. The next terms

were in a better position to carry out Rio de Janeiro’s urban reforms planned since

Imperial times but barely effected during the preceding decades. The reurbanization of

the nation’s capital resulted from a joint venture of federal and municipal levels during

Rodrigues Alves’ and Pereira Passos’ administrations (1902-1906) that involved a

comprehensive plan of sanitation by destroying Rio de Janeiro’s epidemic-prone setting

(the so-called “bota abaixo” that demolished Colonial street design and buildings) and

improving its infra-structure (especially the water system) and modernization by

constructing new wide streets and avenues, boulevards and modern buildings.174 The

Federal Capital’s urban reforms conveyed Brazil’s aspirations towards civilization and

progress symbolically rendered in French style. Principles of Paris’ Great Works

carried out by Haussmann were adapted to Rio de Janeiro by Pereira Passos and his

contributors. Buildings were constructed following the French École des Beaux-Arts,

either in its “pure,” exotic or eclectic trends.175 After the inauguration of the Avenida

Central on 15 November 1905 (the anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic), the

174See detailed study of Rio de Janeiro’s reurbanization in Needell 1987: 31-51.

175Needell 1983: 36-51 provides an insightful discussion on the symbolic meanings of Rio de Janeiro
urban reforms and the architecture of the Avenida Central and its buildings.
Federal Capital was ready to host major events targeting domestic and foreign affairs

that contributed greatly to the reshaping of Brazilian image.

The expansion of symphonic concerts in public spaces found an important

venue in the official events promoted by the Republican government. The civilian

administrations of Rodrigues Alves and Afonso Pena (1906-1909) promoted three

major events significantly engaging Brazilian composers: the Pan-American Congress

of 1906, the Commemorative Exposition of The Opening of Brazilian Ports Centennial

in 1908, and the inauguration of the Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro in 1909. These

events reflect the persisting currency of musical trends responsible for Rio de Janeiro’s

musical renovation in the previous decade as well as the continuing prestige of the old

luminary Carlos Gomes.

The Republic consolidated a pan-Americanist policy that gradually shifted the

axis of Brazil’s foreign relations from Europe to the U.S.. Barão de Rio Branco,

appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs by Rodrigues Alves in 1902, was the head of a

strengthening continent-oriented policy for the next ten years. On the one hand, Brazil’s

foreign policy promoted neighboring relations with the other Latin American countries.

On the other hand, it advanced closer relations with the U.S., resulting in the creation of

the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C. in 1905, with Joaquim Nabuco appointed

Brazil’s representative. Among the strategic measures for the improvement of Brazilian

economy was its foreign policy, the major goal of which was to reshape the terms of

Brazilian participation in international law and trade.

Thus the Third Pan-American Congress held in Rio de Janeiro in 1906, presided

over by Joaquim Nabuco, constituted a major event that articulated Brazil’s continent-

oriented policy during this period. The Congress opened on 23 July 1906 with Barão de

Rio Branco’s speech setting the guidelines of Brazilian relations with the U.S. The

Third Pan-American Congress “opened Brazil’s doors to the most distinctive guests

and all American nations, … even the U.S.! … to show all the greatness of our

progress.”176 A major agenda of his congress was to develop a civilized and

cosmopolitan image of Brazil to foreign visitors.177 Brazil also aimed to enhance its

uniqueness within Latin America, differentiating itself from the Spanish-American


Barão de Rio Branco invited the composer Alberto Nepomuceno to promote a

series of symphonic concerts for the Congress that contributed to Brazil’s agenda of

image construction. These concerts were held from 23 July to 26 August 1906. The

symphonic concert entirely dedicated to Brazilian music in honor of the Congress’

members and held at the Teatro Lírico on 15 August 1906179 can be viewed as an

attempt to assert Brazilian uniqueness and as a symbolic gesture of national

accomplishment and cultural worth. The program opened emblematically with Carlos

Gomes’s Protofonia of Il Guarany, and closed with a patriotic assertion with Miguez’s

symphonic poem Ave, Libertas! followed by the National Flag Anthem (Olavo Bilac’s

lyrics set to music by Francisco Braga). Nationalism was also demonstrated by A.

Nepomuceno’s Suite brasileira, F. Braga’s symphonic poem Marabá, and E. Pereira’s

Ouverture of Tiradentes.180

176 JC, 30 March 1908, “A Semana,” quoted in Sevcenko 1983: 70. Among the distinctive foreign
guests was the U.S. Secretary of State, Elihu Root (from 23 July until 27 August 1906).
177 Sevcenko 1983: 35.
178 Martins 1977-8, 5: 295.
179 “Concerto Sinfônico (Audição de Obras Brasileiras) oferecido pela Prefeitura do Distrito Federal aos
Membros do 3º Congresso Pan-Americano, e organizado por Francisco Braga e Elpídio Pereira com o
Valioso Concurso dos Distintos Artistas Alberto Nepomuceno, D. Zilda Chiaboto, Violinista
Francisco Chiaffitelli e Professor José De Larrigue De Faro.” (Concert note BNRJ)
180 Concert note BNRJ.

The extent to which these works symbolically represented Brazilian identity can

be estimated by accumulative meanings of their foregoing reception, in addition to

immediate perceptions of their 1906 performance. Associated meanings of Miguez’s

Ave, Libertas!, Nepomuceno’s Suite brasileira, and Braga’s Marabá, discussed more

extensively elsewhere, indicate that those works were perceived by Brazilian audiences

as expressions of national identity. While Miguez’s Ave, Libertas! is the foremost

example of patriotic nationalism, Nepomuceno’s Suite brasileira and Braga’s Marabá

are major examples of cultural nationalism.181 Cultural nationalism is embodied in

Braga’s Marabá by the use of Indianist literary theme, the quoting of two popular

melodies, and the musical painting of local landscape as nationalist topoi.182 Cultural

nationalism of Nepomuceno’s Suite brasileira is associated with regionalism, and

elaborates on popular melodies’ quotation and musical painting of local landscape.

Pereira’s Ouverture of Tiradentes had a patriotic appeal due to its political subject

pertaining to Brazilian history that evokes one of the first independence movements and

the hero-martyr that became part of the gallery of national symbols during the First

Republic.183 Gomes’ Il Guarany had a multi-dimensional nationalist appeal ranging

from the historicist view of national identity implied in its literary theme to Gomes’

embodiment of national achievement.184 Thus, Brazilian musical participation in the

1906 Congress expressed both patriotic and cultural nationalism through symphonic

181 These definitions are based on Kallberg (1990: 245), who identifies two main varieties of
nationalism perceived in Chopin’s music by its early reception: cultural and political. “Cultural
nationalism” evoked [folk] customs, beliefs, social forms, ethnic groups, and language while “political
nationalism” addressed the political status of the country and the issue of sovereignty.
182 Braga’s Marabá will be analyzed more extensively in chapter 4 on Indianismo, and chapter 5 on

183 For an in depth study on the construction of Tiradentes myth and its relation to Republican
ideologies, see Carvalho 1990: 55-73, “Tiradentes, um herói para a República.”
184 The first aspect is studied in Chapter 4 on Indianismo, and the second aspect is discussed in Chapter
3 on Carlos Gomes paradigm.
music, from major genres such as the symphonic poem (Ave Libertas and Marabá),

genres associated with opera tradition (Guarany protofonia and the overture of

Tiradentes), to light multi-movement genres (Suite brasileira). Cultural nationalism of

Marabá represented a well-established national symbol associated with Indianismo

although its miscegenated-outcast implications were not acknowledged by Second

Empire and Republican official culture in constructing national identity. Cultural

nationalism of Suite brasileira represented a strengthening trend in Brazilian musical

nationalism that relied on folk and popular traditions to represent national identity. Also,

both works were associated with landscape, which, as the following chapters will show,

was a major topos of national identity in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.185

The remaining portion of this concert expressed the Brazilian elite’s yearning

for the refinement of European sensibility with works such as Carlos de Mesquita’s Un

peu d’amour, Gina de Araújo’s Berceuse, Delgado de Carvalho’s Minuet, Gavotte et

Musette, F. Chiaffitelli’s Badinage for violin, Alexandre Levy’s Andante, and M.

Faulhaber’s Diálogo. This concert note also displayed Brazilian operatic tradition with

Araújo Viana’s “Raconto” of Act I of Carmela, and most importantly, Brazilian music

aims towards high genres with João Gomes de Araujo’s Allegro of his first symphony,

Henrique Oswald’s Allegro and Andante of his violin concerto, and Francisco Valle’s


This concert encapsulated how Brazilian musical intelligentsia in the early 1900s

conceived the reconciliation of supposedly “universal” standards of “civilization” and

“progress” with Brazilian identity. The balanced repertory presenting works associated

with European models as well as with nationalism makes this concert very indicative of

185 See further discussion on Marabá and “Alvorada na serra” in chapter 5 on Landscape.
the identity crisis in Brazilian music that occurred in the following decade. On the one

hand, some works supposed to represent Brazilian alignment with European

“civilization” were quite conservative since they relied mostly on the Romantic

character piece and could hardly be associated with the latest musical “progress.” The

works representing Brazilian operatic tradition asserted national achievement but

likewise could not be associated with the latest musical “progress.” On the other hand,

the works which supposedly represented Brazilian identity reflected the dialectical

relation between the Romantic Indianist tradition and a newly-sprung sense of ethnic

origins that acknowledged the Black contribution, and of culture that sought the essence

of Brazilian people in folklore. The ultimate issue was how to reconcile Brazilian

identity with the search for modernization and cosmopolitan ideals that imprinted the

most visible changes of Rio de Janeiro contemporary milieu.

The years of Rio de Janeiro’s urban reforms were a period of “aggressive

cosmopolitanism”186 that did not escape objections. The slogan “o Rio civiliza-se”

(Rio de Janeiro is getting civilized), coined by Figueiredo Pimentel, not only

superlatively reflects contemporary amazement by the city’s changes but also conveys

some skepticism.

The Brazilian elite’s ruthless cosmopolitanism was demonstrated in an episode

during the Third Pan-American Congress that was recalled two years later with sarcastic

criticism of the “o Rio civiliza-se” phenomenon by a Jornal do Comércio’s


In the climax of the party, the hideous savages show up with their uncultivated
hair in the middle of hairdressed people spoiling the fidalgy of the homages,
demoralizing us before the foreigners, and destroying our chic-ism with their
exoticism. Unfortunately there was no time to do anything to take that

186 As defined by Sevcenko 1983: 30.

tupinamba stain out of our Parisian decorum, to hide those inopportune caboclos
or at least to cut their hair (although some people would have preferred to have
their heads cut), to minimize with perfume and brush that scandal of
miscegenated barbarians… There was no option other than to put up with those
beasts, but God knows how much it cost us to smile to Mr. Root, to answer with
good English to his English, and to swallow gracefully as if we did not have
Indians stuck in our throats while our hands shook nervously hoisting solemnly
the cheering chalices. What painful days those days of glory! The image of the
Indian chased us with the tenacity of remorse. Their face stayed still between
those of the ambassador and our own. Their green-and-yellow feathers
disturbed the black evenness of our tails. Barbarian tupi syllables spilled out
smudging the decorum of our educated languages.187

The above account shows how Brazilian elite was uncomfortable with Brazilian

uniqueness and considered modernization more imperative than the assertion of national

identity. The Brazil elite’s fantasy of civilization and progress contrasted with the

problems inherited from its Colonial past, particularly the ones related to Indian

frontiers and the integration of the Black into society and citizenship. Considering that

miscegenation was for the most part a baffling issue, the performance of Braga’s

Marabá in the Third Pan-American Congress takes on special relevance. A work

touching upon the issue of miscegenation could only fit in such an official event if

framed within Romantic sentimentalism. Also, the framing of miscegenation upon the

Indianist metaphor allowed elite culture to evade contemporary uneasiness with the

Black stock. Marabá is a Portuguese-Indian offspring with physical and psychological

187 “No melhor da festa como se tivessem caído do céu ou subido do inferno eis os selvagens
medonhos, de incultas cabeleiras metidas até os ombros, metidos com gente bem penteada, estragando a
fidalguia das homenagens, desmoralizando-nos perante o estrangeiros, destruindo com o seu exotismo o
nosso chiquismo. Infelizmente não era mais tempo de providenciar, de tirar aquela nódoa tupinambá da
nossa correção parisiense, de esconder aqueles caboclos importunos, de, ao menos, cortar-lhes o cabelo
(embora parecesse melhor a muita gente cortar-lhes a cabeça), de atenuar com escova e perfumaria aquele
escândalo de bugres mestiços… Não houve remédio senão aturar as feras, mas só Deus sabe que força de
vontade tivemos de empregar para sorrir ao Sr. Root, responder em bom inglês ao seu inglês, vendo o
nervoso que nos sacudia a mão quando empunhávamos a taça dos brindes solenes e engolir, de modo que
não revelasse aos nossos hóspedes que tínhamos índios atravessados na nossa garganta. Foram dias de
dor aqueles dias de glória. A figura do índio nos perseguia com a tenacidade do remorso. A sua cara
imóvel interpunha-se à dos embaixadores e à nossa. As suas plumas verdes e amarelas quebraram a
uniformidade negra das casacas. Broncas sílabas tupis pingaram, enodoando o primor das línguas
educadas.” (JC, 30 March 1908, “A Semana,” quoted in Sevcenko 1983: 35-36)
qualities of the European that is welcomed neither by the Indian nor by the white world.

The sorrowful character is portrayed in an Edenic setting of a Romanticized Brazilian

forest that, by taking her out of her social context, lessens substantially the ideological

critique that could be conveyed by or perceived in this work. Landscape is especially

enhanced by Braga’s music and valued by contemporary reception. Marabá is among

the first musical works to raise to the surface the issue of miscegenation and social

displacement in an official event. However, that was made possible only by its Romantic

framing within an European musical discourse.188

Another case in point is “Batuque,” the last movement of Nepomuceno’s Suite

brasileira. The official event of 1906 displayed the Black at all only by a work that

stylizes Black rhythms within an European musical discourse and depoliticized the

Black issue through “cultural nationalism” evoking ethnic customs and traits. The

Black culture was whitened by Europeanized musical stylization and portrayed within a

“picturesque” and “exotic” view that was reinterpreted as “cultural nationalism.” In

the following decade the “cultural” approach became a strengthening trend in Brazilian

musical nationalism.

The framing of local themes within European style and subjectivity was among

the few ways Brazilian uniqueness could have a place in official events during the 1890s

and 1900s. The Brazilian composers’ Europeanized style corresponded to the Rio de

Janeiro elite’s cosmopolitanism during this period of urban reforms and economic

alignment with world economy. Actually, Brazilian music’s incorporation of local

themes (such as landscape, Indianismo, and folklore), even if stylized, was in sharp

188 See further discussion in chapter 5 on Landscape.

contrast with the “Haussmanization” of the Federal Capital that virtually marginalized

ethnic groups and cultural expressions from the “civilized” center of the city.189

More than cultural motivations, the modernizing trend in the Federal Capital was

impelled by a politics of national economic development. The upgrading of the Brazilian

infrastructure was indispensable to its integration into the world economy. Rodrigues

Alves’s and Pereira Passos’ administrations (1902-1906) carried out the port capital’s

reform, which allowed a greater flow of foreign capital and trade, and European

immigration. In this context was promoted the next Brazilian showcase, the National

Exposition in 1908, also known as The Opening of Brazilian Ports Centennial. This

exposition also included the centennial celebration of Brazilian Press and Medicine.

The National Exposition of 1908 was built in the Praia Vermelha (Red Beach),

inaugurated on 28 January 1908, and closed with a solemn section officiated by the

Brazilian President, Conselheiro Afonso Pena, at the Palácio dos Estados, on 15

November 1908, the Proclamation of the Republic Day.190 The location of this event at

the Praia Vermelha was symbolic of its historical and contemporary significance as a

strategic site, since the Praia Vermelha was the area of the first landings of Portuguese

navigators in Rio de Janeiro, and the contemporary site of the military headquarters that

promoted the armed intervention for the establishment of the republican regime in Brazil

two decades earlier and would impose a military president (Hermes da Fonseca) two

years later.

189 See Sevcenko (1999: 33-4) on the censure of carnival’s cordões, batuques, and pastorinhas, and
the replacement of European harlequins, pierrots and columbines by popular customs so dear to the
populace such as the cobra viva and the Indian costumes.
190 RS, 15 Nov. 1908, no. 444, p. 1055.

This exposition celebrated Brazil’s cultural relations with the “civilized”

countries of the Northern hemisphere and its economic relations with the foreign


In addition to being an extraordinary exhibition of our “natural resources and

riches” to incite foreign greed even more, the National Exposition was also an
occasion for extraordinary artistic and literary activities.191

The musical participation at the National Exposition was certainly very

representative of the impressive artistic activities galvanized by the 1908 celebrations.

Nepomuceno was appointed musical director of the Opening of Brazilian Ports

Centennial and promoted a series of twenty-six concerts from 13 August to 10 October

1908. The symphonic concerts were conducted by Nepomuceno himself, Francisco

Braga, and Assis Pacheco, and held at the Teatro João Caetano with good attendance

during their two-month period.192 Francisco Braga had his public acclamation as a first-

rate conductor during the Opening of Brazilian Port Centennial’s symphonic concerts.

This series presented works by Brazilian composers such as Araújo Viana,

Barroso Neto, Ernesto Ronchini, Edgardo Guerra, Henrique Braga, Alberto

Nepomuceno, Henrique Oswald, Carlos Gomes, Francisco Nunes, Francisco Valle,

Alexandre Levy, Francisco Braga, and Leopoldo Miguez, and included many premieres.

The works by major Brazilian composers performed during this series were: Carlos

Gomes’ Overture from O Guarani (August 13), Overture from Fosca (August 24),

191 Martins 1977-8, 5: 369.

192 RS, 4 Oct. 1908, no. 438, p. 924, Ribaltas: “durante a semana realizaram-se os apreciados
concertos sinfônicos.” RS, 11 Oct. 1908, no. 439, p. 948, Ribaltas: “os concertos sinfônicos no Teatro
João Caetano e ao ar livre pelas bandas marciais […] a festa promovida pelos representantes da
imprensa: five-o’clock tea, … à noite houve recepção e concerto, fogo aquático.” RS, 18 Oct. 1908, no.
440, p. 1, Ribaltas: “As diversões sucederam igualmente animadas, os concertos sinfônicos, belas
sessões de arte muito concorridas, tiveram termo esta semana; acreditamos que finalizou simplesmente a
série sobre a responsabilidade do maestro A. Nepomuceno; outra série seguir-se-á dirigida pelo Centro
Overture from Salvator Rosa (October 11); Leopoldo Miguez’s cortege from I Salduni

(August 13 and 25), aria from Pelo Amor (August 20), Ave Libertas! (October 10),

Scherzetto fantástico (August 29), cortege from I Salduni, Cena dramática, Prometeus,

prelude from Pelo Amor, Suíte Antiga, and Ave Libertas! (Festival Leopoldo Miguez on

October 8); Alberto Nepomuceno’s prelude from O garatuja (August 25 and

September 8), Amanhecer for voice and orchestra (August 27), Suíte Brasileira

(September 8), and Romance e tarantela for cello and orchestra (September 10); the

only work by Francisco Braga performed during this series was Chant d’Automne

(August 13 and 22); the only work by Henrique Oswald performed during this series

was Prelúdio (September 1). Works by some minor composers were also performed,

such as Ernesto Ronchini’s symphonic poem Pedro Álvares Cabral (August 27);

Araújo Viana prelude from the opera Carmela (September 28); Edgardo Guerra’s

Devaneio pastoril (October 6); and Francisco Nunes’ Tarantela (October 11).193

The great impact of this series, however, sprung from the repertory innovation

introduced by Nepomuceno, Francisco Braga, and Assis Pacheco, who conducted works

by composers such as Smetana, Svendson, Glinka, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov,

Glazunov, Cesar Franck, Chabrier, Paul Dukas, and Debussy.194 Debussy’s Prélude à

l’après-midi d’un faune and Dukas’ L’apprenti sorcier had their Brazilian premiere

during this series.195 Azevedo considers that, as far as music is concerned, the National

Exposition concerts were “Brazil’s official entrance in the twentieth century … since

they initiated the Brazilian public to modern music and works that had opened the way

193 Marcondes 1998: 563; and Corrêa 1985: 11, 35-6.

194 Corrêa (1985: 35-6) provides an extensive list of the National Exposition concerts. The Concert
notes are held by the Biblioteca Nacional of Rio de Janeiro (Exposição 1964: 41, item 173).
195 Kiefer 1986: 17.

to modern music.”196 Cosmopolitanism upon modern brand was a major mark of

National Exposition’s concerts.

The National Exposition of 1908 gave a major turn concerning the construction

of a national image by including native Indian and popular expression in its key events.

The closing section of the Brazilian Press Centennial Exposition promoted by the

Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro presented a Bororo’s ritual (Indian group of

the Macro-Ge, Bororo language classification, located in Central Mato Grosso) at the

Teatro João Caetano.197 At the same theater Ernesto Nazareth played his tangos

brasileiros and was enthusiastically applauded, which made him repeat his “lindos


However, the recognition of Indian culture in its ethnographic authenticity could

be accepted into the elite domain only if framed within an “exotic” and “primitivist”

display. On the one hand, the Bororos were considered the most “primitive” Indian

culture in Brazil and were in direct opposition to the Tupis, who embodied the noble

savage in Indianist literature. On the other hand, this theater display did not idealize the

Bororos in Romantic-Indianismo fashion but emphasized their “primitiveness” by

taking their ritual out of its original context and framing it as an “ethnographic”

document to be exhibited at the theater. This primitive approach to the representation of

the Indian in Brazilian culture strengthened over time and was adopted and reformulated

by Brazilian Modernism’s leaders Oswald de Andrade and Mário de Andrade, among


196 Azevedo 1956: 171, 239.

197 RS, 11 Oct. 1908, no. 439, p. 948, Ribaltas: Exposição Nacional de 1908: “O encerramento da
Exposição comemorativa do primeiro centenário da imprensa promovida pelo Instituto Histórico e
Geográfico Brasileiro apresentou a festa dos Bororós no Teatro João Caetano.”
198 RS, 15 Nov. 1908, no. 444, p. 1055.

Despite the new attitude towards the Indian promoted by sertanistas

(frontiersmen) such as Rondon,199 social prejudice intensified in the cosmopolitan-

oriented Rio de Janeiro society, as a contemporary newspaper article attests.

The time in which we welcomed with sympathy our relatives who came
barefooted and poorly dressed to tell us about their misfortune and suffering is
gone. The city was then inelegant, barely paved and dark, and since we did not
have monuments, the waving of the palm trees fondled our vanity. We received
then the natives and their affliction in our big houses in the shade of our trees
with no greater uneasiness, and expressed our fraternal cordiality… by giving
them cleavers, knives, hoes, and old shirts. It is not the humble stoned house
under the coconut trees anymore; it is the salon with rich carpets and big
chandeliers with electric light. On that account, when the savage shows up, it is
like a relative who makes us ashamed. Instead of looking into their distressed
hearts, we look with terror at their muddy feet. Our smartism spoiled our sense
of fraternity.200

In the late 1900s, the tradition of Romantic Indianismo’s noble savage struggled

with the contemporary Indian reality as well as with the image of the primitive Indian

introduced by sertanistas’ ethnographic contribution. It would take several more years

until an increasing dissemination of frontiersmen’s, ethnographers’, and

anthropologists’ reports would impact upon the Brazilian elite’s sense of national


The inauguration of the Teatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro in 1909 was another

occasion for Brazilian elite to display its fantasy of civilization and cosmopolitanism but

also to reflect upon national identity. The construction of the Teatro Municipal of Rio de

199 See further discussion in chapter 5 on Landscape.

200 “Já se foi o tempo em que acolhíamos com uma certa simpatia esses parentes que vinham descalços
e mal-vestidos, falar-nos de seus infortúnios e de suas brenhas. Então a cidade era deselegante, mal
calçada e escura, e porque não possuíamos monumentos, o balouçar das palmeiras afagava a nossa
vaidade. Recebíamos então sem grande constrangimento, no casarão, à sombra de nossas árvores, o
gentio e os seus pesares, e lhes manifestávamos a nossa cordialidade fraternal… por clavinotes, facas de
ponta, enxadas e colarinhos velhos. Já não é a singela morada de pedras sob os coqueiros; é o salão com
tapetes ricos e grandes globos de luz elétrica. E por isso, quando o selvagem aparece, é como um
parente que nos envergonha. Em vez de reparar nas mágoas do seu coração, olhamos com terror para a
lama bravia dos seus pés. O nosso smartismo estragou a nossa fraternidade.” (JC, 30 March 1908, A
Semana, quoted in Sevcenko 1983: 35)
Janeiro was another legacy of Rodrigues Alves’ national and Pereira Passos’ municipal

administration to the Federal Capital’s aspirations towards civilization and

cosmopolitanism. Based on Garnier’s Opéra of Paris, the Teatro Municipal is one of

the paragon buildings of Rio de Janeiro’s belle époque. Its inauguration was purposely

and symbolically scheduled for Bastille Day, 14 July 1909, also a national holiday in

Brazil, restating Brazilian cultural connections with France.

After a decade of polemics around the delay of its construction and the way

public money was being used for that purpose,201 the Teatro Municipal inauguration

provoked more controversy.202 Initially, the possibility of inaugurating the Federal

Capital’s theater with a spectacle by the Réjane Company was considered, but the idea

of entrusting the opening of the most important national theater to a foreign company

triggered objections from all sides. The Revista da Semana was among the agents

opposed to this idea. Public opinion urged the representation of national worthiness.

The nationalist issues raised against the inauguration of the theater with foreign artists

involved an ongoing campaign by members of the Rio de Janeiro artistic and literary

circle for the revival of national theater. That campaign included the fostering of

Brazilian actors and actresses, domestic theater production and playwriting, and the

aesthetic evaluation of new works which ultimately would entail the issue of national

subjects and symbols.

201 Already in 1900, Coelho Neto claimed that the Republic had not met its promise of building a
Municipal Theater to Rio de Janeiro, and denounced the suspicious managing of public revenues
designated to a non-existent municipal theater. See, for example, CR Nº 206, 30 Aug. 1900, and Nº
214, 8 Oct. 1900.
202 The Revista da Semana commented extensively on the inauguration of Rio de Janeiro Municipal

Theater between 1908 and 1909. See detailed account on the construction of this theater in João do Rio
(1913); and Chaves Júnior (1971: 14).
On the demand to inaugurate the Teatro Municipal in 1909 with an opera

performed by Brazilian singers on a national subject by a Brazilian composer, Delgado

de Carvalho’s Moema seems to have been the most readily available. Although Gomes’

Il Guarany and Braga’s Jupyra were in the repertory, their symbolic associations with

particular times of national history made them inappropriate for the celebration of the

new event. The emblematic work Il Guarany was associated with Imperial times and

could not represent the new modernizing phase of the First Republic. By 1909, Braga

had became one of the key figures in Rio de Janeiro’s musical institutions, and perhaps

he could have managed to stage his opera Jupyra for this important occasion, especially

if one considers that Braga directed the inaugural concert. However, Jupyra had been

performed with remarkable visibility (including a troublesome production and final

acclaim) during the year of the IV Centennial of Discovery of Brazil. It is most likely

that Braga did not want to perform his opera Jupyra under unfavorable conditions again,

and gave the opportunity to someone else. On the other hand, Carvalho’s Moema had

not been under great visibility by 1909, nor had it been associated with any official event

or historical period, and could therefore be listened to with fresh ears on the occasion of

the Teatro Municipal inauguration. In addition, Moema had a good reception at the time

of its first performance in 1895. All these factors suggest that Moema was a reasonable

last-minute solution to the problem of opening the Teatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro

with Brazilian music representation. In addition, considering that Carvalho’s brother

was a diplomat, it is very likely that personal contacts and political network influenced

this decision. At the end, Francisco Braga conducted a 64-musician orchestra

performing Carvalho’s Moema, and some symphonic works, among which his own

symphonic poem Insônia.

Under these circumstances – last minute decision, amateur singers – the 1909

performance of Delgado de Carvalho’s Moema did not go well and the public received

it with indifference. With the exception of one, all the singers were amateurs belonging

to the Centro Lírico Brasileiro.203 The female protagonist Moema (Soprano) was

performed by Laura Malta and the male protagonist, the Portuguese Paolo (Tenor), was

performed by Américo Rodrigues. The important role of Tapyr (Bariton), Moema’s

father, was performed by Oswaldo Braga. The sole professional singer of the cast,

Mario Pinheiro,204 performed the least important role of Japyr (Bass), son of Tapyr and

brother of the protagonist Moema.205 Contemporary newspapers barely praised the

performance, and some dared to say that the performance went cold and the singers

were mediocre.206 The stage setting painted by the artist Crispim do Amaral did not

raise major comments.207

The inauguration of the Teatro Municipal closed an era of which it is

emblematic, since it crystallized issues of Brazilian modernization and identity that were

at stake in the previous decades and would be reshaped in the following decades. On the

one hand, it was the last building inaugurated during Rio de Janeiro urban reforms,

203 Chaves Jr. 1971: 14.

204 Mario Pinheiro was famous for his Brazilian Popular Music recordings between 1902 and 1919,
which were among the first records in Brazil (Casa Edison). He also sung in the 1920 performance of
Carlos Gomes’ Condor at the Teatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro. (Marcondes 1998: 628)
205 Marcondes (1998: 628) mistakenly informs that Pinheiro performed the role of Tapyr.
Contemporary newspapers and Chaves Jr. (1971) inform that this singer performed the role of Japyr.
Manuscript held by EM-UFRJ reads on page ii: “Con quest’Opera è stato innaugurato il Teatro
Municipale/ di Rio de Janeiro, il 14 Luglio 1909/ L’Opera ebbe per interpretti:/ Moema - Signora
Laura Malta/ Paolo - Signori Americo Rodrigues/ Tapyr - Oswaldo Braga/ Japyr - Mario Pinheiro/
Maestro Direttore d’Orchestra Francisco Braga.”
206 “Os próprios jornais foram parcos em elogios, alguns dizendo que ‘a representação correu
friamente’, ou ‘fraco relevo mereceram os intérpretes.’ O velho Jornal do Comércio publicou o nome
de todos os que compareceram.” (Diário da Noite, 20 July 1959, Suplemento Especial dedicated to the
50th anniversary of the Teatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro; quoted in Chaves Jr. 1971: 14-5)
207 Chaves Jr. 1971: 15. This bibliographical source also presents the transcription of Olavo Bilac’s
speech of the inauguration evening.
crowning this period with a conservative tone. Moreover, it was an occasion to celebrate

the achievements of its era rather than to challenge contemporary views and culture. This

is the ideological connection between the official event and the repertory performed

during the inaugural concert. The ideology of civilization and progress that had guided

Rio de Janeiro urban reforms was symbolically rendered by “the music of the future”

with the performance of Braga’s symphonic poem Insônia, or, in other words, with a

work associated with the trend that had guided Rio de Janeiro’s musical renewal in the

preceding two decades. Paradoxically, the “music of the future” would soon become

outdated, and the Brazilian intelligentsia would engage in another updating movement

that would acclaim the modernism of Villa-Lobos’ music during the Week of Modern

Art in 1922.

The Indianismo of Moema is very representative of the identity crisis of the

period. First, Indianismo had been discredited as a symbol of national identity by

Brazilian intelligentsia since it did not reflect the latest anthropological findings of the

proportions of white, Black and Indian in Brazilian racial and cultural mix. However, the

Indianist tradition was very strong, and the public at large still perceived it within the

nationalist framework. Second, Brazilian music of the first decade of the twentieth

century had not fully established new national symbols, and the most important official

event of those decades still relied on Romantic Indianismo. Third, Pacheco-Carvalho’s

libretto promotes a major turn in the myth of national foundation that had been fostered

by official culture since the Second Empire. Moema is the work that opened in 1892

and closed in 1909 the critical phase of Indianismo in Brazilian music that downplays

the representation of the Portuguese as a heroic character, and sheds a pessimistic light

on miscegenation.208 As discussed in subsequent chapters, that critical view applied to

other works of the period, such as Braga’s Marabá and Jupyra. That critical phase of

Indianismo in Brazilian music crystallized major issues of national identity. The dispute

over representing the Indian as a national symbol implied the inclusion of other ethnic

groups, especially the Black. If miscegenation was perceived in a pessimistic light by

late Indianismo, the recognition of the Black ethnic and cultural stock raised scientificist

views that reinforced the negative assessment of the Brazilian past and future as a

miscegenated nation. Therefore, the continuous reshaping of Indianismo ultimately

resulted in a broader reformulation of national identity that would be fully carried on in

the following decades culminating with Nationalist Modernism. The modernist

reshaping of Indianismo had many nuances, from Villa-Lobos’ Edenification of the

primitive Indian to Oswald de Andrade’s anthropophagic view of Brazilian culture.

Villa-Lobos’ ballets Uirapuru and Amazonas are emblematic of the composer’s

reshaping of Indianismo and his emphasis on Landscape topos. Although these ballets

were supposedly composed in 1917,209 they were premiered only in 1929 and 1935,

respectively, and had an impact on Brazilian image and identity in a period of Brazilian

political history that is beyond the scope of this study. However, it was against this

cultural background that Villa-Lobos reshaped Indianismo and Landscape.

As the music associated with the official events discussed in this chapter

indicates, the construction of national image involved the selection of symbols to

208 See further discussion on Moema in chapter 4 on Indianismo.

209 falar da duvida sobre a data de composicao dessas obras e citar Jorge Coli.
The autograph P. 39.1.2 (full score) of Uirapuru, held by the Museu Villa-Lobos, Rio de Janeiro reads
the following:
Front page: [the same pen and ink used in the musical writing:] “Uirapuru / (O passaro encantado)/
Bailado brasileiro"// [pen and ink similar to the ones used in the musical writing and Portugues title
above:]"H. Villa-Lobos/ Rio, 1917"// [another pen and ink:] "A Serge Lifar"// [another pen and ink:]
"(Le petit oiseau enchanté)"
represent Brazil, of which Indianismo and Landscape had been the most deeply instilled

since the Second Empire. The emphasis on Indianismo and Landscape allowed the

evasion of uncomfortable issues concerning the Black as well as a metaphorical

approach to the issue of miscegenation. The Indian element was part of elite culture in

three forms: the noble savage as a continuation of Second Empire official ideology that

fostered the myth of national foundation; the outcast symbolizing the impossibility of

miscegenation and therefore downplaying the myth of national foundation and

corroborating contemporary scientificist views of race; and the primitivist framing of a

growing ethnographic view. The Brazilian First Republic did not create its own national

symbols, so Indianismo and Landscape remained national musical topoi, while the

attempt to create a new image for the new regime was effected at the level of its index of

progress, which in music meant the continuous updating with cosmopolitan styles.

Brazilian art music composers during the 1890s and 1900s strove to reconcile national

identity, however conceived, leaving nearly unquestioned supposedly “universal”

models of “civilization” and “progress,” and imprinting to the First Republic the

culture of the “music of the future.” The incomplete reformulation of national identity

left by the First Republic was a result of the priority given to the alignment of Brazilian

economy and culture with the Northern hemisphere.


After the Proclamation of the Republic (15 November 1889), Carlos Gomes was

marginalized by Rio de Janeiro institutions. Gomes had been supported by the recently

deposed Emperor D. Pedro II and remained a monarchist even after the installation of

the new regime. Gomes put himself in hostility with the new regime immediately after

the installation of the Republic by refusing to compose the new national anthem

commissioned by the authorities. The offense was even greater since Gomes refused the

commission even despite the sum of money sent in advance from the Republican

government. That gesture had a harmful repercussion in Gomes’ relation with Rio de

Janeiro power structure for many years. Gomes’ negative view of the new regime did

not change even during occasions on which he served in an official capacity such as

during the World’s Columbian Exposition (Chicago, 1893), as is shown by the letter

sent by Gomes to Carlo Tornaghi (Casa Ricordi’s representative) on that occasion,

dated Chicago, 9 October 1893:

You must have followed the revolutionary occurrences in Brazil… The civil war,
or better, the uncivil war – because it is among the military – has ruined the few
hopes we had for the future. The candid men seem to have gone crazy! Emperor
D. Pedro’s prophecy has come true. I don’t need to mention the horrible
impression that we, all the components of the Brazilian Commission had.
Surprise, uncertainty, confusion… tablau! [sic] So far, everybody ignores the
truth about the occurrence [the installation of the Republican regime] and the
progress of the revolution that will perhaps spread all over the continent. But we
all can calculate the ruin that this will bring… I don’t care about politics, not
even the politics of my own country, but unfortunately I know Melo and Peixoto
very closely, and I am afraid this is only the beginning! I hope I am wrong.

Gomes’ association with the old regime was an excuse for younger composers

to neutralize his prestige and keep him away from the federal capital’s National Institute

1 Quoted in Vetro 1982: 317.

of Music (former Imperial Conservatory of Music). After Leopoldo Miguez took the

direction of the Instituto Nacional de Música, there was no place for Carlos Gomes in

that Rio de Janeiro institution.2 A letter sent by Gomes to Salvador de Mendonça dated

4 October 1892 reveals that Gomes’ awareness of the negative way he was treated by

the Republicans: “The Government of our dear fatherland seems to have me in high

regard. However, I have not been summoned to any position at the Capital’s

Conservatory of Music.”3 Three years later the situation seemed very clear to Gomes.

In a well-known letter (12 July 1895) from Gomes to Manoel José de Sousa

Guimarães, Gomes stated: “No one wants me in Rio; not even as the Conservatory’s


In another letter to Manoel José de Souza Guimarães dated from Bahia (12

August 1895), Gomes reiterates his discontentment with the new regime:

I will not miss this world and even less the Republican Government, which has
been so unfair to me. I regret I cannot destroy everything my hands
enthusiastically wrote for the sake of our national art... (...) I know everything
that goes on in the poisonous office of Rio de Janeiro’s Conservatory. I know
very well that since the Provisional Government times [1889-1891] until today,
they have never failed to think of me, only to purposely exclude me from any
position that was or will ever be filled! I thank you for your good will in finding
a place for me in the Conservatory. I know about this matter because in former
times and even lately, before my travel to Chicago, I had expressed my desire; I
even insisted to the point of playing the inopportune person’s ridiculous part.
You say: “If I wanted Rio de Janeiro’s’ Conservatory and if Miguez would give
in etc.” I don’t believe, however, that he can give something that does not belong
to him. I don’t believe either that the Government will accept another director
who has not been nominated by professor Miguez.5

2 Hollanda 1992: 48.

3 Azevedo 1956: 87.
4 Quoted in Azevedo 1956: 87.
5 “Não levarei saudade do mundo nem do Governo da República que tão injusto tem sido comigo. Sinto
porém não poder destruir tudo quanto minha mão tem escrito com tanto entusiasmo em prol da arte
nacional… (…) Sei de tudo quanto se passa no venenoso gabinete do Conservatório do Rio. Bem sei
que, desde o tempo do Governo Provisório [1889-1891] até hoje, qualquer vaga que se tenha dado ou que
se der NUNCA DEIXEI NEM DEIXAREI DE SER LEMBRADO… para ser propositadamente
excluído! Agradeço a tua boa vontade a respeito da proposta de algum lugar para mim no Conservatório.
Gomes’ career was also shaken by the bad reception his vocal-symphonic poem

(or cantata) Colombo had in 1892. Azevedo considers undeniable that

Gomes’ public favor was then in decline. The most advanced and assiduous
attendants of opera spectacles, including the students, considered Gomes archaic
and outdated. The first performance of Colombo, on 12 October 1892, a couple
of days after the triumphal premiere of Tannhäuser [in Rio de Janeiro], resulted
in a total disaster for the tormented old years of the unhappy composer.6

However, an article published in the contemporary Rio de Janeiro press indicates

that the failure of Colombo’s premiere was due not only to the “coldness of the

audience” resulting from its perception of Gomes’ dated musical style but also to the

poor performance of the very bad vocal-orchestral ensemble.7

One would expect that Gomes’ lack of institutional power in the federal capital

and the public failure of his last work Colombo would reflect the decline of his

popularity among the Brazilian public at large and of his shadow on younger

composers. The research of Brazilian newspapers and periodicals of the 1890s has

indicated, however, that Carlos Gomes remained much more than an old eminent figure

of the Brazilian musical scene, as his popularity did not decrease among the public at

large. In addition, the period of his illness gave a new spin to his mythification process

as Romantic hero, and galvanized national cohesion and identity. After his period of

suffering and death, the Brazilian titan entered the national pantheon of civil celebrities.8

Soube desse assunto, porque já em outros tempos e até ultimamente, antes da viagem a Chicago, já
havia manifestado esse desejo, chegando até a insistir fazendo a parte ridícula do inoportuno! Você me
diz: “Se eu quizesse o Conservatório do Rio e se o Miguez quizesse ceder etc.” Não creio, entretanto,
que ele possa (querendo) ceder o que não lhe pertence. Não creio também que o Governo aceite outro
diretor que não seja indicado pelo professor Miguez.” (Quoted in Revista Brasileira de Música 1936:
6 Azevedo 1956: 26.
7 “insucesso porque o público é de uma frieza glacial ... o conjunto vocal/orquestral era muito ruim ...
e o concerto foi mal executado.” (Revista Ilustrada Nº 651, Oct. 1892, p. 3)
8 For a detailed study on Gomes’ mythification during his final period in Belém do Pará, see Coelho
This chapter approaches the reception history of Carlos Gomes in the last

decades of the nineteenth century intending a fuller or sharper understanding of his

paradigmatic role for the late nineteenth- and early twentietth- century Brazilian

composers. Since Gomes was the only Brazilian composer with international

recognition during that period, it was virtually inevitable that composers of the following

generations looked at him, critically or not, as a model for success, and that the critical

reception compared incoming composers with him. He was a symbol of national

achievement, and was considered a national genius to be emulated or superseded.

Carlos Gomes was at the apogee of his glory in the 1880s. The lionization

process started in 1870 with the international success of Il Guarany, which bolstered

nationalist feelings, and culminated with boasting assertions such as “the first musical

genius of the Americas,” “one of Brazil’s glories (...) [and] the great American

genius.”9 In the last decades of the nineteenth century the Protofonia of Il Guarany

became a sort of second Brazilian national anthem.10 In the 1890s, Gomes’ success

helped Brazil to construct a positive self-image by acknowledgments such as “the only

composer that makes South America’s glory.”11 Carlos Gomes was the only Brazilian

composer until the 1890s that could afford any aspiration towards Brazilian parity with

the “civilized” countries. The Concerto Histórico promoted by J. Queirós at the Teatro

Lírico on 28 June 1896 is among the earliest attempts to legitimize the inclusion of

Brazilian music within the larger historical construction of the European canon. The

purpose stated by the promoter in the concert note makes clear that “although the

9 “o primeiro gênio musical da América” (O Liberal do Pará, 27 July 1882, quoted in Coelho 1995:
127-8); “uma das glórias do Brasil (…) o grande gênio americano.” (A Constituição, 7 July 1883,
quoted in Coelho 1995: 131)
10 Lange 1969: 403.
11 “o único compositor de que se gloria a América do Sul.” JC, 15 Aug. 1894 p. 2: “Carlos Gomes e a

sua opera Lo Schiavo,” special contribution by V[incenzo] C[ernicchiaro]

Protofonia of Il Guarany is a small sample in comparison with the many famous names

that illustrate this retrospective study of four centuries of music, [Gomes] is the sole

Brazilian composer on the genre who imposed himself to the nations that created the

divine art.”12

Gomes was definitely recognized as “the founder of Brazilian Romantic

opera,”13 and Brazilian composers trying their hands in the operatic genre could hardly

escape from his shadow. On Delgado de Carvalho’s debut as an opera composer in

1894, the critics agreed upon comparing him with Carlos Gomes:

Moema is not a masterpiece; it is an initiative by a great talent, an essay that

reveals an individuality, that uncovers the young composer’s rare gifts, and that
have the fairest, the most enthusiastic, and the most solemn public approbation.
That public manifestation of esteem and that ovation make proud not only the
composer but also all of us Brazilians who see in our illustrious compatriot the
continuator of our musical glory, the heir of the honored tradition conquered by
Carlos Gomes for the Brazilian name.14

The article above, written by “one of the most creditable Brazilian journalists

(...) earned the approval of the maestro Euclides da Fonseca from Pernambuco, who

after careful reading, considered it a fair and well-informed review, and asked

permission to transcribe it in Amphion, a Lisbon music journal of which he was

correspondent and contributor.”15

12 “Será pouco, depois de tantos nomes celebres que ilustram o estudo retrospectivo da música em
quatro séculos, mas é o único brasileiro que nesse gênero se impôs às nações que criaram a divina arte.”
(Concert note BNRJ)
13 “o criador da ópera romântica brasileira” (JC, 15 Aug. 1894 p. 2: “Carlos Gomes e a sua opera Lo

Schiavo,” special contribution by V[incenzo] C[ernicchiaro])

14 “A Moema não é uma obra prima; é uma iniciativa de grande talento, um ensaio que revela uma

individualidade, que descobre as raras aptidões do jovem compositor, que teve do público a mais justa, a
mais entusiástica, a mais solene consagração. // E aquela manifestação de apreço, e aquela ovação que
deve orgulhar o compositor, não faz somente o orgulho dele, faz também o de todos nós brasileiros, que
vemos no nosso ilustre compatriota o continuador de nossas glórias musicais, o herdeiro das tradições
honrosas que para o nome brasileiro conquistou Carlos Gomes.” (GN [1895, article by Luís de Castro],
quoted in Melo 1908: 330-1)
15 “um dos mais abalisados jornalistas brasileiros (…) mereceu a aprovação do maestro pernambucano
Euclides Fonseca, que tendo lido detidamente, como diz, um exemplar da partitura, achando-o justo e
On the occasion of the premiere of the Wagnerian drama Saldunes by Leopoldo

Miguez, the critic of Jornal do Comércio do Rio de Janeiro transcribed an article

previously published in the Revista Artística de São Paulo, which discusses whether or

not Miguez has superseded Gomes:

The newspaper O Paiz’s article of 21 January 1890 informing the sanction of

the Proclamation of the Republic Anthem by the Provisional Government decree,
closed its article praising Mr. Leopoldo Miguez, the composer of the selected
anthem by official competition, with the following words: “Congratulations to
the illustrious composer of Parisina, the greatest musical glory of our
homeland.” These words could express, even in those times, a fair judgment and
a truthful concept. However, these words would hardly convince the lay people
fascinated by the more evident triumph of Carlos Gomes. // Considering its
solid criteria and coherence, I cannot assure that O Paiz still upholds that idea.
Actually, I believe that its music critic has given up that evaluation for reasons
that are beyond the scope of discussion of this article.16

The ommitted reasons refer to the fact that the conservative music critic of O

Paiz, Oscar Guanabarino, was a fervid defender of Italian opera and reacted strongly

against Wagnerism in Brazil. After Miguez presented his Wagnerian opera I Salduni,

Guanabarino revised his former assessment of the composer’s value.

By 1900s, the Brazilian public was still waiting anxiously for a composer

worthy of being acclaimed Carlos Gomes’ successor, as it is shown in the following

article. On his return from Europe in 1900, Francisco Braga was received by critics and

his enthusiastic circle of friends with comparisons to Carlos Gomes:

criterioso, pedira permissão para transcrevê-lo no Amphion, jornal de música lisboense do qual era
correspondente e colaborador.” (Melo 1908: 330-1)
16 “Quando a 21 de Janeiro de 1890, O Paiz escrevia sobre o ato do Governo Provisório adotando por

decreto o Hino da Proclamação da República, terminou o seu artigo com essa saudação ao Sr. Leopoldo
Miguez, autor do hino escolhido em concurso: // ‘Parabéns ao ilustre autor da «Parisina», a maior
glória musical de nossa pátria.’ // Estas palavras podiam, mesmo naquele tempo, exprimir um
conceito justo e um juízo verdadeiro; entretanto dificilmente convenceriam os profanos, fascinados
pelos triunfos mais evidentes de Carlos Gomes. // Não posso afirmar que O Paiz, em uma continuidade
de coerência e de critério, continue a pensar do mesmo modo; creio mesmo que o seu redator musical
tenha renegado aquela opinião por motivos que não vêm a pelo explanar neste momento.” (JC, 20 Oct.
1899, p. 3, T&M)
Therefore, the matinee was plentiful with fortunate factors; and for this very
reason, in addition to the allurement of Francisco Braga - who was acclaimed by
nearly the entire press the successor of our glorious Carlos Gomes - it attracted
a numerous and festive attendance. We do not share with those who consider a
genius our young compatriot [Francisco Braga]. Also, perhaps due to our age or
temperament, we are incapable of feeling the enthusiasm of those who pulled his
triumphal car for many kilometers. We do not applaud the snobbism of those
who exhibited his effigy crowned by fame in the chic vitrines even before his
first public presentation. Also, we cannot invest him with the glory of being
Carlos Gomes’ successor - an elected dramatic temperament - right after he
[Braga] earns his “spikes of knight” [credentials of a fully-grown composer].
However, more sincerely than all the enthusiasts, we are very glad to see the
public coming to the Teatro Lírico to garland the efforts of a promising Brazilian
who has the valuable quality of being a untiring worker.17

In another article comenting upon Francisco Braga’s second symphonic concert

of 1900, which “closed brilliantly with the beautiful, grandiose, vibrant Guarany’s

protofonia,” the critic reiterated that “the genial talent of Carlos Gomes continues

without a successor in the lyric scene, despite the eagerness of those who are

obsessively concerned with finding him a surrogate.”18

In the same article, the critic’s statement that “the Guarany’s protofonia

translates all the greatness of this dear land” shows that although Brazilian

historiography since Renato Almeida (1926) has discredited Carlos Gomes’ work of
17 “A matinée tinha, pois, fartos elementos de sucesso, e por isso mesmo, e pela magia do nome de
Francisco Braga, - que quase toda a imprensa proclamou sucessor do nosso glorioso Carlos Gomes -,
atraiu uma concorrência festiva e numerosa. (...) Não somos, é verdade, solidários com os que
qualificam de gênio o nosso jovem patrício [Francisco Braga]; também somos incapazes, talvez por
questão de idade ou de temperamento, de sentir o entusiasmo daqueles que lhe puxaram o carro muitos
quilômetros; não aplaudimos tão pouco o snobismo dos que, nas vitrinas do chic, lhe expuseram a
efígie coroada pela fama, antes mesmo da sua primeira apresentação ao público; igualmente não nos
julgamos habilitados a investi-lo da sucessão das glórias de Carlos Gomes - um temperamento
dramático de eleição - quando ele conquista suas esporas de cavaleiro. Não obstante, talvez mais sinceros
do que todos esses entusiastas, vemos com satisfação o público afluir ao Teatro Lírico para galardoar os
esforços de um Brasileiro que promete e que tem a qualidade valiosa de ser uma trabalhador infatigável.”
(JC, 19 Nov. 1900, p. 2, T&M [by Rodrigues Barbosa], on the occasion of the first symphonic concert
by maestro Francisco Braga, 18 Nov. 1900, Teatro Lírico RJ)
18 “Terminou brilhantemente o concerto a belíssima protofonia do Guarany, grandiosa, vibrante,

traduzindo todas as grandezas desta terra querida, cantando o talento genial de Carlos Gomes, que
continua sem sucessor na cena lírica, apesar do açodamento dos que só cuidam em dar-lhe substituto.”
(JC, 26 Nov. 1900, p. 2, T&M [by Rodrigues Barbosa] on the occasion of the second and last
symphonic concert by maestro Francisco Braga, 25 November 1900, Teatro Lírico RJ)
“true” musical nationalism, his work was charged with nationalist appeal for

contemporary reception. The nationalist appeal of Gomes’ music is also evident in the

two other articles by Cernicchiaro (JC, 15 Aug. 1894) and Barbosa (JC, 17 Aug. 1894)

commenting on the descriptive power of Gomes’ “Alvorada” and emphasizing that his

orchestral passages “always reflect Brazilian originality” (see full quotation below).

Carlos Gomes was also a paradigm in the canon of establishing a reputation by

composing operatic music as the Brazilian public still demanded opera in order to

acclaim a composer in the 1890s, as attested in the following article:

However, if by that occasion [1890’s decree instituting the Republican Anthem]

Mr. Leopoldo Miguez had already written the Sonata for violin and piano, the
symphonic poem Parisina and the Symphony in Bb, in addition to some other
valuable works of smaller proportions, since then his output has been enriched
by abundant symphonic, piano and dramatic music that definitely established the
individuality of the director of the Instituto Nacional de Música. // In this
commercial and political environment, inimical to the arts, where ignorance
predominates and falsifies the poorly educated aesthetic feeling, the prominence
of Mr. Leopoldo Miguez would only receive public recognition once he wrote
an opera, because (and that is a significant fact that deserves to be mentioned) it
is believed among us that opera is the highest musical production and the true
backbone of musical talent, and the true backbone of a composer’s talent. Mr.
Miguez, ... motivated by the success of his music to the melodrama Pelo Amor,
wanted a poem that would impress him, a poem that he could feel its dramatic
substance... Many subjects were suggested to him, and a belles-lettres learned
friend worked on the sketch of a poem inspired in Paraíso perdido to be set to
music by Miguez. However, none of these topics inspired the composer...
Coelho Neto, a fine writer... had the fortune to find a subject that stirred up the
artist-musician’s emotion, with the legendary action in three episodes, Saldunes,
which Mr. Miguez set to music in two or three months in an ardent fever of
work and inspiration.19

19 “Entretanto, se naquela ocasião o Sr. Leopoldo Miguez trazia na sua bagagem musical uma Sonata
para violino e piano, um poema sinfônico a Parisina e a Sinfonia em si bemol, além de outras
produções valiosas de menores proporções, essa bagagem foi desde então enriquecida com abundante
literatura sinfônica, pianística e melodramática, que firmou definitivamente a individualidade musical do
Diretor do Instituto Nacional de Música. // Neste meio comercial e político, avesso às artes, onde a
ignorância predomina falseando o sentimento estético pouco educado, a preeminência do Sr. Leopoldo
Miguez só receberia a consagração popular quando ele escrevesse uma ópera, porque - é um fato digno
de nota e significativo - entre nós se acredita geralmente que a ópera é a mais elevada produção musical,
e o verdadeiro estalão do talento musical, e o verdadeiro estalão do talento do compositor. E o Sr.
Miguez, ... animado pelo successo da música do melodrama Pelo Amor, ansiava por um poema que o
Among the works that gave greater recognition to Leopoldo Miguez as a

composer were two Wagnerian operas and one symphonic poem. Pelo Amor! (n.d.), a

two-act opera, with libretto by Coelho Neto, was produced by the Centro Artístico and

staged at the Cassino Fluminense on 24 August 1897.20 Prometheus (1891),

symphonic poem No. 3, was performed in the 7th concert of the Associação de

Concertos Populares at the Teatro Lírico on 30 August 1896, in the 8th concert of the

Associação de Concertos Populares at the Teatro Lírico on 20 September 1896, directed

by Alberto Nepomuceno,21 and during the Ciclo Miguez (four orchestral concerts) in

1897. Prometheus was considered by Viana da Mota “the best of all Miguez’s

works.”22 However, Miguez was most acclaimed for I Salduni (1899), a four-act opera

with libretto by Coelho Neto, staged at the Teatro Lírico on 20 September 1901 by

Giovanni Sansone’s opera company. I Salduni was Miguez’ most discussed work in

Brazilian periodicals. A large number of articles appeared years before and months after

its first performance. Its importance lies mostly in defending a new trend in Brazilian

music associated with Wagnerian opera.

Chamber music, such as the Sonata for violin and piano in A (c. 1886) and

Sylvia for strings, and Miguez’s piano solo works had a repercussion in a smaller

sphere, bolstering his reputation among a selected public, the critics, and his circle of

friends, rather than supporting his public canonization.

impressionasse, cuja dramaticidade ele sentisse ... Muitos assuntos lhe foram lembrados, e um amigo
versado em boas letras chegou a trabalhar o arcabouço de um poema inspirado no Paraíso perdido, para
receber dele a investidura musical; nada disso, porém, inspirou o compositor ... Coelho Neto,
primoroso escritor ... teve a felicidade de encontrar o assunto que fez vibrar a emotividade do artista
músico, escrevendo a ação legendaria em três episódios, Saldunes, que o Sr. Miguez musicou em dois
ou três meses, em uma febre ardente de trabalho e inspiração.” (JC, 20 Oct. 1899 p. 3)
20 Azevedo (1956: 117); EMB (1977: 483).
21 Concert notes BNRJ.
22 Azevedo (1956, 116-7).

Francisco Braga also realized the public demand for opera and engaged in the

composition of Jupyra for the making of his triumphal return to Brazil after ten years in

Europe.23 Braga’s arrival was celebrated with a big reception organized by his friends

associated with Rio de Janeiro music institutions and press.24 The reception included a

musical band, laurels, and street ovations by his fans, friends and music critics.25

Braga’s return was widely commented by the Rio de Janeiro press days before and after

his arrival.26 Braga wanted to repeat Gomes’ deed of having his opera Jupyra

performed in Europe hoping that he would return to Brazil crowned by international


Jupyra’s libretto was translated into French, Italian, and German, since the

composer had sought to have his opera performed at Teatre Lyrique du Renaissance in

France, the Neapolitan Theater, and the Munich Theater (directed by von Schuch). None

23 “However, the great aspiration of our compatriot was to write an opera. After receiving a libretto on
a national subject, by Dr. Escragnolle Doria, maestro Francisco Braga departed to Capri Island where he
wrote the one-act opera Jupyra.” [A grande aspiração do nosso compatriota era, porém, escrever uma
ópera. Tendo obtido um libretto do Dr. Escragnolle Doria Escragnolle Doria, de assunto nacional,
partiu o maestro Francisco Braga para a ilha de Capri e lá escreveu a sua ópera em um ato, intitulada
Jupyra.] (JC, 24 July 1900, p. 2).
24 “A Cidade do Rio, cujos redatores viram a eclosão deste talento prodigioso ... vai recebê-lo a bordo

do Duchessa di Genova, e convida todos os seus colegas de imprensa, todos os homens ilustres que
amam e aplaudem a arte, para irem a borda dar as boas vindas a Francisco Braga. Segunda-feiraa teremos
o prazer de participar a nossos colegas de imprensa e ao público a hora em que poderão achar-se no cais
Pharous para tomar lugar nas lanchas especiais que colocaremos à disposição de pessoas que quizerem
tomar parte conosco nesta manifestação justíssima a uma glória nacional.” (CR, 21 July 1900, p. 2.)
25 The newspapers reported extensively on Francisco Braga’s arrival from Europe and described
minutely the reception organized at Rio de Janeiro’s port, followed by public speech and festive dinner.
Braga was received with a band music and honored with the presence of distinguished people of Rio de
Janeiro society, among which the director of the Insituto Profissional, José Rodrigues de Azevedo
Pinheiro, the composer Francisca Gonzaga, and the political activist and editor of the newspaper
Cidade do Rio, José do Patrocínio, in addition to other professors at the Instituto Profissional and a
large number of friends and Instituto Profissional students. See, for instance, article originaly published
in CR, 26 July 1900, and reprinted in JC, 27 July 1900, p. 2.
26 See, for example, CR, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26 July 1900; and JC, 23, 24 and 27 July 1900, p. 2 have

articles entirely dedicated to Francisco Braga. Among other periodicals that widely reported Braga’s
arrival were Revista Ilustrada and Revista da Semana.
of these offers were consummated and the only European performance of the one-act

opera Jupyra involved the second scene at Teatre La Bodimère in Paris on 30 December

1900, a performance attended by Princess Isabel, the ambassadorial representative of

Brazil in France, and the crème de la crème of the Brazilian community with residence

in Paris.27

Further proof of the importance of the operatic genre among Brazilian audiences

resides in the fact that several contemporary critics refer to Brazilian composers by their

operatic success in articles commenting upon the performance of the composer’s

symphonic works and in advertisements of the publication of new piano compositions.

For example, Braga is referred to as “the composer of Jupyra,” and Delgado de

Carvalho as “the composer of Moema.”

Carlos Gomes was not only a model for his prestigious career as an opera

composer, but also for the nationalist paradigms his work had established in music. The

musical paradigms refer mostly to the use of Indianismo as a literary source, and

landscape as a nationalist musical topos. Gomes had achieved international recognition

with an opera on an Indianist subject, which, although it had been received in Italy under

the rubric of exoticism, was reinterpreted by Brazilians as a nationalist work.

The combination of Indianist subject with Italian libretto in Gomes’ Il Guarany

(1870) came to be a formula followed by subsequent composers, as it is the case with

Carvalho’s Moema and Braga’s Jupyra. However, those three Indianist operas deviated

from the important nationalist premise of using the vernacular, which was established by

the Brazilian literature since the 1830s and adopted by the Brazilian opera movement

started in 1850s and aborted in the early 1860s. José de Alencar’s nationalist

27 Hora 1953: 13-5, 16.

proposition of incorporating Portuguese spoken in Brazil as opposed to Portuguese

spoken in Portugal in the Brazilian novel did not echo in the operatic version of his

novel O Guarany. Although Carlos Gomes was a product of the National Opera

movement,28 pragmatic reasons precluded him from using a Portuguese libretto in Il

Guarany in its Brazilian premiere in Rio de Janeiro on 2 December 1870. Already in

1864 Gomes had Alencar’s novel Il Guarany in mind,29 and in 1865, over a year after

his arrival in Italy, Gomes had spent Fr $800 on the libretto adaptation.30 Gomes had

initially planned this opera for José Amat’s Company at the Academia Imperial de

Música e Ópera Nacional,31 and, therefore, would most likely follow its nationalist

precepts. That supposition suggests that Gomes might have had the intention of

eventually producing a Portuguese version of Il Guarany. However, the failure of the

Amat’s company in 1864 discouraged him temporarily to keep the Guarany project.32

The Imperial Academy of Music and National Opera did not succeed in creating a

Brazilian school of singing, and its project of nationalizing Brazilian opera by using the

vernacular failed for the lack of skilled singers. The Imperial Academy was able to

motivate composers to write operas in Portuguese, but their performances still relied on

foreign singers whose lack of proper diction jeopardized the reception of those operas.

28 Kiefer 1976: 77.

29 Letter by Gomes dated from Milan, 4 September 1864 to Francisco Manuel da Silva: “O Amat é
testemunha do contrato que fiz aqui com o libretista para me fazer um libreto que até então não estava
determinado qual seria, mas que hoje creio que será o Guarani, extraído do romance de Alencar, que aqui
encontrei traduzido em italiano.” (quoted in Azevedo 1950: 207-8; and Azevedo 1956: 76)
30 Azevedo 1936: 331; and Azevedo 1950: 211.
31 Azevedo 1936: 331; and Azevedo 1950: 211.
32 Azevedo 1936: 331. In a letter to Francisco Manuel da Silva dated Milan, 3 May 1865, Gomes
states: “Sinto muito a morte prematura do música Nacional e Italiana. Essa morte me faz perder a
coragem de escrever a ópera Nacional o GUARANY, cujo libretto me custou 800 francos. Por aqui se
diz que um novo Empresário Veloso tomou o Teatro e que mandou contratar a companhia em Paris. Se
diz também que esse Veloso está concertando o Teatro Lírico. Deus queira que não seja completa a
destruição da Opera Nacional, porque morrendo para sempre, quais serão as nossas esperanças?!…”
(quoted in Azevedo 1936: 334; and Azevedo 1950: 214)
The public reacted negatively towards garbled singing and laughed at

mispronunciations.33 Therefore, when Il Guarany premiered in Brazil, the project of

singing national operas in Portuguese was completely aborted, and Gomes’ Il Guarany

was done in the language that had made him famous in Italy. “This example was

considered a rule by other Brazilian composers, who, from that time on, abandoned the

vernacular to compose exclusively in Italian.” This paradigm was subdued only in 1937

with the I Congresso de Língua Nacional Cantada [First Congress of National

Language Singing], organized by Mário Andrade.34

Indianismo (and its subsequent reshaping) was a formula considered by other

Brazilian composers, as is shown by a number of operas and symphonic poems on the

subject following Gomes’ Il Guarany, such as: Assis Pacheco’s Moema (1891) and

Jacy (n.d.); Delgado Carvalho’s Moema (1892); Gama Malcher’s Iara (1895;

Amazonian legend); Alberto Nepomuceno’s Uiaras (1897; lost; Amazonian legend);

Francisco Braga’s Marabá (1894) and Jupyra (1899); J. Octaviano’s Iracema (n.d.;

staged in 1937; Amazonian legend); Vitor Ribeiro Neves’ Ponaim (n.d.; staged in 1935;

Amazonian legend); Villa-Lobos’ Uirapuru (1917; 1935), Amazonas (1917; 1935), and

Iara (1917); Lorenzo Fernandez’s Imbapara (1928); and Francisco Mignone’s Iara


Some quotation-like passages in operas by subsequent Brazilian composers

point to Gomes’ paradigm. For instance, the verse “Tutto é silenzio!” with which

Gonzales opens the Scena e Duetto “Donna tu forse l’unica” (Act II) from Il Guarany

is the opening statement of Moema’s first scene with Recitativo e Romanza “Quanta

sventura” from Delgado de Carvalho’s Moema. That verse is also set in ascending

33 See Kiefer 1976: 77-82.

34 Salles 2000: 35.
minor third, but functions differently harmonically. While in Il Guarany it consists of

the pitches eb-gb upon Eb minor chord, in Carvalho’s Moema it is d-f upon G minor

chord making a minor seventh chord.

The paradigmatic reference to Gomes’ Indianismo is clearly indicated by

Braga’s restrictions in dealing with Indianismo in his opera. In a letter to his librettist

Luis Escragnolle Doria (1869-1948), dated of April 1893, recommending the dramatic

assemblage he wanted for his first opera, Braga stated: “I would like a national subject

but with no Indians (...) or ballets on stage.”35 This opera came to be Jupyra, based on

Bernardo Guimarães’ short novel with the same title. Although Braga’s opera had an

Indian female as its protagonist, she did not dress with native feather apparel.36

Obviously, Braga did not want to follow the Indianist model of Il Guarany in its exotic

ballets and costumes. In that case, the paradigm was evoked only to be rejected.

Actually, Braga had been reluctant in writing an opera on a national subject, and realized

the importance of this endeavor only upon the continued urging from his friends.37

Before Villa-Lobos, Gomes was the first composer whose public image was

associated with Indianismo. According to the concert note, J. Queirós’ Concerto

Histórico at the Teatro Lírico on 28 June 1896 “closed with Guarany’s protofonia, the

35 “Gostaria que o assunto fosse nacional, mas que não tivesse índios (…) e nada de bailados.” (Quoted
in Azevedo 1956: 182)
36 Azevedo (1956: 182).
37 Letter by Francisco Braga to [Corbiniano] Villaça, dated Dresden, 9 March 1897: “Diversas vezes me
foram dados conselhos por amigos do Rio (que, brasileiros daqueles que como nós também, dão a vida
pela pátria) me fazendo ver a necessidade, o dever quase, de eu estreiar com um trabalho de assunto
nacional, de autor nacional. Outrora fiquei em dúvida porém, hoje compreendo a razão que tinham os
meus amigos quando sugeriam-me a idéia... Estas e outras razões esclareceram o meu espírito e
sugeriam-me a idéia de voltar ao meu primeiro assunto, o nacional, a bela legenda de Bernardo
Guimarães, brasileiro de temperamento apaixonado e profundo conhecedor das coisas pátrias. Ai nos
meus papeis, deves encontrar um manuscrito em prosa com o título Jupira de Escragnole Doria -
música de Francisco Braga.” (Hora 1953: 40-2)
battle cry of the American jungle’s son.”38 Another instance is the illustration in the

cover page of the book Antonio Carlos Gomes published in Milan, Nuove Edizioni, n.d.

(see reproduction in Fernandes 1994: 137).

Gomes also established musical paradigms for the importance of melody and

orchestration in Brazilian music. Contemporary criticism emphasized melody and

orchestration as the main qualities of Carlos Gomes’ music. Criticism refers constantly

to Carlos Gomes’ orchestration, especially in sections of nature description. Vincenzo

Cernicchiaro, the Italian violin player, critic and composer who settled in Rio de Janeiro

and wrote an important book of music history in Brazil,39 emphasized Gomes’ skillful

orchestration, associating it with nature description a couple of years before the

composer’s death.

Carlos Gomes is the great artist whose daring, terrible, threatening, austere,
delicate, elegant and colorful orchestration is not afraid of comparison.
Orchestrator by excellence, from the simple bombardão to the difficult violin,
each instrument is masterly managed and shows the composer’s knowledge of
technique, range and effect equal to any skillful performer. This is a quality that
not all maestros have, even if this is indispensable to all who dedicate themselves
to the symphonic and dramatic genres, and face the challenge of bringing forth
calculated effects from each instrument’s properties, which according to Boury,
were made to idealize nature’s sounds. The finely and skillfully orchestrated
descriptive music of Carlos Gomes’ Prelude to act four, scene four is a splendid
proof of his ability to idealize nature’s sounds. This musical piece shows with
beautiful, charming effects the sea’s murmur, the waves of which break against
the stoned shore in the middle of night’s profound silence as another phrase
preluding with varied sounds prepares the Brazilian dawn with all its majesty;
the warring inubia’s sound is heard from the far away Tamoyo’s camp.
Clarions hit at the dawn contrasting with the cuckoo’s lament and the sabiá
bird’s trills. The orchestral effect remains rich, daring and varied. A progression
beginning in pianissimo prepares a grandiose crescendo, an effect of utmost
sonority in which the dominant phrase seems a grandiose anthem to the first

38 “Com a protofonia do Guarany será encerrado o Concerto Histórico, ao grito guerreiro do filho das
selvas americanas.” (Concert note BNRJ)
39 Vincenzo Cernichiaro, Storia della musica nel Brasile; dai tempi coloniali sino ai nostri giorni,

1549-1925. (1926)
sunray that kisses the incomparable land of Guanabara. [Gomes is] a highly
skilled colorist.40

Gomes’ orchestration ability concerning descriptive music is also remarked by

another contemporary critic, Rodrigues Barbosa. Both commentaries indicate how

contemporary reception recognized Brazilianness in Gomes’ orchestral effects.

Knowing how to orchestrate superbly by mastering each instrument’s

characteristic, Gomes’ scores contain descriptive pages full of the most beautiful
effects always with Brazilian originality’s blueprint.41

The 1900s also had a critical view of Gomes’ legacy pointing out the

inadequacy of some of his musical formulae to express Brazilian nature. The following

criticism shows the manners in which the following generation of composers was

looking for very specific ways to express Brazilian uniqueness and how reception was

tuned with this concern. The storm in the second act of Manuel Joaquim de Macedo’s

opera Tiradentes, is considered a successful musical description of such a scene in

Brazilian nature:
40 “o grande artista, cuja instrumentação ousada, terrível, ameaçador, austera, delicada, elegante e
colorida, não receia comparação. Orquestrador por excelência, desde o simples bombardão até o difícil
violino, cada síngulo instrumento é manejado por ele com mão de mestre, conhecendo neles ao par de
qualquer provecto executante, técnica, extensão e efeito; qualidade esta que nem todos os maestros
possuem, ainda que indispensável para todos aqueles que se dedicam ao gênero melodramático e
sinfônico, cujo problema a resolver é o de saber tirar efeitos calculados, pondo assim em evidência as
virtudes e as propriedades dos instrumentos, que na opinião de Boury, foram feitos para idealizar os sons
da natureza. // A este respeito uma prova esplêndida nos oferece o maestro Carlos Gomes no Preludio
do IV acto, scena IV, cuja música descritiva, fina e habilmente instrumentada, mostra com bonitos e
encantadores efeitos o rugido do mar, cujas vagas, no profundo silêncio da noite, rompem-se contra a
beira pedrosa, enquanto outra frase, preludiando com sons muito variados, prepara o aparecimento da
aurora brasileira em toda sua majestade, e ao longe ouve-se o som da Unubia [sic; instead of Inubia]
guerreira no campo Tamoyo. Os clarins tocam a alvorada e contrastam com o lamento do cuco e com
os trinados do sabiá. // O efeito orquestral continua rico, audacioso e variado. Uma progressão, que
começa com pianissimo, prepara com um grandioso crescendo, um efeito de máxima sonoridade, em
que a frase dominante parece um hino grandioso ao primeiro raio de sol que beija a incomparável terra
do Guanabara. (...) colorista muito hábil” (JC, 15 Aug. 1894 p. 2, “Carlos Gomes e a sua opera Lo
Schiavo,” special contribution by V[incenzo] C[ernicchiaro])
41 “Sabendo orquestrar admiravelmente, pelo conhecimento que adquiriu de cada instrumento, as suas
partituras contêm páginas descritivas, cheias dos mais belos efeitos, sempre com um cunho de
originalidade brasileira.” (JC, 17 Aug. 1894, p. 1, T&M [by Rodrigues Barbosa], article on the
performance of Carlos Gomes’ Lo Schiavo)
The second act renders the “Conspiracy.” The insurrectionists are caught by a
storm; the Itacolomy mountain can be seen far away lightening electric sparks.
The maestro describes this horrendous, beautiful nature’s scene with admirable
realism. One cannot express the beauty of this inspired page of astonishing
orchestral effect. The crack of dawn is painted beautifully by the symphony; one
can hear canário bird’s trills and the most beautiful Brazilian birds’ calls; the
singing of the siriema bird (crested cariama) is rendered in pastoral style with
paired [parallel] descending minor tenths. Those who have traveled, as we have,
throughout Minas Gerais’ backlands will recognize the exactitude of this
doubled singing by the orchestra. Carlos Gomes, the immortal, was not so
fortunate in his prelude of Lo Schiavo. Perhaps influenced by the European
suggestion of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony - in the passage Au bord du
ruisseau - Gomes placed a cuckoo’s call in a Brazilian farm’s daybreak.42

At the same time that late 19th-century Brazilian composers had Carlos Gomes

as a paradigm, they were also updating their style. Delgado de Carvalho’s Moema

searched for stylistic renovation in Massenet, and Francisco Braga’s Jupyra in

Massenet and Wagner. The stylistic changes of the 1890s affected Gomes’ reception to

some extent. According to Cernicchiaro, Gomes’ prestige waned among a sector of Rio

de Janeiro’s musical circle but not among the public at large.

An entire generation applauded and honored the talented maestro echoing the
European ovation (...) Unfortunately that generation has disappeared taking
along the esteem owed to a man with such a privileged talent. Why? Does the
new generation have good taste and aesthetic feeling as good as the old
generation? If so, why has the enthusiasm for beauty disappeared? Why has
indifference towards an art work associated with the classical tradition taken
over? Perhaps because it is Carlos Gomes? Why such an enthusiasm for other
works with no importance and so little care for the ones carrying the name of a
illustrious Brazilian? Very well, this contradiction, this injustice is due not to the
Brazilian society that has an innate good taste for music but to a sect of anarchist
42 “No segundo acto se dá a «Conspiração». Os conjurados são surpreendidos por uma tempestade,
vendo-se ao fundo o Itacolomi, iluminando por faíscas elétricas. O maestro descreve-nos esta horrenda e
bela cena de natureza com uma realidade admirável. // Não se pode exprimir a beleza dessa página
inspirada, que na orquestra será de um efeito arrebatador. Vem a madrugada, que é pintada pela sinfonia
de um modo belíssimo, ouvindo-se o trinar dos canários e o gorgeio de nossas mais belas aves
brasileiras, destacando-se de maneira pastoral o canto das siriemas, em par, em décimas menores
descendentes. Quem tiver, como nós, viajado pelo sertão mineiro, reconhecerá a exatidão desse canto
duplo em música. Carlos Gomes, o imortal, nesta parte não foi feliz no prelúdio de Lo Schiavo. Talvez
por uma sugestão européia, ouvindo a «Sinfonia Pastoral» de Beethoven, na parte -Au bord du
ruisseau- introduzisse o canto do cuco no albor da aurora numa fazenda do Brazil.” (JC, 22 Nov 1900,
p. 4, T&M; transcription of article published originally in the Jornal of Belém do Pará; author’s name
is not mentioned) See further discussion of this issue concerning Gomes’ “Alvorada” in Chapter 5.
musicians [the critic refers to the Wagnerian circle in Brazil, and to the Instituto
Nacional de Música’s hostile politics towards Gomes], whose insidious spite
aims to tarnish the glory of the salutary maestro. This is peculiar to those
lacking genius and potential for reaching the loftiness of art. There is no other
explanation for the surreptitious war waged against Carlos Gomes for many
years with insinuations and sarcasm that hurt him in the bottom of his heart.43

In the same year, Barbosa reaches a different assessment by recognizing a

substantial change in Brazilian public taste. For this critic, the decline of Gomes’

popularity in Brazil parallels Verdi’s in Europe.

In the last six years there have been substantial changes in Brazilian musical
taste, which is naturally inclined to the transformations occurring in the music of
the main European centers from which emanates the perfume of the great
musical sensations. (...) Lo Schiavo ... as all other Carlos Gomes’ operas ...
cannot be heard with the same relish of enthusiasm as six years ago. What
happens to Carlos Gomes here happens also to Verdi here and all over the
world. Although their old repertories are always enjoyed, they do not impress as
before, during a time in which the effects of a simple melody satisfied the owner
of a ticket to a lyric spectacle.44

43 “Uma geração inteira aplaudiu e honrou o talentoso maestro, fazendo eco aos aplausos da Europa (...)
Infelizmente aquela geração desapareceu, e com ela o apreço que é devido a um homem de talendo
privilegiado. Porque? Não está esta geração na altura daquela pelo bom gosto e pelo sentimento
estético? Se assim é porque desapareceu aquele enthusiasimo pelo belo? Porque subentrou a indiferença
diante de uma opera de arte atingida `as tradições clássicas; talvez porque é de Carlos Gomes? Porque
tanto entusiasmo por outras que não têm maior importância, e tanta indiferença pelas que trazem o
nome de um brasileiro ilustre? Pois bem, esta contradição, esta injustiça não cabe à sociedade brasileira,
que tem inato o gosto de boa musica, mas a uma seita de músicos anarquistas, cuja terrível inveja
pretende obscurecer a glória do benemérito maestro. É este o distintivo de gente a quem falta gênio e
possibilidade para alcançar as alturas da arte. Não teria outra explicação a guerra surda que, desde há
muitos anos, se move a Carlos Gomes, com insinuações e sarcasmos que vão feri-lo no profundo do
coração. (...)”(JC, 15 Aug. 1894 p. 2, “Carlos Gomes e a sua ópera Lo Schiavo,” special contribution
by V[incenzo] C[ernicchiaro])
44 “Nos seis anos decorridos não poucas alterações se têm operado no gosto musical brasileiro, que está
naturalmente afecto às transformações da música nos principais centros europeus, de onde nos emana o
perfume para as grandes sensações musicais. (...) O Escravo ... como todas as óperas de Carlos Gomes
... já não pode ser ouvido com o mesmo sabor de entusiasmo de há seis anos. O que sucede a Carlos
Gomes sucede aqui e em toda a parte a Verdi com o seu repertório antigo, que, agradando sempre, já não
impressiona como outrora, em que os efeitos de uma simples melodia satisfaziam o possuidor de um
bilhete para um espetáculo lírico. ” (JC, 17 Aug. 1894, p. 1, T&M [by Rodrigues Barbosa], article on
the performance of Carlos Gomes’ Lo Schiavo)
This criticism reflects the initial impact of Wagnerism in Brazil that temporarily

shook Gomes’ prestige. However, the public continued to fill Brazilian theaters to see Il

Guarany and Lo Schiavo, as the following articles show:

The day before yesterday the Teatro Lírico was filled up to hear the opera Il
Guarany, which has been the target of noisy manifestations. (...) The opera of
our talented compatriot Carlos Gomes, unfairly regarded by the ferocious
Wagnerian exclusionists, has flaws, that’s true, but it does not lack qualities that
elevate its author to the heights of a superior talent. It could not be more
auspicious as an opera opening the composer’s career. If only all the “learned
persons” who are beginning and the ones who are behind in their productions
could present in their first works the same understanding of dramatic effects and
orchestral color, and as much inspiration as Carlos Gomes had in his Il
Guarany. In this opera affiliated with the Italian school, which has lost its
former prestige due to the Wagnerian influence in modern schools, the
predominant element is the constant melody with varied orchestral effects. It
does not have lofty musical ideas but it has the inspiration of an ardent spirit and
the extraordinary unity of conception in its development. Imitations in the course
of the opera are tolerable, even admissible; celebrated authors whose reputation
was built in the theater also imitated their predecessors taking them as models
without jeopardizing their own originality and notoriety. The opera, which has
unquestionably reached great popularity here and in all countries where it has
been performed, had a plain rendition the day before yesterday. 45

Newspapers show clearly that the public was still very enthusiastic about

Gomes’ Lo Schiavo even six years after its premiere: “Many numbers of the opera

45 “Encheu-se anteontem completamente a sala do nosso teatro Lírico para a audição da ópera Guarany,
cujo desempenho tem sido alvo nesta capital de ruidosas manifestações (…) A ópera de nosso talentoso
patrício Carlos Gomes, injustamente considerada pelos ferozes exclusivistas do wagnerismo, tem, na
verdade, defeitos, mas não lhe faltam qualidades, que elevam o seu autor às alturas de um talento
superior. Como ópera de estréia de um compositor, não poderia ser mais auspiciosa; oxalá que todos os
“entendidos” que começam e os que estão em atraso em matéria de produções, pudessem apresentar o seu
primeiro trabalho com a mesma compreensão de efeitos dramáticos, com o mesmo colorido orquestral,
com a mesma inspiração que teve Carlos Gomes para o seu Guarany. // Nesta ópera, filiada à escola
italiana, que perdeu o seu prestígio anterior pelo atual desenvolvimento wagnerista aplicado às escolas
modernas, a nota predominante é a constante melodia, com seus variados efeitos orquestrais. Não tem
elevação de idéias musicais, mas possui a inspiração de um espírito ardente e extraordinária unidade de
concepção no seu desenvolvimento.// As imitações que se apresentam no correr da ópera são toleráveis,
mesmo admissíveis; autores célebres, de tirocínio feito na carreira teatral, imitaram seus predecessores,
tomando-os por modelo, sem que por isso perdessem a sua originalidade e a sua notoriedade. // A ópera,
que incontestavelmente adquiriu um caráter de popularidade aqui e em todos os países onde tem sido
representada, teve anteontem um desempenho regular. (JC, 1 Aug. 1894, p. 2, T&M, article by
[Rodrigues Barbosa])
were applauded in the course of the performance, and in the end of each act the artists

and the maestro Mancinelli, to whom belong the honors of the night, were called three or

four times to the proscenium.”46

In accord with public opinion, the music critic Vincenzo Cernicchiaro upheld

Gomes’ importance in Brazilian music, concluding that “whether those reptiles

[Gomes’ detractors, i.e., the Wagnerians] want it or not, Carlos Gomes is and will

always be to the Brazilian school what Glinka was to the Russian, Massenet to the

French, Brahms to the German, and Verdi to the Italian, and his name as well as his

work will survive from the first to the last artistic evolution.”47

Even the Wagnerians appealed to Gomes’ authoritative status to support their

cause, advocating that “it is fully justified to pay the homage to the great Brazilian

composer who was applauded by the most critical European audiences” and remarking

that “Fosca, an opera influenced by Wagner’s music, is his best score.”48

Vincenzo Cernicchiaro, who championed Italian opera and reviled Wagnerism,

spelled out an evaluation that came to correspond to Gomes’ lasting prestige among the

public in the next decade, which is attested, for instance, by Rodrigues Barbosa’s

articles about the 1901 performances:

Despite the bad weather of the night before yesterday [16 August 1901], the
Teatro Lírico was literally filled up to attend one more time the performance of

46 “No correr da ópera foram aplaudidos vários trechos e nos finais dos atos os artistas e o maestro
Mancinelli, a quem cabem as principais honras da noite, foram chamados três ou quatros vezes ao
proscênio.” (JC, 17 Aug. 1894, p. 1, T&M, article by [Barbosa Rodrigues])
47 “E assim, queiram ou não queiram os tais répteis [os detratores de Carlos Gomes, i.e., os
wagneristas] Carlos Gomes é e será pela escola brasileira o que foi o Glinka pela russa, o Massenet pela
francesa, Brahms pela alemã e Verdi pela italiana, e o seu nome, como também as suas obras, hão de
sobreviver desde a primeira até a última evolução da arte”(JC, 15 Aug. 1894, p. 2, “Carlos Gomes e a
sua opera Lo Schiavo,” special contribution by V[incenzo] C[ernicchiaro])
48 “É justa a homenagem prestada ao grande compositor brasileiro que na Europa fez-se aplaudir pelas
mais exigentes platéias. A Fosca, influenciada pela música de Wagner, será a sua melhor partitura.”
(Concert note BNRJ of J. Queirós’ Concerto Histórico at the Teatro Lírico on 28 June 1896)
the popular score by the unforgettable Brazilian maestro A. Carlos Gomes. The
high attendance was motivated not only by the everlasting public appreciation
enjoyed by Il Guarany, the opera that triumphally opened the composer’s
brilliant career fuller with thorn than flowers, but also by the cult of love, longing
and reverence for the one who received the greatest and most solemn
consecration to his superior talent and his steadfast work as a musician with a
splendid apotheosis made by his compatriots on his landing in the country from
where no other traveler ever returned. Joining this new manifestation symbolized
by this extraordinary attendance to the performance of Il Guarany was Mr. G.
Sansone’s, the cast’s, maestro Anselmi’s and the Lírico orchestra professors’
tribute. On one side of the proscenium was an arch of crimson velvet decorated
with flowers and palms upon which laid Carlos Gomes’ bronzed bust. Before
opening the stage curtain, the orchestra played solemnly and respectfully the
National Anthem before the silent audience. Both musicians and the public
stood up during the National Anthem performance. Once it was over, clamorous
ovation broke from all corners of the hall.49

The performance of Il Guarany, “the most popular opera by our unforgettable

maestro Carlos Gomes,” also filled the Teatro Lírico’s matinee on 18 August 1901, and

was repeated on 22 August 1901 with the same triumph.50

After the Wagnerians in the 1890s and 1900s, the Modernists, in the 1920s

carried out the second assault upon Gomes’ legacy. Mário de Andrade was among the

intellectuals who recognized that the age of Gomes had passed:

49 “Apesar do mau tempo que reinava ante-ontem à noite, encheu-se literalmente o vasto âmbito do
Teatro Lírico, onde se devia executar mais uma vez a popular partitura do inolvidável maestro brasileiro
A. Carlos Gomes. // A afluência ao teatro não era apenas motivada pelas simpatias que aos apreciadores
da música sempre mereceu e continuará a mercer a opera Il Guarany, com que o pranteado compositor
campineiro logrou abrir triunfalmente a sua brilhante carreira mais repleta de espinhos que de flores;
havia outro incentivo para esse acontecimento, e esse era o do culto de amor, de saudade e de respeito
para com aquele que recebeu, ao trasladar-se para o país de onde nunca mais viajor [viajante] algum
regressou, na esplendida apoteose que lhe fizeram seus compatriotas, a maior e mais solene das
consagrações ao seu talento genial e no seu esforçado trabalho de musicista. // À nova manifestação
simbolizada nessa extraordinária concorrência à representação do Il Guarany juntaram-se a do
empresário Sr. G. Sansone, a dos artistas do atual elenco, a do maestro Anselmi e a dos professores da
orquestra do Lírico. No proscênio, a um lado, estava armada uma espécie de ara, forrada de veludo
carmesin e toda enfeitada de flores e palmas, sobre a qual descansava o busto em bronze do saudoso
Carlos Gomes. Antes de descerrar-se a cortina do palco, a orquestra, de pé, em solene e respeitosa
atitude, executou o Hino Nacional, que foi ouvido em meio a reverencioso silêncio por toda a
assistência, e conservando-se esta na mesma attitude dos respectivos executantes. Terminado o Hino,
irrompeu de todos os ângulos da sala estrondosa ovação.” (JC, 18 Aug. 1901, T&M, p. 3)
50 JC, 20 and 24 Aug. 1901, p. 3, T&M.

Brazil has not produced a more inspired and important musician than Carlos
Gomes. However, his time has gone. His music is of little interest today and
corresponds neither to current musical needs nor to modern sensibility. The
performance of Gomes’ opera in current days would mean to acclaim the yawn
an aesthetic sensation.51

Gomes’ image was insulted during the Week of Modern Art in 1922. The critic

Oscar Guanabarino “was upset with all ‘avangardists of Modern Art’” and headed a

fierce reaction against Gomes’ detractors and Modernism’s champions, among which

Graça Aranha, Oswald de Andrade, Menotti del Picchia, and Ronald de Carvalho.52 The

polemics around Gomes and Villa-Lobos during the Week of Modern Art offers a clear

evidence that the nineteenth-century composer was still a paradigm in the 1920s, even if

it was to be demolished. In the context of modernization of Brazilian music, Gomes

represented not only the tradition but the “old” whereas Villa-Lobos represented the

promise of the future and the “new.” The critic Oscar Guanabarino was insolently

called “the being of the tertiary era” (“o ser da época terciária”) by Menotti del

Picchia for defending Gomes and deprecating “the New Art’s monster” (“o monstro

da Arte Nova”) represented in Brazilian music by Villa-Lobos.53

Gomes’ reputation was considerably shaken by Modernism, especially with

Oswald de Andrade’s and Menotti del Picchia’s criticism. Oswald de Andrade criticized

Gomes’ music, considering it “‘inexpressive, fake, and corrupting, which were all

attributes associated with opera’s artificiality and conventionality with blushed tenors

51 “O Brasil não produziu músico mais inpirado nem mais importante que o campineiro. Mas a época
de Carlos Gomes passou. Hoje sua música pouco interessa e não corresponde às exigências musicais do
dia nem à sensibilidade moderna. Representá-lo ainda seria proclamar o bocejo uma sensação estética.”
(Mário de Andrade, “Pianolatria,” Klaxon Nº 1, May 1922, quoted in Wisnik 1977: 81)
52 Wisnik 1977: 84.
53 See fuller discussion in Wisnik 1977: 80-91.

falling on stage in final scenes, and fat sopranos strangulated with lyrical


However, this criticism was not shared by the public at large. According to

Ernani Braga’s account, Graça Aranha’s lecture on the occasion of the Week of

Modern Art attacking Gomes provoked a violent reaction from the audience in the

Municipal Theater of São Paulo.

Graça Aranha was dethroning the old idols one after another. All the giants,
Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, successively fell. The public enjoyed the demolition
finding the demolisher [Graça Aranha] funny. But when he, an irreverent
iconoclast raised his sacrilegious hand to overthrow the idol Carlos Gomes, that
was it. It was all right to overthrow the demigod of the Oratory, of the
Symphony, and of the Tetralogy. It was just an innocent joke. But to deride
Guarany’s father, the paulista from right there in Campinas! No Mr. Graça
Aranha. This was spite and deserved punishment. The audience booed
tremendously and formidably; it was a hellish noise or something from another
world. ... It is said that the police intervened to cool down the exalted people in
the galleries.55

Modernism was unable to undo the importance of Gomes to Brazilian culture

and identity. The public reaction in defense of Gomes in 1922 was made official by the

Vargas government on the occasion of the centennial of Gomes’ birth in 1936.

Although Villa-Lobos has been associated with the Vargas populist era, Gomes was

indeed a major cultural ancestor conferring some sense of Brazilianness, at least at the

54 “‘inexpressiva, postiça, nefanda’, atributos ligados à própria artificialidade da ópera, ‘convencional,

com tenores cheios de rouge e de tombos finais, com sopranos roliças e estranguladas de hipocrisia
lírica.’” (Oswald de Andrade, “Semana de Arte Moderna,” JC, 12 Feb. 1922, quoted in Wisnik 1977:
55 “Graça Aranha foi demolindo, um após outro, os ídolos antigos. Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, todos
esses gigantes foram caindo sucessivamente. O público ia se divertindo com a demolição e achando
engraçado o demolidor. Mas quando ele, iconoclasta irreverente, levantou a mão sacrílega para derrubar o
ídolo Carlos Gomes, foi a conta. Que Graça Aranha pusesse abaixo o semideus dos Oratórios e o das
Sinfonias e o da Tetralogia, estava muito direito. Era uma brincadeira inocente. Mas bulir com o pai de
Guarani, paulista ali de Campinas! Não “seu” Graça Aranha, isso era desaforo, e merecia castigo. Foi
uma vaia tremenda, formidável, uma coisa do outro mundo, um barulho de todos os infernos. …
Consta que houve intervenção da polícia para conter os exaltados das galerias.” (Ernani Braga “O que foi
a Semana de Arte Moderna em São Paulo …” Presença de Villa-Lobos vol. 2: 68-9, quoted in Wisnik
1977: 81-2)
level of official culture. The Minister of Education and Culture, Gustavo Capanema,

wrote in the opening pages of the especial edition of the Revista Brasileira de Música

dedicated to Carlos Gomes (1936): “To serve Brazil is not only to act on current affairs

at the current moment, but also to look back at the past to the exceptional figures who

constructed the meaning of our destiny.”56 Gomes was seen not only as part of the past

but also a shaping influence on Brazil’s sense of future. Gomes was Brazilian music’s

paradigmatic legacy against which Villa-Lobos had to duel. Only Villa-Lobos was able

to supersede Gomes’ shadow upon Brazilian art music identity.

56 “Servir o Brasil não é apenas atuar sobre o momento que passa, sobre as coisas presentes. É também
olhar para o passado, para as figuras excepcionais que compuseram o sentido que deve ter o nosso


Indianismo in the History of Brazilian Literature, the Visual Arts

and Music

The first texts offering a programmatic basis for the nationalization of literature

in Brazil emphasized the importance of the Indian and the natural environment as key

elements in the shaping of a distinctive Brazilian literature. Ferdinand Denis’ Résumé de

l’Histoire Littéraire du Portugal, suivi du Résumé de l’Histoire Littéraire du Brésil

(1826)1 - the first historiographical text recognizing the possibility of national identity

in the literature produced in Brazil and whose prescriptions came to function as a

manifesto in Brazilian literary nationalism – mentioned the role of the Indian in

distinguishing Brazilian literature from the European.

The first group of Brazilian writers with an explicit nationalist program had

Denis’ ideas as their guiding principles.2 This group, called “grupo da Niterói,”

included Domingos José Gonçalves de Magalhães, Manuel de Araújo Porto Alegre,

Francisco de Sales Torres Homem, João Pereira da Silva, and Cândido de Azeredo

Coutinho. The manifesto-like article by Domingos José Gonçalves de Magalhães’

(1811-1882) “Ensaio sobre a História da Literatura do Brasil” [Essay on the History

of Brazilian Literature] published in the short-lived review Niterói, Revista Brasiliense

de Ciências, Letras e Artes (1836)3 reiterated Denis’s emphasis on the Indian element

as an active principle for the making of Brazilian literature’s originality and

1 Paris, Lecointe et Durey, Libraires, 1826.

2 Candido 1981, 2: 13. For an in-depth study on the influence of Denis and other authors (such as
Bouterwek, Sismondi, Almeida Garret, Schlichthorst, Gama e Castro, Alexandre Herculando, and
Ferdinand Wolf) on Brazilian Romantic literature and its nationalist program, see Cesar (1978), Moreira
(1991), and Weber (1997).
3 Paris, Dauvin et Fontaine, Libraries, 1836, no. 1: 132-159.

uniqueness.4 Romanticism acknowledged the Indian as the legitimate inhabitant of the

conquered land, and, consequently, considered the Indian as the authentic Brazilian

ancestor. Therefore, the native inhabitant and local nature became the key elements of

nationalization of Brazilian literature in the nineteenth century.5

Although Denis’ Résume had included the many “races” that formed Brazilian

people as constitutive elements of “national genius,” Brazilian Romantic writers and

critics emphasized the Indian and his natural environment as indices of national identity

neglecting the Black.6 However, the symbolic representation of Brazilian identity

through the Indian was not unanimous and found criticism from scholars such as the

historian Francisco Adolfo Varnhagen (1816-1878), who in his Ensaio histórico

[Historical Essay], an introduction to Florilégio da poesia brasileira [Anthology of

Brazilian poetry] (1853), disagreed with Gonçalves de Magalhães upon the legitimacy

of the Indian in representing the Brazilian nation.7 Despite being “attacked by

historians like Varnhagen, who called them ‘patriotas caboclos’ [back-country patriots],

the Indianists earned popularity and succeeded in imposing the Romantic representation

of the Indian as the national symbol.”8

Indianist literature had been a paradigm of national identity since the revival of

eighteenth-century literature by nineteenth-century Brazilian intelligentsia, especially

Basílio da Gama’s O Uraguai (1769) and Santa Rita Durão’s (1720-1784) Caramuru

(1781),9 and the appearance of new works such as Gonçalves Dias’ (1823-1864)

4 Coutinho 1969, 2: 303.

5 Coutinho 1968: 92.
6Weber 1997: 35-8.
7 Nunes 1998: 221.
8Schwarcz 1999: 140.
9“It is in the Romantic period that the epics Uraguai and Caramuru enter the literary canon and are
considered the precursors of Indianismo” (Nunes 1998: 221). See Candido (1988: 29) for an insightful
Primeiros Cantos (1846), Gonçalves de Magalhães’ A confederação dos Tamoios

(1856), Gonçalves Dias’ Os Timbiras (unfinished, 1857), and culminanting with José

de Alencar’s (1829-1877) O Guarany (1857), Iracema (1865), and Ubirajara (1874).

Indianismo was also cultivated by later writers such as Fagundes Varela (1841-1875) in

Cantos Meridionais (1869), Bernardo Guimarães in Jupyra (1872), and Machado de

Assis (1839-1908) in Americanas (1875).

Indianismo in the visual arts was closely associated with the representation of

official power and the iconographic construction of national history. Eduardo de Sá’s

oil painting As três raças e a formação da Bandeira do Brasil [The three races and the

formation of the Brazilian Flag]10 represents the First Empire and its historical role in

national foundation. The hierarchy depicted in this painting is very symbolic of the

socio-political order to be represented: the “Independence patriarch” José Bonifácio is

in the foreground holding the Brazilian Flag, surrounded by Emperor D. Pedro I and

the three characters representing the three ethnic groups forming Brazilian people. The

Black is represented by a woman slave (symbolizing fertility and submission) nearly in

the foreground with José Bonifácio, suggesting Black’s prominent role in Brazilian

culture, ethnicity and economy. The Portuguese is represented by a low-born man in a

valorous gesture far back in the background, symbolizing Portuguese historical

importance and noble character regardless of ancestry. The Indian stands up besides

Emperor D. Pedro I symbolizing the Americaness of the recently independent nation (as

opposed to Portugal).

discussion on the importance of the research on Brazilian colonial literature done by the generation that
preceeded Romero, especialy by Varnhagen, Joaquim Norberto e Pereira da Silva.
10 See black-and-white reproduction in Revista do Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro 7

Emperor Pedro II systematically adopted Indianismo in the symbolic

representation of the “monarchy in the tropics,” including Imperial numismatic11 and

vestments.12 D. Pedro II also fostered a official culture constructed by the literature and

visual arts associated with Indianismo symbology and ideology. Iconography

constructed national history by imparting foundational meaning to events such as the

arrival of the Portuguese in Brazil blessed by the first mass service watched by Indians

(Vítor Meireles’s oil painting A Primeira Missa no Brasil [The First Mass in Brazil],

1872), the establishment of Colonial order legitimized by religious power invariably

witnessed by Indians (Manuel Joaquim Corte Real’s Nóbrega e seus companheiros

[Nóbrega and his companions], c. 1843; and Pedro Perez’s Elevação da Cruz em Porto

Seguro [The rising of the Cross in Porto Seguro], 1879), and the crowning of D. Pedro

II in 1841.13 Iconography also constructed national identity by associating the Indian

with official symbols of the nation such as Francisco Manuel Chaves Pinheiro (Rio de

Janeiro 1822-1884)’s terracota statues Alegoria do Império Brasileiro [Allegory of

Brazilian Empire] (1872) representing the Brazilian nation with the Indian male, and

América (1872) representing the American continent with the Indian female.14

Paintings and sculptures inspired by literary Indianismo also conveyed

Indianismo ideology of national ethnic origins with academic artists such as Vítor

Meireles de Lima’s (1832-1903) oil painting Moema (1866), Rodolfo Amoedo’s

11 See, for instance, the 1841 Imperial consecration commemorative coin by L. Ferrez in Schwarcz
(1998: 81)
12 See, for instance, the famous neckpiece (murça) made of native-bird feathers resembling Indian-chief
garment used by D. Pedro II at official occasions in Schwarcz (1998: 141).
13 See, for instance, the lithography, anonymous c. 1840, representing D. Pedro II consecrated by
indigenous male and female and European deities in Schwarcz (1998: 142); see also, the xylograph on
the same topic, anonymous c. 1868, in which the Empire is symbolically represented by the Indian
male, who crowns D. Pedro II with laurels in Schwarcz (1998: 144).
14 For an in-depth study on the official symbology associated with Indianismo, see Schwarcz (1998).

(1857-1941) oil paintings Marabá (1882) and O Último Tamoio [The last Tamoio]

(1883), José Maria Medeiros’ (1849-1926) oil paintings Iracema (1884) and Lindóia

(n.d.), Augusto Bracet’s (1881-?) oil painting Lindóia (n.d.), Décio Vilares’ oil painting

Moema (n.d.), and José Maria Oscar Rodolfo Bernardelli’s (1852-1931) bronze

sculpture Moema (1895). These feminine paintings did not aim at ethnographic

authenticity, and were Romantic representations of Indian characters following academic

figurative canons, and emphasizing the “emotional truth” invested with local color.

Indianismo had a major role not only in Brazilian nineteenth-century literature

and iconography but also in music. The nationalist ideas of its leading ideologue,

Gonçalves de Magalhães, had a substantial impact outside the literary realm, especially

in music. The nationalist movement of Brazilian literature launched in 1836 echoed in

music nearly two decades later with the national opera movement.15 “Although music

did not have a nationalist program of its own, the repercussions of Magalhães’s

manifesto,”16 and of the construction of a national literary canon associated with

Indianismo, including the revival of Colonial literature (especially, Durão’s Caramuru)

15 The first movement towards the creation of Brazilian national opera started in 1852 under the
leadership of the director of the Teatro Provisório, desembargador João Antonio Miranda, and was
continued some years later by the Spanish José Amat, settled in Rio de Janeiro, until it fell short in
1863. The national opera movement resulted from the combination of its leaders’ motivations with
Brazilians’ nationalist aspirations. In 1852 the Director of the Teatro Provisório promoted the
composition of an opera with national subject, and launched a competition for opera on national
subject sung in Portuguese. In 1856, Amat engaged in the creation of national opera in Brazil by
analogy with the nationalist movement that had promoted the revival of the zarzuela in Spain, and the
fostering of French Grand Opera as opposed to the Italian tradition. Amat’s proposal was befitting to
Brazilian nationalist environment. Rio de Janeiro press applauded the foundation of the Imperial
Academia de Música e Ópera Nacional and endorsed its cultural project. (Azevedo 1938: 102-3; Andrade
1967, 2: 83; Kiefer 1977: 77-82)
16 “Although music did not have a nationalist program of its own, the repercussions of Magalhães’s
manifesto in Brazilian music and musical historiography since the Romantic period are quite evident,
persisting to some extent in current discussions on musical nationalism. (…) The first endeavors
towards the creation of national opera in Rio de Janeiro since 1856 were associated with Magalhães’
manifesto (…), and Carlos Gomes’ operas, such as Il Guarany (1870), were late echoes of Magalhães’
nationalist program in Brazilian musical culture.” (Duprat 1989: 34-5)
and the popularity of José de Alencar’s Indianist novels, were of germane importance to

the nationalization of Brazilian music.

The national opera movement fostered the use of national subject and language,

and eventually the development of a national operatic style. The national opera

movement encouraged the composition of new operas in Portuguese and the

performance of foreign operas translated into Portuguese. National opera guidelines

engaged the musical circle in the ongoing literary discussion about the differences

between Portuguese spoken in Portugal and Portuguese spoken in Brazil,17 and brought

the new discussion in the musical circle about the use of Portuguese as opposed to

Italian. Therefore, the search for national identity in Brazilian opera involved the

reevaluation of Brazil’s cultural and political relationship with Portugal as well as with

the cultural supremacy of Italian opera.

The distinguishing elements selected to devise Brazilian musical uniqueness

(local nature, and the people’s customs, character and tendencies) selected by an

unidentified contemporary music critic reflects the general nationalist program of

Brazilian literature:

Music is absolutely not identical among all nations. Although subjected to the
great rules of art, music changes in style and taste according to each nation’s
inspirations by local nature, and customs, character and tendencies of its people.
Brazil has its own music; imitations of Italian lyric style is gradually destroying
Brazilian originality. National lyric theater should reject it, and take advantage of
its own originality, as the art rules recommend, and give to Brazil its own
cultivated music reflecting the level of civilization reached by our people.18

17 See, for instance, article in Correio Mercantil, 19 July 1857, partially quoted in Azevedo (1938:
100-1): “What is the true pronounciation of the Portuguese language? That from Lisbon, Minho, Rio
de Janeiro, Bahia, Minas Gerais or São Paulo? Every time we attend comedies in our theaters we hear
many words pronounced in different ways, depending on the actor.”
18 “A música não é absolutamente a mesma em todas as nações; sujeita às grandes regras da arte ela se
modifica no estilo e no gosto de cada nação, segundo as inspirações da natureza do país, os costumes, a
índole e as tendências do povo. O Brasil tem a sua música: as imitações do canto italiano vão pouco a
pouco destruindo a sua originalidade; o teatro lírico nacional deve regenerá-la, aproveitando, com os
Although musical stylistic nationalization was expected (as the article quoted

above indicates), the nationalizing elements effectively attained in the operas of that

period were literary, namely, the use of national language and subject, in which

Indianismo predominated over subjects based on national historical events and anti-

slavery tendencies. The impact of the Indianismo canon is evident with three out of the

six operas based on national subject using Indianismo themes: Lindóia, Moema e

Paraguaçu, and Moema.19 Furthermore, Gomes’ Il Guarany, and even Lo Schiavo, are

“late echoes of Magalhães’ manifesto”20 and Indianismo literary canon.

The increasing popularity of poetic and literary works associated with

Indianismo motivated operatic and symphonic adaptations. Musical Indianismo had its

first public exposure in Brazil in 1861 with the staging of Sangiorgi’s Moema e

Paraguaçu, culminated in 1870 with Gomes’ Il Guarany, and continued with Gomes’

anti-slavery opera Lo Schiavo (premiered in 1889), Pacheco’s Moema (premiered in

1891), Braga’s Marabá (premiered in 1894), Carvalho’s Moema (premiered in 1895),

and Braga’s Jupyra (premiered in 1900).

The Caramuru myth (about the earliest Portuguese settler in Brazil) was the first

Indianist subject in Brazilian opera,21 and received three libretto adaptations in the

conselhos da arte, essa originalidade e dando ao Brasil a sua música própria, cultivada e digna do grau de
civilização a que já tem chegado o nosso povo.” (JC, 3 April 1857, quoted in Azevedo 1938: 106)
19 The other operas based on national subject are Véspera dos Guararapes (historical subject

conceived as opera to be sung in Italian but produced as cantata sung in Portuguese), Marília de
Itamaracá (historical subject with anti-slavery tendencies, opera sung in Portuguese), A Noite de São
João (non-historical subject, lyric comedy set in Colonial Brazil). The remaining five operas were not
based on local subject: Noite do Castelo (lyric opera on non-historical subject during Cruzade times),
Os dois amores (orientalism), A Corte de Mônaco (musical farce), Joana de Flandres (non-historical
lyric drama during Cruzade times), O Vagabundo (non-historical melodrama semi-serio in seventeenth-
century France). (Azevedo 1938; and Kiefer 1977: 77-82)
20 Duprat 1989: 34-5 quoted above.
21 Azevedo 1938: 112.

1850s, one in the 1880s, and two in the 1890s. The lyric poem or cantata, Paraguaçu,22

by José O’Kelly23 and Junius Constâncio de Villeneuve,24 was sung at the Théatre

Lyrique of Paris on 2 August 1855.25 Two other operas based on the Caramuru myth

were written for the competition opened by the director of the Teatro Lírico Fluminense,

the desembargador João Antonio de Miranda, in the early 1850s: Moema e

Paraguaçu,26 and Moema.27 Lindóia28 was the third libretto based on Indianist theme

submitted on that occasion. All three librettos were in Portuguese.

These librettos were sent to the Conservatório Dramático, where all texts

intended to be performed at the theaters, including opera librettos, were required, by law,

to be submitted to official censure. Francisco Manuel da Silva was responsible for

judging the librettos submitted by the director of the Teatro Lírico Fluminense.

Although Silva recommended Moema, with “coro de índias,” as the best libretto to be

set to music,29 only Francisco Bonifácio de Abreu’s30 libretto Moema e Paraguaçu was

22 Printed score for voice and piano by the Parisian printing house Choudens. (Azevedo 1950: 70-1).
23 The Frenchman of Irish origin José O’Kelly was a pianist and composer, and studied with
Kalkbrenner and Halévy. (Azevedo 1950: 70)
24 The Frenchman Junius Constâncio de Villeneuve (1804-1863) served the Brazilian Marine in Rio de
Janeiro until 1832, when he bought the Jornal do Comércio and was the editor of the most important
Brazilian newspaper until his death. Villeneuve returned to France in 1844. Villeneuve was also an
amateur musician, and wrote the poem of Paraguassú, and colaborated with O’Kelly in the
composition of its music. (Azevedo 1950: 70-1; and Inocêncio da Silva 1973, 13: 270)
25 Azevedo 1950: 47. See further explanation of the opera in Azevedo 1950: 70-1.
26 Francisco Bonifácio de Abreu, Moema e Paraguaçú, episódio da descoberta do Brasil; lyric opera

in three acts; translated into Italian by Ernesto Ferreira França. Rio, J. J. da Rocha, 1860. (Driver
1942: 143)
27 The libretto of Moema, by father Miguel Alves Vilela, is held by the Arquivo Nacional (Seção de

Documentação Histórica) of Rio de Janeiro. (Andrade 1967, 2: 89)

28 Ernesto Ferreira França, Lindóia, lyric tragedy in four acts. Leipzig, F. A. Brockhaus, 1859. (Driver

1942: 142)
29 Andrade 1967, 2: 87-9. This bibliographical source offers a full transcription of Francisco Manuel da
Silva’s report, dated of Rio de Janeiro, 31 December 1850, on the three librettos: Lindóia, Moema e
Paraguaçu, and Moema. “... coro das índias... julgo que o libreto da ópera Moema deve ser preferido
aos outros...”
eventually set to music, by the Italian maestro Sangiorgi. On 29 July 1861 Sangiorgi’s

Moema e Paraguaçu was staged at the Teatro Provisório on the occasion of Princes

Isabel’s birthday. This performance was promoted by the Academia de Ópera Nacional.

The singers were Carlota Milliet (Moema), Luiza Amat (Paraguaçu), Eduardo Medina

Ribas (Tabira), Trindade (Taparica), Francisco R. Lima (Palmira),31 José Amat (Diogo

Álvares Correa, o Caramuru), and Soares (captain of the Normandy ship).32

Although Indianismo was in its heydays in literature during the 1860s,

Sangiorgi’s opera did not have a warm reception.33 According to the newspaper article

published two days after its performance, the cold reception was due not only to the lack

of originality in its music but also to the public’s unfamiliarity with this sort of subject

in opera.

The opera Moema e Paraguaçu, premiered the day before yesterday at the
Teatro Lírico before a large number of spectators, provoked the predictable effect
that any new composition on such an unusual subject in the lyric scene would.
Our public is so used to the classical works by the great masters interpreted by
celebrities that they cannot easily listen to other melodies, enjoy other voices, and
applaud with the same enthusiasm other works whose merit is different. (…)
The great number of spectators filling the theater expected more originality in
the music treating such an unexplored subject in the lyric scene. In spite of that,
the audience distinguished and applauded the assault of the savages, the tercetto
by Caramuru, Moema and Paraguaçu, and some other passages revealing more
distinctive stylistic innovations.34

30 Francisco Bonifácio de Abreu was high-surgeon of the Army and was commended Baron Vila da
Barra in 1870. He was also governor of the states of Pará and Minas Gerais. (Andrade 1967, 2: 99-100)
31 F. R. Lima was twelve years old when he premiered as student of singing and declamation at the
Ópera Lírica Nacional, annex of the Conservatório de Música. (Andrade 1967, 2: 99-100)
32 JC, 29 July 1861 p. 4, add; Azevedo 1938: 112; and Andrade 1967, 2: 99-100.
33 “Vilela’s opera was not a success.” (Azevedo 1938: 112)
34 “A opera Moema e Paraguaçu, representada anteontem pela primeira vez no theatro Lyrico, causou

no avultado número de seus ouvintes o efeito que era de esperar em uma composição nova, sobre
assunto tão diverso dos que até hoje temos visto aproveitados na cena lírica. // Habituado como se acha
o nosso público às obras clássicas dos grandes mestres e à sua interpretação por artistas célebres, não
pode ainda sem esforço ouvir outras melodias, extasiar-se ao som de outras vozes, aplaudir com o
mesmo entusiasmo outras obras cujo mérito é diverso. (...) O grande número de espectadores que enchia
o teatro esperava talvez mais originalidade na música tratando-se de assunto ainda tão pouco explorado
na cena lírica; apesar disso porém distinguiu e aplaudiu o assalto dos selvagens, o terceto entre o
This subject would have a better fate three decades later with Delgado de

Carvalho’s opera Moema. Preceding Carvalho’s and Pacheco’s versions of Moema in

the 1890s, Viscount Alfredo de Escragnolle Taunay also wrote a literary version of

Moema in the 1880s, and sent it to Carlos Gomes upon the latter’s request of a story

about slavery and freedom. Gomes worked on Taunay’s version of Moema (before

turning entirely to the composition of Lo Schiavo) but left it unfinished.35

The rejection of Indian-related subjects in opera seems to have been widespread

among the Brazilian audience in the 1860s, as it is confirmed by another contemporary


A young professor, Mr. J. Teodoro de Aguiar, is concluding an opera, the

libretto of which based on an episode of our indigenous history, which is
extremely ridiculous to some grumpy spirits. I do not mind seeing Indians on
stage; I do not care from what nation and civilization the characters come from. I
just demand that they be truthful because this will invariably confer them beauty.
‘Rien n’est beau que le vrai,’ said once Boileau, who, if you allow me, was a
very learned and judicious person, and whose thinking about this matter excelled
the reasoning of the censors.36

Indianismo entered the Brazilian operatic canon with Carlos Gomes’ Il Guarany

(1870). It would be unnecessary to recapitulate the national repercussion of Gomes’

international success with that opera, but the fact is that Il Guarany was the first

Indianist opera to be accepted as such by Brazilian audiences largely due to its earlier

Caramuru, Moema e Paraguassu, e outras onde se revelam novidades mais pronunciadas de estilo.” (JC,
31 July 1861, p. 2, Gazetilha)
35 Fernandes (1994: 147). Azevedo (1938: 45) and Fernandes (1994: 230) list Moema as one of

Gomes’ unfinished operas.

36 “Um jovem professor, o Sr. J. Teodoro de Aguiar, está a concluir uma ópera, cujo libreto tem por
assunto um episódio de nossa história indígena, cousa que para alguns espíritos rabujentos é
enormemente ridícula. Não sou dessas suscetibilidades que fazem caretas ao ver um indígena em cena;
não quero saber a que nação e a que civiliação pertencem os personagens; exijo simplesmente que eles
sejam verdadeiros, porque invariavelmente hão de ser belos; rien n’est beau que le vrai, disse Boileau,
que, se me concedem, era uma pessoa de muito critério e siso e pensava nestas cousas um pouco
melhor do que os censuristas.” (Diário do Rio de Janeiro, 10 Nov. 1861, Comentários da Semana,
quoted in Azevedo 1987: 101-2).
European acclamation. Whether Gomes selected this subject motivated by the exotic

appeal to European audiences or for its nationalist meaning to him and his Brazilian

public, Il Guarany became a paradigmatic work for later composers, either to be

followed, reshaped or totally rejected.

Nearly a decade after Carlos Gomes’ Il Guarany, the discussion as to whether

or not Brazil should keep constructing its image in relationship to an Indian identity was

increasingly discussed in literary and social-anthropological circles. Indianismo aroused

a long polemic among figures such as José de Castilho, Franklin Távora, Araripe Júnior,

Joaquim Nabuco, Silvio Romero, Teófilo Braga, and Capistrano de Abreu. Araripe

Júnior (1868) gave more importance to the influence of the environment, and privileged

sertanismo, caboclismo and regionalism as the new means of literary nationalization.37

Romero opposed Indianismo (and Romanticism) conspicuously from his first book on

literary criticism, A literatura brasileira e a crítica moderna [Brazilian literature and

modern criticism] (1880), to his Estudos sobre a poesia popular no Brasil [Studies on

popular poetry in Brazil] (1888), Etnografia brasileira [Brazilian ethnography] (1888)

and História da literatura brasileira [History of Brazilian literature] (1888).38 Romero

alleged that Indianism was not representative of Brazilian national identity since it did

not correspond to the latest anthropological findings of the proportions of the white,

Black and Indian in the Brazilian racial pot and culture.39 Capistrano de Abreu contested

Romero on the primacy of the Black contribution to Brazilian “uniqueness” based on

the scientificist validations of the Academia Francesa do Ceará (of which Araripe Júnior

37 Coutinho 1968: 127.

38 Ventura 1991: 92.
39See, for example, Romero (1980, 3: 914-945, chapter “Segunda fase do romantismo e seu momento
culminante; o indianismo de Gonçalves Dias”) argues extensively why Indianism is an absurd and
absolutely not representative of Brazilian national identity.
was also a member) attributing a larger role to the autochthonous population’s aptness

to the “struggle for life” in the tropics. This theory attributed Brazilian “uniqueness”

to the Indian and the tropical environment and legitimized Indianismo’s representativity

of national identity in Brazilian literature.40 Melo Moraes attacked the Indianismo of the

Romantics, especially that of Gonçalves Dias, on the ground that it was not a true

representation of Indian life.41

None of the Romantic writers “based their fictional Indians on real observation

or direct experience of the life of the country’s aboriginal inhabitants, (…) [but]

received their vision of the Brazilian Indian through the Colonial chronicles.”42 José de

Alencar, for instance, searched for ethnographic authenticity (“certidão de verdade”) in

travelers chronicles, especially Gabriel Soares de Sousa’s Tratado descritivo do Brasil

(1587; full publication in 1851, edited by Varnhagen).43

Under the influence of the doctrinal complex that characterized the Realist era,

Indianismo ceased to be the formula for defining national identity in literature.44

Romero even posed the abandonment of what he called “Indianist prejudices” as a

necessary condition for the progress of Brazilian literature.45 For Romero, “Indianismo

was a Romantic mistake in the search for national tradition and the most legitimate

ancestor”46 for many reasons. First, reflecting Comte positivism’s phases, Romero held

40 Ventura 1991: 93.

41 Driver 1942: 170.
42 Brookshaw 1988: 118.
43 “The type I describe here is entirely based on the observations found in all [Colonial] chronicles.
However, the [Colonial] writers disagree in one point: some of them say that our savages are tall; other
say that their stature is below the average. On this matter, I prefer to follow Gabriel Soares’s writings
of 1580, since he must have known the indigenous race in the full of its vigor, and not in the
degenerate state that it would eventually get.” (José de Alencar (1857), Introductory note to O Guarani,
quoted in Süssekind 2000: 49)
44 Leite 1983: 123.
45 Candido 1988: 41.
46 Coutinho 1968: 123.

that “the Indians had not reached a level of civilization high enough to make them

sizable factors in the process of construction of Brazilian culture.” Second, Romero

stated that there was no solid study on the cultural contact between the Indian and the

European remarking the deficiency of everything that had been written on the subject.47

For Romero, Brazilian reality is neither Luso, nor Indian, nor African, but miscegenated;

the many types of mestiço constitute the true character of Brazilian people” in which the

Black had a prominent role in the structuring of Brazilian psyche.48 Machado de Assis

seems to have kept the most lucid view of his time about the relationship between

national identity and the literary creative process. Machado de Assis (1872) considers

“mistaken the two predominant attitudes towards Indianismo - one reducing Brazilian

civilization to the Indians, and the other rejecting that Brazilian poetry has anything to do

with Indians.” Assis states that “the Indian element is a legitimate theme and its

singularities can enrich contemporary literary imagination.”49

The arguments between all these authors reveal that, if “during Romanticism,

Indianismo was considered the authentic realization of nationality in literature,”50 the

last three decades of the nineteenth century had a divided view on this issue. However,

despite all the controversy in Brazilian literature and social sciences, Indianismo

remained alive in Brazilian musical production and iconography.

Indianismo’s impact in the visual arts and music lasted beyond its heydays in

literature. The 1890s saw an Indianist vogue in opera with the composition of new

Indianist operas, and the frequent staging of Gomes’ Il Guarany and Lo Schiavo. After

the previously mentioned version of Moema by Taunay was submitted to Gomes in the

47 Candido 1988: 42.

48 Coutinho 1968: 123; and Candido 1988: 43.
49 Coutinho 1968: 5, 7.
50 Coutinho 1968: 96.
1880s, one more Indianist subject was proposed to the celebrated composer. The poetic

version of Jupyra was sent to him during his final years in Belém do Pará, but due to

his severe illness, Gomes yielded the task of composing an opera on this subject to

Francisco Braga.51 Newly composed operas during the 1890s included Assis

Pacheco’s Moema (premiered at the Teatro São José in São Paulo on 18 January

1891)52 and Jacy (n.d.); Delgado de Carvalho’s Moema (composed between 1890 and

1892; premiered at the Teatro Lírico in Rio de Janeiro on 6 December 1895);53 Gama

Malcher’s Iara (1895; premiered at the Teatro da Paz in Belém do Pará on 20 March

1895;54 based on Amazonian legend), Alberto Nepomuceno’s Uiaras (performed at the

Salão do Instituto Nacional de Música on 1 August 1897; a poem based on a “legend

51 Hora 1953: 13.

52 Marcondes 1998: 599.
53 There is a controversy on the year of the premiere of Delgado de Carvalho’s opera Moema. Melo
(1908: 305) gives 1893 as the year of the Rio de Janeiro premiere of Carvalho’s Moema. Azevedo
(1938: 68) gives the year of 1894, probably following the information in the printed piano vocal score
(Rio de Janeiro, I. Bevilacqua & C., Plate No. 3201, 1894, libretto in Italian pp. i-vi; musical score,
84 pp.), the title page of which reads: “Prima rappresentazione: Rio de Janeiro, Theatro Lyrico,
Stagione 1894.” The manuscript held by the EM-UFRJ (148pp., most likely written for its 1909
performance) gives on page ii the premiere date as of 6 December 1895 at the Teatro lírico, staged by
the Italian Lyric Company Giovani Sansone, conducted by Ricardo Bonicioli, and interpreted by Elisa
Bassi di Orfila (Moema), Michele Sigaldi (Paolo), Alessandro Arcangeli (Tapyr), and Donato Rotoli
(Japyr). The Jornal do Comércio issue of 6 December 1901 (T&M: Efemérides Líricas, p. 3)
corroborates 6 December 1895 as the premiere date. However, the JC recurrently advertised, from early
July and to late August 1894, the printed edition of the libretto by Casa Bevilacqua and the staging of
the opera by the Italian Opera Company Marino Mancinelli (empresario and conductor) during its 1894
second season, interpreted by Adalgisa Gabbi (soprano), De Marchi (tenor), Camera (baritone), and
Rossi (bass). Although the JC issue of 19 Nov. 1894 mentions the performance of the Preludio de
Moema, its issues of 5 and 6 December 1894 make no reference to the staging of Moema. The articles
by A. Bitu in Revista Ilustrada No. 703 (Dec. 1895) and No. 705 (Jan. 1896) corroborate that
Carvalho’s Moema premiered in December 1895, and so does the periodical Gazeta de Notícias (Dec.
1894 and Jan. 1895). The periodical Cidade do Rio presents dating problems since the year 1895
(May–Dec., Nos. 282-321) appearing in BNRJ microfilm’s general frontpage does not coincide with
the year 1896 appearing in its December issues No. 296 and No. 298 (microfilmed in the already
mentioned roll) in which the opera premiere is commented. See Chapter 2 for further information about
Carvalho’s Moema 1909 performance during the inauguration of the Municipal Theater of Rio de
54 Marcondes 1998: 471.

of the Rio Negro [Black River] by Dr. Mello Moraes Filho;” musical score is currently

lost),55 and Francisco Braga’s Jupyra (1899; premiered on 7 October 1900).56 The Rio

de Janeiro opera season of 1894 was emblematic of the numerous performances of

Gomes’ Indianist operas: Il Guarany was staged on 3, 4 and 30 July; 5, 16, 18, 22 and

29 August; and 7 September (Independence Day) at the Teatro Lírico of Rio de Janeiro;

and Lo Schiavo was staged on 15, 17 and 24 August at the same theater.57 The

auspicious reception of the premieres of Carvalho’s Moema in 189558 and of Braga’s

Jupyra in 1900 indicates that Indianismo was in full force in Brazilian music of the

period. Indianismo also penetrated the symphonic genre with Braga’s Marabá (1894),

and continued in the twentieth century under a new guise with Villa-Lobos’ Uirapuru

and Amazonas (1917).

The vogue for Indianismo continued in the 1900s with the staging of Gomes’

Lo Schiavo on 16 and 18 August, and 17 November (scheduled for the 15th,

Proclamation of the Republic Day, but transferred to the 17th) and 21 November 1901,

and Il Guarany on 26 September 1901 at the Teatro Lírico of Rio de Janeiro; the

55 See the transcription of its text in Chapter 5.

56 See Chapter 2 for an extended discussion about the context of the premiere of Braga’s Jupyra.
57 JC issues referring to the mentioned dates.
58 “A Moema, opera de estréia do nosso compatriota Delgado de Carvalho, teve acolhimento
auspicioso.// Desempenhada com apuro, posta em cena caprichosamente por um empresário de boa
vontade, que não [illegible word] neste caso o lucro pessoal em mira, valeu a Moema ao autor um
[illegible line] -sa e o público generosamente se associaram.// É uma linda promessa a ópera do Sr.
Delgado de Carvalho, que contraiu com ela pesada responsabilidade de que se sairá bem, estou certo.
Que ele não durma sob os louros, aliás nada immarcessíveis, da sua estréia. [signed by:] A. Bitú” (RI,
No. 703: Dec. 1895, p. 7, Pelos Teatros). “A Moema foi recebida ontem triunfalmente pela platéia do
Lírico. O entusiasmo sôfrego dos espectadores prorrompeu em saudações, logo que o maestro-regente
aproximou-se de sua cadeira. O Sr. Delgado de Carvalho compreendeu bem que devia ficar à mão para os
chamados à cena, que foram muitos. A Moema revela um bom talento. (…) A Moema fez efeito e é
bonita. (…) A sala do Lírico estava esplendorosamente ocupada por tudo quanto esta cidade tem de mais
distinto. (…) Os cantores desempenharam bem os seus papéis e foram muito aplaudidos. O Sr.
Presidente da República e S. Exma. Família estiveram no teatro.” (CR No. 298, Dec. 8, 1895 or
1896). See also article by Luís de Castro, GN 1895, quoted in Chapter 3.
performance of Braga’s Marabá in the 1900-1901 Braga’s tour and at the Pan-

American Congress of 1906; the staging of Braga’s Jupyra during the celebrations of

the Fourth Centennial of the Discovery of Brazil in 1900; and the staging of Delgado’s

Moema during the inauguration of the Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro in 1909.59

All of these performances indicate that music, especially opera and symphonic poem,

was an important medium that kept Indianismo alive in Brazil in the 1890-1900s.

Indianismo also inspired the political iconography utilized by the Brazilian

press. From the 1870s to the 1900s, the major cultural expression using Indianismo

were the cartoons in periodicals and newspapers. The dyad America (represented by the

Indian female) and Brazil (represented by the Indian male) was disseminated in the

popular press with cartoons such as the one in Revista da Semana issue of 9 September

1900 p. 135. The figure of Romanticism’s Indian male was used in political caricature

to represent Brazil by leading cartoonists such as Angelo Agostini in Revista Illustrada

(see, for instance, Agostini’s O último telegrama recebido de Roma ou A vingança de

Frei Vital (21 March 1876) and O Brasil, Terra da Santa Cruz (1 September 1877) in

Lima 1963, respectively, vol. 1, 241 and vol. 2, 803).

Indianismo survived in the 1910s in Brazilian films and music. Paulo Emílio

Sales Gomes e Adhemar Gonzaga have called this decade the “indiada” era (Indian-

mania era), with numerous versions of Alencar’s O Guarany, Iracema and

Ubirajara.60 While Brazilian film makers were insisting on Romantic representations

of the Indian, Villa-Lobos was already shaping his mythical representation of the Indian

with the composition of his symphonic poems/ ballets Uirapuru (1917) and Amazonas

59 See Chapter 2 for Marabá, Jupyra and Moema performances mentioned in this paragraph. As
already discussed in Chapter 2, Moema’s performance of 1909 did not go well.
60 Amaral 1998: 62.

(1917), which reached the public only between late 1920s and mid-1930s,61 and Iara

(1917). The music of Villa-Lobos became more “exotic” during his period in Paris,

when he frequently used Indian melodies collected from Colonial chronicles and

scientific expeditions’ reports; this is the case with Trois poèmes indiens, Fifth

Symphony and Chansons typiques brésiliennes.62 Also, Villa-Lobos constructed his

image as “the Indian in tails” (o índio de casaca) well into the twentieth century.

Subsequent composers tried their hands in the Indian-mania, for instance, Lorenzo

Fernandez in the ballet Imbapara, Vitor Ribeiro Neves in the opera Ponaim, and J.

Octaviano in the opera Iracema, the last two of which were based on Amazonian


The Indian permeated Brazilian imagination, and along with nature, was the

“metaphorical realm of the similarity between the nation’s reality and its literature.”

Indianismo had such a fundamental ideological role that it remained alive albeit

transformed in many different ways until the twentieth century with Modernist

manifestos such as Anta and Antropofagismo (Anthropophagism).63

The Myth of National Foundation: Il Guarany

Indianist literature and its precursory works have been studied as a mode of

discourse closely related to myth.64 Epic poems such as Basílio da Gama’s O Uraguai

61 Amazonas premiered as an orchestral work on 30 May 1929, at the Concerts Poulet series, in Paris,
then, in Brazil in the following year, and was later performed as a ballet, with the participation of Serge
Lifar, on 19 September 1934. Uirapuru permiered as a ballet on 25 May 1935, at the Teatro Colón, in
Buenos Aires, and was performed as an orchestral work on 9 November 1935 in Rio de Janeiro.
62 Azevedo 1950: 17.
63 Coutinho 1968: 92; Nunes 1998: 222-3.
64 The studies that have adopted some brand of myth literary criticism for the study of Indianismo are
Andrews (1973), Zilberman (1977), Sant’Anna (1973), Treece (1984), Brookshaw (1988), Ortiz (1988),
Moreira (1991), Bosi (1992), and Magrans (1995). Other studies discussing the idealization of the
(1769) and Santa Rita Durão’s Caramuru (1781), and historical novels such as José de

Alencar’s O Guarany (1857) and Iracema (1865) were searching for primordial events

in Brazilian history that could explain Brazilian national origins. As mythical narratives,

they were “quintessential stories” that offered “matrices for the creation of collective

conscience,”65 and “framing stories” that “provide a mode of ordering significant

events.”66 Like myth, Indianist literature was largely stamped with foundational

materials. Indianist literature constructed the myth of national foundation by “aspiring

to found the nation’s noble origins in a mythical past.”67 The border between literature

and reality, national history and fiction overlapped.68

Indianist operas during Imperial times reproduced the myth of national

foundation conveyed by the literary works upon which they were based. From

Sangiorgi’s Moema e Paraguaçu (based on Durão’s classical epic Caramuru) to

Gomes’ Il Guarany (based on Alencar’s historical novel O Guarany) idealized national

origins by seeking them in a mythical past.

The myth of national origin was created out of the experience of discovery and

conquest, and involved the union of the Portuguese and the Indian as a necessary

condition for the birth of the Brazilian nation. Therefore, miscegenation became a key

element of national origins. Second Empire official ideology fostered accounts

conveying the ideal miscegenation between a Portuguese noble-character and an Indian

noble savage, a combination that mythifies national foundation.

Indian (noble savage), the construction of national origins, and the Edenic vision of the American
natural environment have contributed to myth-lit-crit interpretations although they are not directly
affiliated to this particular approach; that is the case with Franco (1937), Hollanda (1959), Candido
(1959: 1965), Coutinho (1968, 1969), Barros (1973), Bosi (1981), and Nunes (1998).
65 Geertz 1973: 220.
66 Doty 1986: 17.
67 Bosi 1981: 101.
68 Schwarcz 1999: 136.

José de Alencar’s O Guarany is among the major works that empowered the

myth of national foundation in Brazilian nineteenth-century imagination. Alencar’s O

Guarany is a historical novel that functions as a mythical narrative of national origins to

the extent that its historical and fictional elements earn mythical dimensions for their

primordial explanatory power. Resulting in a fusion of genres, O Guarany constitutes

“a foundational novel that, by searching the origins of Brazilian society, invents the

primordial couple that engendered the nation and offers an account of the nation’s


In O Guarany, many of the precepts of the Romantic historical novel merge with

the structure of mythical narrative, including its time and place, characters’ portrayal and

destiny, and narrative unfolding. The remoteness of time defined by Alencar in the year

of 1607 is realized as mythical time since it constitutes the “prototypical time of

origins,” “the primal times,” “the times of beginnings and creations,” “the

foundational period” when “new patterns are established and old ones

reformulated.”70 Alencar is attentive to historical novel precepts by evoking years

associated with Colonial history: in 1567 the historical character D. Antonio Mariz

accompanies Mem de Sá to Rio de Janeiro to consolidate Portuguese occupation against

French invasion; in 1578 D. Antonio Mariz participates in Antonio Salema’s expedition

to Cabo Frio against French invasion; and in 1582 D. Antonio Mariz retreats into Rio

de Janeiro hinterland discontented with the Spanish sovereignty over Portugal. However,

none of these years (1567, 1578, 1582, and 1607) correspond to any historical event that

could be considered a foundational milestone by the contemporary historical mode of

thought. The late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century did not carry foundational

69 Moreira 1991: 139.

70 Doty 1986: 8-9, 27.
historical meaning because it was neither the period of discovery nor of the

independence of Brazil. This chronology is therefore mythically maintained since it is

located within a period that is not of historical momentousness but conveys the “state of

original purity” of a “history that had not began yet.”71

The remoteness of place is realized as a mythical locale since the Serra dos

Órgãos, near the Paquequer river, is a place untouched by civilization (“a civilização não

tivera tempo de penetrar o interior”),72 symbolizing Brazil in its “original chastity,”

“when the land had not yet been profaned.”73 Also, that novel bounds the mythical

locale with the frontier myth by “locating the events at the margins of civilization, at the

frontier line of the land to be conquered, a mythical locale that stands so isolated from

the metropolis that it can to some extent operate outside historical time and colonial


Therefore, the historical novel’s remoteness of time and place creates a mythical

“center” (according to Mircea Eliade’s concept), a “foundational point from which the

mythic history unfolds,”75 since only the “immaculate context of the struggle between

nature and civilization” can be “the juncture of vital energies and the appropriate place

for the initial act of creation.”76 This mythical “center” is the setting of the encounter

of Pery and Cecília, the “mythical couple” that engendered the Brazilian nation.77

This core is maintained in the libretto adaptation of the novel. The change of

year, from 1607 (in the novel) to 1560 (in the opera) does not substantially affect the

71 Moreira 1991: 128, 138; Ortiz 1992: 81.

72 This particular statement by Alencar is quoted in Ortiz (1992: 80) and Moreira (1991: 124).
73 Ortiz 1992: 80.
74 Brookshaw 1988: 4.
75 Ortiz 1992: 81.
76 Moreira 1991: 128.
77 Ortiz 1992: 88.
mythical time that constructs the myth of national origins, since 1560 also lacks

historical meaning and can operate within the mythical “center” proposed by the novel.

Although the oversimplification of Antonio Scalvini’s and Carlos d’Omerville’s

libretto did not affect substantially the Indianist ideology conveyed by the novel, it

disrupted the symbolic relationships that empowered the novel as a mythical narrative of

national foundation. The opera impaired the novel’s mythical potential by withdrawing

much of the multi-perspective characterization that constructed the protagonists’

mythical dimension and some of the motifs and occurrences that fulfilled the mythical

narrative. For example, lacking are the motifs of the outcast and the deluge, and the

mythical necessity of the failure of Isabel and Alvaro’s union. The mythical conditions

that are altered include the captive motif in which Cecília is captive of the Aimorés

instead of Pery, and the conflict triggerer in which an (unidentified) adventurer is guilty

of the Indian maid’s death instead of D. Diogo.

The narrative structure of the novel operates within the mythical-historical

principle according to which the birth of Brazil as a nation comes out of a rite of

passage that goes from the retreat of the Portuguese civilization into the American eden

(pre-liminal phase), the fatal attack of the Aimorés followed by the deluge that destroyed

the old order (liminal phase), to the renewing union of the surviving couple Pery and

Cecília symbolizing the two mythical races (post-liminal phase).78 The libretto

adaptation maintains this tripartite narrative structure in its great lines, but promotes

some changes in the liminal phase that affects greatly the narrative mythical import/

meaning. First, in the operatic version, the enactment of the liminal phase that started

with the destruction of D. Antonio Mariz’s castle is not consummated by the deluge,

78The rite of passage concept is according to the analysis of Alencar’s O Guarany by Ortiz ([1988]
1992: 81). Similar idea is defended by Moreira (1991: 138).
which withdraws the cosmic power of the rite of passage symbolized by the diluvian

myth. Secondly, in the novel, the Aimorés burn D. Antonio Mariz’s castle, while in the

opera D. Antonio Mariz discharges the explosion of his castle himself. This change in

the agency of the destruction of the Portuguese world affects the meaning of the liminal

phase. While the novel implies that the American nature turned to its primitive savagery

(personified by the Aimorés) in order to preclude the corruption of the American eden

by European civilization, the libretto placed the impossibility of establishing the

European order in the American eden in the recognition by the Portuguese himself. That

change of agency in the operatic adaptation further lessened the cosmic power of the rite

of passage symbolized by the diluvian myth, placing the turning point of Brazilian

history in an incidental cause rather than in nature’s might. On that account, the opera

flaws the symbolic system of the rite of passage ratifying the myth of national origins

created by Alencar’s novel.

The opera maintains most of the archetypal characters and the binary

oppositions between them, namely, the myth of the good Indian (the noble savage

personified by Pery, the Indian male belonging to the Guarany group) stressed by the

opposition to the myth of primitive savagery (personified by the barbarous and cannibal

Aymoré tribe), the opposition between the good white as the prototype of the

Portuguese colonizer (personified by the Portuguese D. Antonio Mariz and Alvaro) and

the vile white (personified by the adventurers and the Italian Loredano in Alencar’s

novel, who is replaced by the Spanish Gonzales in Gomes’ opera). The archetypal

characters have a mythical destiny; and more than to live their individualities, they

represent social roles and fulfill the necessities of the mythical narrative.79

79 Ortiz 1992: 83.

Alencar’s novel confers two dimensions to Pery that transcend his individuality:

Pery embodies the myth of the good Indian and the identification of the Indian with

American nature. The myth of the good Indian arose from the Rousseaunian view of the

“natural man,” the prototype of “natural virtue” and of “the perfect integration

between nature and the human kind.”80 The Indian that Indianismo recognizes as the

ancestor of the Brazilian nation is the “natural man” in the age of innocence in close

communion with nature, who inherently carried values in close affinity with Christianity,

and not Indian values from an anthropological perspective. Indianismo’s idealization of

the Indian invested him with qualities of the Christian man.81 Furthermore, Brazilian

Romanticism’s idealized construction of the noble savage entitled him to the fulfillment

of his historical and mythical destiny. The archetypal good Indian was “in close

communion with the colonizer,”82 bounded as an individual by the captive myth and as

a mythical race by the sacrificial myth.83 Pery’s heart was captive of Cecília’s, and their

union demanded that he sacrificed his Indian identity and undergo the rite of passage

(conversion) into Christianity. Pery’s “recognition of Catholic values was not an

individual act of volition but an imperative of the mythical history,”84 so that the

mythical couple could be united and national origins could be legitimately engendered.

80 Coutinho 1968: 91; Coutinho 1969, 1: 316. On the myth of the good Indian, see Afonso Arinos de
Melo Franco, O Índio Brasileiro e a Revolução Francesa (1937); G. Cocchiara, Il Mito del Buon
Selvagio (1948); Mircea Eliade, “Le Mythe du Bon Sauvage...” (1955); P. Jourda, L’exotisme dans la
Littérature Française (1956); and Sergio Buarque de Hollanda, Visão do Paraíso (1959).
81 Candido 1980: 82.
82 Bosi 1992: 177.
83 According to Brookshaw (1988)’s definition of the captive myth, captivity can be physical (hold
hostage or sexual contact) or of the heart. According to Bosi (1992)’s definition of the sacrificial myth,
the Indian sacrifices his or her identity or life through symbolic or actual death for the sake of
84 Ortiz 1992: 86.

All these aspects, the myth of the good Indian and his mythical-historical

destiny, are well emphasized in the opera. On the other hand, the opera refers only

briefly to the identification of the Indian with nature in Pery’s scene of Act II by

presenting him alone in the jungle with descriptive music of forest murmurs (see

Chapter 5 for further discussion on this landscape topos and Pery’s scene; musical

example No. 12). The opera does not render the Indianismo convention of the Indian

struggling with nature since it omits two major episodes, namely, the scene that

introduces the Pery character by portraying the brave Indian imperturbably and

skillfully confronting the jaguar (chapter “A Luta” [The Fight]), and the final scene in

which Pery mightily unearths the palm tree in the middle of the deluge (chapter “ A

Tempestade” [The Tempest]). These omissions are among the libretto’s most

frequently criticized oversimplification and failure to take advantage of the most

“picturesque” or extravagant passages of the novel.85 More than downplaying the

“picturesque” and “local color” of the novel, the omission of these episodes by the

opera minimizes the Indianismo convention of portraying the Indian in perfect

communion with nature, which ultimately allowed the survival of Pery and Cecília from

the natural catastrophe, and therefore, the accomplishment of the rite of passage that

brought the mythical couple to the mythical beginning of the Brazilian nation.

The archetypal import of Pery grows even further in contrast with the myth of

primitive savagery represented by the Aimoré tribe.86 The binary opposition between the

myth of the good Indian and the myth of primitive savagery is framed by the myth of

85 “The story of O Guarany offers a rich theme for an extremely original musical poem, but the poet
did not take advantage of the extravagant nature of José de Alencar’s novel, and reduced the novel’s
subject to the conventional forms of the libretto as we know it for more than half-century.” (Filippo
Filippi, quoted in Cunha 1987: 140)
86 Tribes known for their resistance to the Portuguese (Tabajaras, Aimorés) became the archetypal
antithesis of European civilization. (Brookshaw 1988: 6)
conquest, which “reflects the ethnocentricity of the first settlers” by portraying “the

Indian as a barrier and an implement in their plans to develop the new lands.”87 The

opera expresses the dichotomy between Pery’s affinity with and the Aimoré tribe’s

antithesis to European civilization by putting Italian lyric singing in Pery’s voice88 and

dehumanizing the Aimorés by portraying them as a collective “primitive.” The myth of

primitive savagery is musically represented by the exoticism of the ballet scenes

“Introduzione, Ballabili e Azione Mimica,” “Passo Selvaggio,” “Passo dele freccie,”

and “Gran marcia – baccanale indiano” (Act III). The ethnocentric mythification of the

“primitive” is flagrant in the “exoticist” approach to the music representing the Indian,

using traditional formulae of “Turkish music” in portraying Aimoré ritual dances. The

mimic action opens with a musical pattern based on rhythmic-melodic repetition (e upon

long accented notes) followed by downward melodic motion of short accented notes in

unison texture (musical example No. 1a). The melody of the “savage step” is based on

the repetitive use of grace notes upon accented staccato notes followed by embellishing

neighboring-notes inflection in sestinas, with a static harmonic accompaniment based on

the accented staccato repetition of the triad without the third and on the displacement of

the metric accentuation to the weak part of the beat through the accentuation on the

dissonant chord containing the augmented fifth and the major second intervals (musical

example No. 1b). The grand march also uses musical patterns based on repetition, static

harmony and accented staccato inflections to depict the exotically primitive (musical

example No. 1c). Therefore, these ballet numbers show the basic patterns of the musical

87Brookshaw 1988: 15
88“While in Alencar’s novel, the Indian speech is unequivocally differentiated from the white
colonizers’ language, in the opera both mingle in the same arias, in the same modulations, and in the
same accents. However, the Indians of our forests had their own music – free and fearless music.”
(Almeida 1926: 86-8)
representations of the exotic: the mimic action is a case in point of “pieces beginning in

long values going in on quicker ones;” the savage step makes use of repeated figures of

short grace notes and of percussion instruments such as the triangle or cymbals; all

three excerpts make extensive use of repeated notes, either in the melody or in the

accompaniment; the savage step and the grand march use the 2/4 meter; and all three

excerpts the “preference for harmonic simplicity and brightness” or unison texture.89

Musical example No. 1a: Carlos Gomes’s Il Guarany, “Introduzione, Ballabili e

Azione Mimica” (Act III)

>˙ >˙ >œ >œ >œ n >œ . >œ >œ n >œ > n >œ >
Pery è tratto presso l'albero e legato Gli indiani si dispongono intorno al campo.

œ œ > >
œ œ n œ œ n œ œ œ >œ œ >œ >œ œ
## ˙ ˙ œ œ œ nœ.
& # c Ó J œ œ œ œ œ œ
ƒ >
>˙ >˙ >œ >œ >œ n >œ . >œ >œ n >œ > n >œ > > >
œ œ > >
? ### c Ó ˙ ˙ œ œ œ nœ. œ œ n œ œ n œ œ œ œ œ œ >œ œ
J œ œ œ œ œ œ

Musical example No. 1b: Carlos Gomes’s Il Guarany, “Passo Selvaggio” (Act III)

12 Ragazzi indiani con ginocatoli

√ j Bandaj ordinaria (incomincia lo sfilare di tutta la tribù dal ponte)

n œ œ̈ œ œ̈ œ œ̈ œ œ̈ œ œ œ n œ œ œ œ. œ.
œ œ œ n œ œ œ œ. œ.
j j j

bb 2

j œ̈ œ
j œ̈ œ
j œ̈ œ
j œ̈ œ

&bb 4 6

Ϭ Ϭ Ϭ >
n b œœœ œ. œ. >
œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ¨ œ¨ œ¨ œ¨ œ¨ n b œœœ œ. œ.
? bb 2 œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
bb 4

89The definition of the distinctive features of “turkish music” is based on Whaples (1958: 157-8) and
Hunter (1998).
Musical example No. 1c: Carlos Gomes’s Il Guarany, “Gran marcia – baccanale
indiano” (Act III)

b 2 . œ. œ
Questo ballabile sarà composto di uomini e donne della tribù

&bb 4 ‰ œœœ œœ œœ œœ ‰ ‰ œœ œœ œœ œœ ‰ œ. œ. œ. œ œ œ œ. œ. œ
œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ . v v
f v v v v v v v v v
j marcate
œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ j
? b 2 œ ‰ ‰ œ ‰ ‰ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
bb 4 œ œ J œ
œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
> > > > > > > >

The action developed through mimic is another primitivistic element in the

ballets from Act III. This choreographic display of the exotic enacts through mimic the

sacrificial scene of Pery, who, like his beloved Cecília, is captive of the Aimorés. In these

ballet scenes, the Aimorés are dehumanized through their absence of speech, and

through the exoticized depiction of mythical savagery and “pagan bacchanals.”

The constellation of masculine characters around Pery gives multiple

perspectives on his archetypal magnitude. The novel aggrandizes Pery character by

comparison with the merely human personified by the Portuguese adventurer Álvaro, the

young nobleman D. Diogo, and the Italian adventurer Loredano. D. Diogo is a good

young nobleman who lacks the mastery of the archetypal Portuguese colonizer. Álvaro

is a good white man initiated into the American environment but who is ultimately

defeated by primitive savagery. The flawed moral qualities of Loredano are equated with

the degenerated or low-civilization state of the primitive savagery of the Aimorés.

Differently from Álvaro, D. Diogo, and Loredano, Pery is the only character who

masters American environment and primitive savagery, and is also invested with the

moral qualities of the noble savage, which places him as an equal to D. Antonio Mariz,

the archetypal good white man. The opera maintains all this symbolic network that

aggrandizes Pery’s character, except for D. Diogo, who is excluded from the operatic

version. This suppression does not affect substantially the multi-perspectival

construction of Pery’s character but it does place emphasis in the binary opposition

between the loyal Álvaro and the treacherous Gonzales.

The mythical locale in which the characters operate correlates with their

archetype. Alencar’s novel merges the mythical locale with the Edenic myth by

associating the frontier line with natural abundance and the hopes of a piece of “heaven

on earth.” The “uncorrupted” American land in the age of innocence and receptiveness

to Christianity is personified by Pery, the noble savage. The utilitarian version of the

Edenic myth is evident in the novel through the eldorado myth (the land of promise and

the land of plenty) that attracted the Portuguese settlers (personified by D. Antonio

Mariz, his family and the adventurers) and triggered human greed and treachery

(personified by the Italian adventurer Loredano in Alencar’s novel, and replaced by the

Spanish Gonzales in Gomes’ opera).

Similarly to Pery’s characterization, the novel sheds a multi-perspective onto the

other two protagonists, Cecília and D. Antonio Mariz, through comparative contrast with

secondary characters. In the opera, the suppression of some secondary characters, such

as Isabel, Lauriana, D. Diogo, and the Indian chief’s daughter, undoes the multi-

perspective characterization of the protagonists achieved through binary oppositions that

the novel makes within the Portuguese world and between the European and the Indian

world. The downplaying of the multi-perspective characterization of the protagonists

ultimately deflates the symbolic system of the myth of national foundation.

The feminine perfection within the Portuguese world represented by Cecília is

enhanced by the binary opposition between her innocence and the prejudice of her

mother Lauriana, and between her fair chastity and the sensuality of the half-Indian,

half-Portuguese Isabel. The novel constructs the “polarization between a dark, sensually

dangerous woman” through the character of Isabel “and her fair, chaste opposite”

through the character of Cecília.90 Isabel is the Indian-Portuguese offspring that gender-

wise stands for the Brazilian type of womanhood, and race-wise stands for

miscegenation and social displacement. The novel denies the mestizo woman as the

progenitor of Brazilian nation through the character of Isabel by leading her to love-

death, and, on that account, it further reinforces the character of Cecília as the feminine

ideal of the Brazilian nation’s progenitor. By omitting the character of Isabel, the opera

not only lessens the archetypal magnitude of Cecília but also evades the issue of

miscegenation. The love triangle between the Portuguese man, the Portuguese woman

(representing the legitimate love), and the mestizo woman (representing the illegitimate

love), was embodied respectively by Álvaro, Cecília and Isabel in the secondary plot of

Alencar’s O Guarany. By suppressing the character of Isabel and the love triangle, the

operatic version evaded the implied values associated with the sensuality of the mestizo

woman, and the illegitimacy of the love between the Portuguese colonist and the mestizo


The novel magnifies the characterization of Cecília as the feminine ideal of the

Brazilian nation’s progenitor by contrasting her with the Indian female, placing them in

the binary opposition between “culture” and the “primitive.” The chastity of Cecília is

enhanced by the voluptuousness of the Indian chief’s daughter (novel’s chapter “ O

Prisioneiro”). Likewise, the kindness of Cecília is enhanced by the revengefulness of

the Indian chief’s daughter (novel’s chapters “O Sacrifício” [The Sacrifice], and

“Desânimo” [Weariness]). The opera suppresses the Indian female symbolizing

primitive passion that contrasts with and enhances Cecília’s purity of feelings.

90 Treece 1984: 157; Ortiz 1992: 88-93.

More than merely oversimplifying plot development, the opera’s suppression of

this array of feminine characters (Lauriana, Isabel, and the Indian chief’s daughter)

around Cecília downplays the novel’s multi-perspective characterization that makes

Cecília the feminine ideal or the mythical female that engendered the Brazilian nation,

which ultimately weakens the myth of national foundation.

Cecília’s exceeding purity places her in the age of innocence allowing that

“culture” be in close communion with nature (represented by Pery). Cecília’s profound

sympathy for Pery’s world engages her in a rite of passage through which she will

accomplish the conciliation between culture and nature. The novel gradually constructs

Cecília as the symbol of “cultura naturalizada” (naturalized culture),91 and, therefore,

the feminine ideal for engendering the Brazilian nation. The opera does not reproduce

Cecília’s naturalization process in its many shadings, such as her wonderment and

fondness for all the articles of Brazilian nature that Pery brings her and with which she

decorates her bedroom. This gesture of Cecília of constructing a tropical microcosm

inside her European-fashioned bedroom is symbolic of the “naturalization of culture”

(“cultura naturalizada”), and part of the initiation process that will place her in the

origins of the Brazilian nation. The final deluge consumates the rite of passage that

Cecília goes through in the novel and fulfills a major necessity of the mythical narrative.

The operatic suppression of the deluge affects the final phase of Cecília’s initiation

process into the American environment subtracting the cosmic endowment of her

legitimacy as the mythical female of Brazilian origins. The supression of these two

elements by the libretto adaptation deletes Cecília’s symbolic dimension of the

“naturalization of culture” that makes her the mythical counterpart to Pery’s symbolic

91 Moreira 1991: 137.

dimension of “tamed nature” (after his conversion). The mythical narrative constructed

by the novel demands that only after “the baptism of the savage and the naturalization

of culture, can Brazil be born out of the fusion of two mythical races, and not of two

different ethnicities.”92 By maintaing only Pery’s rite of passage in its totality (from

natural man to conversion into Christianity) and suppressing Cecília’s initiation into the

American world, the opera unbalances the binary complementation between “naturalized

culture” and “tamed nature” that bonded the mythical couple destined to engender the

Brazilian nation.

The masculine ideal represented by D. Antonio Mariz within the Portuguese

world is expressed through the comparison between his perfect conduct and the

reproachable vainglory of his son D. Diogo that caused accidental misfortune of deadly

consequences,93 and between his upright character and the corrupted character of

Loredano and his companions. Álvaro is the younger parallel to D. Antonio, since he

possesses high moral values such as loyalty and courage but is also tempted by the

voluptuousness of a dark-skinned woman. However, Álvaro is not quite as worthy as D.

Antonio Mariz since he is not a Portuguese nobleman. Therefore, the failure of Álvaro’s

love towards Cecília fulfills the necessities of the mythical narrative since it symbolizes

the impossibility of engendering the Brazilian nation upon the old Portuguese order.

The opera maintains the binary opposition between D. Antonio Mariz and

Loredano (replacing him by Gonzales), the similarity of character between D. Antonio

Mariz and Álvaro, and the mythical necessity that did away with the arranged matrimony

between Cecília and Álvaro. However, the suppression of D. Diogo in the operatic

92 Ortiz ([1988] 1992: 94). Similar idea is defended by Moreira (1991: 139).
93 The Indian maid fell “victim of the caprice of the hunter, who did not want to waste his target.”
[“vítima de um capricho de caçador, que não desejava perder a sua pontaria.”] (Alencar p. 82, chapter “A
version not only lessens the aggrandizement of D. Antonio Mariz’s character achieved

in the novel through the comparison with his lesser descendant, but also affects the myth

of national foundation, since it puts the cause of the ill-fated contact between the

Portuguese and the native Indians in a gray area. The accidental killing of the Indian

maiden by D. Diogo symbolizes the violation of the American nature and the ill-fated

contact between the Portuguese predator and the primitive Indian world. While the novel

recognizes the misconduct of the Portuguese nobleman towards the Indian, the opera

attributes the wrong-doing indistinctly to “one of our men,” which in that context is

most likely to be one of the low-born adventurers. However, the adventurers and

Loredano do not represent the Portuguese old order since they are the opposite of the

virtuous colonizer archetype. While the novel places the flaw in the good Portuguese

archetype’s descendant, the opera transfers it to the evil white man archetype, undoing

the mythical narrative predication according to which the Brazilian nation cannot be born

out of the old Portuguese order. The only symbolic similarity between D. Diogo’s

misconduct and that of the adventurers, is the mythical predication that the Brazilian

nation cannot be born upon the spoliation of American nature, which is still sustainable

by the operatic version.

Another concession to operatic clichés through the apparently unimportant

change in the captive motif by the libretto adaptation spoiled the sacrificial myth through

which the novel constructed the myth of national foundation. The sacrificial myth,

according to which the Indian sacrifices his or her identity or life through symbolic or

actual death for the sake of “civilization,” was a key element of Indianismo ideology.

Pery’s unconditional loyalty to D. Antonio and Cecília fulfills a major necessity of the

mythical narrative. Pery carries out the sacrificial myth in many episodes of the novel,

including his numerous life-risking endeavors to please Cecília and to keep D. Antonio

and his family safe, his conversion to Catholicism, and his surrendering to the Aimorés

in place of D. Antonio and his family. The opera maintains Pery’s symbolic self-

sacrifice carried out by his conversion, but suppresses one of his major gestures of

bodily self-sacrifice. Whereas in the novel, Pery lets himself become a prisoner of the

Aimorés, in the opera, Cecília is abducted and held prisoner by the Aimorés. The

sacrificial myth accomplished in the novel through Pery’s willingness to die for D.

Antonio and Cecília is turned into a conventional motif of rescue opera in which the

female awaits to be saved by the hero. By curtailing the complexity of the sacrificial

myth (which results for the interaction of symbolic and bodily sacrifice), the opera does

not reproduce the magnitude of Pery’s character in the mythical narrative of national


The frequently criticized banalization of Alencar’s novel by Scalvini-

d’Omerville’s libretto adaptation is more than plot oversimplification surrendered to

operatic clichés. The opera flaws the network of symbolic relationships rounding off the

myth of national foundation. However, its ideology is maintained since Alencar’s

literary work substantially charged Brazilian reception.

The Undoing of the Myth of National Foundation: Moema

Like Gomes’ Il Guarany, Delgado de Carvalho’s Moema is based on a literary

subject that conveys the myth of national foundation, but unlike Gomes’ Il Guarany,

Carvalho’s Moema does not sustain the same ideology. On the contrary, it undoes the

myth of national foundation by degrading the Portuguese conqueror archetype, by

dooming the love between the Portuguese and the Indian, by depriving the Portuguese
and the Indian from any rite of passage that could symbolize the “naturalization of

culture” and the “civilizing of nature,” by shifting the emphasis to the Indian female,

whose contact with a white male will transform her into an outcast, and, ultimately, by

expressing a pessimistic view of inter-ethnic contact during a supposedly foundational


The libretto of Delgado de Carvalho’s Moema was written by Assis Pacheco

and Delgado de Carvalho, and its plot is a loose adaptation of the Caramuru myth.94

This myth presents the conventional literary motive of the white man who is rescued or

captured by Indians, falls in love with an Indian maiden, and is on his way to be

executed by the tribe. The construction of the Caramuru myth in its early historical and

literary sources conveys Portuguese values of conquest and colonization by depicting

Diogo Álvares as the archetypal pioneer colonist whose ability to interact with the

Indians gave place to a founding event in Brazilian history. As a foundational story, the

Caramuru myth operates upon the frontier myth and mythical time by evoking the

pioneer front at a time before the establishment of colonial rule.

By the time that Carvalho and Pacheco wrote the libretto, there were seven

historical accounts of the Caramuru myth – Gabriel Soares de Sousa’s Notícia do

Brasil (1587), Frei Vicente de Salvador’s História do Brasil 1500-1627 (seventeenth

century), Frei Simão de Vasconcellos’ Crônica da Companhia de Jesus do Estado do

Brasil (1663), Francisco de Brito Freire’s Nova Lusitânia (1675); Sebastião Rocha

Pitta’s História da América Portuguesa, 1500-1724 (1730; 1880), and Francisco

94 This one-act opera in Italian can be divided into 8 scenes. The characters are Tapyr, the Indian chief
(Baritone); Moema, young Indian maiden, daughter of Tapyr (Soprano); Paolo, European hunter
(Tenor); Japyr, head warrior, brother of Moema (Basso); and the Savages. Opera synopsis: A
supposedly Portuguese hunter is lost among the Indians, has a love affair with Moema, the Indian
chief’s daughter. The ferocious Indians will sacrifie him. Moema arranges his escaping, and unable to
live without him, commits suicide.” (translated from Azevedo 1938: 68-9)
Adolfo Varnhagen’s O Caramurú perante a história (1846) and História Geral do

Brasil (nineteenth century; publ. 1959) – and four literary versions – Frei José de Santa

Rita Durão’s Caramuru, poema épico do descobrimento do Brasil (1781), Daniel

Gavet and Philippe Boucher’s Jakaré-Ouassou, ou les Tupinambás, Chronique

Brésilienne (1830), Varnhagen’s poem O Caramuru, romance histórico brasileiro, in

the anthology Florilégio da Poesia Brasileira (1853), and Domingos José Nogueira

Jaguaribe Filho’s historical novel Os herdeiros de Caramuru (1880).95 The many

versions of the Diogo-Caramuru legend present differences in character and causational

definition. This chapter contains discussions of only those sources that are most likely

to have informed Pacheco and Carvalho in the writing of their libretto or that are relevant

to its ideological critique.

Durão’s epic poem Caramuru, poema épico do descobrimento da Bahia

(1781) was the most popular version of the Caramuru myth since its revival by the

Romantics in the 1830s,96 and was certainly a major reference for the writing of

Pacheco-Carvalho’s libretto. This libretto seems to have also been informed by other

sources, especially Varnhagen’s O Caramuru, romance histórico brasileiro (1853).

95 See Calmon (1959); Candido (1975, 1: 329); Candido (1981: 179); and Treece (1984).
96 According to Cidade (1961: 98-103) and Candido (1959, 1: 17-22), Durão’s Caramuru revival in the
nineteenth century included Almeida Garret, Bosquejo de História da Literatura Portuguesa (1826);
Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen, O Caramurú perante a história (1846; reprint in Revista Trimestral
de História e Geografia or Jornal do Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro, no. 10, 2d. semester
of 1848); Costa e Silva, Ensaio Biográfico e Crítico Sobre os Melhores Poetas Portugueses (1853);
Francisco Sotero dos Reis, Curso de Literatura Portuguesa e Brazileira (1867); Camilo Castelo
Branco, Curso de Literatura Portuguesa (1876); and was followed by a string of studies until the
present, including Silvio Romero, História da Literatura Brasileira (1889), José Veríssimo, Estudos
de Literatura Brasileira (1901); Fidelino de Figueiredo, História da Literatura Clássica (1922);
Ronald de Carvalho, Pequena História da Literatura Brasileira (1925); Artur da Mota, História da
Literatura Brasileira (1930); Antonio Soares Amora, História da Literatura Brasileira (1955);
Waltensir Durão in Afrânio Coutinho, A Literatura no Brasil (1955). Durão’s Caramuru 19th-century
editions are: 1836, 1837, 1845, 1878, 1887, and 1880-1890s (Candido 1980: 190).
Varnhagen was the official historian of the Second Empire and his historical studies and

literary work on Caramuru challenged the traditional view of the historicity and role of

Diogo Álvares.97 It is in this challenging view of Caramuru myth that Pacheco-

Carvalho’s libretto seems to have been influenced by Varnhagen’s writings.

Durão’s Caramuru can be considered an allegory of the opening cycle of

Brazilian Colonial history. It recounts a founding episode of the Portuguese conquest of

Brazilian lands and native people, the union of the Portuguese with the Indian

symbolizing the creation of the new nation, the “naturalization of culture” represented

by the Portuguese male protagonist’s rite of passage, and the “taming of nature”

represented by the conversion of the Indian female protagonist to Catholicism, all of

which legitimize the origins of Brazil as a nation. Durão’s Caramuru conveyed, from

the Portuguese perspective, the myth of conquest, and, from the Brazilian perspective,

the myth of national foundation.

“Durão’s Caramuru is one of the several attempts in the eighteenth and

nineteenth centuries … to discover an event in Brazilian history and a figure of

sufficient stature which would express a sense of nationality.”98 The close bond

between the epic and myth made the epic one of the most influential literary genres in

the consolidation of national consciousness.99 The epic was befitting to the glorification

of national past, usually encapsulated by the good deeds of a male hero during primeval


97Treece 1984: 140-1.

98Treece 1984: 141.
99Barros 1973: 111-2. In the nineteenth century, the historical novel was the genre that consolidated
national consciousness. Alencar was the chief polemist against the epic. According to Alencar, the epic
was inappropriate to express “Brazilianness” since its literary canons were too Portuguese and did not
express Brazilian native mode of thinking. See, for instance, Alencar and Gonçalves de Magalhães
polemics, and Alencar’s introduction to Os sonhos d’ouro and Iracema.
The mythification of the known historical figure Diogo Álvares, the Caramuru,

encapsulates a historical “juncture where contemporary persons and events are

considered so important that they are mythicized.”100 The hero Diogo Álvares is a

Portuguese sailor shipwrecked on the coast of Bahia at the beginning of the sixteenth

century, who impressed the Indians with his musket, earning through this deed the name

of Caramuru, which means, according to different sources, “Son of Thunder, ” “Man

of Fire” or “Sea Dragon.”101 Diogo-Caramuru is considered Bahia’s first settler, and

his union with the Indian Paraguaçu lays in the origins of Bahia people, and, therefore,

of the Brazilian nation.

Diogo Álvares embodies Campbells’ pattern of “the heroic monomyth,” a

pattern consisting of “separation from the world, penetration to a source of power, and a

life-enhancing return.”102 The Portuguese colonist archetype goes through a rite of

passage that detaches him from culture and reintegrates him with nature, allowing him to

free himself from all the corruption brought about by civilization and to reconnect him

with his natural humanness and original innocence.103 Once empowered by the

“naturalization of culture” process, the mythical hero returns to civilization to legitimize

the engendering of the Brazilian nation, accompanied by his Indian wife converted into

Catholicism, the “tamed nature” symbolic counterpart.

The opera maintains the mythical time and locale established by Durão’s epic

(“La scena ha luogo in una foresta del Brasile. Epoca 1600,” according to Ms. EM-

100 Doty 1986: 14.

101 For an examination of the meaning of the hero’s name, see Treece (1984: 143, 160-1).
102 Doty 1986: 38.
103 Ao “reintegrar-se na natureza” becomes the man “regressando ao seu ‘estado natural’, movido,
racionalmente, por idéias claras e simples; moralmente, por princípios éticos naturais;
sentimentalmente, por um coração ingênuo e portanto simples e puro. … O ‘fugere urbem’ horaciano
… estaria livre de todos os morbos mentais, morais passionais da vida urbana ‘civilizada’,
reconquistando plenamente a sua pureza ingênua e a sua existência natural.” (Coutinho 1969, 1: 315)
UFRJ) but demythifies Diogo-Caramuru. Pacheco-Carvalho’s libretto reflects “the

trend towards diminishing the traditional status of Diogo Álvares as repository of all

that was best in colonial values” since Varnhagen’s studies until the end of the

nineteenth century.104 Pacheco-Carvalho’s libretto makes no reference to a supposedly

aristocratic ancestry of Diogo Álvares, and therefore does not reflect any attempt to

depict him as the archetypal colonist of the foundational myth of Brazil. This aspect also

follows Varnhagen’s (1848) discrediting of Diogo Álvares’ aristocratic ancestry

asserted by Salvador (1600s), Vasconcellos (1663) and Rocha Pitta (1730; 1880). Also,

the opera shifts the Iberian name of the male protagonist Diogo to the Italian name

Paolo, depriving this character from any claim of a legitimate founding role of the

Brazilian nation. Furthermore, the opera turns the Portuguese sailor into an ordinary

“white” hunter from an undetermined European country. All these changes in

characterization obliterate the purpose of the male protagonist and his role as the

archetypal colonist. And by not contextualizing Paolo’s appearance among the Indians

within the Portuguese overseas expansions, the opera eliminates much of the conquest

and foundational material of the Caramuru myth.

Like Varnhagen’s historical romance, Pacheco-Carvalhos’ libretto “deflates the

traditional heroism of Diogo Álvares in his role of pioneer and colonizer” by defining

his alter ego Paolo as a character “incapable of doing anything for himself ... and [who]

has to be saved by” the Indian woman.105 The libretto subverts “the myth of Caramuru

as the archetypal colonist”106 by showing the male protagonist’s lack of determination

104 Treece 1984: 164.

105 Treece 1984: 148.
106 Treece 1984: 145.
and courage. Paolo is in fact depicted as a coward who flees to save himself, letting his

Indian beloved fall in dishonor among her tribe.

The plot of Pacheco-Carvalho’s libretto does not contain the most famous

episodes of Durão’s poem, namely, Diogo’s feat with the musket which earns him the

name of Caramuru, and the drowning of Moema. The first affects greatly the heroic

characterization of the male protagonist, while the latter aggrandizes the heroic import of

the female protagonist. Ultimately, their combination undoes the myth of conquest and

national foundation.

By omitting the musket episode, the opera empties the heroic stature of the white

man. The male protagonist Paolo does not show the archetypal colonist’s ability to

communicate and win over the Indians. On the contrary, he proves to be helpless and

unhelpful towards his beloved Indian.

Furthermore, the way the libretto deepens Paolo’s character portrayal in the solo

number placed at his appearance out of the cave does not help with investing him with

any valorous quality. In the Recitativo e Romanza “Prostrata innanzi...” [scene 5]

Paolo laments his fate (“Squillò l'inubia col suo rauco suono, dell'estrema ora mia

nunzio fatale. Per me non v'ha pietà, non v'ha perdono, sotto l'ira io cadrò, sotto il

pugnale”) [Soa a trombeta com seu rouco som, Termo fatal da minha extrema hora. Pra

mim não há piedade nem perdão Padeço a ira e sucumbo ao punhal.] and farewell to his

European homeland (“Ed or, o amata terra mia natia, o mia patria lontana, o madre,

addio! (…) A voi foreste, a voi olezzanti fior Addio per sempre o monti, o fiumi, o mar!

ripeta l'eco vostro il mio dolor”) [So, my beloved native land, distant homeland, o

mother, good by! (…) Farewell to you all, forest, fragrant flowers, mountains, river and

sea! May your sounds echo my sorrow]. However, the librettists did not create a solo

number for Paolo to express his mixed feelings and thoughts about abandoning

Moema. Therefore, his character can only be judged by his actions in comparison to his

never fulfilled promise to Moema of “partir, giamai” [Leave you, never] (scene 2),

which is reiterated with “e potrei lasciarti io mai sola oppressa, in abbandon?!!…” [I

can never leave you lonely oppressed in abandonment!] (scene 6; musical example No.

3). Paolo’s assurance not to abandon Moema, which is sung to the most memorable

melodies of the opera (scene 2, musical example No. 2 and scene 6, musical example

No. 3), falls short as he soon agrees to flee with the excuse that “tua prece, tuo

comando mi strazian l’alma, il cor” [Your pray, your command tear my soul and my

heart apart] (scene 6).

Musical example No. 2: Carvalho’s Moema, Scena e Duetto ‘Se uniti non vivremo”
[Scene 2] Moema and Paolo (S, T)

œ œ œ œ j˙
(con dolore e molto commosso)
œ œ œ œ j
(con amore)
b 3 œ j œ œ œ œ
V b b 4 œJ œJ œJ œ ˙ œ J J J œ ˙ œ J J Jœ ˙ œ
Par-tir? ah no! mi - rar - ti O-gnora vo-glio e sem - pre. Sem-pre mi-rar- ti io vo - glio, O mia Mo - e - ma!

b 3 Più Agitato
˙. œ >œœ œœ œ ˙.
&bb 4 ∑ œœœœœœ œœœœœœ œ œ œ ˙.
œ œ ˙. b œ ˙˙ ..
˙˙ .
˙ œ
> > >>
π 3
˙˙ .. ˙˙ .. >œ >œ >œ >œ ˙ .
? b b 43 ˙ . ˙. ˙˙˙ ... >œ >œ œ œ œ œ
b ∑ œ
j j
œ œ
j Jnœ Œ Œ ˙.
° * œ
° * œ
° *

Musical example No. 3: Carvalho’s Moema, Scena e Duetto “Amore, amore dolce
sogno...” [Scene 6] Moema and Paolo (S, T)

Paolo Larga la frase

œ œ œ œ
3 œ j œ œ œ j
Vb 4 J J J J J œ ˙ œ J J J
œ ˙ œ
E po - trei las - ciar - ti io ma - i, So - la op - pressa in ab - ban - do - no?!
Larga la frase
& b 4 ˙. œ œ œ œ œ
œ ˙ œ œ œ œ œ œ >œ >œ œ
f 3

˙˙ . . ˙˙ b # œœœ ˙ ..
? 3 ˙ .. ˙˙˙˙ ... ˙ œ ˙˙˙ ..
b 4j j j j
œ œ œ œ

A major difference between Durão’s epic poem and Pacheco-Carvalho’s libretto

is the shift of the title, and therefore, of the hero role, from the masculine to the feminine

protagonist. This has implications not only to the genre but also to the ideology of the

story. As an epic genre, Durão’s Caramuru exalts the good deeds and high moral

principles of the male hero. Conversely, Pacheco-Carvalho’s Moema empties the heroic

rank of the male protagonist, and confers a higher moral stature and courage to his

female counterpart. By crediting the white man’s survival to the female Indian savior

(similarly to Varnhagen’s literary work)107 Pacheco-Carvalho’s libretto replaces the

masculine heroism of Durão’s Diogo Álvares with the feminine heroism and self-

sacrifice of Moema. As most of the late nineteenth-century works on the subject,

Pacheco-Carvalho’s libretto “focuses on the tragic aspect” of the Caramuru legend

portraying the Indian, a “female representative of ‘Natural man’, as the victim of

European values and politics,” and “diminish[es] Diogo’s moral stature in comparison

with that of Moema.”108

The incident of Moema’s drowning in the sea was the most popular episode of

Durão’s Caramuru during the nineteenth century, constructing this Indian maiden as
107 Treece 1984: 153.
108 Treece 1984: 169-170.
the symbol of love-death and self-sacrifice. The oil paintings by Vitor Meireles (1866)

and Décio Vilares’ o (n.d.), and the bronze sculpture by Rodolfo Bernardelli (1895)

portraying Moema’s love-death helped to foster this subject in Brazilian Romantic

imagination. Moema embodied “the myth of the abandoned, tragic female” and the

“sensual, passionate being, condemned to be abandoned and to die in oblivion.”109 The

drowning of Moema accomplishes the sacrificial myth implied by Indianismo narratives

of national foundation.

Pacheco-Carvalho’s Moema retains the sacrificial myth of Durão’s Moema, but

commits suicide in the conventional way by stabbing herself instead of using the

original image of swimming in the sea after the ship that is taking her beloved away until

drowning by exhaustion. In both cases, the female Indian dies for the white man’s love.

However, while Moema’s death was nearly accidental in Durão’s poem, in Pacheco-

Carvalho’s libretto Moema was the result of a conscious decision emanating from the

ethical imperative. In the Recitativo e Romanza “Quanta sventura” [scene 1, mm. 68-

88], Moema supplicates: “Tupan, gran Dio! concedimi salvarlo; A morte tanto ria, deh!

non serbarlo: Prendi mia vita, la sacro a te. Pietà di lui! pietà di me!” [Tupan, oh mighty

god, let me save him from such a cruel death. Oh! I will not have him any longer! Take

my life; I consecrate myself to you. Have pitty on us!]. In the opera, Moema becomes

an outcast after her physical contact with Paolo, and her suicide would be the only way

she could expiate her offense and restore her tribe’s dignity. That gesture aggrandizes

even further the heroic stature of the feminine Indian.

Durão’s poem presents the “polarization between a dark, sensually dangerous

woman” in the character of Moema “and her fair, chaste opposite” in the character of

109 Treece 1984: 158-9.

Paraguaçu, daughter of the local Tupinambá chief.110 Durão establishes a parallel

between moral and physical characteristics: Paraguaçu, the Indian chief’s daughter, is

described in terms which distinguish her from other Indians: her moral and physical

qualities are white. Moema is the brown maiden who represents jealousy, illicit love,

vengeance.111 In Durão, Moema is abandoned by the Portuguese, who preferred to

associate with Paraguaçu’s high status rather than with Moema’s low status in the tribe.

Pacheco-Carvalho’s libretto merges the role of Paraguaçu (the Indian chief’s

daughter) with Moema (the abandoned Indian maiden) under the name of the latter. This

change reveals a critical approach to the heroine characterization, since, in Durão’s

poem, Moema is an Indian maiden of lesser status representing sensual and passionate

love while Paraguaçu is the female noble savage representing “sexual innocence” and

“the Indian convert” into Catholic and Colonial family ethic.112 Although Pacheco-

Carvalho’s libretto shifts the female protagonist’s name from Paraguaçu to Moema, it

maintains the high social status of Indian female combining it with the sensuality of the

low rank Indian female.

The chastity of the protagonists Paraguaçu and Diogo Álvares is an important

ideological element in Durão’s poem, reflecting Durão’s vision of the indigenous living

a “natural religion,”113 which is in fact a projection of Catholic values onto Paraguaçu,

paralleled by the exaltation of Diogo’s character for his living up to Catholic morality.

Pacheco-Carvalho’s libretto makes the unchastity of the protagonists the main trigger of

plot development and the cause of the tragic outcome. Pacheco-Carvalho’s libretto

differs from all the other accounts, including Durão’s and Varnhagen’s poems, in the

110 Treece 1984: 157.

111 Brookshaw 1988: 24-6.
112 Treece 1984: 154.
113 Cidade 1961: 12.
moral aspect of the interracial relations between the white man and the Indian maidens.

Since Paolo did not win over the Indians as Diogo did, his contact with Moema did not

happen as a gift of the tribe but as an act of treachery. The moral emphasis of the

libretto is on Indian values of kinship and honor, rather than on Catholic values of purity

as in Durão’s poem. The opera does not put the couple through any rite of passage that

could legitimate their union, making their sexual contact an illicit love, and placing

emphasis on the impossibility of miscegenation between the Indian and the Portuguese.

Unlike Durão’s Caramuru, the opera does not put the white man and the Indian woman

through the reciprocal rite of passage of the “naturalizing of culture” and the “taming

of nature” that would make them a mythical couple. Therefore, the male and female

protagonists of the opera do not fulfill the mythical conditions that would allow them to

engender the Brazilian nation.

In Durão, the sacrificial myth is symbolically accomplished by Paraguaçu

through her denial of her own religion and life with her Indian community, and

physically accomplished by Moema through her death, drowned in the sea by

exhaustion. By accomplishing the sacrificial myth only physically and leaving its

symbolic dimension unfulfilled, Pacheco-Carvalho’s libretto fails to legitimize the union

between the Indian and the Portuguese, affecting greatly the myth of national


The opera is in dialogue with Durão’s epic promoting an inversion in the

closure of meaningful events. In Durão occurs the blessed marriage between the Indian

and the Portuguese, which is further legitimized by the conversion of the Indian to the

Catholic faith and the acceptance of their union by the white society. While Durão’s

epic “celebrates the marriage of Diogo and Paraguaçu [for it] confirms and symbolizes

social harmony and conciliation,”114 Pacheco-Carvalho’s libretto reflects a pessimistic

view of miscegenation and, therefore, of the future of Brazil as a nation.

While Durão’s epic poem conciliates the two lovers from different worlds

through the “naturalization of culture” and the conversion of the Indian into

Catholicism and Portuguese values, Pacheco-Carvalho’s libretto put them irrevocably

apart. The ill-fated love between the white male and the Indian female symbolizes the

hostile, untrustworthy contact between the European and the Indian tribe, and undoes the

myth of the national origins.

In the Scena e Duetto “Se uniti non vivremo” (scene 2) Paolo proposes “let’s

escape together” (“Vieni; fuggiamo insieme”) but Moema does not agree and decides

to let him go and then commits suicide. The death of Moema implies the historical

fatality of the inter-ethnic contact. As the Indian female, Moema carries the symbol of

fertility, and her death when in contact with the Portuguese symbolizes the impossibility

of miscegenation. The opera blames only the Indian for that misfortune, since the reason

for the suicide of Moema, the fertility symbol, is the Indian community’s refusal to mix

with the white. The Indian community is represented as unwilling to break from their

origins and beliefs. The Indian resistance symbolizes the doomed Brazilian nation,

which will not reconcile the Indian and the white culture. If miscegenation does occur, it

will be to the detriment of the Indian.

In Pacheco-Carvalho’s libretto, the union between the white and the Indian is not

accepted by the tribe, and the Portuguese character’s alter ego does not have enough

dignity to make his love for the Indian chief’s daughter win over the adversities. Paolo

flees cowardly, and Moema commits suicide to restore the honor of her tribe. The

114 Treece 1984: 167.

Indian chief curses the Portuguese’s alter ego and declares eternal war. This statement

symbolizes the inevitability of fusion and friction of the Portuguese and the Indian, and

therefore, implies the undoing of the myth of national origins: Brazil is not the result of

miscegenation between the Portuguese and the noble savage, but of inter-ethnic conflict

resulting in the death or in the isolation of the Indian, which, according to the opera, has

its roots in the eternal hostility cast by the Indian chief. In Scena Finale “O caro idol

diletto,” Tapyr curses Paolo, and, therefore, what he stands for, namely, Western

civilization: “Tu fuggisti, o aventuriero, miserabile straniero! Mia vendetta sulla terra ti

persegua a eterna guerra!” [You, adventurer, has escaped; You miserable foreigner! My

revenge upon earth will follow you eternal war!]. If this opera was supposed to convey

the myth of national origins, Tapyr’s final statement would certainly define the fatal

destiny of the Portuguese-Indian historical contact.

The ill-fated love between Moema and Paolo is represented throughout the opera

by two themes: Moema’s theme from the Recitativo e Romanza “Quanta sventura”

[scene 1] (musical example No. 4); and the “somber theme” from the Scena e

Raeconto “L’aurora già spuntava” [scene 3] (musical example No. 5).

Moema’s first statement in the opera in the recitativo, “Tutto é silenzio! Qual

atra sorte! Tutto qui spira sol lutto e morte!” [All is silence! What a cruel fate!

Everything here only spawns death and morning!] (musical example No. 4; mm. 9-12),

is followed by her lamenting romanza “Quanta sventura” (piano vocal score pp. 7-9,

mm. 21-55) sung to the opening melody of the scene played by the oboes, clarinets, and

bassoon (musical example No. 4; mm. 1-8).

Musical example No. 4: Carvalho’s Moema Recitativo e Romanza “Quanta sventura”
[scene 1] (Moema)

b 3 b
&bb 4 ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ n b 68

> > > > U

(Si alza il sipario)
b 3
(ob., clar.)
> b
n b 68
& b b 4 œœ œœ œœœ ˙˙ . œ œ œœ œœœ ˙˙ .. ˙ .. ˙. œ œ œ n ˙˙˙ ...
˙ œ œ ˙. ˙ ˙. ˙.
p π U
? b 3 œ œ œ ˙ œ œ œ œ ˙. ˙.
˙˙ .. ˙
. ˙ .. b 6
bb 4 ˙ nb 8
(con tristezza)
b 6 4
j2 j 4
≈ r r r œj
j j œ r4 r r 2

& b 8 ≈ œr œr œr œ œ œ œ œ œ œ J œJ œ bœ ≈ œ œ œ j
œ œ
π Tut - to è si - len - zio! Qual a - tra sor - te! Tut - to qui spi - ra Sol lu - to e mor - te.
j œ.
b 6 œ.
b œœœ ... œœ ... b œœœ ...
œœ . œ œ b œœ . œ œ.
& b 8 œœ .. œ œ. œ. œ.
Œ ‰
(ob., clar.)
π (clar.)
>œ .

col canto
? b 6 ∑ ∑ ∑
b 8

Early reception calls attention to “the general tone of the opera [which] is a little

somber; but if some would consider this a flaw, I consider it a quality because it shows

how the composer responded to the libretto’s content following the dramatic author’s

intention faithfully.”115 The somber tone can be associated with the theme that opens

the orchestral prelude, constitutes the main musical material of scene 3, links to scene 4,

recurs in scene 7 and 8, and closes the opera in the orchestra’s last statement.

115“O tom geral da partitura é um pouco lugubre, mas isto que para muitos será um defeito, para nós é
qualidade, porque mostra que o compositor cingiu-se a letra do libretto, acompanhando-a fielmente, sem
desviar da intenção do autor dramático.” (Gazeta de Notícias, [1895, article by Luís de Castro], quoted
in Melo 1908: 331)
Musical example No. 5: Carvalho’s Moema, Somber theme, from Preludio


b 6
& b b 8 œ. œ j œ.
œ œ.
? b 6 œ. œ j œ. œ.
bb 8 œ

The importance of the somber theme associated with the Moema-Paolo death-

fated love is shown in the Prelude, which opens with the somber theme. The Preludio

foreshadows that the Moema-Paolo love is death-fated, and by using other themes it

points to the reasons for that by stating musical material associated with key moments

of the plot, pivot decisions that lead up to Moema’s ill-fated love.

The most important musical material of the Scena e Racconto “L’aurora già

spuntava” (scene 3) is the somber theme, since it sets the tone of the scene at the very

beginning (piano vocal score p. 26, mm. 1-4), reappears in the middle of the scene in the

form of comment (counter-melody) (p. 31, mm. 69-72; p. 32, mm. 92-98; pp. 36-38,

mm. 128-133, mm. 140-141), and is a fundamental material of the closing segment of

this scene (p. 38, mm. 145-149). The somber theme not only installs the dramatic tone

of the scene 3 but also brings it to a conclusion. The appearance of the somber theme at

the beginning of the scene not only sets the tone of the scene but also anticipates its

dramatic outcome since the restatement of the somber theme in the closing segment

confirms that this scene did not bring any change to Moema’s fate. Since its first

appearance the somber theme determines that the love between Moema and Paolo is

doomed to death. The somber theme links the closing segment of scene 3 with scene 4,

the Scena “O ciel! salva il mio bene!” (p. 39, mm. 1-8).

In scene 7, the invocazzione the precedes Moema’s aria of suicide (piano vocal

score p. 70-74, mm. 44-90) opens with the recall of the recitativo “Tutto é silenzio!”

(piano vocal score p. 66, mm. 1-5) followed by the somber theme (piano vocal score p.

66, mm. 12-13). The episode of Moema stabbing herself with the knife (piano vocal

score p. 73, mm. 61-63) is set to the somber theme played by the orchestra. The somber

theme returns in the final scene (scene 8) when Moema’s father finds her dead (piano

vocal score pp. 77-8, mm. 18-25), in his final curse to Paolo “Tu fuggisti, o

aventuriero” (piano vocal score pp. 79-80, mm. 43-46), and in Tapyr’s dismay in the

final segment of the opera (piano vocal score p. 84, mm. 104-107).

The importance of the somber theme, made explicit by contemporary reception,

carries ideological implications of the impossibility of Indian-Portuguese love to the

construction of Brazil as a nation, shedding a pessimistic light on miscegenation and the

myth of national foundation.

The dissolution of the epic nature of the work by the operatic version is implied

in the lessening importance of the myth of conquest and national foundation, and in the

increasing importance of the romantic love encapsulated in the conventional figure of the

two lovers separated by two different worlds. Carvalho’s Moema deherofication of the

European man and herofication of the Indian female, along with the shift of emphasis

from the Indian male to the Indian female, points to an increasing tendency in

Indianismo of placing more and more the emphasis on the outcast. The undoing of the

myth of national foundation shifts from the optimistic to the pessimistic view of the

inter-ethnic contact, which brings the outcast to the foreground.

The Land of Outcasts: Jupyra and Marabá

The focus on the male noble savage as the genuine progenitor of Brazilian ethnic

origins conveyed by the paradigmatic opera Il Guarany shifts increasingly to the

representation of the Indian female with Delgado de Carvalho’s opera Moema, and

Francisco Braga’s symphonic poem Marabá and opera Jupyra. The increasing

emphasis on the Indian female with its symbolic associations with sensuality and the

sacrificial myth116 made miscegenation an ever pressing issue.

The issue of miscegenation is seen in a positive light as long as it is located at

the historical moment of encounter of two cultures (Santa Rita Durão’s Caramuru and

José de Alencar’s O Guarany), but in a negative light when dealing with mestizo

offspring (Gonçalves Dias’ Marabá and Bernardo Guimarães’ Jupyra), in which case

Brazil is represented as the land of outcasts. The figure of the outcast emerged from

secondary characters and subplots (such as Isabel from Alencar’s O Guarany) and was

placed in the foreground of the story to be told (Gonçalves Dias’ Marabá and

Bernardo Guimarães’ Jupyra). The outcast was usually embodied by a feminine

character, a gendered-attitude that converged with the European operatic fashion of

feminine portraits, such as Bizet’s Carmen (1875), Massenet’s Manon (1884) and

Thaïs (1894), and Puccini’s Manon Lescaut (1893) and La Bohème (1896), which were

all frequently performed in Rio de Janeiro during the 1890s.

The Indian and the Indian-mestizo female stirred Brazilian imagination. The

sensuality of exotic women appealed to the audience and to the composer as well. The

sensuality of the mestizo woman Marabá depicted in Gonçalves Dias’ widely-read

poem and Rodolfo Amoedo’s celebrated painting charged the composition and

116 Bosi (1992) proposed the idea of the sacrificial myth in Brazilian Indianist literature, and includes
an interesting analysis of Alencar’s Iracema.
reception of Francisco Braga’s symphonic poem, as it did the sensual dead nude

Moema of Vítor Meireles’s memorable painting and Rodolfo Bernardelli’s sculpture in

relationship to Assis Pacheco’s and Delgado de Carvalho’s operas. The sensuality of

the mestizo Jupyra was clearly stated by Francisco Braga as a motivation for composing

his opera: “the nationality of the subject Jupyra is a delicious, mouth-watering, dramatic

and very genuine Brazilian cabocla (backland mestizo woman).”117 That statement

must have reflected how the composer, like the Brazilian reader in general, reacted to

Guimarães’ graphic description of Jupyra:

If with savage clothes on Jupyra resembled Moema or Lindóia for her grace and
kindness, dressed like civilized people she was a seductive maiden able to stir the
heart and heat up the blood of an elderly anchorite. She was tall and well-
shaped. Her black, shiny, straight hair, like the feathers of the anu bird, was so
full and long that the beautiful cabocla, who hasn’t mastered the hair-styling art
yet, found herself into trouble fixing them up onto the top of her small head;
many times, her hair, as if rebelling against laces and prisons, broke them apart
spreading in freedom all over her tanned and sleek shoulders. Her well-shaped
eyes, a little raised in the outer edges, had sparkles in their black beads that
denounced her ardent temperament, and energetic and resolute soul. Her ruby,
pulpy, and moist mouth was like turgid honeycombs of the most ineffable
voluptuousness; when her mouth opened in a smile, it showed two lines of
extremely bright teeth, a little sharpened like the ones of carnivorous animals;
and her smile had a singular and indefinable expression of ingenuity and savage
ferociousness. All these charms and voluptuous contour were dazzlingly
enfolded by her original skin color of a peculiar golden pink tanned by the
sunrays that gave an appealing frame to her beautiful figure.118

117 “A nacionalidade do assunto da Jupyra é um deliciosa, apetitosa e dramática bem genuina cabocla
brasileira” (Letter by Francisco Braga to [Corbiniano] Vilaça, dated Dresden, 13 July 1897, quoted in
Hora 1953: 45)
118 “Se com trajos selváticos Jupira por seu garbo e gentileza fazia lembrar uma Moema ou Lindóia,
vestida à maneira da gente civilizada era uma rapariga sedutora, capaz de alvoroçar o coração e inflamar o
sangue de um anacoreta. Era alta e muito bem feita. Os cabelos negros, corredios e luzentes como asa
do anu, eram tão bastos e compridos que a linda cabocla ainda pouco adestrada na arte de se toucar, via-
se em apuros para acomodá-los sobre a sua pequena cabeça e muitas vezes rebelando-se contra as fitas e
prisões, as quebravam e tombando-lhe pelo colo se derramavam em liberdade pelos nédios e morenos
ombros. Os olhos um pouco levantados nos cantos exteriores, eram bem rasgados, e dardejavam das
pupilas negras lampejos, que denunciavam o ardor de seu temperamento e uma alma energética e
resoluta. Os lábios rubros, carnosos, e úmidos eram como dous favos túrgicos de mel da mais inefável
voluptuosidade, e quando se fendiam em um sorriso mostravam duas linhas de alvíssimos dentes um
pouco aguçados como os dos carnívoros, e seu sorriso tinha singular e indefinível expressão de
In another letter, the composer exposes what pathos guided his composition of

Jupyra when he started working on the music even before having the libretto: “I have

prepared and sketched scenes combining pathetic, dramatic and sensual effects even

without the libretto based on the many episodes that I recall from the celebrated story by

Bernardo Guimarães.”119 In other instances, the composer refers to the protagonist as

“charming little cabocla.”120

The Indian and the Indian-mestizo female were constructed as national Romantic

icons. Moema and Jupyra were icons of sensually exotic love-death. Marabá was the

icon of the castaway. Love-death and social abandonment were their historical destiny.

All these sensually exotic women fell into social displacement for their crossing over the

Indian and the white world. They were all outcasts embodying the sacrificial myth:

Moema and Jupyra had a physical death, and Marabá was socially dead. They all

conveyed a pessimistic view of miscegenation, and endorsed the view of Brazil as the

land of outcasts.

The short novel Jupyra, by Bernardo Guimarães,121 can be considered a

chronological succession of Alencar’s O Guarany.122 As Alencar’s novel concludes

ingenuidade e de selvática fereza. A todos esses encantos, a todas essas linhas e voluptuosas formas,
servia como de brilhante invólucro a tez de uma cor original, um róseo acaboclado, como que dourado
pelos raios do sol, que dava peregrino relevo a sua linda figura.” (Chapter 5 from Bernardo Guimarães’
Jupyra 1976: 162-3).
119 “Vou preparando, esboçando cenas e combinando efeitos patéticos, dramáticos, sensuais, mesmo
sem o libreto, guiando-me pelos diversos espisódios que conheço da célebre história de Bernardo
Guimaraes.” (Letter of Francisco Braga to [Corbiniano] Vilaça, dated Dresden, 13 July 1897, quoted in
Hora 1953: 45). Braga composed Jupyra in Capri Island in the Tirreno sea in the Neapolitan gulf
(Gomes 1937: 14). He worked on the orchestration in November of 1898 (Exposição [1968]: 13-19),
and concluded the composition in March or April of 1899. In 1935, he wrote a Fantasia for brass band
on themes from the opera Jupyra (Exposição [1968]: 13, 19). And in 1942 he composed a ballet
number (Bailado) that divided the opera into two acts (Postcard to Mimica, dated 20 May 1942,
according to Exposição [1968]: 36). See information on Jupyra’s premiere in Chapter 2.
120 “cabulosa caboclinha” (Hora 1953: 14)
121 Bernardo Joaquim da Silva Guimarães (1825-1884). The novel Jupyra was published in 1872 in the
book História e Tradições da Província de Minas Gerais, which also contained the novels A cabeça
with the promising union of the mythical couple in the emergence of the Brazilian

nation, Guimarães’ short novel narrates the destiny of the following generations

represented by the mestizo offspring Jupyra. Guimarães promotes an inversion on

Alencarian myth of national foundation by eliminating the noble origins of the

Portuguese and Indian progenitors and by putting emphasis on the social displacement

of their mestizo offspring.123

The story takes place in the hinterlands of Minas Gerais state, by the tributary

river Rio Verde. Jupyra’s father, José Luís, is a good man but he is not invested with the

noble status of the Portuguese colonist archetype (unlike D. Antonio Mariz from O

Guarany). Jupyra’s mother, Jurema, does not come from a noble and valorous Indian

tribe (unlike Pery from O Guarany) and lacks the high status within her tribe (attributed

to the chief’s daughter Paraguaçu from Durão’s Caramuru or Iracema from Alencar’s

novel Iracema). In fact, Jupyra’s mother belonged to an Indian community in decay:

“remnants of savage tribes from Goiás and Mato Grosso, fairly familiarized with the

white civilization but maintaining their own savage habits and independent nomadic

life.”124 Guimarães’s novel destroys the myth of the noble savage by describing

Jupyra’s Indian community as weak, vulnerable and unable to protect itself even from

other Indian communities. Therefore, Jupyra is a low-born mestiça from both sides

do Tiradentes and A Filha do Fazendeiro. (Alphonsus Guimarães Filho in Guimarães 1976: xxvi-
122 “El indigenismo de Guimarães remata en forma literária el tratamiento social del tema de la
integración comenzado por Alencar; es decir, es la continuación de la integración del indio e del
mameluco al sistema socio-político y económico del Brasil llevado al siglo XIX.” (Magrans 1995: 59-
123 The idea of Guimarães’ inversion of Alencar’s values was proposed by Magrans (1995). While
Magrans discusses inversion in relationship to the integration of the Indian into Brazilian society, I
also focus on its relationship to the myth of national foundation.
124 “restos de tribos selvagens vindas de Goiás e Mato Grosso, já algum tanto familiarizadas com a
sociedade dos brancos, mas conservando ainda os hábitos selváticos e a independência da vida errante.”
(Chapter 2 from Bernardo Guimarães’ Jupyra 1976: 144)
(father and mother), and does not represent the mythical fusion that gave origins to the

Brazilian nation (represented by Moacir from Alencar’s novel Iracema) but rather

represents Brazil’s fate as the land of outcasts.

Jupyra fits neither in the white nor in the Indian world. As a mestizo woman

who lived partly with the Indians and partly with the white, she cannot reconcile the

duality of her social, cultural and ethnic identity. The exotic beauty of Jupyra attracts

Indian and white men, but she is not attracted by either of them. Jupyra’s duality and

inability to integrate in any of these worlds represents Guimarães’ pessimistic view of

the integration of the Indian descendants into Brazilian society.125

Guimarães’ Jupyra received an operatic version in Portuguese by Escragnolle

Doria, 126 which was then put in Italian verses by the librettist A. Menotti Buja.127 The

opera surely oversimplifies the novel by omitting all the episodes in Jupyra’s early and

later life that contextualize her present actions, transforming the narrative of her social

displacement into Romantic conventional chain of love, betrayal, vengeance, remorse and

suicide. Despite severe oversimplification, the opera maintains Guimarães’ pessimistic

view of miscegenation with the undoing of the myth of national foundation and the

emphasis on the outcast.128

125 Magrans 1995: 61.

126 Luis d’Escragnolle Doria (1869-1948) is also the author of Dor (collection of stories, 1909),
Coisas do Passado (addendum of Revista do Instituto Histórico, vol LXXXII, II), and A Significação
da Obra do Ven. P. José de Anchieta, S.J., na História do Brasil (1910)
127 Antonio Menotti Buja was a minor librettist of Italian verismo; he also wrote the libretto of the
one-act “melodramma plebeo” Sacrificio! (Naples, 1897), set to music by M. Almada. (Scardovi 1994:
99, 147)
128 This one-act opera has 10 scenes indicated in the libretto and in the score. “Jupyra/ Dramma lirico/
Musica di/ Francisco Braga/ Capri/ 1899” (EM-UFRJ: autograph manuscript of full score). Printed
libretto with texts in Italian and Portuguese. Rio de Janeiro: Tipografia do Instituto Profissional, 1900,
41pp. Printed edition of the arrangement for voice and piano by Baby M. de Barros. Leipzig, Imp. C.
G. Röder, [1922]. (held by BNRJ). According to Azevedo (1938: 62), the orchestral material is held by
the Casa G. Ricordi & Co. of Brazil. Rubens Ricciardi is currently preparing a revised edition of this
opera to be published by the Orquestra Estadual de São Paulo.
Jupyra’s operatic version eliminates the protagonist’s progenitors, which results

in two consequences: first, it does not contextualize the protagonist socially; and,

secondly, it omits the novel’s undoing of the noble origins of the Brazilian nation. The

opera maintains the Indianismo convention of identifying the Indian with nature using

the same expression “the daughter of the forest” found in other Indianist works.

Compare, for instance, Jupyra singing about herself in scene 4 with Bernardo

Guimarães’ O ermo:

L’umile ancella indigena

Figlia de le foreste
Dal sogno suo celeste
T’affanna ridestar!129

[You do not want to awake humble Indian maiden, the daughter of the forest,
from her celestial dream./ A jovem e humilde indígena, filha da floresta, você não
quer despertar de um sonho celestial]

Sim, ó virgem dos trópicos formosa,

Nua e singela filha da floresta.130

[Yes, O delightful virgin of the tropics, naked and innocent daughter of the

129 Francisco Braga’s Jupyra, scene 4.

130 Bernardo Guimarães’ O ermo quoted in Brookshaw 1988: 47.
Musical example No. 6: Braga’s Jupyra, scene 4 “L’umile ancella indigena” (Jupyra)

Quasi Adagio
Jupyra molto espressivo
œœ œ nœ œ nœ. nœ œ
& b b b 43 ∑ J RJ J J J J R Œ
L'u - mi-le an - cella in - di - ge-na,

√˙ . √˙ . ˙.
b ˙˙ .. √œ √œ √œ ˙˙ .. √œ √œ √œ ˙˙ .. √œ √œ √œ
& b b b 43 œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
b 3 ˙. œ œ œ œ œ œ ˙˙ .. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ˙˙ .. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
& b b b 4 ˙˙ .. œ œ œ
œ œ
œ œ
œ œ
œ œ
œ œ

b j
& b bb b œ
œ œ nœ œ nœ ˙
Fi - - - glia de - le fo - re - - - ste,

√œ √œ œ œ œ
b œ
& b bb œ œ œ œnœbœ œ œ nn ˙œ .
œ œ ˙ œ œ œ œ
≈ ≈
b b bœ œ œ
œ œ
œ ? ˙˙ .. n œ œ œ œ œ œ ?
& b b ˙˙ œ n œœ
œ ˙ .& œ
œ œ
œ œ

b j n œ œ œJ ˙ œ œ
& b bb ‰
j œ J J
œ œ J R R
Dal so - gno - suo ce - le - - - - - ste T'af -

œ œ b ˙˙ .. œ œœ œ
n ˙˙˙ .. œ j œ œ œœ
bb b b ˙ .. œ nœ œ œ ˙. œ œ œœœ œœ œ
œ œ œ
& œ œœ œœœœ ‰ œ œœ œœ
œœ œœ
nœ œ œ œœ œ
? b b œ nœ œœ œ œ
œ œ
b b ˙. ˙.

b œ. j
& b bb œ œ bœ n˙ Œ
fan - - - - - na ri - de - star!

b˙ b œ œ œ n ˙˙˙ ... œ nœ œ
b b b b ˙˙˙ ... bœ œ œ œœ
œ œ n˙. nœ nœ œ
& b bœ œ œ œ œœ nœ œ œ œ œ œ œ
œ n ˙˙ nœ
? bb b œ œœ ˙˙ n œ œ œ œ œ œ
b ˙ œ œ œ œ œ
. ®

The novel promotes a full characterization of Jupyra by describing her

adventures in the wild (for instance, the bird hunting in chapter 3) and her resistance to

the European mode of behavior in which her father was trying to raise her:

The girl grew up beautiful, funny, and brisk like an ariranha otter. She was very
vivacious and discerning, but savage instinct predominated over her, and it was
only with much difficulty that her father, after seven years, obtained some results
in her education into civilization’s habits, so that she would put clothes on, sew,
read and write some. But many times they would bring her back from the wild,
nearly naked climbing in the tallest trees like a monkey, or swimming in the
deepest waters of the Verde river at the risk of been eaten by some jaú catfish or
sucuri anaconda.

A menina crescia linda, engraçada, e travessa como uma ariranha. Tinha muita
vivacidade e penetração, mas os instintos selváticos prevaleciam nela, e foi com
muita dificuldade que seu pai no fim de sete anos conseguiu que ela adquirisse
alguns costumes de civilização, andasse vestida, cosesse, lesse e escrevesse
alguma coisa. Muitas vezes a iam agarrar pelos matos quase nua, trepada como
macaco nas mais altas árvores, ou nadando nos profundos remansos do Rio
Verde em risco de ser devorada por algum jaú ou sucuri.131

The opera restricts Jupyra’s characterization to the Romantic metaphor “wild

flower” that opens the novel’s narrative, a metaphor of the feminine that also reinforces

the association between the untamed state of the Indian and Brazilian nature.

Jupira era também uma flor nova das selvas, que apenas abria o cálix às
vibrações do deserto.132

[Jupyra was also a young flower of the jungles/ wilderness, who just opened the
calyx to desert’s vibrations.]

Ed li silvano fiore
Fai lento ripiegar!133

[And you made the wild flower die slowly./ E a flor silvestre você faz murchar

Unlike Pery from O Guarany, Jupyra’s communion with nature made her

unsuitable to live within the white world. Her wilderness was intriguing but also

131 Chapter 2 from Bernardo Guimarães’ Jupyra (1976: 146)

132 Chapter 1 from Bernardo Guimarães’ Jupyra (1976: 139)
133 Francisco Braga’s Jupyra, scene 4.

appalling, and ultimately lead her to kill the man who betrayed the consummation of her

integration into the white world.

The operatic adaptation selects some characters and situations from the novel

emphasizing the love plot rather then the outcast’s life story standing for Brazilian

historical destiny. The simplification of the plot decontextualizes Jupyra and her actions

turning her into a mono-dimensional character. By omitting some characters and sub-

plots that balanced and contextualized the main plot, the opera withdraws much of

Jupyra’s characterization although it does not obliterate the ideological representation of

her fate as an outcast.

The opera suppresses the character of Baguari, the young Indian chief from a

brave tribe who expressed his strong attraction for Jupyra harassing her and threatening

her feeble tribe. The suppression of this character in the opera affects Jupyra’s

characterization, since Baguari triggered the earliest event in Jupyra’s life that made her

capable of murder. The novel then shows a sequence of situations in which the

sensuality of Jupyra arouses desire among the men in the white community, but she is

never approached since they all knew of her legendary murder of the impudent Indian

Baguari. The novel gradually constructs Jupyra as a social being who has to protect her

sexual self by reinforcing her latent power to kill. When Jupyra promotes the killing of

Carlito later in the novel, her action is contextualized into a string of events that shape

her behavior. Her mestizo condition and social displacement are the roots of her

behavior. By cutting the first two-thirds of the novel that promote a cumulative effect in

Jupyra’s characterization, the opera fails to depict Jupyra’s multi-dimensional character

tormented by social displacement, recasting her as a mono-dimensional character who

kills just out of jealousy.

The opera recounts only the later part of Guimarães’ novel (from chapter 7 to

10), which focuses on the love triangle among Jupyra, Carlito and Rosália, with the

fourth agency of Quirino. Jupyra and Carlito are lovers. Carlito betrays Jupyra by

searching for the love of Rosália. Quirino loves Jupyra and promises to kill Carlito in

exchange for her love. Contemporary newspaper publicized the opera with the following


The scene depicts a corner in the forest where a snakelike river flows; there is a
rustic cottage on the side. The night falls. Jupyra comes from the forest
melancholic contemplating the moon; Quirino comes towards her to confess his
passionate love, but Jupyra repels him assuring her love for Carlito. Quirino
wants to drag her into the forest, but flees upon Carlito’s arrival. However, it was
not love that had brought Carlito to Jupyra, so she sends him away. Jupyra was
jealous and suspecting, so she pretends going away but she hides behind the
bushes and overhears her beloved repeating to Rosália the same vows he had
made to her once, and, worse than that, despising Jupyra with injurious words.
Carlito and Rosália part. Jupyra stays alone, falls in despair and promises to take
revenge. Quirino shows up again, and Jupyra promises to be his if he revenges
her. Jupyra gives Quirino a knife demanding that he bring it back smudged with
the blood of the vile man who insulted her. They hear Carlito’s voice. Jupyra
and Quirino hide themselves. Full of presentiments, Rosália walks out of the
cottage towards Carlito pleading that he go back home and not risk himself in
the forest. Carlito smiles at her vain afflictions, calms her down, and departs,
disappearing into the forest. Carlito is surreptitiously followed by Quirino.
Jupyra advances towards Rosália threatening with ferocious expression and
letting her know about the revenge that will kill Carlito. Rosália falls into despair,
repels Jupyra with horror, condemns her for such an infamous act, predicting the
remorse that will follow the crime. Jupyra is disturbed by Rosália’s admonition,
and suddenly falls repentant. Jupyra wants to run to save Carlito but in this very
instant Quirino walks out of the forest showing the blooded knife and Carlito’s
cadaver floating on the river waters. Jupyra, driven by the deepest sorrow and
despair, jumps into the water screaming her last cry: Here, Carlito, I follow

134 “A cena representa um trecho de floresta onde serpeia um rio; ao lado uma casa rústica. Anoitece.
Jupyra vem da floresta contemplando melancolicamente a lua; sai-lhe ao encontro Quirino para
confessar-lhe a louca paixão que sente por ela, mas Jupyra repele-o, deixando advinhar o seu amor por
Carlito. Quirino quer arrastá-la consigo para a floresta, mas foge diante de Carlito que chega nesse
momento e salva-a. Não fora, porém o amor de Jupyra que ali trouxera Carlito e por isso ela procura
afastá-la [sic] [it must be afastá-lo or afastar-se]. Jupyra, ciumenta, desconfiada, finge retirar-se e
espreita escondida, para ver, coitada, o seu adorado Carlito repetindo a Rosália os juramentos que antes
lhe fizera, e ouvir as referências injuriosas com que agora a maltratava. Despedem-se Carlito e Rosália;
Jupyra, ficando só, desespera-se e jura vingar-se. Aparece de novo Quirino e Jupyra promete pertencer-
The love triangle between the Portuguese man, the Portuguese woman

(representing the legitimate love), and the dark skinned woman (representing the

illegitimate love) had a particular role in mythical narratives of national foundation such

as Durão’s Caramuru and Alencar’s O Guarany. The death of Moema and Isabel were

necessary to the mythical narrative since their immolation cleared the way to the rite of

passage of the mythical couple that would engender the Brazilian nation. Conversely, the

death of Jupyra was the outcome of her social displacement shedding a pessimistic light

on miscegenation and, therefore, on the future of Brazil as a nation.

None of the combinations that could be paired out the four characters (Jupyra,

Carlito, Quirino, and Rosália) equated with the original couple of the myth of national

foundation. The novel and the opera maintain the binary opposition between the chastity

of the white woman and the sensuality of the mestizo woman, but none of these women

were ideal breeds of the new nation: the white woman character is not constructed as

feminine perfection, and the mestizo woman is the one who kills instead of the one who

procreates. The two white male characters are far from being the masculine ideal

supported by the mythical narratives of national foundation: Carlito is fickle and

Quirino is impressionable. The four characters are symbols of the decayed white and

Indian culture, and their inter-ethnic contact.

lhe, com tanto que a vingue. Dá-lhe uma faca e pede-lhe que a traga tinta do sangue do homem vil que a
insultou. Ouve-se a voz de Carlito. Jupyra e Quirino escondem-se. Rosália sai de casa e em ao encontro
do amante, tomada de pressentimentos, pedindo-lhe que voltasse para casa e não se arriscasse na floresta.
Carlito sorri-se desses temores vãos, tranquiliza-a e parte, desaparecendo na mata seguido
traiçoeiramente por Quirino. Jupyra dirige-se então para Rosália, ameaçadora, e com expressão feroz dá-
lhe a perceber a sua vingança e o assassínio de Carlito. Rosália desespera-se, repele-a horrorizada, lança-
lhe em rosto o procedimento infame e prediz-lhe o s remorsos do crime. Jupyra perturba-se, vem-lhe de
súbito o arrependimento, quer correr em socorro de Carlito, mas Quirino nesse instante sai da floresta,
lança-lhe aos pés a faca ensanguentada e mostra-lhe o cadáver de Carlito que rodava nas águas do rio.
Jupyra, no auge da dor e do desespero, precipita-se também nas águas, ouvindo-se-lhe este último grito:
Eis-me, Carlito, eu te sigo!” (JC, 8 Oct. 1900, p. 2)
Although the opera omits the novel’s full contextualization of the characters’

social statuses, their actions are enough to rule out any positive view of national

foundation. The white man Carlito is clearly a frivolous white man who, after

consummating his carnal love for the mestizo woman Jupyra, turns to the feminine

chastity represented by the white woman Rosália, and does not hesitate to scorn his

Indian lover before her fair opposite:

Musical example No. 7: Braga’s Jupyra, scene 5 (Carlito)

Carlito (con gesto sprezzante)

# j œ j

V # 98 œ œJ #œ œ œ œ œ œ # œJ
2 2
∑ Œ ‰ ‰ J J
Per pas - sa - tem - po
un gior - no Pur io

# -
& # 98 ‰ œ œ œ

œ œ œ
œ. œ œ œ
œœ # œ # œ˙ .. œ. œœ . # œ N œœ . œ œ œ œ œ # œ . œ œ
? ## 9 ˙ . œ ˙. œ. œ. œ. œ.
8 ˙. œ #œ œ #œ œ œ œ œ
œ. œ. œ œœ .
œœ .
. œœ ..
2 5

# œ œ œ œ
V # # œJ J J J R œR œ . ‰ ‰ ‰ nœ œ. j œ
œ J œJ # œ œœ œ ‰ Œ ‰
vol - li co - no - scere L'a - mo - re d'una in - di - ge- na
‰ œ œ
nœ œ œ œ œ œ #œ.
## œ œ. œ œ
& #œ œ œ œ œ œ
œ. ˙. n˙. n ˙.
˙. œ œ œ
5 p
‰ œ œ œ
? ## œ . œ œ #œ œ œ œ nœ ˙. n œ nœ
˙. œ œ. ˙. ˙. Œ ‰

Per passatempo un giorno

Pur io volli conoscere
L’amore d’una indigena
Ma nel mio corritorno
Più non faranno i palpiti
Di quell’amor vilissimo.135

135 Francisco Braga’s Jupyra, scene 5.

[Once, just for fun, I wanted to experience the love of an Indian woman. But my
heart will never beat for this extremely vile love again./ Um dia, por passatempo,
eu quiz conhecer o amor de uma indígena. Mas meu coração nunca mais
palpitará por esse amor vilíssimo.]

Carlito’s statement quoted above not only reflects racial prejudice but also

European morality condemning inter-ethnic sexual contact. That statement has no

parallel in the novel, and was an addition to the opera. In the novel Carlito never

expresses or implies any prejudice against Jupyra’s mixed race. On that account, the

opera’s attributing of Carlito’s betrayal to his emotional inconsistency has different

implications from the novel.

The opening offstage chorus anticipates the tragic outcome of the opera singing

the volatility of human passions. This offstage chorus recurs in scene 5, when Jupyra

sees confirmed the betrayal of Carlito.

“Varia l’amor come la luna varia.

Mutevole é l’amor,
come incostanti
Sono i venti che spirano!

[Love changes as the moon changes. Love is as fleeting as the winds that we

Musical example No. 8: Braga’s Jupyra, scene 5, Chorus “Varia l’amor come la luna

(Canti lontani)
Moderato assai
j3 j j j j œj. r r r r
Sop I
bb c j œœ œœ œœœ ... œœ # œœ œœ œ . b œœ ˙˙ œœ
Œ ‰ b n œœœ œœ œœ œœ b œr œ
Sop II, III & œœ œ œ œ b œ œ œ. œ ˙ œ œ œ œ œœ œœ
Va - ria l'a - mor co - me la lu - na va - ria... Mu - te - vo - leè l'a - mor
j j j j j j j r j r r r
Tenor œ œœ œœ œœ .. œœ œœ œœ œœœ ... œœ ˙˙ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œr œœ
Bass ? b c œ J J J J J J R Œ ‰ J R R R R
b œ
J 3
œœ œœ
œ œœ
b b c œ
& J ‰ Ó

? b c
b j‰ Ó
œ œ

j j 3j j j j r
bb ‰ œj œj œœ œœ œ œ œ œ œ
b œ œ # œ œn œ œ j œ . œ œ

& œ nœ œ bœ œ n œ œ b œ œ n œœ b œœ .. œœ œ œ œ
come in - co - stan - ti Sono i ven - ti che spi - ra - no!
j j j j j j j j j r
œœ œœ b œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ . . œœ œœ
? b ‰ J
b J J J J J J J J R

The emphasis upon a single cause out of the larger context that can be inferred

from the novel has ideological implications. The tragic destiny of the inter-ethnic contact

accounted in the novel as a historical process is attributed in the opera solely to human

weaknesses. The interaction between historical destiny and human nature is reduced to

the latter, so the large context of Brazilian historicity is replaced by the flaw of human

agency. This interpretation is supported by contemporary reception:

This chorus, admirably harmonized in a succession of chords that give an effect

of exquisite flavor, translates well the meaning of those verses about the
inconstancy of love – an inconstancy that constitutes the dramatic pivot,
Carlito’s volubility forgetting the love he had vowed to Jupyra when inflamed by
the eyes of Rosália. This chorus is like the motto or epigraph of the score since
the spirit of the composition and the nerve of dramatic action derive entirely
from it. (…) Later, this chorus is heard again overlapping with the first measures
of the spartito. The pleasure is then doubled, for this little excerpt is of adorable
freshness, enchanting delicacy, perfume, and above all a nostalgic sentiment that
translates doubt, disbelief, and disillusion, feelings so well expressed in that
masterly conceived ninth chord.136

Rosália is not the white feminine archetype of the myth of national origins (like

Cecília from Alencar’s O Guarany). The novel informs that Rosália is of humble

origins, and the opera shows her conceding to Carlito’s fondling, which does not make

her the chaste feminine ideal. Furthermore, the opera does not engage Rosália in any

major action that could support her as the feminine perfection prototype. On the

contrary, her prejudiced statement “repugnant race, vile race!”137 against Jupyra would

rather prove the opposite. Rosália did not have any line in the novel, so statements such

as “You, savage, put the knife in the rival’s hand with ferocious joy, evil-bewitching

goddess”138 were instances in which the opera added an ethnocentric representation of

the Indian that did not quite match with the novels’ Naturalist approach to the wild

outpouring of Jupyra. Jupyra and Rosália never had a hostile confrontation in the novel.

The insertion of the scene in which Jupyra declares to Rosália that she would take

revenge upon Carlito’s betrayal followed by Rosália’s cursing and despising of Jupyra

in the opera (scene 9) seems therefore to be an attempt to spice up a libretto lacking

136 “Esse coro admiravelmente harmonizado em uma sucessão de acordes que dão um efeito de esquisito
sabor, traduz bem o sentido daqueles versos em que se fala da inconstância do amor – inconstância que
forma o eixo do drama, pela volubilidade de Carlito esquecendo o amor que jurara a Jupyra, quando o
inflamam os olhares de Rosália. Esse coro é como que a ementa ou a epígrafe da partitura pois que dele
se deriva o espírito da composição, o nervo da ação dramática. (…) Ouve-se, então, novamente esse
coro que pressiona também nos primeiros compassos do spartito. É dobrado o prazer que agora se
experimenta ao ouvir-se ela segunda vez esse pequenino trecho, adorável de frescura, encantador pela sua
delicadeza, pelo seu perfume e principalmente por aquele sentimento nostálgico que traduz a dúvida, a
descrença e a desilusão, sentimento que tão bem exprime um felicíssimo acorde de nona.” (JC, 10 Oct.
1900, p. 3)
137 “Razza abbieta, razza vile!” (Francisco Braga’s Jupyra, scene 9)
138 “Tu selvagia, un freddo stile/ Nella mano del rival/ Con feroce gioia hai mess,/ Tentatrice iddia del
mal!” (Francisco Braga’s Jupyra, scene 9)
dynamic plot development. The opera added the sole distinguishing mark in Rosália’s

characterization by making her the carrier of the presage,139 which was nothing more

than a common place or convention of Romantic opera.

Neither can Quirino be equated with the white man archetype of the myth of

national origins since he betrays his self-integrity by conspiring with Jupyra in killing

Carlito in exchange for her love. The opera depicts the Indian woman as an evil force

influencing the loving white man: “The devil of vengeance stirs my heart, arms my

intrepid hand, and makes me a murderer.”140

As an Indian-Portuguese offspring, Jupyra does not support a positive view of

the unfolding of the myth of national foundation. If she is to be considered the symbolic

descendant of the Brazilian nation’s original couple, her character has weaknesses that

do not match the archetypal magnitude of her mythical progenitors. Jupyra is driven by

passion, a feature that could not frame any mythical view of national foundation.

Jupyra acts upon her feelings of vengeance in plotting with Quirino to kill

Carlito. Not until too late does Jupyra fall in remorse and attempt to avoid the

consummation of his murder. The novel leaves unexplained why Jupyra does not kill

Carlito with her own hands, since she had legendarily been capable of murdering the

139 Rosália dreams with open eyes that Carlito is in life risk: “Un orrendo Presentimento turbami./
Ritorna, ritorna alla tua casa./ Scongiura, mio Carlito, una sventura!/ Non so! M’ascolta/ La stanca
palpebra lenta calavo, Senza dormire purti sognavo…/ Il lume un’ultimo guizzo mandò,/ La fitta
tenebra mi circondò./ Sorsi! la tacita, fredda stanzetta/ Mi parve un’umile tomba negletta…/ E la tua
voce mi scese in cor, come presagio di gra dolor! Ahi! non aventurarti, Carlito mio! Non aventurarti
laggiù!” [Houve um clarão e tudo escurecei ao meu redor. O silencioso e frio quarto pareceia-me um
túmul abandonado... A sua voz ressoava no meu coração como um presságio de grande dor! Não se
arrisque, meu Carlito! Não vá para lá!] (Francisco Braga’s Jupyra, scene 8)
140 “Della vendetta il demone nel core mio s’annida, M’arma la mano intrepida, ed io mi fo omicida.”
[O demônio da vingança anima-se em meu coração. Ele arma a minha mão intrépida e faz-me
homicida.] (Francisco Braga’s Jupyra, scene 7)
brave Indian Baguari. Through the mouth of Rosália,141 the opera offers a version that

Jupyra’s love for Carlito was not true and deep enough to turn into hatred and make

Jupyra revengefully kill her ungrateful beloved with her own hands.

The novel does not justify Jupyra’s passionate love, revenge and murder solely

on the basis of European love conventions but also through the biological determinism

of Naturalism: the flaws of the inferior race eventually become manifest under the

pressure of extreme circumstances. Also, Jupyra’s doomed behavior is not contrasted to

the need of conversion. The theme of conversion, which fulfills the necessary rite-of-

passage of national foundational narratives (such as Durão’s Caramuru and Alencar’s

O Guarany), is not present in Guimarães novel. Jupyra’s doomed behavior is attributed

to her race and is outside the context of religion, but instead in the context of romantic

love and the contact between the civilized and the primitive, the superior and the inferior

race. The transposition of Romantic conventions of love, betrayal, vengeance, remorse

and suicide in the new context of Indian-Portuguese encounter is not simply exoticism,

but responds to the new ideology of biological determinism upon which Naturalism was

based. Jupyra’s frenzied actions are the result of both the primitiveness of her racial

stock and her social displacement.

In no moment does the libretto legitimize the Portuguese and Indian love

through any rite of passage. On the contrary, the rite of passage that both of them go

through (death) is in fact their punishment. While foundational narratives sanction inter-

ethnic relations making it a necessary element of the myth of national origins,

141Rosália says: “Mi fai orrore!/ ti scotsta!/ Era mensogna,/ Era calcolo abbietto l’amor tuo!/ Non
arma l’altrui manchi d’un deriso/ Amor vuol vendicarsi!/ affronta e uccide!” [You horrify me!/ Go away
from me!/ It was a lie!/ Your love was a abject trickery! Love that seeks vengeance does not put the
arms in someone ele’se hand/ but faces it and kill!] (Francisco Braga’s Jupyra, scene 9)
Guimarães’ Jupyra expresses a pessimistic view of the outcome of this historical inter-

ethnic contact, and Carvalho’s opera goes even further to denigrate miscegenation.

The opera gives a different spin to the novel’s pessimistic view of inter-ethnic

contact by further implicating the moral corruption of the white world by the mestizo

woman. The above mentioned racially prejudiced expressions stated by Carlito and

Rosália in the opera depreciate Jupyra’s moral qualities. While in the novel Carlito is a

curious man attracted to love affairs of all sorts and all colors, in the opera, Carlito is

seduced by the illicit love of the mestizo woman. While in the novel Quirino is driven to

murder because he is enraptured by Jupyra’s sensuality, in the opera Quirino becomes a

murderer by the “evil” influence of Jupyra. The racially discriminatory remarks of

Carlito and Rosália in the opera also imply that the love between Carlito and Rosália is

more legitimate than the love between Carlito and Jupyra, and, therefore, Jupyra’s

revenge is depicted as the factor leading to the destruction of the promising, legitimate

love of the white couple. Also, Jupyra’s revenge drives the fair Rosália into madness.

For all that it entails, the opera’s message is that the Indian corrupts the Portuguese


The death of Jupyra is also symbolic of her social displacement. The way

Jupyra dies in the novel represents how she comes to terms with the duality of her

identity: Jupyra disappears and finds death outside the eyes of the white and the Indian

community. A woman’s skeleton is eventually found hanging in a tree in the depths of

the forest, from which it is presumed that Jupyra committed suicide. The suggested

image of Jupyra wandering in the depths of the forest until she finds death is extremely

symbolic of her social displacement. The tormented wandering of her last moments is

the climax of her tormented life in continuous search for identity. The opera condenses

this image by depicting Jupyra’s death with a brief action of her jumping into the depths

of the water, before Rosália and Quirino’s eyes, as she sees the dead body of her

beloved Carlito floating in the river.142 The death of Jupyra is witnessed by society in

the operatic version, implying a value judgement not present in the novel. On that single

event, Jupyra was condemned and punished not only by herself but also by society.

Despite those differences, the novel and the opera depict Jupyra as an outcast,

and in both versions Jupyra resolves her social displacement through self-punishment

committing suicide. Ultimately, Jupyra’s death was the necessary outcome of her social

displacement. Jupyra embodies the failure of the historical contact between the

Portuguese and the Indian, constructing a view of Brazil as the land of outcasts.

The figure of the outcast was embodied by two characters in Brazilian literature:

Jupyra and Marabá. Each of them gave a different turn to the issue of social

displacement resulting from miscegenation. While Jupyra did not feel she belonged

either to the white or the Indian world consistently rejecting them, Marabá was

stigmatized and rejected by both worlds. Also, while the novel Jupyra and its operatic

version constructed a historicist view of national identity through the unfolding of their

fictional and dramatic narrative, the lyric poem Marabá encapsulated the essence of

Brazilian identity through images and metaphors of miscegenation and the fatality of

social displacement. Braga’s symphonic poem Marabá translated this essentialist view

into music largely by selecting a genre that does not rely on plot development but on the

poetic grasp of its subject. Marabá constituted the first musical work expressing an

142The opera promotes some further changes in the unhappy end of the novel. While Carlito, Jupyra
and Quirino die in the novel, the opera adopts the literary convention of killing only the protagonist
couple. While Rosália is the only one who stays alive in the novel, the opera keeps the two secondary
characters, Quirino and Rosália, alive. Quirino is killed by Jupyra in the novel, but only cursed by
Rosália in the opera. Rosália, who has an unnoticed end in the novel, is driven into madness in the
essentialist view of Brazilian identity, and it was not by chance that this essentialist view

was expressed through the symphonic poem. Braga’s Marabá shows an essentialist

view of national identity in its own genre: as a symphonic poem, it reveals “ ‘a poetic

grasp’ of its subject rather than spinning a ‘coarse historical fabric’ (…) suggesting a

characterization rather than telling a story.”143 In the symphonic poem “characters can

meditate musically without the interference of action or intermediary of words.”144 The

literary poem and the symphonic poem Marabá constructed an essentialist view of

national identity that transcended the historicist view offered by the novelistic and the

operatic genre. Marabá was not only a “historical race” but embodied the essence of

the Brazilian miscegenated soul. The literary and pictorial tradition of Marabá made her

the major icon of the social castaway. However, because of its close association with

Landscape, Braga’s symphonic poem on the subject will be discussed in chapter 5.

Moema represented the historicist view of national identity since she was the

Indian female to be immolated: her love-death and self-sacrifice fulfilled the mythical

narrative of national foundation. Jupyra continued the historicist perpective on Brazilian

national identity by conveying her love-death and self-punishment as a historical fatality.

Marabá’s exile from the Indian and the white world encapsulated not only social

displacement but ultimately social death. As an icon, Marabá symbolized social

displacement in its essence.

Brazilian literary tradition gave a tragic end to the sensually exotic Indian female.

Moema and Jupyra had a physical death, and Marabá suffered a social death. The

operas constructed all the Indian and Indian-mixed women that had undergone physical

or social death as outcasts. Even Moema, who was originally the Indian maiden who

143 Dahlhaus 1989: 145.

144 Conrad 1977: 7.
accomplished the sacrificial myth for the sake of the original couple of the mythical

narrative of national foundation, was turned into an outcast by the operatic version.

Brazilian music had then two icons of sensually exotic love-death in Moema and Jupyra,

and the paramount icon of social abandonment in Marabá. All these sensually exotic

women fell into social displacement as a result of crossing over form the Indian to the

white world. Social displacement was their historical destiny. They all conveyed a

pessimistic view of miscegenation endorsing the view of Brazil as the land of outcasts.


Brazilian nature has been a literary and pictorial subject since Colonial times.

The different emphasis on its associated meanings has implied changing perceptions

and ideologies. The attitudes towards nature that have characterized Brazilian literature

can be divided into five categories: (1) the Edenic vision, which prevailed during

Colonial times, was partially retained during the nineteenth century, and returned in the

early twentieth century; (2) nature as poetic emotion associated with inner life, and (3)

nature as historic locale, both of which were predominant during the nineteenth century;

(4) nature as local color pervaded to a higher or lesser extent since the first writings of

the age of discovery and colonization until the twentieth-century; and (5) ufanismo

(boastfulness), an exacerbation of Edenic vision with highly nationalist tenets that had

its peak in the first half of the twentieth century. These attitudes towards nature in

Brazilian literature are reflections of a larger cultural set, and can be considered a chart

for Brazilian cultural history. Brazilian music since the 1870s has reflected the different

attitudes towards nature that have made up Brazilian cultural history, although not

necessarily concomitantly with their occurrence in the other arts.

Nature was of major importance to the construction of Brazilian literature,

painting, and, as I argue in this study, in music as well. As we shall see in this chapter,

Landscape topos was a recurring issue in Brazilian nineteenth-century culture, starting

in literature with Ferdinand Denis (1826), Gonçalves de Magalhães (1836), Macedo

Soares (1857), followed by painting with the reactions to the Imperial Academy of Fine

Arts’ propositions on national painting (1879), the Grimm group, the work of the

landscape painter Antônio Parreiras, the issues voice by the art critic and historian

Gonzaga-Duque (1888, 1899), the iconographic representation of Brazil at the

Columbian World Exposition in Chicago (1893), and finally reaching music with

Antonio Carlos Gomes (1870, 1889), Francisco Braga (1892; 1894, 1897-8), Alberto

Nepomuceno (1896), Silvio Deolindo Fróes (1903-5), and Heitor Villa-Lobos (from

1917). The substantial number of works with evocative titles reveals the importance of

landscape topos in Brazilian late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century music.

Brazilian music of the period reflects “the efforts to construct a tradition

focused on nature” that shaped Brazilian literature and visual arts.1 Brazilian music of

the late nineteenth and early twentieth century reflects the many attitudes towards nature

and landscape that have characterized Brazilian literature and visual arts. Brazilian

composers’ interest in orchestral music, specially the symphonic poem, allowed the

production of descriptive music associated with landscape topos. Sunrise, bird calls and

forest sounds predominate in the Brazilian musical imagination associated with

landscape of the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century. Along with pieces

using folk and popular tunes and rhythms, landscape was an important element of

nationalization of Brazilian music of the period.

This chapter propounds that landscape was a major topos in Brazilian art music

since the Brazilian Romantic period and was continued by Villa-Lobos in the twentieth

century. The nationalist import of this topos was established in music by Carlos Gomes

with the intermezzo “Alvorada” (Prelude to Act IV) of his opera Lo Schiavo (1889).

Gomes’ attitude towards nature description was the result of a well-established

nationalist canon in Brazilian literature as well as of nationalist criteria that came to

preeminence in Brazilian art criticism since the 1880s. Informed by the national-identity

1 Coutinho 1973: 36.

index of landscape topos in Brazilian culture of the time, composers since Gomes could

draw from a stock of descriptive musical formulae available in European music (such as

arpeggios representing forest murmurs, seawave and river waters, and the 6/8 rhythm for

pastoral themes). This chapter discusses the ways in which Brazilian composers from

Gomes until Villa-Lobos dealt with landscape and the kind of meanings the musical

works associated with this topos might have conveyed at the time of their early


The increasing importance of landscape not only as a topos but also as a genre

brought literature, painting and music together. From a minor genre, landscape gradually

rose to a major genre that became key to the development of all arts since it allowed not

only the emancipation from old models but also the nationalization of literature, painting

and music. In literature, landscape poetry replaced epic poetry, and landscape

description was mandatory to the characterization of local setting in the historical novel.

In the fine arts, landscape emerged from the background of painting to become the

central subject of artistic creation and a genre on its own, earning a rank previously held

only by historical and religious painting. Music was no exception, and raised the

“descriptive” approach to landscape as tone-painting to the “poetic” approach

promoting the interiorization of landscape as a subjective experience by rendering

character, moods, and poetic substance. The poeticization of landscape searched to

express musically the emotional reality of landscape more than to paint it in its realistic

details.2 Nineteenth-century distinction between descriptive (“lower”) and poetic

(“higher”) approaches to musical landscape affected the aesthetic valuation of genres

employing it, such as the Lied, the character piece, opera, and symphonic music. The

2 The distinction between “descriptive” and “poetic” music is based on Dahlhaus 1989: 142-152.
three arts (literature, painting and music) made landscape an integral part of major

genres, and ultimately emancipated it as a subject on its own right. In his insightful

article “Landscape and music,” Rosen has stressed that “more than a parallel,” the

achievements towards landscape in the many arts supported each other, and were all part

of a “cohesive development.”3

This mutual relation of music, literature and painting allows the identification of

cultural categories that rendered musical works meaningful to their contemporary

audiences. Cultural categories associated with landscape were made largely explicit in

the critical writings on literature and painting. This body of coeval writings and recent

studies on Brazilian literature and painting has informed my interpretation of coeval

music criticism of the works discussed in this chapter. Those cultural categories are

taken as shaping factors of the associated meanings of landscape shared by

contemporary reception. Compositional practice coined musical formulae of landscape

(whether descriptive or poetic) that were ultimately metaphorical expressions of cultural

categories constructed verbally and pictorially in the other arts. Brazilian composers

borrowed musical formulae from European music and ultimately transformed them so

as to convey local color and national feelings.

Gomes was the first Brazilian composer to respond to landscape as a cultural

category. By searching for musical counterparts to literary and pictorial conventions,

Gomes established two attitudes towards landscape that became key to the following

generations of Brazilian composers: landscape as poetic experience associated with

inner life in Al chiaro di luna: meditazione, and landscape as a nationalist topos in the

intermezzo “Alvorada.”

3 Rosen 1995: 125.

Landscape as Poetic Emotion: Al chiaro di luna and Paysage

Landscape was fundamental to the Romantic experience. Romantic landscape

promoted a “sentimental interiorization of nature” that equated “nature with poetic

experience,” and considered “landscape as a vehicle for expressing subjective

feelings.”4 Lyric poetry of landscape had its parallel in Brazilian music with works

such as Carlos Gomes’ Al chiaro di luna: meditazione for violin and piano in G (n.d.) ;

Alexandre Levy’s Scene à la mer for cello and piano (n.d.; in co-authorship with

Frederico Nascimento); Francisco Braga’s Paysage (1892), Chant d’automne (1893),

Sol poente (n.d.), and Anoitecendo (c. 1907); and Henrique Oswald’s Il Neige! (1902),

Paysage d’automne (1898; Étude for piano No. 10, orchestrated in 1910 with this

descriptive title), and Sur la plage.

Al chiaro di luna is among Gomes’ earliest approaches to the lyric piece of

landscape. It combines pastoral conventions with Romantic codes of subjectivity

suggesting the interiorization of landscape as poetic experience. The tempo Andante

tranquillo in 6/8 establishes its pastoral character. The G major key, which has a fairly

long tradition associated with pastoral, dissociates the piece from the usual F major

convention for horn calls and hunting scenes, and helps to establish a nightly

atmosphere leaning toward subjectivity. Ascending sixteenth-note arpeggios evolving in

a written ritardando (from eighth-note to quarter-note) open the piece creating a

descriptive nightly atmosphere. This evocative introduction is followed by a cantabile

melody that, instead of adopting the pastoral pattern of “lilting melodies in conjunct

4 Candido 1981, 1: 210; Coutinho 1968: 64; and Mattos 1999: 101.
motion,”5 uses long notes in wide leaps up and down imputing the meditative tone of

the piece. It is as if melodic inflections rendered the motion of psychological and

affective kind in a contemplative moment upon the impact of nature. Also, the melody is

not played by a wind instrument, which the pastoral convention would associate it with

nature, but by the violin associating it with the human voice, soul, and feelings.

Landscape is evoked by the piano accompaniment in ascending eighth-note arpeggios

over sustained pedals of instrumental nocturne convention; the long pedal points on the

tonic recall drone basses of pastoral convention. Melodic association with inner life over

a pastoral accompaniment embodies the Romantic interiorization of nature approaching

“landscape as a vehicle for expressing subjective feelings.”

Musical example No. 9: Gomes’s Al chiaro di luna: meditazione for violin and piano

œ œ.
# 6
Andante tranquillo
œ. œ. œ œ œ œ œ ˙.œ.
& 8 œœ œœ œ œœœœ œ
œ œ œ œ
?# 6 œœ œœ œœ ˙˙ .. ˙˙ .
8 œ. œ. ˙. ˙. ˙ ..
° sim. *

# Cantabile
œ. œœœ j œ. œ #œ œ
∑ œ. œœ
& œ. œ. œ. œ bœ œ. œ œ œ œ
œ. œ
œ. œ
# J ‰ ‰ Œ ‰ .
& œ Œ ‰ œ. Œ ‰ œ. Œ ‰ œ. Œ ‰ Œ ‰ œ.
p cresc.

œ œ œ œ
?# ∑ œ Œ ‰ œ Œ ‰ œ Œ ‰ œ Œ ‰ œœ Œ ‰ nœ œ Œ ‰
œ. œ. œ. œ. œ. #œ.

5 According to Chew and Jander 1980: 292.

Romantic sentimental interiorization of nature tended to express landscape as a

reality framed as moment and place.6 Romantic temporalization of landscape evoking

nightly atmosphere, moonlight, twilight, sunrise, autumn-, winter-, and spring-time, was a

common phenomenon among the arts, and was expressed in music through genres such

as the nocturne and serenade, and evocative titles such as “al chiaro di luna.” Likewise,

Romantic localization of landscape as a creek, a garden, a mountain, the woods, and so

forth usually searched for the representation of a specific recognizable site. The

Romantic conception of landscape as a temporalized and localized reality coined

“portrait” landscape as a genre that opened the path to two attitudes that became key to

nationalism in Brazilian literature, painting, and, as I propose in this chapter, in music as

well; namely, the expression of feelings and ideas evoked by a given scenery, and the

portraying of local color.

Portrait-landscape established a close bound between music and painting since it

“conveyed feelings and ideas like music, without reference to history or myth, merely

by the arrangement of the elements of nature on canvas.”7 Henrique Oswald

approached some of his musical pieces as portrait-landscape, especially Il Neige!,

Paysage d’automne and Sur la plage. As these descriptive titles suggest, the composer

remained associated with Europe, the continent he spent most of his life, and his works

evoke typical European seasons such as the Fall with Paysage d’automne and snowfall

of the European winter with Il Neige!; and the French riviera with Sur la plage.

6 Some poets predating the Romantic movement in Brazil express a tangible sense of nature as
landscape. The “subjetivismo naturista” [naturist subjectivism] replaces nature as principle (a
supposedly “universal” aesthetic category) by nature as locale (garden, creek) and moment (dawn,
sunset, spring). Poems such as Francisco Vilela Barbosa’s “Primavera” (1819); José Bonifácio’s “O
Inverno (epístola sobre a primavera),” and “Uma tarde (meditação sobre o crepúsculo),” and Borges de
Barros’ “A Noite – no mar” opened the path to Romantic sentimental interiorization of nature framed as
a localized and temporalized landscape. (Candido 1981, 1: 210)
7 Rosen 1995: 131.

Contemporary criticism usually translated poetically the power of music to

express the lyricism triggered by a particular landscape. The early reception of Il Neige!

illustrates Romantic poeticization of musical landscape. By the time Henrique Oswald

earned recognition in France with the Paris Figaro Award in 1902, Il Neige! was

accounted for by René Lara as the following: “some winter landscape, the slow,

monotonous fall of the white flakes on the mysterious silence of lonely fields.”8 The

French critic’s perception is a typical case of Romantic attitude towards landscape that

survived in the early-twentieth century. “For the Romantics, nature is a place of refuge,

dream, and meditation. The Romantic identifies him with nature in search for a

correspondence between his feelings and landscape.”9

The “feeling of nature” prevailing in Romantic literature and painting informed

the reception of musical works evoking landscape. From a poetic emotion associated

with inner life, “the feeling of nature becomes a physical need, and nature imposes itself

by its presence.”10 The feeling of nature as presence lead to a synesthetic type of

perception – the blending of visual, aural, and olfactory senses – that connects

composer’s and listener’s subjectivity with landscape.

Synesthetic perception came to be characteristic of French belle époque, the

Brazilian vogue of which corresponding exactly to the period in which the critic wrote

the following article on Braga’s Paysage:

Francisco Braga describes his inspirations with rare eloquence. One feels
landscape as the composer paints it with sounds: the rustic simplicity, the
effulgent brilliance of his profoundly blue sky, the openness of a wide horizon
that looses itself far away, the resplendence of an immense nature that exhales a

8 Le Figaro, 8 Nov. 1902 (the day after the award), quoted in Martins 1995: 71.
9 Coutinho 1968: 164.
10 Coutinho 1968: 64.

delicious, inebriating perfume... One feels and enjoys all that when listening to
this enchanting music.11

Landscape constructed a close bound between poetic experience and the senses.

Sensorial and poetic experience associated with Braga’s Paysage by its early reception

may be ascribed to some of its musical features. Firstly, Braga’s Paysage explores

further the combination of pastoral conventions with Romantic codes of subjectivity that

has been noted in Gomes’ Al chiaro di luna. Paysage presents pastoral conventions

such as the trochaic rhythm within the 12/8 time signature in theme group A (musical

example No. 10) and the parallel thirds played by the flutes in theme group B (musical

example No. 11).

Musical example No. 10: Braga’s Paysage, theme group A

Calmo e sostenuto
# 12 j j
& # 8 œ œ œ. œ œ œ œ œ œ œj œ j œ . j
œ œ œ.
? # # 12 œ œ œ . œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
8 J J J œ œ. œ œ œ.

Musical example No. 11: Braga’s Paysage, theme group B

. .
œœ. œœ. œœ œœ. œœ.
# # œœ. œœ. œœ œœ. œœ œœ œ œœ œœ œœ œ
œœ œœ œœ œ œœ œœ œœ. . œœ^ ..
œ œœ

11 “Francisco Braga foi de uma eloquência rara na maneira de descrever-nos as suas inspirações./ Aquela
paisagem sente-se assim como ele no-la pinta em sons: a simplicidade rústica, o brilho fulgurante de
um céu profundamente azul, o vago de um horizonte vasto que se perde lá ao longe, a resplandecência de
uma natureza imensa que exala um delicioso perfume inebriante.../ Tudo isso sente-se e goza-se
escutando essa música encantadora.” (JC, 23 Jan. 1901, p. 4, T&M)
Secondly, the minimizing of word-painting or onomatopoeic sounds allows

musical expression towards abstraction. For not falling into realistic detail, Braga’s

Paysage implies in a poetic approach to landscape that relies in musical metaphors

rather than description. This approach to landscape points to a kind of subjectivity in

which “the self contemplates itself projected into nature rather than look outwards.”12

Contemporary criticism recognized refined harmony, exquisitely colorful

orchestration, ever-changing thematic treatment, and polyphonic writing as distinctive

features of Braga’s Paysage. These features can be considered among the poeticizing

elements of musical landscape perceived by its early reception.

What a fortunate conception! What a rich polyphony! What an elegant harmony

that does not fall into the bizarre, that is sober but not monotonous! What a
thematic work always anew, interesting and plenty! Orchestration is distinctively
treated. What a fine color! What a mighty sound that never strains over the
admissible limits! How much sincerity in the choice of expressive means! How
exuberant, splendorous and brilliant!13

Paysage’s thematic treatment indicates that this symphonic prelude falls into the

realm of “poetry in music” since the pervading rhythmic and melodic design of theme

group A establishes its mood and imparts unity into the piece.14 The work evolves from

theme group A rhythmic and melodic design, contrasted with theme group B. The lack

of thematic transformation places Paysage outside the symphonic poem genre, as

remarked by a German contemporary critic:

The program notes did not include an explanatory text for Paysage. The work is
less a Lisztian symphonic composition than the product of the impression

12 I apply to music here Moisés’s (1989: 100) idea in commenting upon literature.
13 “Que concepções felizes; que riqueza polifônica; que harmonização elegante sem ser bizarra, comedida
sem ser monótona; que trabalho temático sempre novo, interessante e cheio; com distinção está tratada
a orquestração; que finíssimo colorido; que sonoridade possante sem nunca ultrapassar os limites do
admissível; quanta sinceridade na escolha dos meios de expressão; quanta exuberância, esplendor e
brilho!” (JC, 23 Jan. 1901, p. 4, T&M: article by an unidentified critic who was JC’s special
correspondent from São Paulo)
14 This particular notion of “poetry in music” is exposed by Dahlhaus (1989: 144-5).

triggered by landscape, and its grace and flow impressed as much as its skillful

Braga’s orchestration of Paysage with strings and woodwinds also caught the

attention of contemporary reception, which qualified it as simple yet refined, temperate

yet graceful. That kind of orchestral sound suggests contemporary perception of the

work’s association with nature as poetic experience (such as stated in the above

mentioned articles by São Paulo and German critics).

Finally, Paysage’s harmonic progressions influenced by French Late

Romanticism was perceived by coeval reception as “elegant but not bizarre,” and

“sober but not monotonous” (as it is stated in the São Paulo correspondent’s article).

Braga’s Paysage reflects the influence of French culture in Brazil that lead Francisco

Braga to the Paris Conservatory. This work is “among the first ambitious works by the

young composer,”16 and was composed in Versailles in the Fall of 1892,17 during the

period of his studies with Massenet, when he also composed Chant d’automne, another

work evoking landscape.

Works such as Gomes’ Al chiaro di luna, Oswald’s Il Neige! and Paysage

d’automne, and Braga’s Paysage, Chant d’automne, Sol poente, and Anoitecendo are

15 “A Paysage não trazia texto explicativo no programa. É menos uma composição sinfônica no estilo
de Liszt do que o produto da impressão de uma paisagem, cuja graça e fluência impressionaram tanto
quanto a sua hábil instrumentação.” (Article about the concert at the Gewerbehause published in the
Dresden Anzeiger, 6 March 1897, and transcribed in JC, 4 April 1897)
16 Almeida 1942: 440.
17 Braga’s Paysage is available in the following sources: (1) Manuscript authograph for orchestra,

partt. 20 pp. The title page reads: “Orchestra/ Paysage/ Preludio Symphonico/ por/ Francisco Braga/
Versailles, 16 d’agosto de 1892.” The signature page reads: “Versailles, 16 d’out 1892/ Francisco
Braga.” The last page reads: “Executado pela vez no Rio de Janeiro/ sob a direcção de Maestro
Vincenzo Cernichiaro.” This authograph is hold by ENM-UFRJ; and (2) Printed score, piano
transcription for four hands (Paris, E. Delobisse, Grav.; Paris, Imp. A. Chaimbaud & Cie., ch. nº C.L.
65 [The Castro Lima publishing house probably got this score printed in Paris, as it was usual in
Brazil during that period], partt. prima e seconda partes, 13 pp. The frontpage reads: “à Monsieur
Rodrigues Barbosa [the music critic of Rio de Janeiro’s daily newspaper JC]/ Paysage/ Prélude
Symphonique/ pour Orchestre/ par Francisco Braga/ Transcrit pour le Piano à 4 mains/ par Emile
Lamberg.” The printed piano score is hold by BNRJ.
the musical counterpart to the poeticization of landscape in literature and painting. The

poetic approach to landscape allowed a subjective experience that was expressed in all

Romantic arts. The Romantic search for a correspondence between one’s feelings and

landscape was expressed through literary, pictorial and musical genres, in which

meaning emerged from their mutual relation.

Landscape as Nationalist topos

The subjectivity associated with portrait-landscape gave way to the

representation of national feelings through landscape and local color in literature,

painting, and, as I propose in this chapter, in music as well. “The search for

representing national feelings through landscape and local color has its roots in the

Romantic movement, which considered landscape as an expressive means of

subjectivity.”18 The sympathetic relationship between a localized, temporalized

landscape and individual sensibility was the basis of a major manifestation of Brazilian

Romantic literature, which had landscape as the stimulus and expression of

Likewise, music reflected a nationalization process of landscape that was of

major importance to Brazilian composers since Carlos Gomes and became key to Villa-

Lobos’s Modernism. The European landscape lexicon evoking pastoral, snow fall,

sunset, nocturnal and autumn scenes went through a process of nationalization. Pastoral

scenes were nationalized with Alexandre Levy’s “À beira do regato” [At the creek

bank], the third movement from the Suite brésilienne (1890), and Braga’s Tarde de

18 Mattos 1999: 101 footnote 46.

19 Candido 1981, 1: 210-1.
estio [Summer afternoon] for orchestra (1891), and Impressões da roça [Rural

Impressions] in F for woodwind quintet (1905) with the movements “De manhã” [In

the Morning], “Idílio pastoril” [Pastoral idyll], and “Cena campestre” [Countryside

scene]. Nocturnal scenes became “serestas” with Braga’s Diálogo sonoro ao luar:

Seresta [Sonorous dialogue in the moonlight: serenade] for alto saxophone and

bombardino in Gm (n.d.; printed in 1946). Sunrise earned preponderance over sunset as

a national symbol with Gomes’ “Alvorada,” Braga’s Marabá, Nepomuceno’s

“Alvorada na serra” [Dawn in the highhills], the first movement from the Série

Brasileira (1896), Silvio Deolindo Fróes’ “Vozes D’Alva” [Voices of the Dawn] from

Paisagens Tropicais - Paysages tropicaux (1903-5),20 and Villa-Lobos’ Amazonas

(1917) and Alvorada na Floresta Tropical [Dawn in a Tropical Forest] (1953).

European birds such as the nightingale and the cuckoo were replaced by Brazilian birds

such as the sabiá (song-grush) in Gomes’ “Alvorada,” and Nepomuceno’s “Alvorada

na serra;” the siriema (crested cariama) in Manuel Joaquim de Macedo’s storm in the

second act of the opera Tiradentes (1897); and the uirapuru in Villa-Lobos’ Uirapuru

(1917). In addition to the previously mentioned works, one may call attention to Adolfo

de Melo’s (1861-1926) Nas Selvas [In the jungles] (n.d.), with “melody and harmonies

imitating birdcalls”21; and Meneleu Campos’s Suite brésilienne with the movements

“Anoitecendo” [Nightfall] and “Alvorecendo” [Dawning] (1909).22 This group of

works shows that after 1889 Brazilian composers substantially used landscape topos

with some nationalist intention.

20 Silvio Deolindo Fróes’ Paisagens Tropicais - Paysages tropicaux (Op. 17, 18 e 19, ca. 1903-5) is
among the first works by a Brazilian composer reflecting Debussyan influence.
21 Almeida 1942: 414.
22 Meneleu Campos’ “Alvorecendo” premiered at the concert of the Fourth Latin-American Congress of
Medicine in 1909, conducted by Nepomuceno. (Corrêa 1985: 36)
The landscape boom in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Brazilian

music echoed the nationalizing process that had long occurred in Brazilian literature and

was in full force in Brazilian painting. The nationalization of Brazilian literature had

started in the first half of the nineteenth century with Indianismo. Since the second half

of the nineteenth century, the nationalization of Brazilian painting became a major

element in Brazilian artists’ and critics’ agenda and focused mainly on landscape, at this

point not restricted to Indianismo aesthetics, but encompassing several approaches to the

observable local scenery, including wild, rural and urban landscapes. Differently from

the Romantic movement in Brazilian literature, Brazilian musical Romanticism was not

born as a nationalist project. While nationalism was the driving force of Brazilian

Romantic literary movement since its beginnings, only gradually was it projected into

Brazilian musical concerns. Although the nationalization of Brazilian music had not

started with landscape,23 this topos came to be important especially after 1889 (Gomes’

“Alvorada”), and its meanings were associated to a large extent with the literary and

pictorial imagination.

Nature description constituted a major element in the first prescriptive texts

towards the nationalization of Brazilian literature since the first decades of the nineteenth

century. Ferdinand Denis’ Résumé de l’Histoire Littéraire du Portugal, suivi du

Résumé de l’Histoire Littéraire du Brésil (1826) emphasized the role of the

“American” nature in distinguishing Brazilian literature from the European. Denis

defined Brazil as “a young nation whose ‘national genius’ can be identified with

nature,” among other elements, including the Indian. For Denis, “American” nature

23The earliest nationalist works by Brazilian composers make use of Black rhythm - Gomes’ A
Cayumba, Dança de Negros (1856) - and popular music’s tune, rhythms, and harmonic progressions -
Brasílio Itiberê da Cunha’s A Sertaneja (publ. 1869). (Béhague 1966: 167-177; Magaldi 1994: 284-
must sustain “the art works of this first enthusiastic moment that attests the young age

of a people.”24

The first group of Brazilian writers with an explicit nationalist program (the

“grupo da Niterói”) followed Denis’s ideas about the role of Brazilian landscape in the

nationalization of literature. The manifesto-like article by Domingos José Gonçalves de

Magalhães’ “Ensaio sobre a História da Literatura do Brasil” (1836) reiterated

Denis’s emphasis on local nature as an active principle for the construction of Brazilian

literature’s originality and uniqueness.25 As exposed in the previous chapter,

Magalhães’ nationalist ideas echoed outside the literary realm. Its impact in music

referred not only to the valorization of the Indian but also to the importance given to

Brazilian nature.

The assessment of the influence of nature has been a criterion of aesthetic

judgement since the 1830s.26 Pereira da Silva’s critical study “Estudos sobre a

literatura” [Studies on literature], published in Niterói (1836) No. 2, criticized Brazilian

poets for evoking Greek mythology instead of “singing the beauty of the palm trees, the

pleasing riverbanks of the Amazon and Prata rivers, the virgin forests, the superstitions

and thoughts of our fellow people, their uses, costumes and religion.”27

The ideas defended by Francisco Adolfo Varnhagen in his Ensaio histórico

(1853) agrees with Gonçalves de Magalhães and Pereira da Silva in respect to the

“nativist principle implied in Romantic valorization of local color, native land symbols,

nature and landscape considered as homeland, in order to identify the national character

24 Quoted in Weber 1997: 33.

25 Candido 1981, 2: 13; Coutinho 1969, 2: 303.
26 Coutinho 1968: 72.
27 Quoted in Lima 1984: 142.
of [literary] works.”28 Varnhagen, who was the official historian of the Second Empire,

promoted the revival of the literature of the first centuries of discovery and colonization,

which consisted mainly of the writings of missionaries and explorers, histories, poetry

and prose fiction.29 Nineteenth-century revival of Colonial writings perceived some of

these texts as the first manifestations of the “nativista” feeling, which inspired many

Romantic writers in accomplishing the nationalization of Brazilian literature by giving

especial place to nature description and to the Indian. “Seventeenth- and eighteenth-

century works were incorporated into the Romantic canon under construction for their

local color and description of the native land.”30

The importance of Brazilian nature in constructing national literature was

reiterated during the apogee of Brazilian literary Romanticism. In “Considerações

sobre a atualidade de nossa literatura” [Considerations of the current state of our

literature] (1857) Macedo Soares states: “Regarding nature, which is considered an

element of nationality in literature, where can one find it with more life, beauty and

poetry (...) than in the tropics?”31

Teixeira e Sousa asserts the importance of landscape in Romanticism in the

epigraph to his novel O Filho do Pescador [The fisherman’s son] (1859), labeled by

the author “Brazilian novel”: “Nature description is the writer’s blueprint. Any
28 Nunes 1998: 221.
29 According to Leite (1983: 157) “nearly all works from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries
(Pero de Magalhães Gandavo, Tratado da Terra do Brasil (c. 1570); Gabriel Soares de Souza, Tratado
descritivo do Brasil (1587), Padre Fernão Cardim, Tratados da Terra e Gente do Brasil (c.1590);
Ambrósio Fernandes Brandão, Diálogos das Grandezas do Brasil (1618)) remained unplished, and were
recovered and valued only in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, by Brazilian scholars.” For a
systematic study on these works and their literary valorization, see José Aderaldo Castelo, A Literatura
Brasileira; Wilson Martins, “A Literatura e o Conhecimento da Terra” In Coutinho (1955, 1: 175-
188); Candido (1959, 1: 17-22); Candido (1988: 29); and also the comentators of modern editions of
the already mentioned works, such as E. Pereira Filho (1965).
30 Nunes 1998: 221.
31 Quoted in Candido 1981, 2: 10.

mediocre talent can describe those sceneries; but depict them with the true, accurate

colors in their proper place is unquestionably the most difficult accomplishment in

descriptive poetry and nature painting.”32

The widely-read Brazilian Romantic novelist José de Alencar was a great

landscaper. Alencar’s popularity among his contemporaries was due to a large extent to

the long passages describing the local scenery in most of his novels.

Essentially visual, essentially poet, Alencar described extensively the native [or
local] color, where one can find plenty of “mango’s and caju’s acridness,” and
landscapes embedded in intense tropicalism (…) Alencar’s pages of landscape
description earned him public fondness, and were even learned by heart during
that age in which Brazilians were learning the first letters and Alencar was a
mandatory reading.33

Still in the last decades of the nineteenth century, many members of the Brazilian

intelligentsia considered nature and landscape important elements of national identity.

Nature was an important issue in Machado de Assis’s article “Instinto de

Nacionalidade” [Instinct of Nationality] (1872). In tracing the development of Brazilian

literature, Assis makes a distinction between the “local color” found in Colonial writers

such as Basílio e Durão, and the literary independence accomplished during the

nineteenth century. Although rejecting nationalist immoderation, Assis recognizes the

limited role of local color in the process of nationalization of Brazilian literature, and of

Brazilian nature as an important source of contemporary literary imagination.34

32 Sousa 1859: 9, quoted in Coutinho 1969, 2: 230.

33 Linhares 1987: 93.
34 Coutinho 1968: 5-6.

Antonio Carlos Gomes was the first composer to respond to the nationalist

significance of landscape. His response, however, came really tangible with Lo Schiavo

(1889) and not fully with his Indianist opera Il Guarany (1870). Il Guarany has a short

passage of descriptive music in the opening of Act II in Pery’s Scena ed Aria “Son

giunto in tempo!” – “Vanto io pur superba cuna” that reveals Gomes’ musical

approach to Indianismo.

The identification of the Indian with nature was constructed through literary

conventions. Indianismo “was intrinsically linked to the appeal that Brazilian nature and

landscape had on Romantic literary spirit,” and the “bringing in literature of the most

peculiar element of American civilization, the Indian, was a way of embodying the

feeling of nature, since the Indian was part of local landscape and the true carrier of

national cultural uniqueness.”35

Although Gomes was not the first composer to write an Indianist opera, he was

the first to search for musical expression of Indianismo nationalist precepts. In addition

to the exoticist approach to Indian dances and rhythms mentioned in the previous

chapter, Gomes searched for musical formulae that could embody Indianismo’s

emphasis on landscape, and the identification of the Indian with nature as a convention.

Dramatic context establishes the association between the Indian and his surrounding

nature through music by presenting that particular descriptive musical formulae (forest

murmurs) for the first time in the opera only when Pery is alone in the jungle. The

scenery shows a cave in the dense woods, and Pery sings “I arrived … like a hidden

snake, sliding between the thickets and thornbushes.” Gomes constructed a musical

35 Coutinho 1968: 92; and Coutinho 1969, 2: 309.

approach that translates a literary convention by combining descriptive music (see

musical example No. 12) with an appropriate dramatic context, and it is in that sense that

Gomes’ approach to Indianismo became a paradigm to Braga in Marabá and Jupyra.

Yet, Pery’s scene indicates that Gomes had not achieved a substantial degree of

nationalization of musical landscape in Il Guarany, since its descriptive musical formula

for forest murmurs shows tangible influence of European music.

Musical example No. 12: Gomes’s Il Guarany, the opening of Act II in Pery’s Scena
ed Aria “Son giunto in tempo!” – “Vanto io pur superba cuna”

Allegro Vivacissimo
& 8 bœ. œ œ bœ j ‰ ‰ bœ. œ œ bœ
˙. b œœ œ b œ œ œ n œ b œ n œ œ b œ œ b œ b œ œ b œ œ ˙.
∏ J cresc. dim.

? 86 b œ œ œ œ œ œ b ˙œ . œ œ œ œ œ b ˙œ . œ œ œ œ œ b œ˙ . œ œ œ œ œ b b œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ

& j ‰ ‰ bœ.
b œœ œ b œ œ œ n œ b œ n œ œ b œ œ b œ b œ œ b œ œ ˙. œ œ b œ b œœ œ b œ œ œ n œ
J cresc. dim. J
? b œœ œ œ œ œ œ b œœ œ œ œ œ œ b œœ œ œ œ œ œ b œœ œ
b œ œ b œ œ b œ œ b œœ œ œœ œ b b œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ

& ∑
b œ˙ .n œ œ b œ œ b œ b œœ œ b œ œ b œ œ b œ
J œ œ #œ œ œ #œ nœ œ
? b b œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ b b œ œ œ œ œ b œ œ œ ˙.
œ b œ b œœ œ b œœ ˙ .
œ œ œ œ œ œ ‰ œ #œ œ œ

Œ ‰ ‰ ‰ œœœ
& ∑ Œ ‰ 3
j j‰ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
œ œ œ œ œ bœ œ œ J‰‰
. j
? ˙.
Œ ‰ b œ .. b ˙ .. œœ œ‰ ‰ Œœ ‰
œ œ
œ œ ˙ œ œ œ
# œ̇ œ # œ œ # œ œ b œ œ œ b œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œœœ
œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ

œ œ b œ. œ. œ. .
œ > œ b œ. œ.
J j j‰ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ‰ ‰
& ‰ ‰b œœ ..

bœ. ˙˙œ .. œ œ b œ œ b œœœ

œ J
J 3 ƒ
œœ b œ œœ œ œœ œ œœ b œ œœ œ œ œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ b œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ
œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ

. . œ œ # œ œJ Œ >
& œ œ b œ. œ. œ j ‰

œ œ b œ b œœ œ b œ œ œ n œ
. œ. œ 3 ˙.
∏ p J
? œ œ œ bb ˙œ œ œ œ œ œ
b œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ œ œ œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ bb œ˙ . œ œ .
œ œ œ œ

& œ b œ œ b œ j ‰ ‰ nœ. œ # œ n œ b n œœ b œ œ œ
bœ nœ bœ œ bœ œ b ˙.
J #œ œ #œ œ œ #œ œ nœ
? bb ˙œ œ œ œ œ œ bb œ˙ œ œ œ œ œ n n œ˙ œ œ œ œ œ n n ˙œ œ œ œ œ œ nn ˙œ œ œ œ œ œ
. . . . .

& j ‰ ‰ bœ. œ œ bœ .
œ bœ œ #œ > œ b œ n œ œ # œ œ b >œ œ œ bœ œ bœ nœ œ #œ œ
cresc. sempre

?nn ˙œ œ œ œ œ œ b ˙œ .# œ œ œ œ œ b ˙œ . # œ œ œ œ œ b ˙œ .# œ œ œ œ œ b œ˙ . # œ œ œ œ œ

& bœ bœ œ bœ œ #œ œ bœ œ #œ œ œ œ #œ œ #œ œ œ #œ
> œ b œ >œ # œ œ > >
? b œœ # œ œœ œ œœ œ b œœ # œ œœ œ œœ œ b # œœœœ ‰ ‰ œœœ ... # œœœ ‰ ‰ œœœœ ....

œ bœ nœ n œœœ # # # œœœ œœ # # œœ # œœœ n b œœœ # # n œœœ n œœœ

& œœ # # œœ œœ n b œœœ # #n œœœ n n œœœ # ## œœœ # œœ b n œœ n # œœ œ # œ
œ # œ #œ
j cresc.

? œœ ‰ ‰ Œ ‰ ∑ ∑

bœ nœ œ #œ œ œ b œ. œ. œ. .
# # # œœœ # œœœ b n œœ n # œœ n œœ # # œœ # œ b œ. œ.
œ. # œ. b œ. Œ
& ‰ ∑
ƒ œ. œ. œ. .
bœ œ œ œ œ # bœ
? ∑ # œœœ œœ œœ # œœœ ‰ ‰ J Œ Œ ‰

Although this passage does not convey local color and nationalist descriptive

formulae, it became a paradigm for Brazilian composers in the following generations for

its musical approach to a literary convention expressing some sense of nationality.

Therefore, it is not a matter of direct musical influence through particular descriptive

formulae but of conception, i.e., how to absorb literary experiences into music. By

selecting the identification of the Indian with nature among the many Indianismo

conventions, Gomes established a musical code that would eventually become a

nationalizing element in Brazilian music. With Pery’s scene, Gomes opened the path to

a musical approach to Indianismo convention of identifying the Indian with nature,

which will eventually enter in the Brazilian nationalist musical lexicon influencing

composers such as Francisco Braga (Marabá and Jupyra) and Villa-Lobos (Uirapuru).

It is difficult to say whether Gomes had or not the intention of expressing the

particularities of the Brazilian landscape in his 1870 opera, but it seems clear that by the

late 1880s Gomes was better conscious of landscape as a nationalist topos, since in

“Alvorada” he looked for a more personal way of writing descriptive music and created

musical parallels to literary and pictorial nationalist conventions of landscape.

The composition and early reception of Gomes’ Prelude “Alvorada” was

informed not only by the nationalist status that landscape had in Brazilian literature, but

also by current issues in the visual arts. The decade before Gomes’ opera Lo Schiavo

was marked by the discussion of the nationalization of Brazilian painting. The first

debates about the identity of Brazilian art gave special importance to landscape. The

Academia Imperial de Belas Artes [Imperial Academy of Fine Arts] took a public stand

on the problem of the construction of Brazilian art in 1879, and promoted the Exposição

Geral [General Exhibition] with the especial section “Coleção de quadros nacionais

formando a Escola Brasileira” [Collection of national paintings constituting the

Brazilian School]. Brazilian intellectuals and artists reacted to the official positioning of

the Imperial Academy giving rise to a wide discussion that reveals a number of different

views of what constitutes Brazilian art. The most systematic criticism came from the

periodical Revista Illustrada, which criticized the Imperial Academy’s teaching and

production, and emphasized the importance of landscape painters. Felix Ferreira’s book

Belas Artes: Estudos e Apreciações [Fine arts, studies and appreciation] (1885)

considered that only landscape and genre painting were propitious alternatives to the

flourishing of national art in Brazil.36

Gonzaga-Duque (1888), a sharp critic of contemporary art, denounced the

misrepresentation of Brazilian landscape:

Brazilian landscape has been interpreted in the same way [European, particularly
the French] masters have interpreted landscape from other regions. It is difficult
to know which nature painters of those genres intend to represent. Even when
they imitate accurately the general aspects of nature, they irreverently falsify
local color.37

Therefore, the issue involved not only the claim that landscape should be the

major nationalizing element of Brazilian painting but also how to accomplish it.

A tangible evidence that Gomes was in one way or another sensitive to landscape

issue in Brazilian painting is that his attempt to evoke Brazilian nature came only after

the polemics aroused by the 1879 Imperial Academy Exhibition, with his opera Lo

Schiavo (1889). Only after landscape had become a critical issue in the nationalization

of Brazilian painting did Gomes concern himself with evoking Brazilian birds, forest,

sunrise, hills, and so forth. Also, it seems that Gomes’ purpose of describing the local

scenery lead him to a more personal way of writing musical landscape in his Prelude


With “Alvorada” Gomes set a paradigm for Brazilian musical imagination by

creating a tropical landscape with native birds singing at the sunrise in a local setting.

36 Chiarelli 1995: 18-20.

37 Quoted in Chiarelli 1995: 29.
The conception of landscape as a localized and temporalized reality allowed the

nationalization of landscape upon the musical rendition of literary and pictorial

conventions that were readily recognized by contemporary reception.

Gomes’ musical use of native birdcalls was informed by a long tradition in

Brazilian poetry that precedes the nationalism of Romantic writers. The first poetic use

of Brazilian birdcalls dates back to the eighteenth century with Nuno Marques Pereira’s

Compêndio Narrativo do Peregrino da América (1728), in which the poet makes a

“tribute to national ornithology… alluding in each quatrain to one or more birds: sabiá

(song-trush), curió (finch), canário (canary), sanhaço (tanager), papa-arroz (ricebird),

beija-flor (humming-bird), pica-pau (woodpecker), aracuã (chachalaca), lavandeira

(waterchat, sandpiper or plover), juriti (dove), araponga (bellbird), periquito (parakeet),

papagaio (parrot), tucano (toucan), among others.”38

Lá cantava o Sabiá
Um recitado de amor
Em doce metro sonoro
Que as mais aves despertou

[The sabiá bird sung over there a love recital in sweet sonorous meter waking up
the other birds.]

The sabiá was also used by Gonçalves de Magalhães in Suspiros Poéticos e

Saudades [Poetic Sighs and Longings] (1836), a collection of poetry considered to have

inaugurated Brazilian literary Romanticism. In this work, the sabiá is used as a

nationalist element in opposition to the nightingale. With Magalhães, the sabiá becomes

an ideological statement as much as the Indian.39 Already in Magalhães’ first book of

poetry Poesias (1832), contemporary criticism recognized the poetic use of the sabiá as

a nationalizing element:

38 Coutinho 1968: 283.

39 Coutinho 1969, 1: 77.
Among the recommendable qualities of Mr. Magalhães, his love for Brazil
cannot be ignored. Thanks to him the majestic mango tree replaced the poplar
and the oak tree, and the Brazilian sabiá dethroned the European nightingale.40

The paradigmatic use of sabiá bird in Brazilian literature was established by the

Romantic poet Gonçalves Dias in his famous poem “Canção do Exílio”41 [Song of

Exile] from Primeiros Cantos [First Songs] (1846):

Minha terra tem palmeiras,

Onde canta o Sabiá;
As aves que aqui gorjeiam,
Não gorjeiam como lá.

[My country has palm-trees/ where the sabiá sings;/ The birds warbling here/ do
not warble like those over there.]42

Casimiro de Abreu wrote three poems influenced by Gonçalves Dias’s poem,

two of which with the same title (1856 and 1857), and another quoting the first two

verses of Dias’ poem (“Minha Terra,” 1856). All of these poems mention the sabiá

bird. The refrain of “Canção do Exílio” of 1857 from As Primaveras reads:43

Se eu tenho de morrer na flor dos anos,

Meu Deus! não seja já;
Eu quero ouvir na laranjeira, à tarde,
Cantar o sabiá!

[If I am to die young, my God, do not let it be now yet; I want to listen to the
sabiá singing on the orange tree in the afternoon]

The sabiá became the favorite bird of Brazilian Romantic poets, and was often

associated with lyricism, as in Casimiro de Abreu’s poem “Minha Terra” (1856):44

Da selva o vate inspirado,

40 “Entre as qualidades que recomendam o Sr. Magalhães, não deve ser esquecido o seu amor ao Brasil.
Graças a ele, lá a majestosa mangueira substituiu os choupos e os carvalhos, já o Sabiá Brasiliense
desentronou o rouxinol da Europa.” (Rocha 1833: 56)
41 The Spanish José Amat, opera impresario, composer and singer settled in Rio de Janeiro between
1848 and 1865, set music to Dias’ “Canção do Exílio,” which was published as the first piece of
Mélodies Brésiliennes (1852). (Marcondes 1998: 30; see musical analysis in Magaldi 1994: 300-1)
42 Translation based on Haberly (1983: 28) and Brookshaw (1988: 44)
43 Abreu 1926: 21.
44 Carvalho 1925: 155; Coutinho 1969, 2: 171.

O sabiá namorado,
Na laranjeira pousado
Soltava ternos gorjeios.

[The poet of the jungle, the loving sabiá, warbled sweetly standing on the orange

Dias’s widely known poem “Canção do Exílio” had a prominent role in

Brazilian nineteenth-century imagination and informed Brazilian Romantic composers

in the making of musical landscape. The nationalist statement implied in the use of the

sabiá birdsong in musical works can be considered as important as it was in literature, as

it is indeed shown by the already mentioned article reprinted in JC, 22 November 1900

p. 4 (see transcription in Chapter 3). The sabiá birdsong is used for the first time in

music in Gomes’ “Alvorada” (see musical example No. 12) in the making of a tropical

sunrise landscape.

Musical example No. 13: Gomes’ Lo Schiavo, Prelude “Alvorada,” sabiá bird call

Andantino ^Giusto^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
≈ # œj œ œj œ ≈ œ
# # Fl.c ‰ œR ≈ œ ≈ œ ≈ œ ≈ œ ≈ œ ≈ œ ≈ œ ≈ œ ≈ œ ≈ œ ≈ œ ≈ œ ≈ œ ≈ œ ≈ œ ≈ œ ≈ œ ≈ œ ≈ # œ
j j j j j j j j j j
œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ

& ≈ ≈
f p f p f p f p
vibrata l'appaggiatura
œ ˙œ œ
? # # c ˙ww œ . œ ˙˙ œ œ ˙ ˙
w w
^j ^j ^j ^j ^j ^j ^j
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
^j ^j #œ
œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ≈œ œ ≈œ œ ≈œ œ
# # # œ ≈ œ œ ≈ œ œ ≈œ œ œ œ ≈ œ # œ # œ ≈ œ ≈ œ ≈ œ œ ≈ œ ≈ œ ≈ œ # œ ≈ ≈ ≈
j j ^j j j j j j j j j
#œ œ #œ œ œ œ œ œ œ #œ

& ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈

? ## ˙ ˙ #w ww
& # www # ww

# Ÿ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ # Ÿ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ # Ÿ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ nŸ~~~~~~~~


w w w ˙ Ÿ~~~~~~~
## ˙
π p
## j j j j j j j j j j
& # # œœ œœ œœ- œ-œ œ-œ œ-œ # # œœ- œœ- œœ- œ-œ œ-œ œ-œ # # œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ # # œœ œœ œ j
> > > > > > >œ # œœ œœ

Gomes’ skillful writing for the wind instruments, especially woodwinds, reveals

the background Gomes had acquired in band music during his young years with his

father Manuel José Gomes, the “Maneco Músico.” Carlos Gomes’ inventiveness is

also apparent in the long sequence of birdcalls distinguished by different trills and

figurations depicting the wide variety of Brazilian fauna. This sequence of unidentified

birdcalls can be associated with Brazilian birds not only for their lack of reference to

European birds but also because their amazing diversity evokes the literary convention

that constructed the Edenic view of Brazilian nature.

Musical example No. 14: Gomes’ Lo Schiavo, Prelude “Alvorada,” long sequence of
varied Brazilian bird calls

œ. œ. œ. œ. œ œ œ œ.
Allegretto animato
œ. œ. œ. œ.
# ‰ j ‰ j
(Fl. I & II)
‰ j ‰
& # c œ. œ œ
œ œ
. œ œ œ
. œ œ œ
. œ
. . . . 3
π (Vln. I divisi)
œ. œ.
## œ.
3 3 3 3

& c ‰ œ œœ ‰ œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ Ó ‰ Œ

œ œ œ œ. œ. œ. œ. œ. œ. œ.
## œ œ.
j(Fl. I & II)
œ. œ
œ. œ
& 3
‰ ‰ ‰ ‰ œ. ‰ œ. ‰ œ. ‰ œ. ‰
œ. œ. œ. œ. œ. œ. œ. œ. ∏ 3
## œ. œ. œ. œ.
3 3 3

‰ ‰ ‰ ‰ ‰ œ ‰ œœ ‰ œœ ‰ œ
œœ œ œ œœ
3 3 3

œ. œ. œ. œ.
œ. œ. œ. œ.
(Fl. I & II)
## œ. ‰ œ. ‰ œ. ‰ œ. ‰
j j j j
œ œ œ œ
& ‰ ‰ ‰ ‰
œ. œ. œ. œ.
(Vln. I divisi) œ. œ. œ. œ. œ. œ. œ. œ.
# œ. œ. œ. œ. œ ‰ œ ‰ œ ‰ œ
& # ‰ ‰ ‰ ‰ ‰
œœ œœ œœ œœ
3 3 3 3
3 3 3 3

Although Gomes had populated his musical dawn with a large variety of

birdcalls that could in one way or another be associated with national landscape, later

reception did not spare him for inappropriately inserting a cuckoo call (probably

borrowed from Beethoven’s Pastoral) in the middle of a Brazilian forest, as remarked

by the critic of the article reprinted in JC, 22 November 1900 (see transcription in

Chapter 3).

Musical example No. 15: Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, cuckoo call

> > > > Ÿ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

12 Œ ‰ Œ œJ œJ ‰ œJ œJ ‰ œJ œ œ ‰ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ w . œ. œ nœ œ .

b b Flute
& 8 J‰Ó
œ. œ œ
œ. œ œ œ. œ œ œ. œ œ
b 12
Ó. Œ. J‰‰Œ J‰‰Œ J‰ J ‰ ‰ Ó.
&b 8 ∑ Œ

b Clarinet
12 œCuckoo
œ ‰ Œ. œ œ ‰ Œ. œœ‰ œ œ ‰ Ó.
&b 8 ∑ ∑

Musical example No. 16: Gomes’ Lo Schiavo, Prelude “Alvorada,” cuckoo call

œ. œ. œ. œ.
œ R ≈ U‰ œ R ≈ ‰ UÓ œ R ≈ ‰ UÓ
# j j
œR ≈ ‰ j j

& # ‰ .. ‰ .. ‰. ‰.
œ œ œ œ
fp fp f p fp

An analysis of the dramatic and tonal context in which the cuckoo call occurs

indicates that the critic misunderstood the use of the European bird call by the Brazilian

composer. Gomes did not intend the cuckoo call to be part of the Brazilian landscape

but a contrasting element evoking Europe. That intention is suggested by the modal

context resulting from the pitches of the cuckoo call and its harmonic background

interpreted in the light of the extra-musical meanings of the annotations in the piano

reduction score (plate number 52989) evoking the distance and oldness of European

civilization (see further analysis below).

Gomes’ localization of landscape into national boundaries by evoking native

birdcalls in “Alvorada” was followed by Alberto Nepomuceno’s “Alvorada na serra”

(sabiá birdsong; see musical example No. 30, and musical analysis in Béhague 1967:

242-6), Manuel Joaquim de Macedo’s storm in the second act of his opera Tiradentes

(canário and siriema birdsongs), and substantial number of works by Villa-Lobos such

as Uirapuru (uirapuru birdsong; see example No. 33 and 34), Choros no. 10 (1926;

azulão da mata birdsong, in addition to a large variety of native birdcalls; for azulão da

mata birdsong, see example No. 28 in Béhague 1994: 91), and Alvorada na Floresta

Tropical (a large variety of native birdcalls).

The Indian warrior horncall (“inubia guerreira”) and the sound of the sea waves

contribute to the localization of landscape into Brazilian setting rendering its local color.

Both of these elements are depicted with conventional word-painting formulae found in

European music. The Tamoio’s warrior horn call is characterized by a Dominant

seventh with major ninth chord (G#7 9+) (musical example No. 17; mm. 26-8, 32-3,

34-5), and the ocean waves (musical example No. 18; m. 31) are depicted by the

rippling figures in descending arpeggios played by the harp.

Musical example No. 17: Gomes’ Lo Schiavo, Prelude “Alvorada,” Tamoio’s warrior
horn call

# r r
& # c Œ
b˙ œ ≈ ‰ Œ b˙ œ ≈ ‰
b n ˙˙ œœ b n ˙˙ œœ
? ## c Tuba
r ≈ ‰ Œ r ≈ ‰ Œ
b˙ œ b˙ œ
S> S>

Musical example No. 18: Gomes’ Lo Schiavo, Prelude “Alvorada,” ocean waves

bœ bœ
bœ nœ bœ bœ
# bœ nœ
& # bœ bœ
bœ nœ
Harp ƒ bœ bœ
## bœ nœ bœ bœ œ œ
& bœ bœ ? bœ nœ œ œ bœ
bœ nœ bœ bœ

Gomes’ “Alvorada” set a paradigm for Brazilian music regarding not only a

localized but also a temporalized conception of landscape. Landscape’s spatial

dimension is fixed in a particular place, the seashore around the Serra dos Órgãos

[Organs Hills] (according to printed score red. for piano, p. 340) in Rio de Janeiro, and

musically constructed by evocation of native birdcalls, Indian horns, and ocean waves.

Serra dos Órgãos is the opening setting of José de Alencar’s novel O Guarany, the

literary source of Gomes’ first Indianist opera. Landscape’s temporal dimension (the

sunrise) provokes changes in the landscape over time, and music is meant to represent it.

The dawning effect is embodied by the piece’s overall effect in a big crescendo.

The gradual and outspread crescendo is accomplished not simply through dynamics

effects and accumulative instrumentation but also through harmonic design. The big

crescendo is articulated by a harmonic syntax that is static at the local level and stretched

at the general level. Namely, static harmonic syntax at the local level is constructed by

non-modulatory chord progressions; and stretched harmonic syntax at the general level

is constructed by holding the first two thirds of the piece’s duration (piano score, mm.

1-57) upon non-goal-directed harmony; and giving way to goal-directed harmony only

in the last third of the piece’s duration (piano score, mm. 58-98).45

Musical example No. 19: Gomes’ Lo Schiavo, Prelude “Alvorada,” opening chords

Molto Largo
˙˙ # ˙˙˙ n ˙˙ # # ˙˙˙ # ‹ # ˙˙˙ # ˙˙˙ n n www
# lunga
˙ ˙˙ # ˙˙˙ # www
& # c ˙
? w
Strings ∏ S ∏ S ∏
? ## c U cupo e legato
œ ˙ ˙ œ# œ# œ œ n ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ # œ # œ‹ œ# œ # ˙ ˙ w w œ #œ#œ

œ w w

? # # n www
La scena si rischiara gradatamente
ww w n b www b ww www www www www œœœ ‰ Œ
w # www w w w w w œ Ó
dim. ∏ dim. sempre

? ## n w
poco cresc.

w nw j ‰Œ j ‰Œ j ‰ Œ Ó j ‰ Œ Ó
nw w w w ˙ ˙ œ œ œ œ
w nw w ˙ ˙ œ œ œ œ
w w

The opening harmonic progression D-F# (musical example No. 19, m. 1)

structures the piece as a whole. Period 1 (mm. 1-17), depicting “the murmur of the

sea,” establishes the key of D major; it is based on non goal-directed harmony and

characterized by third-relation chord progressions (musical example No. 18). Period 2

(mm. 18-25), depicting “the crack of the Brazilian dawn,” moves from D major to F#

major. (The expressions “o mormorio del mare” and “lo spuntare della aurora

brasiliana” are according to the piano score). Therefore, the D-F# chord progression

structures Period 1 as a unity, and also structures the harmonic design that evolves from

Period 1 to Period 2.

45The measure numbers mentioned in the following analysis are based on the piano score (Plate
number 52989).
Table No. 1: Gomes’ “Alvorada”

Period 1 mm. 2-3 D - F# - C - F#

mm. 1-17 mm. 4-5 D - F# - D# - F#

mm. 6-9 D - F# - C - G (doubled rhythm)

mm. 10-17 B - Bb - Gm6 - A7 - D

Period 2 mm.18-21 D - Bm - A64 - G – D

mm. 18-25 mm.22-5 D - C#5> 7 - F# - B - C# - F#

Period 3 mm. 26-35 G#7 9+

mm. 26-37 mm. 35-37 G#7 9+ - A7 - D

Period 4 mm.38-43 D - F# - D

mm.38-51 mm.44-5 D

mm.46-51 D

Period 5 mm.52-7 D7 - B - C7 - A7 (Lydian-Mixolydian)

mm.52-67 mm.58-63 D - F# - B - F# - B - F# - B - F# - B - C#7 9+

mm.64-67 C#7 9+ - B - C#7 9+

Period 6 D – B7 9 – A7


Period 7 mm.74-77 D – Em – D – G – A7 – D

mm. 74-86

Period 8 mm. 85-87 and 90 B7 – A7 – D

mm. 86-98 mm. 91-98 D–B–G–E–D

Period 3 (mm. 26-37) is an expansion of the third-relation chord progression F#

– D, since it moves from the Dominant of the Dominant of F# to D. This harmonic

expansion G#7 9+ – D can be considered a metaphor of the emerging dawn. Period 3

describes the native landscape starting with birdcalls evoking Edenic nature

simultaneously with the Tamoio’s warrior horn call in G#7 9+ chord (mm. 26-8 in p;

32-3 in ff; 34-5 in p); then, birdcalls (mm. 26-30) are followed by descending arpeggios

in ff (m. 31) evoking the ocean waves. The Indian warrior horn call in G#7 9+ chord

blends with the strings which moves from G#7 9+ chord (p) to A7 (ppp) resolving in D

(ppp) (mm. 35-7).

Period 4 (mm. 38-51) announces the awakening of the Portuguese mariners

with European trumpet call in D – F# – D chord progression (the reveille or toque da

alvorada). The tritone relation between the Tamoio’s warrior horn call and the

European trumpet call (G#7 9+ and D chords in Periods 3 and 4, respectively)

symbolizes the conflict between the European and the Indian. The short insertion of

(mm. 44-5) many birds flying and singing at the dawn (“stormi di piccoli uccelli,

svolazzando in ogni direzione, rallengrano con i loro svariati canti, la novella aurora”) in

D major foreshadows the build up of birdcalls that will follow in Period 5. Period 4

closes with the European trumpet call in D major (toque da alvorada) (mm. 46-51).

Period 5 (mm. 52-67) continues the birdcalls build up with the opposition

between the cuckoo and the sabiá bird calls. The cuckoo call built upon D7 - B - C7 -

A7 chord progression (mm. 52-7) symbolizes the European nature “da lontano” (far

away, from Europe). The combination of the pitches of the cuckoo call f# - e with the C7

chord (m. 55-6) results in the Lydian-Mixolydian scale. This is the only modal scale

used throughout Gomes’ intermezzo. Considering that the Lydian-Mixolydian is used

in the context of the European referential (cuckoo call), that modalism can be considered

a metaphor of the archaic, and the singing of the cuckoo a monotonous lament (“il

Cûcco monotono ripeto il consueto lamento”), a symbol of Europe lamenting its

oldness and decay; the cuckoo singing can also be interpreted as the last call of the

European civilization in the tropics. The sabiá bird call (mm. 58-63) over the chord

progression D - F# - B - F# - B - F# - B - F# - B - C#7 9+ joined by other birdcalls

(mm. 64-67) upon C#7 9+ - B - C#7 9+ chord progression symbolize the Brazilian

nature. The opposition between Indian culture and European culture symbolized by the

opposition of warrior inubia calls and the trumpet calls in Periods 3 and 4, is transposed

to nature in Period 5 represented by the cuco vs sabiá call.

Period 6 (mm. 68-73) superposes the native bird calls, the European warrior

horn call, and arpeggios assuring D major with goal-directed harmony with the chord

progression D – B79 – A7. The final crescendo, comprising Period 7 (mm. 74-86) and

Period 8 (mm. 86-98), reassures D major with goal-directed harmony with progressions

such as IV-V-I and V/V-V-I, and closes with the descending third-relation chord

progression D – B – G – E – D (mm. 91-98). Period 8 is an apotheosis evoking a

patriotic anthem (mm. 86-91). Interpreted in the light of the score indications evoking

the majestic landscape (according to piano score, “ai primi raggi del sole l’immenso

panorama si manifesta in tutto il suo spledore” [the immense panorama revealing itself

in the full of its splendor upon the first sun ray], and “ai di là del vastissimo golfo si

vede l’imponente catena di montagne degli Organi” [the imposing mountain range seen

from the vast gulf]), it can be considered a nationalist statement celebrating the triumph

of Brazilian identity.

Gomes’ dawning landscape was informed by Brazilian Romantic literary canon

as it is well represented by the “Third Canto” of the epic poem Os Timbiras (1857), by

Gonçalves Dias, which starts with the sunrise in the forest. Dias opens the poem with

the convention of identifying the Indian with nature through the Indianismo cliché “the

son of the forest” and follows with the pictorial description of colored lightly effects of

the dawn.

Ama o filho do bosque a contemplar-te,

risonha aurora, ama acordar contigo;
ama espreitar no céu a luz que nasce,
ou rósea ou branca, já carmim, já fogo,
já tímidos reflexos, já torrentes
de luz que fere oblíquo os altos cimos. 46

[The son of the forest loves contemplating you, smiling dawn, loves awakening
with you, loves looking into the sky for the growing light, now rosy, now white,
now carmine, now fire, now timid glares, now torrents of light hitting obliquely
the high crests.]

However, the direct influence on Gomes’ “Alvorada” was Castro Alves’

abolitionist poetry. Castro Alves’ collection of poems Os Escravos [The Slaves] (1883)

empowered the image of the sunrise with the freedom’s call and the hopes of the future.

The final call of the poem “América” encapsulates the association between the sunrise

and the nation’s future.

Ó pátria, desperta… (…)
Não miras na fimbria do vasto horizonte
A luz da alvorada de um dia melhor? 47

[Oh homeland, wake up!…(…) Don’t you see in the vast horizon dawning
lights of better days?]

“Ao Romper D’Alva” [The crack of dawn] elaborates on the sound and visual

effects of poetic language by contrasting the sounds of Brazilian Edenic forest with

slavery’s irons. The Romantic convention of seeking a correspondence between human

46 Quoted in Coutinho 1969, 2: 86.

47 Alves 1947: 89.
feelings and nature sets the tone of the poem by establishing a sympathetic relation

between nature and slaves’ suffering. The poem closes casting the hopes for freedom in

tomorrow’s dawn.

“Oh! Deus! não ouves dentre a imensa orquestra

Que a natureza virgem manda em festa,
Soberba, senhoril,
Um grito que soluça, aflito, vivo,
O retinir dos ferros do cativo,
Um som discorde e vil?

Senhor, não deixes que se manche a tela,

Onde traçaste a criação mais bela
De tua inspiração.
O sol de tua glória foi toldado…
Teu poema da América manchado,
Manchou-a a escravidão.

(…) E as palmeiras se torcem torturadas,

Quando escutam os morros nas quebradas
O grito da aflição.

Oh! ver não posso este labéu maldito!

Quando dos livres ouvirei o grito?
Sim… talvez amanhã.
(…) Eia! te anima
Aos bafos da manhã.” 48

[O God! Don’t you hear amid this immense orchestra joyfully sounded by the
virgin, mighty and superb nature, an afflicted and sobbing cry, the clang of the
captive irons, a vile and harsh chord? God, do not let the canvas in which you
draw the most beautiful creation of your inspiration be tarnished. The sun of
your glory was concealed. Your poem of America was tarnished by slavery. (…)
And the palm trees contort in torture when they hear the afflicted cry coming
from the mountains. O! I cannot see this damned blot! When will I hear the
shout of the freed people? Yes.. perhaps tomorrow. (…) Hurray! Cheer up with
the morning warm breeze!]

The imagination around “América,” “Ao Romper D’Alva,” and memorable

expressions such as “o sol do porvir” [the sun of the future] and “a aurora da

48 Alves 1947: 63-4.

redenção” [the dawn of redemption] (from the poem “O Século” [The Century])

echoed Romantic liberalism and Republican civilizing and progressive ideals.49

As Gomes’ opera Lo Schiavo was originally conceived for Black characters on

stage, it further indicates its intertextuality with Alves’ Os Escravos in the “Hymn to

Freedom” from Act II by establishing a direct association between “o sol do porvir”

and liberty, which foreshadows the symbolic dimension of the Prelude “Alvorada” in

Act IV. Therefore, in the context of Lo Schiavo, sunrise is a metaphor of Brazil as a

young nation to awake for a future freed from slavery.


Un astro splendido
Nel ciel appar,
Ravviva, illumina
Foresta e mar!…
E da quell’astro
S’innalza un grido,
che in ogni lide
È l’inno eterno
Che non morrà,
Il grido unanime
Di libertà.

[A splendid star rises in the sky awakening and illuminating forests and seas!
From that star sounds a cry that will echo in every beach! It is the eternal
anthem, the unison clamor for freedom that will not die.]

Gomes’ “Alvorada” established in Brazilian music the paradigm of

representing the sunrise as a national symbol. Sunrise in the tropics is the temporalized

landscape of Alberto Nepomuceno’s “Alvorada na serra,” Manuel Joaquim de

Macedo’s storm in the second act of the opera Tiradentes, Silvio Deolindo Fróes’

“Vozes D’Alva,” and Villa-Lobos’ Amazonas and Alvorada na Floresta Tropical.

49For insightful discussions on Castro Alves’ social poetry, see Moisés (1989: 220-236), Haberly
(1983: 51-69), Brookshaw (1986), and Bosi (1992: 246-272).
Gomes’ paradigm resides in the idea of representing a changing landscape, but not in

the way this is realized in music, since each composer did it in his own way. Also, the

sunrise stands as the symbol of the nation to be free from slavery only in Gomes’ work.

With the Abolition of Slavery and the new Republican context, the symbolic use of the

sunrise gradually lost its abolitionist implications, but kept another layer of meaning of

the sunrise as the symbol of the young nation awakening to its future. Upon different

contexts, musical pieces after Gomes’ “Alvorada” turned to sentimental nationalism

and reworked on the Edenic and ufanista views of the American nature.

The use of musical landscape in Gomes’ operas bears another parallel with

nineteenth-century literature and painting, namely, the view of nature as historical locale.

As in the historical novels, descriptive passages of local landscape in Gomes’ Il

Guarany and Lo Schiavo transcended the mere description of the setting in which plot

unfolds and the function of local color, and became a major factor in the process of


Within the concept of nature as historical locale, landscape is integrated into the

narrative structure by associating clearly the site with the historical event represented by

the work. The typical elements of Brazilian landscape (such as the vegetation, the

cottage, the native people) become essential to the interpretation of the historical event as

an event intrinsically identified with the land and its destiny as a nation. Therefore, there

is a close connection between landscape and history.50

The musical translation of nature as historical locale constitutes another

nationalist convention of Romantic literature and art to which Gomes was the first

Brazilian composer to respond. Il Guarany contrives the vision of nature as historical

50 Mattos 1999: 101-103.

locale that will be fully developed in Lo Schiavo. From a short passage of descriptive

music in the opening of Act II in Pery’s Scena ed Aria “Son giunto in tempo!” –

“Vanto io pur superba cuna” (musical example No. 18), musical landscape will earn a

self-contained structure with the Prelude to Act IV “Alvorada.” The opening descriptive

music of Pery’s scene sets the tone of dramatic situation with its unresting figurations

foreshadowing the confrontation between Pery and Gonzales. The identification of the

Indian with nature overlaps with the dramatic tone of the confrontation between

characters of historical dimension integrating landscape into opera’s narrative structure.

Likewise, “Alvorada”’s temporalized and localized landscape integrated into a

dramatic context constructs another layer of meaning to landscape as historical locale.

As a prelude integrated into an opera, landscape in Gomes’ “Alvorada” is the place of

dramatic confrontation, a fictive historical locale.

Lo Schiavo also reflects a changing perspective upon landscape in the course of

the nineteenth century, paralleling in music what had been expressed in literature:

“American nature is no longer the idyllic shelter of the noble savage but the scenery of

blemishing events.” Furthermore, Gomes constructed a musico-dramatic

contextualization of landscape that parallels the poetic framework of Castro Alves’ “Ao

romper d’alva,” “América” and “A cachoeira de Paulo Afonso” [The Paulo Afonso

Falls]. Like these poems, Gomes’ “Alvorada” can be considered a

poetic hymn to tropical landscape that functions as a prelude to the execration of

a society unworthy of the natural setting that frames it … by showing the
contradiction between American Edenic nature and hellish society. It is as if the
theme of American paradise has been kept with all the exuberance of sounds and
colors…, only to shock the reader, a Romantic still, with contrasting images, …
showing a contradiction between the feeling of nature and the view of the nation.
Brazilian nature is the land of the slaves and, therefore, a spot in the scenery
made of light, green forests, and blue sky. And the “clang of the irons”

(“retinir dos ferros”) is a “vile and harsh chord” in dissonance with the
“immense orchestra” (“orquestra imensa”).51

The historical dimension of landscape with all its contradictions to Brazilian

society, which was first musically constructed by Gomes in Il Guarany and Lo Schiavo,

will echo in Braga’s Jupyra and Marabá (although that symphonic poem is not

structured within a fictional-historical narrative, but represents a fatalist situation

determined by history) and will later be discarded by Villa-Lobos with Uirapuru e

Amazonas (since their literary subjects are detached from history).

Thus, Gomes opened the path to the nationalization of Brazilian music through

word-painting, onomatopoeic sounds, and descriptive musical formulae that could

situate musical landscape into a particular place and moment. With Pery’s scene (Act II)

from Il Guarany and the Prelude “Alvorada” (Act IV) from Lo Schiavo Gomes

established the major elements for the construction of nationalist musical conventions

representing a localized and temporalized landscape closely associated with the

expression of national feelings. Among the literary and pictorial conventions translated

into music are: (1) the association of the Indian with nature; (2) forest murmurs; (3) the

use of sabiá birdcall as a nationalist statement and the use of native birdcalls in general

as a way of localizing landscape into national boundaries; (4) the use of sunrise as a

metaphor of Brazil as a young nation; (5) nature as Edenic locale perceived either from

the sentimental or the monumental (ufanista) perspective; and (6) landscape as historical


51 Bosi 1992: 246-7. Quotation marks refer to distinctive expressions from Alves’ poetry.

By the time Gomes wrote “Alvorada,” landscape had achieved a respectable

status in Brazilian painting. Considered a minor genre by the neo-classical dogmas and

the academics, landscape painting reached the same status as historical and religious

painting after the 1880s. Since then, landscape has been among the most expressive

genres of Brazilian painting, earning recognition in academia and among the critics.52

The status of landscape as an independent genre had its paralel in music with

Braga’s Paysage, Chant d’automne, and Marabá; and Oswald’s Il Neige. Genres such

as the symphonic prelude and the symphonic poem allowed the legitimation of musical

landscape as a self-contained work.

The prestige of landscape as expressing national identity is evident in the

Brazilian Section at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, where the

Fine Arts Hall Department exhibited fifty-seven landscapes53 out of ninety-three

paintings. The other thirty-six paintings were divided into six categories: historical

painting, caipira genre painting (rustic customs in rural setting), seascape, fruits,

Indianismo, and religious painting (Catholic themes). Along with fifty-seven landscape

paintings, the prize award of Braga’s symphonic prelude Paysage corroborate the

prestige of landscape in representing Brazil’s national image abroad, despite the fact that

the Brazilian reception of Braga’s Paysage did not perceive any specifically Brazilian

52 Xexéo 1977: n.p.; and Costa 1944: 25. Landscape painters of this period include Jorge Grimm, João
Batista da Costa, Antonio Parreiras, Eliseu Visconti, Hipólito B. Caron, Garcia Vasquez, Arsênio
Silva, Aurélio de Figueiredo, Pagani, Weingartner, Teles Júnior, and Pinto Bandeira, among others.
Even the academic painter Vítor Meireles dedicated himself to landscape. (Costa 1944: 22-33).
53 T. Pacheco (RJ) exhibited 23 Landscapes at World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago 1893; T.
Pacheco (RJ) exhibited 9 Landscapes; Eliseu Vistonti (RJ) exhibited 8 Landscapes; J. Fiuza Guimarães
(RJ) exhibited 8 Landscapes; M. Brocos (RJ) exhibited 3 Landscapes; Henrique Bernardelli (RJ)
exhibited 1 Landscape and 1 Indian; João Batista da Costa (RJ) exhibited 1 Landscape; Hipólito B.
Caron (SP) exhibited 1 Landscape; and Antonio Parreiras exhibited 1 Landscape. (Catalogue of the
Brazilian Section at the World’s Columbian Exposition 1893: 104-9).
element in it (see, for instance, the article by São Paulo special correspondent to JC, 23

January 1901, transcribed earlier in this chapter). No criticism on Paysage states

explicitly that the nature “painted” through music is the Brazilian nature, nor does it

mention anything that can be exclusively associated with Brazilian or tropical landscape.

As shown in the earlier analysis, Paysage does not present any musical element that can

be considered particularly Brazilian. Quite the opposite, it uses extensively European

conventions of musical landscape.

Braga’s Paysage had a substantial number of performances54 and was “a very

well-known work” by the Brazilian public around 1900, as attested by the

contemporary critic Rodrigues Barbosa (JC, 26 Nov. 1900 p. 2, T&M). Paysage also

had some exposure abroad, with performances in Chicago (1893), Paris (1895 and

1896), and Dresden (1897). The second Parisian performance went poorly, and,

consequently, the work had a bad reception.55 The performances in the other foreign

theaters had a better result. The work was awarded a prize at the World’s Columbian

54 Braga’s Paysage premiered in Rio de Janeiro at the Teatro São Pedro de Alcântara, conducted by
Vincenzo Cernicchiaro, in the same year it was composed in Paris (1892). Subsequent performances
included: 1893 at the World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago; ca. 14 September 1894 in Rio de
Janeiro at the Salão do Club Sinfônico, Mancinelli Company’s orchestra conducted by Vincenzo
Cernicchiaro (JC, 14 September 1894, concert news (Exposição [1968]: 28); concerts of Brazilian
music conducted by the composer in Paris in 1895 at the Salle d’Harcourt and on 4 February 1896 at
Galerie des Champs Elysées (Exposição [1968]: 13); before 8 March 1897 in Dresden at the
Gewerbehaus, conducted by Trebkler (Exposição [1968]: 32); 23 May 1897 in Rio de Janeiro at the
Teatro Lírico, benefit concert to the Caixa Beneficiente Teatral, organized by Corporação Orquestral,
conducted by Attilio Capitani or Agostino Gouvea (Concert note BNRJ); 25 November 1900 in Rio de
Janeiro at the Teatro Lírico, “second and last symphonic concert by the maestro Francisco Braga” (JC,
26 Nov. 1900 p. 2); 17 January 1901 in São Paulo at the Teatro Santana, the first symphonic concert
by Francisco Braga in São Paulo capital, conducted by the composer; 24 April 1910, in Rio de Janeiro
at the Teatro Municipal, concert promoted by the Centro Sinfônico Leopoldo Miguez, conducted by
Francisco Nunes (Chaves Jr. 1971: 426); and 14 May 1921 at the TMRJ, 63th concert of the Sociedade
de Concertos Sinfônicos conducted by the composer (Chaves Jr. 1971: 442).
55 In the letter of 18 February 1896 from Carlos Gomes to Braga, the older composer laments the
unsuccessful performance of the younger composer’s works at the Galerie des Champs Elysées on 4
February 1896.
Exposition in Chicago56 and had a good reception in Dresden.57 Also, Paysage was

among the works that gave greater visibility to Braga’s orchestral concert in São Paulo

in January 1901. According to Jornal do Comércio’s special correspondent

(unidentified critic) from São Paulo, Paysage, Cauchemar, Minuetto and Marionettes

(gavotte) were “the great attraction of the evening;” “the two symphonic poems are

precious” and “as pieces quite different from each other, they impose themselves to the

admiration of the musician and the dilettante from their first measures” (JC, 23 January

1901, p. 4, T&M).

It is, however, with Marabá that Braga was perceived by his contemporaries to

have accomplished the nationalization of musical landscape (see musical criticism

quoted below). Also, this Indianist symphonic poem by Braga is the work that best

illustrates the Brazilian case corroborating Rosen’s idea that “it is above all through

landscape that music joins Romantic art and literature,”58 firstly, because of the

dissemination of its subject among all the arts; secondly, for being a literary and

pictorial theme that functioned as a motivation for Braga’s composition; thirdly, for the

thematic interconnection among the arts that placed the musical work within a web of

meanings that informed its reception; fourthly, for musically embodying Indianismo’s

literary precept of blending the feeling of nature with the Indian theme more thoroughly

than the poem that has constructed its tradition; and finally, for musically embodying

landscape through conventions and new formulae that were recognized in their pictorial

56 Francisco Braga received the World’s Columbian Exhibition medal for his symphonic prelude
Paysage by the way of his childhood-long friend, José de Souza Rocha. (Exposição [1968]: 14)
57 Braga’s letter dated of Dresden, 8 March 1897 to his friend [Corbiniano] Vilaça states: “My works
have always been performed here in Dresden [at the Gewerbehaus, according to letter from 9 March
1897]. Cauchemar and Paysage earned the applause of the German public. The performances of my
productions by the skillful kapellmeister Trebkler were excellent, and I was flattered by Trebkler’s
appreciation of my works.” (Quoted in Hora 1953: 39)
58 Rosen 1995: 125.

and poetic dimensions, which ultimately constructed the work’s nationalization of

musical landscape.

The character of Marabá is substantially present in the literary and pictorial

imagination of nineteenth-century Brazil. “As a literary theme, Marabá establishes itself

in the nineteenth-century canon with Gonçalves Dias, the founder of Indianismo, the

first movement towards the nationalization of Brazilian literature.”59 Silvio Romero, in

his História da Literatura Brasileira (1888) refers many times to Gonçalves Dias as

“the author of Marabá,”60 which shows the popularity and prestige of this poem.

Marabá’s literary convention reached out to the visual arts, and was the theme of a very

successful painting by Rodolfo Amoedo, Marabá, done in Paris in 1882. This painting

brought great prominence to Amoedo on the occasion of its exhibition at the Salon de

Paris in 1883 and was again a success at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago

in 189361 – the same fair where Braga had his symphonic prelude Paysage performed

and received a prize. It is very possible that the success of Amoedo’s painting at those

international exhibitions motivated Braga to take up this subject for his symphonic

poem, which he composed in Dresden in 1894. The large number of performances of

Braga’s Marabá shows that music enriched late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century

imagination on this subject.62

59 Driver 1942: 50.

60 See, for instance, Romero 1980, 3: 917 and 920.
61 Campofiorito 1983: 188; Catalogue of the Brazilian Section at the World’s Columbian Exposition
(1893: 108).
62 Marabá was performed in both of the two symphonic concerts of the 1900 series promoted by

Francisco Braga at the Teatro Lírico, Rio de Janeiro on 18 and 25 November (JC, 26 Nov.1900 p. 2).
Then, Braga promoted another symphonic concert series in São Paulo, and conducted Marabá in the
third symphonic concert held between 24 and 26 January 1901, at the Teatro Santana (JC, 23 Jan. 1901
p. 4).. The works that closed the concert (Braga’s Marabá, the aria for soprano “Migrante, morente...”
from Jupyra, and the triumphal march Pro Patria) were new to São Paulo’s public (JC, 31 Jan. 1901
p. 3). In the following year, Braga’s birthday was celebrated with a matinée-concert offered by the
The literary tradition of Marabá indicates that Braga’s work with the same title

can be associated with Romantic “sentimental nationalism.”63 From its original

meaning referring to “children whose parents were of different tribes,” through later

use to designate Indian-white mestizos, the Tupi term ‘marabá’ became “a literary

convention for an outsider or an outcast, especially a woman mixed Indian with

Portuguese despised by her Indian community and by the white world.”64 Marabá

entered in Brazilian literary canon with Gonçalves Dias’ twelfth poem of Poesias

Americanas [American poems] (published in Primeiros Cantos, 1846):


Eu vivo sozinha; ninguém me procura!

Acaso feitura
Não sou de Tupã!
Se algum d’entre os homens de mim não se esconde,
_ Tu és, me responde
_ Tu és Marabá!


_Meus loiros cabelos em ondas se anelam,

Instituto Profissional on 15 April (JC,15 April 1901, p. 2). Marabá was also performed by a 52-
musicians orchestra at Braga’s third symphonic concert, on 9 June 1901 at the Teatro S. Pedro de
Alcântara, Rio de Janeiro, which was “honored with the presence of Mr. President of the Republic, M.
F. de Campos Salles” (JC, 7 June 1901, p. 3); and repeated at the fourth symphonic concert on 16 June
1901 (JC, 11 June 1901, p. 3). Marabá’s performances at official events include the symphonic
concert consisting entirely of Brazilian music offered by the City of Rio de Janeiro, D.C. (Prefeitura do
Distrito Federal) and dedicated to the members of the Third Pan-American Congress. This concert, on
15 August 1906 at the Teatro Lírico, was organized by Francisco Braga and Elpidio Pereira, and had the
participation of Alberto Nepomuceno, Zilda Chiaboto, Francisco Chiaffitelli and José De Larrigue De
Faro. The Sociedade de Concertos Sinfônicos celebrated its first anniversary with a Festival of
Francisco Braga’s works. The ninth concert of the series, on 11 October 1913 at the Teatro Municipal
of Rio de Janeiro, performed Cauchemar, Visões, Variações sobre um Tema Brasileiro, the aria and
scene for soprano [“Migrante, morente…”] from Jupyra, Marabá and Pró Pátria (Chaves Jr. 1971:
431). Braga’ Marabá was conducted by Richard Strauss on 3 October 1920 at the Teatro Municipal
during his visit to Rio de Janeiro (Exposição [1968]: 14; Azevedo 1956: 179; Chaves Jr. 1971: 441).
63 Term used by Candido 1981, 1: 211.
64 Driver 1942: 50, 56.

_ O oiro mais puro não tem seu fulgor;
_ As brisas nos bosques de os ver se enamoram,
_ De os ver tão formosos como um beija-flor! _

Mas eles respondem; “Teus longos cabelos,

“São loiros, são belos,
“Mas são anelados; tu és Marabá:
“Quero antes cabelos, bem lisos, corridos,
“Cabelos compridos,
Não cor d’oiro fino, nem cor d’anajá.”

E as doces palavras que eu tinha cá dentro

A quem n’as direi?
O ramo d’acácia na fronte de um homem
Jamais cingirei:

Jamais um guerreiro da minha arasóia

Me desprenderá:
Eu vivo sozinha, chorando mesquinha,
Que sou Marabá!

Translation by David T. Haberly (1983: 25):

I live and am lonely, unwanted and hated!

Was I not created
By our God Tupã?
If one of the warriors does deign to approach me,
It is to reproach me:
“You are Marabá!”


My hair falls in waves of soft yellow ringlets;

The purest of gold dust does not gleam so bright.
The winds of the forest, entranced by its beauty,
Find it as golden as a hummingbird’s flight.

But the warriors reply: “Your long, golden hair

Perhaps may be fair,
But it tangled in curls, for you are Marabá;
We love hair as straight as an arrow in flight,
Black as the night,
Long and smooth-flowing, not gold as the day.”

And the soft words of love I have held deep inside me

Silent shall lie;
And the garland I weave for a warrior who loves me
Shall wither and die.

And never a warrior shall gently uncover
My body’s frail bloom;
I live in my loneliness, sobbing self-pity –
The Marabá’s doom!

The literary program by the Brazilian writer Escragnolle Doria was the source of

inspiration for Braga’s Marabá. Doria’s text, largely disseminated in contemporary

newspaper articles and concert notes, places the archetypal figure of the outcast in the

American environment.

“Vasta e profunda a selva: através da cortina verde apagou-se o painel rubro do

poente, quando a tarde agonizou na mata virgem, com sussurros de mar alto nos
tacuarussus, nos cipós gigantescos enroscados até o cimo das árvores, no arroio
manso, mal crespo pelo vento, a refletir um céu iluminado a flux no ocaso pela
vivíssima chama do sol. No oriente cintila já, a medo, a caravana de diamantes
das estrelas imortais. / Sussurra o arroio, o gemido das vagas passa nos
tacuarussus, o crepúsculo morre, morre mais uma cambiante de luz e nasce mais
uma estrela no berço das sombras. / De manso, na orla da mataria, arisca qual
juriti medrosa, um pote na cabeça gentil, eis Marabá, a índia desprezada, a virgem
triste cuja fronte o ramo da acácia jamais cingirá. / Desce para a água, pisando
leve, estalitantes as folhas secas sob as plantas mimosas. / Enche o pote lenta e
cuidadosamente e queda-se melancólica, seios órfãos de amor, alma dolorida
sem um consolo, sem um ninho. / O ramo da acácia a sua fronte jamais cingirá;
afastam-se os homens; nenhum anseio a procura e contudo é bela. / Nunca hão
de querê-la; traz só males, vive só, só fica dias e noites, nunca teve o dia da
ventura, só tem de dormir a noite eterna do olvido, fechado o coração ao alvor do
desejo e dos desejos. / Chora Marabá com um soluço nos lábios virginais, com
soluços no virgíneo colo. / O arroio tem vozes nos tacuarussus; dispersa-se no
céu a caravana das estrelas pela estrada de neve da via-láctea. / Aponta ao longe
um clarão: é o luar que vem vindo casto e imenso.”65

[Vast and deep jungle, the ruby sunset panel faded through the green curtain as
the afternoon agonized in the virgin grove with high seas’ murmuring in the
tacuarussus, in the gigantic lianas tangled up to the tree cups, and in the gentle
arroyo slightly curled by the wind, with the lively flames of the sun glaring all
over the sky in the falling flux. The caravan of immortal diamond stars
scintillates up in the Orient. The arroyo whispers, the whining of the wind
passes through the tacuarussus, the crepuscule dies, one more dimming light
dies, and a star is born in the cradle of shades. In the grove border comes
Marabá, smoothly and bashful like a frightened juriti, with a jar upon her gentle
head. Marabá, the unwanted Indian, the sad virgin whose face will never be
touched by the acacia garland. She walks down to the water stepping softly on

65 JC, 19 Nov. 1900, p. 2-3, T&M, quoted in musical criticism about the first Symphonic Concert by
Francisco Braga after his return from Europe (the day before at the Teatro Lírico); and Concert note of
the Third Pan-American Congress, Symphonic Concert of 15 August 1906.
the cracking dried leaves under the graceful flowers. She fills the jar up carefully
and slowly, and falls melancholic, orphan bosom of love, painful soul with no
comfort, with no nest. The acacia garland will never touch her face. Men shy
away from her and no desire drives towards her despite her beauty. She will
never be wanted. She only brings evil. She lives alone, and alone she stays day
and night. She has never had the fortunate day. Alone she has to sleep in the
eternal night of oblivion with heart locked to the dawning desire. Marabá cries
with sobbing virgin lips and sobbing virgin bosom. The arroyo has voices in the
tacuarussus. The star caravan dissipates up in the sky, in the snow path of the
Milky Way. Brightness glows far away. It is the moonlight coming chaste and

Doria’s Marabá reflects a major principle of Indianismo largely attributed to

Gonçalves Dias’ conception of “American poetry,” which “blends the feeling of

nature with the Indian theme.”66 As a single piece of poetic prose, Doria’s Marabá

fulfils Gonçalves Dias’s conception of American poetry more thoroughly than Dias’

Marabá. In other words, Doria’s “Marabá” sums up Gonçalves Dias’s conception of

“poesia americana” in a single piece of poetic prose, while Gonçalves Dias’s

“Marabá” must be considered into the larger context of Poesias Americanas in order

to reflect its author’s conception of American poetry. Braga’s Marabá also reflects

Dias’ conception of American poetry in its musical fabric. The symphonic poem

interweave four themes, the first of which is associated with nature, the second and the

third embodying the mestizo Indian, and the fourth epitomizing the fate of the


The opening theme can be considered the Nature theme, since its relation to the

European music convention of evoking forest murmurs by arpeggios can be associated

with the musical material that contemporary reception identified with Brazilian forest

66 Coutinho 1968: 94.

sounds of “the crystal lymph’s murmurs down the river, [and] the murmurs of a great

forest’s leaves.”67

Musical example No. 20: Braga’s Marabá, Nature theme

œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ‰ ‰ œj œ
Corni in Fa
6 ‰ œ
& 4 œ œ œ J

Contemporary reception perceived the “many descriptive phases of the poem”

consisting of the already mentioned forest murmurs followed by Marabá themes. After

commenting on the forest leaves and water sounds, the critic states that “it was in this

perfectly defined place and time” that the composer “placed the blond and fair Marabá

weeping her sorrows, and crying her sweet and bitter loves.”68

The following two themes can be associated with Marabá. As quotations of two

(unidentified) popular themes (according to the front page of printed orchestral score),69

they represent the human subject through culture symbolizing Marabá’s ethnic identity

and expressing her feelings. Contemporary reception defined the feelings associated

with Marabá themes as “tenderness, love and longing.”70

67 Alfredo Camarate, quoted in article by unidentified critic, special correspondent from São Paulo,
referring to the concert ca. 24 and 26 January 1901 at the Teatro Sant’Anna, São Paulo (JC, 31 Jan.
1901, p. 3, T&M)
68 Alfredo Camarate, quoted in article by unidentified critic, special correspondent from São Paulo,
referring to the concert of January ca. 24 and 26, 1901 at the Teatro Sant’Anna, São Paulo. (JC, 31
Jan. 1901, p. 3, T&M)
69 “Francisco Braga/ Marabá/ Poema Sinfônico/ (Temas Brasileiros)/ 9068/ Casa Bevilacqua/ Grande
estabelecimento de Pianos e Músicas/ Viuva Bevilacqua/ Rio de Janeiro, Rua do Ouvidor, 155/
Propriedade reservada” Rio de Janeiro: Casa Bevilacqua, plate number 9068, s.d.
70 JC, 31 Jan. 1901, p. 3, T&M, article by unidentified critic, special correspondent from São Paulo,

referring to the concert ca. 24 and 26 January 1901 at the Teatro Sant’Anna, São Paulo.
Musical example No. 21: Braga’s Marabá, Marabá’s tenderness theme

? b c Ó Œ œ œ œ œ œ ˙.
- - - -
œ œ œ œ œ ˙. œ œ œ œ œ
b - - - - w w w

Musical example No. 22: Braga’s Marabá, Marabá’s sorrow theme

œ œ œ œ œ bw.
(Flute) espressivo
bb 6 œ nœ
& 4
The association of the first theme with nature, and the second and third themes

with Marabá persevered in musicological studies of the following decades. Freitas e

Castro’s analysis (1937) distinguishes three themes or motives, each one of which can

be associated with literary motives: the first theme (Dominant chord) is a pastoral theme

representing the “quietness of the trees of the forest in the moment when the afternoon

shades inspire respect and religiosity” (“quietude das árvores do bosque no momento

em que as sombras da tarde o invadem infundido de respeito e religiosidade”); the

second motive (Tonic over dominant pedal) depicts Marabá approaching: “this theme

has a cadence of slow steps with bitter hints” (“há nele uma cadência de passos lentos,

com uns laivos de amargura”); the third motive “represents particularly the Indian

maiden, or, better, her deep sorrow so well expressed in the anguish tone of the lowered

final note.” (representa particularmente a índia, ou antes, a sua mágoa profunda, tão bem

expressa no acento angustioso da nota abaixada do final).” Almeida (1942) also

distinguishes the themes of the poem along with the same lines:

The descriptive impression of the opening motive will be completed in Marabá’s

expression. (…) Two popular themes fuse in a pastoral so that the impressions

of the Amazonian forest and Marabá’s sorrow are effected in a fine harmonic

A fourth theme emerges in the development section. The Fate theme can be

considered the epitome of Marabá’s historical-racial fatality since it evolves from

Marabá theme 2 (letter J of orchestral score, mm. 116-135) and integrating the

ascending-descending shape of Nature theme. On that account, the Fate theme embodies

the closest identification between nature and the mestizo Indian’s feelings.

Musical example No. 23: Braga’s Marabá, Fate theme

b misterioso
&b c œ ˙ œœ bœ b˙ œ bœ
bœ œ #œ œ œ nœ œ œ œ œ bœ.
œ ˙ œœ
œ œ #œ ˙ #œ
œ œ œ bœ œ œ œ œ
π dim. π

The musical fabric created by the Nature theme framing Marabá’s tenderness

and sorrow themes, and the Fate theme, embodies Indianismo’s precept of blending the

feeling of nature with the Indian subject, and can be considered a metaphor of the

identification of mestizo Indian with nature.

The Nature theme provides formal unity since it is present throughout the piece

either as a foreground or as a background for the other themes. The Nature theme alone

builds Part A (mm. 1-30) creating the natural environment in which the renegade

character Marabá will be integrated in Part B (mm. 30- 55) and Part C (mm. 56-70).

The Nature theme sets the foreground for Marabá’s tenderness theme in Part B by

successive recollection. Then, the Nature theme is combined with Marabá’s sorrow

theme in Part C (musical example No. 24), and with the Fate theme in Part F (musical

example No. 25), Part H, and Part J (musical example No. 26).

71 Almeida 1942: 440.

Musical example No. 24: Braga’s Marabá, Nature theme and Marabá’s sorrow theme

œ œ œ œ œ nœ œ b˙.
˙ œ œ- œ- œ- œ- - œ-
b 6 nœ

&b 4

b 6 bœ œ bœ œ
‰ bœ bœ œ & œ bœ bœ
? ?
&b 4 ∑ ∑
œ bœ
œ Œ Ó
N œœ

bw. w. w.

bœ œ
? b ‰ b œ œ bœ b œ bœ œ ? ∑ ‰ œœ & œœ‰ Œ
b œ bœ &
bœ œ œ œ œ

Musical example No. 25: Braga’s Marabá, Nature theme (modified) and Fate theme

1st Vlns, Vlas, Ob, Clar

œ ˙ œ œ
b œ œ bœ
&b c œ œ
œ ˙ œ œ bœ
œ œ œ
p 6 6

bœ œ œ
2nd Vlns
bb c œ œ œ ’
& nœ œ ’ ’ œ œ ’ ’ ’
œ œ

b bœ b˙ œ bœ
œ bœ
&b œ œ bœ b˙ œ bœ bœ
œ œ œ œ
6 6 6

b œœœ bœ œ œ œ bœ œ
&b œ’ ’ ’ œ œ ’ bœ œ ’
œ nœ bœ œ

œ œ œ
b #œ nœ
+ Fl 8va
œ œ.
& b #œ œ œ nœ œ œ œ œ
œ œ œ œ œ
6 6 6 6
bb #œ œ œ ’ nœ œ œ ’ œœœ
& n œ œ œ œ œ œ œœ œœ’ ’
œ œ œ œ

˙ œ œ #œ ˙ #œ ˙
b œ
&b ˙ œ œ œ
œ #œ ˙ #œ ˙
6 6 6
b œ œ ’ ’ ’ œœœ ’ ’ ’ œœœ ’
œ œ
œ œ œ nœ œ

Musical example No. 26: Braga’s Marabá, Nature theme and Fate theme

b 12 œ.
& b 8 œ. œ. œ.
π subito
œ œ
B b b 12 œ œ œ ≈ œ œ nœ œ ≈ œ œ œ œ ≈ œ œ œ
8 ≈œ œ œ b œ

The Nature theme permeates the entire piece also by linking one theme or

section to another (for instance, orchestral score p. 6-7, mm. 37-46: The Nature theme

linking Marabá’s tenderness theme to Marabá’s sorrow theme), and finally closing the

last measures of the Recapitulation (mm. 209-245).

The lack of onomatopoeic sound was considered a superior feature of Braga’s

Marabá by contemporary reception. Alfredo Camarate’s criticism of Braga’s Marabá

was taken as so “accurate” and based on “just criterion,” that it was quoted in an

article by Jornal do Comércio’s special correspondent from São Paulo:

The descriptive intensity of Marabá does not derive from material formulae of
onomatopoeia, but from a vague and undefined suggestion that Francisco Braga
exerts over the audience; one feels the crystal lymph’s murmurs down the river,
the murmurs of a great forest’s leaves, all the minute stages of sunrise, from the
gray penumbra of the night until the sun emerging from behind the mountains’
crest blasts a fanfare with vibrant, incandescent, multicolor light; a kiss that the
king star offers to Earth in its kind and royal stretching.72

72 “A intensidade descritiva que possui a Marabá não deriva das fórmulas materiais da onomatopéia,
mas sim de uma sugestão vaga e indefinida que Francisco Braga exerce sobre o auditório; sente-se o
murmurar da linfa cristalina pelos rios abaixo, o rumorejar das folhas de uma grande floresta, todos os
minuciosos estádios do alvorecer, desde a acinzentada penumbra da madrugada até que o sol, emergindo
por detrás da crista das montanhas, entôa uma fanfarra de luz multicor, vibrante, incandescente; um
ósculo, enfim, que o astro rei dá à terra, no seu bondoso e real espreguiçar./ Não como Escragnolle
Doria o quiz, mas como Francisco Braga o entendeu, o lugar, a hora ficam perfeitamente definidos com
este prólogo rutilante, e nele Francisco Braga coloca a loura e branca Marabá, carpindo as suas dores,
chorando os seus doces e amargos amores.” (Alfredo Camarate, quoted in article by unidentified critic,
special correspondent from São Paulo, referring to the concert ca. 24 and 26 January 1901 at the Teatro
Sant’Anna, São Paulo; JC, 31 Jan. 1901, p. 3, T&M)
Although Braga’s Marabá does not make use of onomatopoeic effects, the

same critics perceived this work as expressing a localized landscape in its particularities

of Brazilian nature.

But what makes this symphonic poem an art work is the native perfume that
emanates incessantly from its music: the creeks that murmur are our creeks; the
tree trunk that moan impelled by the wind are the majestic and gigantic trunks of
our trees; the sun that shines in the orchestra a sonorous flame of light is our
sun, the sun that warms us up, the sun that enlivens us, the sun that burns and
tans our skin, but the sun that we love, because it is ours, completely ours! The
audience championed the composer making him repeat the [symphonic] poem.73

One may infer from another article that the making of an ambience that does not

recall pastoral rhythmic conventions (12/8 in trochaic rhythm) allowed Brazilian

reception to interpret Marabá’s music as local landscape. Instead of using the

forwarding motion of a trochaic rhythm, which would associate this work with European

music, Braga uses the 6/4 signature with a rhythmic pattern lacking the down beat

(Nature theme), which was identified by reception as:

That undulating rhythm, that movement that does not beat precisely but bounces
gently like the malleable cane bounces with the wind, is a peril to all songs
moving within it. Everything seems to oscillate daintily, indecisively like the soft
garland, the delicate flower with the wind.74

73 “Mas o que torna este poema sinfônico uma incontestável obra prima da arte brasileira é o perfume
nativo que dele a todo o momento se desprende: os regatos que murmurão são os nossos regatos; os
troncos que gemem, impelidos pelo sopro do vento, são os magestosos e gigantescos troncos das
nossas árvores; o sol que, na orquestra, rutila uma chama sonora de luz é o nosso sol, o sol, que nos
aquece, o sol que nos aviventa, o sol que nos queima e bronzeia a tez, mas o sol que amamos, porque é
só nosso, inteiramente nosso!”/ O auditório vitoriou o autor, forçando-o a repetir o poema.” (Alfredo
Camarate, quoted in article by unidentified critic, special correspondent from São Paulo, referring to the
concert ca. 24 and 26 January 1901 at the Teatro Sant’Anna, São Paulo (JC, 31 Jan. 1901, p. 3,
74 “Aquele ritmo ondulante, aquele movimento que não marca tempos precisos e balouça-se levemente
como ao vento o junco maleável, é um perigo para todos os cantos que dentro deles se movem. Tudo
ali parece oscilar vagamente, indecisamente como a ramagem tenra a fina flor dos ventos.” .” (Article
[by Rodrigues Barbosa] refering to the concert in Rio de Janeiro on 9 June 1901 in JC, 10 June 1901,
p. 2, T&M)
Although reception did not make any explicit reference to the popular themes

(unless one interprets the statement “with all the songs one can hear when the sun faints

in the horizon and lightly eyes/ pupils of light open up in the firmament,” from

Barbosa’s article quoted below, as references to Marabá’s tenderness and sorrow

themes), one may hypothesize that the use of popular themes within an ambience that

does not recall “universal” pastoral music rhythmic conventions allowed Brazilian

reception to interpret Marabá’s music as local landscape.

Braga’s works show that the composer moved from an European Romantic

style to a more nationalist approach to descriptive music. From Paysage to Marabá, one

can see in music the process in literature described by Candido, from landscape as

personal sensibility within an “universal” expression to landscape as personal

sensibility within a nationalist expression.75 In the first case, the poet abstracts nature’s

local particularity in search for an “universal” aesthetic pattern (“abstract”

construction in Candido’s terminology for literature and “idealized landscape” in

Rosen’s terminology for music).76 The use of 12/8 trochaic rhythm and the pastoral

flutes in parallel thirds shows the search for “universal” expression through landscape

in Paysage. In the second case, the poet’s sensibility of nature is a localized reality;

nature as subjectivity and local color. The use of popular themes in Marabá can be

considered the “local color” element indicating the composer’s intention of expressing

a localized landscape. Therefore, the use of folk or popular themes in Marabá evokes


75 Candido 1981, 1: 210-1.

76 According to Rosen (1995: 132), the Pastoral Symphony by Beethoven is “idealized landscape, a
form of Classical pastoral; it does not describe a particular site … [it] does not aspire to personal tone
and the individual particularity of the contemporary lyric description or the topographical picture.”
77 “Specific tunes may be employed to evoke concepts, memories, or image processes.” (Meyer 1956:
From Paysage to Marabá, one can identify in music another similarity with the

development of literature described by Candido in which the “Romantic attitude

towards nature shifts from an abstract construction aiming at an universal ideal to

landscape as place or moment.”78 Escragnolle Doria’s literary program for Braga’s

Marabá situates landscape as place and moment by depicting the Brazilian forest in a

changing landscape from sunset to nightly stars to moonlight. Thus, the melancholy of

the renegade is temporalized in the tropical sunset. However, early reception perceived

Braga’s music in different ways. Rodrigues Barbosa saw a correspondence between the

literary text and its musical realization by considering the large syntax of this

symphonic poem as the embodiment of the sunset:

That music seems a sonorous and harmonic murmur of our forests with all the
songs one can hear when the sun faints in the horizon and lightly eyes/ pupils of
light open up in the firmament. 79

On the other hand, Alfredo Camarate and Jornal do Comércio’s São Paulo

special correspondent perceived Braga’s musical realization as the opposite of Doria’s


One feels … every single moment of the sunrise, from the gray penumbra of the
night until the sun emerging from behind the mountains. (…) The place and the
hour are perfectly defined in this dazzling prologue, not as Escragnolle Doria
wanted it but as Francisco Braga understood it.80

78 Candido 1981, 1: 210.

79 “… aquela música, que parece mais um murmúrio sonoro e harmônico das nossas florestas, com
todos os cantos que nelas se ouvem quando o sol desmaia no ocaso e no firmamento se abrem pupilas
de luz.” (Article [by Rodrigues Barbosa] refering to the concert in Rio de Janeiro on 9 June 1901, in
JC, 10 June 1901, p. 2, T&M)
80 “Sente-se ... todos os minuciosos estádios do alvorecer, desde a acinzentada penumbra da madrugada
até que o sol, emergindo por detrás da crista das montanhas, entôa uma fanfarra de luz multicor,
vibrante, incandescente; um ósculo, enfim, que o astro rei dá à terra, no seu bondoso e real espreguiçar./
Não como Escragnolle Doria o quiz, mas como Francisco Braga o entendeu, o lugar, a hora ficam
perfeitamente definidos com este prólogo rutilante.” (JC, 31 Jan. 1901, p. 3, T&M)
Camarate’s interpretation is closer to the Casimiro de Abreu’s image in “Poesia

e amor” (1857):81

A órfã que chora,

A flor que se cora
Aos raios da aurora
No alvor da manhã

[The orphan cries, and the flower blushes at the rays of the dawn, at the morning


The expression of national feelings through landscape is continuously

recognized by twentieth-century criticism on Braga’s work:

In Marabá Francisco Braga is a meritorious landscape artist giving us the

impression of our thick, endless forests in the joy of dawn when everything
turns gold in a radiant wonderment of light. In this ambience one hears the sad
song of Marabá, and all voices join together in the same lyricism, as if ardent
nature needed to humanize itself in that inexplicable sorrow.82

Marabá was recognized not only for its skillful integration of musical form and

poetic content,83 but also for its “tropical eloquence” musically expressing “Brazilian

emotion”84 Marabá was continuously acclaimed as “a poem of Brazilian intention and

81 Abreu 1926: 42.
82 “Em Marabá, [Francisco Braga] é um paisagista de mérito, dando-nos a impressão das nossas matas
espessas e intermináveis, na alegria do amanhecer, quando tudo se faz oiro, num radioso
deslumbramento de luz. O canto triste de Marabá se ouve nesse ambiente e todas as vozes se unem no
mesmo lirismo, como se a natureza ardente precisasse se humanizar naquela mágoa indefinível.”
(Almeida 1926: 129)
83 “O entusiasmo do público, porém, atingiu o auge depois da execução do «Marabá». / E com razão. É
nessa obra prima de Francisco Braga que o artista alia com admirável engenho a inspiração à fatura.”
(JC, 31 Jan. 1901, p. 3, T&M, article by unidentified critic, special correspondent from São Paulo,
referring to the concert ca. 24 and 26 January 1901 at the Teatro Sant’Anna, São Paulo). “Conhecendo
hoje melhor o poema Marabá, pelo maior número de audições, julgamo-nos mais habilitados a dizer
algo dessa composição. É um trabalho admirável como idéia e como forma, e também um trecho
dificílimo para uma realização perfeita. Só uma orquestra educadíssima com professores solistas em cada
um dos naipes, poderá executar bem… (Article [by Rodrigues Barbosa] referring to the concert in Rio
de Janeiro on 9 June 1901, in JC, 10 June 1901, p. 2, T&M)
84 “Encontrou Francisco Braga no poema sinfônico que inventara Liszt, como ‘síntese do lirismo
poético e do lirismo musical’, na definição de Camille Mauclair, a forma predileta para a sua obra de
The placement of Marabá, the archetypal outcast, in local nature confers another

dimension to musical landscape, namely, the view of a temporalized and localized

landscape as historical locale. Marabá represents a “historical race” (“raça histórica”),

and a social subject who is historically predestined (“situação histórica fatalista”).

As historical locale, nature is integrated into the narrative structure by associating

clearly the site with the historical event represented by the work. The typical elements of

Brazilian landscape (the vegetation, the cottage, the native people) become essential to

the interpretation of the historical event as an event intrinsically identified with the land

and its destiny as a nation. Therefore, there is a close connection between landscape and


Jupyra’s aria “L’umile ancella indigena, figlia de le foreste” in scene 4 from

Braga’s opera Jupyra is dramatically constructed on the same technique created by

Gomes, embodying musically the same two Indianismo’s precepts, namely, the

identification of the Indian with nature (forest murmurs) and landscape as historical

locale. Jupyra’s scene shows strong influence of Pery’s scene (Act II) from Gomes’ Il

Guarany (compare musical example No. 6 and No. 12).

sinfonista, na qual poderia dar largas ao seu entusiasmo e à sua exaltação, que fluem numa eloquência
bem tropical. (…) O poema Marabá, em que engenhosamento aproveitou o processo da música de
programa, merece particular referência, porque nele Francisco Braga sentiu a sua música dentro da
emoção brasileira. Revelou-se um paisagista de mérito, procurando dar-nos a impressão das nossas
matas espessas e intermináveis, onde se encontra Marabá, a mameluca que os índios da sua tribo
desprezaram por não ser filha de pai da mesma raça. Assim triste e abandonada, ela chora a sua desdita e
o luar macio cobra a sua mágoa indefinível. Dentro desse motivo lírico, inspirado num trecho de
Escragnole Dória, realizou Francisco Braga seu poema, que é uma página de poesia e ternura.” (Almeida
1942: 440)
85 “É um poema de efeito e de intenções brasileiras.”( Almeida 1942: 440)
86 Mattos 1999: 88, 92, 101, 103.

Both scenes transposed to the operatic narrative the convention of the historical

novel of associating “the description of local landscape and the feeling of nature with

plot development, conferring deeper resonance to the characters’ emotions.”87

Alberto Nepomuceno’s “Alvorada na serra” is another important work

reflecting contemporary conventions of national landscape. Its poetic program follows

literary conventions and images of Romantic nationalism:88

I love you so much at this moment, my dear land! At this moment of nocturnal
and mysterious forest murmuring, insects buzzing, and light scintillating and
expelling the darkness! In this rosy hour in which the sun awakes greeted by
cheerful birds singing to the dawn the anthem of joy! My soul kneels to the
Lord and thanks the greatness of this homeland that is mine!

Alberto Nepomuceno’s “Alvorada na serra” can be considered a combination

of the national landscape conventions of Gomes’ “Alvorada” and Braga’s Marabá.

Nepomuceno’s orchestral piece localizes and temporalizes landscape largely upon

Gomes’ paradigm, i.e., by using the sabiá birdcall in the context of the sun rising from

behind the hills.

The different sabiá birdcalls supposedly transcribed or made up by Gomes and

Nepomuceno can be explained by the existence of many species of sabiá.

87 Coutinho 1969, 2: 218-9.

88“Como eu te amo nesta hora, minha terra! Nesta hora em que sucede ao murmúrio noturno e
misterioso da floresta, o zumbir dos insetos e a vibração da luz que cintila expelindo as trevas! Nesta
hora rósea do despertar do sol saudado pelos pássaros que entoam a alvorada, hino de alegria!… E
minh’alma ajoelha-se Senhor! e agradece-te a grandeza desta Pátria que é minha!” (Concert note EM-
UFRJ of the concert of 1 August 1897 at the Salão do Instituto Nacional de Música featuring
Nepomuceno’s Suíte Brasileira in its entirety). This orchestral suite was performed again at the Teatro
Lírico on 8 August 1897 in the Fourth Concert of the Associação de Concertos Populares, directed by
Alberto Nepomuceno, and also at the Salão do Instituto Nacional de Música in a concert dedicated
entirely to Alberto Nepomuceno’s work, on 27 August 1906. (Concert notes BNRJ)
Musical example No. 27: Nepomuceno’s “Alvorada na serra,” sabiá birdcall

œ œ j
œ œ œ œ œj œ œ œ
3 œ
œœ œ œ œ œœ œ œ œœ œ œ œœ œ œ
&4 Ó Œ
F (Sabiá)

œ œ œœ œ œ œœ œ œ œœ œ Œ œ œœ œ Œ œ œœ œ œ œj œ Œ
& Œ Œ Œ

To Gomes’ set of national landscape conventions, Nepomuceno added the use

of folk tune as a way of localizing landscape and evoking national feelings, an approach

that was first used by Braga in Marabá.

Musical example No. 28: Nepomuceno’s “Alvorada na serra,” folk tune “sapo

œ. œ œ œ w
Lentamente Flute
œ . œ œ œ œ œ œj ˙

& C œ. œ œ œ w J
J J œ œ œ œ w
π ritard.

Nepomuceno continues the approach of localizing landscape through descriptive

music of forest murmurs used earlier by Gomes in Pery’s scene, and by Braga in


Musical example No. 29a: Nepomuceno’s “Alvorada na serra,” forest murmurs

œ #œ
œœœ œ #œ √
#œœ œ œœ #œ œ œœ #œ œ œ
œœ œ
&c œ œœ#œ œ#œ œœ œœ œœ
œœ œœ œœ
œ#œ œ œ #œ œœ
?c ∑ œœœœœ #œœ œ œ œ#œ œœ ?
œ#œ #œœ

œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
œ œ #œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ #œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ #œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
& œ

Musical example No. 29b: Nepomuceno’s “Alvorada na serra,” forest murmurs

œ œ œ œ œ œ
? Violoncellos
œ œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ œœ
œœœœœœœœ œœœœœœœœ
∏ 3 3 3 3 3 3
3 3 3 3 3 3

w w w
˙ #˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ #˙ ˙ ˙ w w w
œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
? œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œœ b œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ b œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œ b œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ b œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
3 3 3 3
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
? Œ Ó œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
w w wœ œ œ œ œ œ w œ œ œ œ œ œ wœ œ œ œ œ œ
w œ
œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ
? b œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ b œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ b œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ b œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ œœ œ
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
? Œ Ó
w ˙ ˙ w w
œ ˙ w

Nepomuceno’s approach to landscape in “Alvorada na serra” can be

considered a musical counterpart to genre painting, especially because the element

embodying folk costumes and national feeling of melancholy, namely, the Sapo Jururu

tune, functions as the foreground of a landscape musically painted with native birdcalls

and forest murmurs.

The expression of national feelings through landscape was the ideological basis

of works such as Gomes’ “Alvorada,” Braga’s Marabá and Nepomuceno’s

“Alvorada na serra.” The last two composers adopted the use of folk tunes as a means

of expressing melancholy, making landscape a vehicle for “sentimental nationalism” in

Brazilian Romantic music.

From the previous description, one may consider that the generation after

Gomes, particularly, Henrique Oswald, Francisco Braga and Alberto Nepomuceno,

elaborated on Gomes’ approach to musical landscape. The approach to nature as poetic

emotion found in Gomes’ “Al chiaro di luna” was refined by Braga in Paysage and

Oswald in Il Neige!. The nationalization of musical landscape launched by Gomes with

Pery’s scene (Act II) from Il Guarany and the Prelude “Alvorada” (Act IV) from Lo

Schiavo echoed in the work of the following composers: the identification of the Indian

with nature in Braga’s Jupyra and Marabá; the use of sabiá birdcall as a nationalist

statement and the use of native birdcalls in general as a way of localizing landscape into

national boundaries in Nepomuceno’s “Alvorada na serra,” and Macedo’s Tiradentes;

the use of sunrise as a metaphor of Brazil as a young nation in “Alvorada na serra,” the

storm scene in Tiradentes, Fróes’ “Vozes D’Alva,” and Villa-Lobos’ Amazonas and

Alvorada na Floresta Tropical; forest murmurs in Marabá, “Alvorada na serra,” and

Jupyra; landscape as historical locale in Jupyra and Marabá, and Tiradentes; finally,

nature as Edenic locale perceived either from the sentimental or the monumental

(ufanista) perspective in all works discussed. To Gomes’ set of nationalist conventions,

Braga and Nepomuceno added the use of folk and popular tunes as the element

embodying folk costumes and national feelings, and searched for a more distinctive

descriptive musical formula for forest murmurs. The nationalist ideology of landscape

in Brazilian Romantic music was the expression of national feelings through landscape.



Villa-Lobos reshaped nationalist conventions of musical landscape established

by the two preceding generations. Some elements were reframed while others were

totally abandoned. The identification of the Indian with nature was maintained although

reshaped upon Indian-based legends. The use of sabiá birdcall as a nationalist statement

was discarded for its close association with Romanticism, but the use of native birdcalls

in general as a way of localizing landscape into national boundaries was maintained. The

use of sunrise as a metaphor of Brazil as a young nation was maintained although

substantially reframed in its ideological implications. The musical description of forest

murmurs was enlarged to a wide variety of forest sounds. In the vision of nature as

Edenic locale predominated the mythical and the monumental (ufanista) perspective

while the sentimental approach was momentarily discarded. The conception of

landscape as historical locale was replaced by mythical time that was essentially

atemporal. (This is valid to Uirapuru e Amazonas, but obviously does not apply to later

works such as O descobrimento do Brasil)

Villa-Lobos’ reformulation of the major elements for the construction of

national landscape affected its ideology. From the Romantic representation of a

localized and temporalized landscape closely associated with the expression of national

feelings, Villa-Lobos turned landscape into the embodiment of national essence. Villa-

Lobos gave a major turn to “sentimental nationalism” by relying on the Edenic vision

in its monumental and mythical dimensions, fostered by contemporary culture. Villa-

Lobos’s musical landscape constructed an Edenic vision of Brazilian nature by

expanding the sounds evoking nature including a wider range of forest sounds, animals,

monsters, natural and supernatural beings, and by using Indian-like legends that

reframed the identification of the Indian with nature and installed an atemporal mythical


The continuous search for a more distinctive descriptive musical formula of

forest murmurs can be distinguished from Braga to Nepomuceno. Villa-Lobos enlarged

musical description of forest murmurs to a wide variety of forest sounds that was

readily recognized by contemporary reception. Mário de Andrade’s criticism (1930) on

Amazonas, in the year after its first performance,89 reflects the perception of Villa-

Lobos’ music “emanating from nature prior to the arrival of culture.”90

These elements, these sonorous forces are profoundly “nature.” (…) They
appear as voices, sounds, noises, thuds, whirring sounds, symbols coming out of
meteorological phenomena, of geological accidents and irrational beings. It is the
rowdy impudence of the virgin land (…) It is music learned from the birds and
feral animals, the savage people and typhoons, the water and primeval religions.
Music of nature, comparing to which the Sixth Symphony and Siegfried are
nothing more than well-behaved samples of nature (in terms of cosmic meaning,
not aesthetic beauty) exhibiting in the vitrines commercialized nature, cleaned off
and dressed by Christian civilization (…) I know nothing in music, not even the
barbarous Rite of Spring of Stravinsky …, that is so, I don’t say “primal,” but
so expressive of the green and the earth-colored laws of nature as the music, or
at least certain pieces of music, of Villa-Lobos.91

89 Amazonas was composed in 1917 but premiered only twelve years later (30 May 1929) at the Salle
Gaveau in Paris, performed by the Orchestre des Concerts Poulet.
90 Maia 2000: 20
91 “Esses elementos, essas forças sonoras são profundamente “natureza” (…) Parecem vozes, sons,
ruídos, baques, estalos, tatalares, símbolos saídos dos fenômenos metereorológicos e dos seres
Although “no specific timbre effects seem to imitate the exotic native sounds of

the jungle,” as Béhague has pointed out, Villa-Lobos was able to create a musical

blueprint that constructed the “aesthetic idealization of Amazonian Indianism.”92. As

landscape musical experiences from preceding generations opened the path to Villa-

Lobos in the construction of Brazilian musical landscape, Villa-Lobos reshaped the

musical conventions of national landscape by responding to the Edenic vision of nature

of his time in conjunction with the updating of his musical language.

Villa-Lobos’ “aesthetic idealization of Amazonian Indianism” responded to the

Brazilian culture of his time, in which geographic and anthropological knowledge were

reinterpreted through the Edenic vision of Brazilian nature. That Edenic vision oscillated

between a mythical view of Brazilian frontier and its native inhabitants, and a

monumental view of Brazilian natural resources. The imagination around Brazilian

nature was informed by the continuing revival of Colonial writings, the publication of

collections of folk tales and Indian legends, fiction literature, the mapping of the

Brazilian territory and field reports by sertanistas (frontiersmen).

The Edenic vision of the new land has been constructed since the age of the

Portuguese and Spanish discovery, conquest, and colonization.93 Within a Catholic

conception of “heaven on earth,” the Iberian conquerors hoped to find in the New

irracionais. É o despudor bulhento da terra virgem que Villa-Lobos representa, melhor nesta obra que
em nenhuma outra (…) música aprendida com os passarinhos e as feras, com os selvagens e os tufões,
com as águas e as religiões primárias. Música da natureza, junto da qual a Sexta sinfonia ou o Siegfried
(não como beleza, mas como significação cósmica) não passam de amostras bem educadinhas de
natureza, pra expor, nas vitrines, natureza já comercializada, limpinha e vestida na civilização cristã (…)
Nada conheço em música, nem mesmo a bárbara Sagração da Primavera de Stravinski (aliás, de outra
e genialmente realizada estética) que seja tão, não digo “primário”, mas tão expressivo das leis verdes e
terrosas da natureza sem trabalho, como a música, ou pelo menos, certas músicas de Villa-Lobos.”
(Translation based on Béhague 1994: 57-8)
92 Béhague 1992: 52, 56.
93 For a discussion of Edenic and eldorado myth see Hollanda 1959; and Coutinho 1972: 35, 49.

World “a paradise made of earthly riches and heavenly beatitude, which would be

offered to them without demanding major work, but as a free gift.” Among the literary

conventions (or topoi) of Edenic myths of Iberian conquest is the description of the

“garden of delights” with “astonishing landscapes” in a “perennial spring,” making a

magic scenario plenty with exotic birds and fruits, and with “thick forests” populated

by “gentle and uncorrupted people.” These writings were plenty of detailed

descriptions of the natural environment, among the purposes of which were to assert

veracity to the traveler’s journey and to encourage new settlers by seducing them to the

richness and wonders of the new land.94

The Edenic vision of Colonial writings implied in the utilitarian and mythic

attitudes towards Brazilian “marvelous geography.”95 Both attitudes were reinterpreted

by Brazilian twentieth-century culture, and were reflected in Villa-Lobos’ musical

production and reception. The mythic view was nourished by Colonial writings’

marveilleux, and nineteenth-century folklore studies and collection of Indian legends.

The utilitarian view of Colonial writings and Romantic “monumental nationalism”96

reached the twentieth century with ufanismo, the patriotic feeling that exalted the young

nation’s natural resources and wonders, and territory with continental dimensions.

Landscape increasingly became a mode of national consciousness in its unity

and identity. The continuing mapping of Brazilian territory was of strategic importance.

Surveys and scientific publications on the subject engaged greatly Brazilian

intelligentsia. Important works on Brazilian territory and population include Conrado

Jacob Niemeyer’s Carta Corográfica do Império do Brasil (1846; first work on

94 Hollanda 1969: xviii; xv, xx, 16, 207-216.

95 Term used by Luca 1999.
96 Candido (1981, 1: 210-1) distinguishes two types of nationalism associated with nature: nationalism
in its monumental (“O Gigante de Pedra”) and sentimental (“Canção do Exílio”) kind.
geography awarded a prize by the Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro); Manuel

Aires do Casal’s Corografia Brasílica (1873); Carta da República do Brasil (1895);

Elisée Reclus’ Estados Unidos do Brasil: geografia, etnografia, estatística (1900,

transl. and notes by B. F. Ramiz Galvão); “Expansão Geográfica do Brasil até fins do

século XVII” by the historian Basílio de Magalhães (presented during the First Meeting

of National History in Rio de Janeiro, 1914, and awarded the Dom Pedro II Gold Medal

by the Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro in 1917); and the Dicionário

Histórico, Geográfico e Etnográfico (1923).97 Brazilian geography was also subject of

dilettantes such as Raul Villa-Lobos’s Compêndio elementar de corografia do Brasil

(1890), and Dicionário geográfico postal do Brasil (unpubl.).

The Brazilian government consistently supported the publication of luxurious

books on the nation’s resources with an eye on foreign affairs. Brazilian image abroad

was largely constructed by propaganda books on Brazilian natural richness especially

commissioned for international exhibitions during the Imperial Period. Likewise, each

president during the First Republic used to honor his administrative term with a

monumental volume on the subject. For instance, Campos Sales commissioned Marie

Robinson Wright’s The New Brazil - Its resources and attractions (printed in

Philadelphia, 1907); and Rodrigues Alves commissioned Artur Dias’s The Brazil of

Today (multilingual publication in several volumes). The Amazon was catching

domestic and international attention with works such as The River Amazon, by Paul

Fountain; The Lower Amazon, by Algot Lange; The Upper Reaches of the Amazon, by

Joseph Woodroffe, all of them published in 1914. The utilitarian view of nature

motivated the writing of works such as Mário Guedes’s Os Seringais (1914) and

97 Luís Veríssimo’s book review on Reclus published in the first page of JC, 1 May 1900 illustrates
the popularization of such a kind of knowledge. See also Luca 1999: 97, 112
Charles E. Akers’ The Rubber Industry in Brazil and the Orient (1914), and some of

them, such as Joseph H. Kerby’s The Land of Tomorrow: the Amazon (1906), were

considered by many Brazilians, among which Manuel Bonfim, a thread of foreign

aggression and international rapacity of Brazilian natural richness.98 The Revista do

Brasil, a monthly review that circulated from 1916 to 1925, kept the issue of Brazil’s

territory and natural resources as a major mode of national consciousness by regularly

publishing articles ranging from the wonderment of the land’s abundance to the need of

Brazilians effectively take possession of it.99

The monumental view engendered national pride and ufanismo. Ufanismo can

be defined as the triumphant boastfulness of Brazil’s vastness and abundance, colossal

and varied natural resources, unique plants, animals, and landscapes, revealing national

pride and self-aggrandizing. The exaltation of Brazilian nature in comparison with the

European was first expressed by Colonial nativista literature,100 and came to be one of

the strongest traditions of Brazilian culture having a momentum in the nineteenth

century with Gonçalves Dias’ “Canção do Exílio,”101 and culminating in the twentieth

century with ufanismo summed up by Afonso Celso (1860-1938) in Por que me ufano

de meu país [Why am I proud of my country] (1900), an overtly nationalist work,

published on the occasion of the Fourth Centennial of Discovery of Brazil, “that fixed

98 Martins 1977-8, 5: 306, 330, 543.

99 Luca 1999: 86.
100 “The ‘nativista literature’ expressesthe feeling of nature, the love of local land, landscape, flora,
fauna, and climate, and grasps the surronding world through the ‘cantos genetlíacos,’ the ‘ilhas de
maré,’ the ‘diálogos das grandezas,’ the treatises of the ‘culture and opulence’ of the country, which
were evidently propaganda books addressed Europe, but also reflected ‘national’ pride for all that the
land had and offered to the colonist and its first inhabitants” (Coutinho 1968: 164). Sebastião da Rocha
Pita’s História da América Portuguesa (1730) is considered the first manifestation of national
ufanismo (Leite 1983: 161).
101 Coutinho 1968: 164.

ufanismo as a naive national consciousness pattern.”102 Celso’s book, defined by the

author as “a light work of dissemination,” had twelve editions until 1942 and was

widely read by children and the adult public. In this nationalist doctrine, Celso replied to

the predominantly pessimistic view of Brazil at the time and its inferiority complex, by

exulting Brazilian natural resources and listing eleven reasons of Brazilian superiority in

comparison with other nations: territorial size, beauty, country’s richness, variety and

amenity of its climate; lack of natural disasters or calamities, the excellence of the ethnic

elements forming the national type, noble qualities of national character, etc.”103

Ufanismo remained a major mode of national consciousness in the following decades,

constituting the discourse of books on civil education such as Sampaio Dória’s

Educação Cívica (1918) with emblematic statements such as the following:

Nature here flaunts the most varied fertilities. Here we have luxuriant virgin
jungles, fields of oceanic vastness, world’s most overflowing rivers, the most
portentous waterfalls, the healthiest regions (…) and the most enjoyable beaches
(…) Nature endowed Brazil with all the opulence and fascination of its
inexhaustible treasures.104

Villa-Lobos’ Amazonas is among the earliest expressions of ufanismo in music.

As Wisnik has noted, Villa-Lobos’ representation of Brazilian identity “responded to

the expectations of Brazilian society at large,” since it fulfilled the idea of “new nation”

imagined as “potential,” as “latent abundance,” and as “grandeur yet to be realized.”

The “powerful social forces conferring an ideological frame to Villa-Lobos’ musical

style” reside in “the necessity of representing the image of Brazilian nature abounding

102 Nunes 1998: 234.

103 Leite 1983: 211-212.
104 “A natureza ostenta, aqui, as mais variadas fertilidades. Aí estão as nossas luxuriantes matas
virgens, os campos de vastidão oceânica, os mais caudalosos rios do mundo, as cachoeiras mais
portentosas, as regiões mais saudáveis (…) e as praias mais veraneáveis (…) A natureza se esmerou em
dotá-lo [o Brasil] de todas as opulências e fascinações nos seus inexauríveis tesouros.” (Dória 1918,
quoted in Luca 1999: 88).
with richness, so as to make evident the nation’s enormous potentialities.” This

“grandiose and eloquent view of Brazil” was embodied by the sound masses created

by Villa-Lobos, in which “the indulgence of sound effects motivates and engages the

internal language of his music, its dissonant harmonies, multiform rhythms, varied

timbres, and expansive melodies. The fortissimos do not convey tension but overflowing

energy, and surplus of youthfulness.”105

This ufanista view of Brazil was primarily associated with nature and mostly

expressed through musical landscape. Within this “ideology of a nation that imagined

itself as potential,” Villa-Lobos’ music conveys “representations of nature reflecting

the aspirations of a gigantic, savage and floral Brazil.”106 Musical criticism has

continuously emphasized Villa-Lobos’ overflowing representation of Brazilian nature.

Beaufils, for instance, in commenting upon Amazonas, Uirapuru and Erosão, describes

the composer’s orchestral approach “as profuse as the sertão or the Amazonian


Villa-Lobos gave musical embodiment to the “imagined Amazon,” an ideal

image of the Amazon created out of the expectations engendered by previous images

constructed by numerous travellers’reports, descriptions, chronicles, news and

illustrations disseminated in contemporary culture.108 The gap between reality and the

“imagined Amazon” was coevally perceived by Euclides da Cunha:

Since the early times all of us gaze at an idealized Amazon, due to the singularly
lyric passages of the inumerable reports by trabellers that since Humboldt until
today have contemplated the prodigious Hyloe with religious awe. Therefore, it
results a phenomenon very common in psychology: when we face the real

105Wisnik 1977: 168-171.

106Wisnik 1977: 170.
107Beaufils 1967, 116.
108Süssekind’s (2000, 32-3, 37) idea of the “imagined Amazon,” as an “utopian picture” and
“subjective image,” is similar to Benedicts’ idea of “imagined communities.”
Amazon, we see it as inferior to the image we have constructed for a long time.

The monumental view of Brazilian nature and the mythification of the Amazon

was also fostered by travellers’ chronicles and fiction literature with works such as Julio

Verne’s A jangada [The raft] (1882); José Veríssimo de Matos’ Cenas da Vida

Amazônica [Scenes of the Amazonian life] (1886); Herculano Marcos Inglês de

Souza’s O Missionário [The missionaire] (1891); Melo Moraes Filho’s Pátria

Selvagem [Savage Fatherland] (1900); and Alberto Rangel’s Inferno Verde [The Green

Hell] (1908, with its second edition in 1914).

The Edenic imaginary is enriched with the increasing dissemination of Indian

legends through the publication of studies and collections such as Couto de Magalhães’

O Selvagem [The Savage] (1876); J. Barbosa Rodrigues’ “Lendas, crenças e

superstições” [Legends, believes and superstitions] (1881), and Poranduba

Amazonense (1890); Melo Morais Filho’s Os Escravos Vermelhos, mitos amazônicos

[Red Slaves, Amazonian Myths] (1899); poetic settings of Indian legends published in

periodicals such as Bel. Campos Porto’s Uiara, Prá Yauara (In O Paiz, RJ), Melo

Moraes Filho’s Yacy uaruá (in Revista anthropologica); and verse and prose fiction

such as José Veríssimo’s Cenas da Vida Amazônica [Scenes of Amazonian Life, short

stories with a study on the indigenous and miscegenated population of the Amazon]

(1886; reprint 1899), and José Coutinho de Oliveira’s Lendas Amazônicas (1916).

The literary program of Amazonas is Heitor Villa-Lobos’ tropical version of his

father Raul Villa-Lobos’ Greek-inspired legend Myremis. Villa-Lobos’ version reflects

well the mythification of the Indian and Amazonian world:

A beautiful virgin, consecrated by the gods of the Amazonian forest, used to

welcome the dawn bathing herself in the waters of the Marajoara river. This river

109 Euclides da Cunha, À Margem da História (1909), quoted in Süssekind 2000: 32.
sometimes showed its loathing against the daughters of Atlantis, but in honor to
their beauty, he sometimes also calmed down the tides of its river waters. The
savage maiden enjoyed herself invoking the sun with ritual gestures, displaying
her divine body in graceful movements so her body could be contemplated by
the sunrays of the king star or mirrored in the undulating surface of the river.
The more the Indian maiden sees her shadow drawing her beauty in the cold and
indolent screen, as no one have never idealized, the more she feels proud of
herself in such a brutal sensuality. While the virgin goes astray, the god of the
tropical winds blows a perfume with tenderness and love, but the maiden ignores
his supplication of love, and dances letting herself to crazily enjoy her pleasures
as a naïve child. The jealousy god of the winds gets offended by such a disdain,
and takes the chaste perfume of the daughter of the Marajós to the profane
regions of the monsters. One of the monsters detects the maiden, and search for
her with such an anxiety that he destroys everything on his way. He approaches
her. Impelled by the instinctive power that nature endowed the living beings, the
monster goes to realize the unruly caprice of the invisible imam. To a short
distance from the maiden, the monster stops walking and starts crawling. Then
he contemplates the maiden very closely in extasis. He desires her. But the
Indian maiden, looking at her own transformed image, full of terror and with no
destiny, the consecrated virgin dives into the abysm of her own desire, followed
by the monster.

Uma linda virgem e moça, consagrada pelos deuses das florestas Amazônicas,
costumava saudar a aurora, banhando-se nas águas do Amazonas, o rio
Marajoara, o qual às vezes, ainda mostrava os efeitos de sua cólera contra as
filhas da Atlântida, mas que, em homenagem à beleza delas, de vez em quando,
também, acalmava as ondas de sua própria corrente eterna. A moça selvagem
diverte-se alegremente, ora invocando o sol com gestos rituais, ora contornando
o corpo divino em gestos graciosos, para que seu corpo possa inteiramente ser
contemplado pela luz do astro-rei ou se refletir na ondulante superfície do rio. E
quando mais vê sua sombra desenhar na tela dolente e fria os traços de sua
beleza, tal como ninguém a idealizara, mais ela se orgulha de si mesma, numa
sensualidade brutal. Enquanto a virgem cisma, o deus dos ventos tropicais a
perfuma com seu sopro caricioso e amoroso, mas a moça, desprezando essas
implorações de amor, dança entregando-se loucamente aos seus prazeres como
uma criança ingênua. Indignado de tanto desprezo, o ciumento deus dos ventos
leva o perfume casto da filha dos Marajós até as regiões profanas dos monstros.
Um destes monstros sente a moça e, na ansiedade de possuí-la, tudo destruindo
ao passar, avança e, sem ser percebido, aproxima-se da índia. Impulsionado pela
força dos instintos que a natureza depositou nos seres vivos, ele vai realizar o
capricho incontrastável do ímã invisível. À pequena distância da virgem, o
monstro pára de caminhar e principia rastejando. Já perto, ele contempla a moça
extasiado e a deseja. Sem ser percebido por ela, o monstro procura-se esconder-
se, porém sua imagem é refletida pela luz do sol sobre a mancha cinzenta da
sombra da índia. É, então, que vendo sua própria imagem transformada, cheia de
terror e sem destino, a virgem consagrada, seguida pelo monstro, precipita-se no
abismo do seu próprio desejo.110

110 Quoted in Villa-Lobos (1972): 186-7.

Villa-Lobos’ adaptation of his father’s legend evolved from earlier literary

versions of Indian legends associated with the Indian female, such as Melo Moraes

Filho’s poetic version of the sirens legend from Rio Negro, which was used by Alberto

Nepomuceno in Uiaras (1897) for soprano solo and women choir with orchestral

accompaniment. Nepomuceno’s Uiaras seems to be the first use of poetic renditions of

Indian legends in Brazilian art music.111 According to Cascudo, this poetic version of a

supposedly Indian legend contains many European elements: the image of the siren

living in a palace in the depths of the river, her beauty (a woman with white skin, blue

eyes and blond hair) and seduction methods (charming singing) do not belong to

indigenous culture, but show how European mythic motives disseminated among the

hinterland population since the Colonial period.112 Also, Melo Moraes Filho’s poetry

111 “Travesso menino/ Do fundo das águas/ Que em flocos se ameigam dos juncos ao pé,/ Um canto
macio,/ De quem não se vê.// O canto se estende; mais doce que as moitas/ Que dormem silentes às
luzes do céu./ Se acaso o barqueiro, que vai na jangada,/ Lhe escuta a toada,/ Meu Deus, se perdeu!/
Travesso menino,/ Não sabes ainda?/ Ali as Uiaras se ocultam revéis;/ São elas as moças que vivem
cantando,/ Crianças roubando./ São moças cruéis!// São alvas, mais alvas que os dentes das antas,/ Mais
louras que a pele das onças… são belas! Se alguém as descobre na mole corrente,/ Lá some-se a gente,/
Sumiu-se com elas!// Em noites de lua resvalam fugaces,/ Quais névoas douradas, nas águas azuis!/ E
ao colo suspenso nas ondas bem mansas/ Enroscam-se as tranças/ Quais serpes de luz.// E elas entoam
cantigas tão meigas/ Que o eco dos vales acorda veloz…/ Mas foge, menino, de ouvires das fadas/
Gentis, encantadas,/ Um hino, uma voz!// _”Eu tenho aqui mil palácios/ Todos feitos de corais,/ Seus
tetos são mais formosos/ Que a coma dos palmeirais./ Infante que vais no monte,/ Deixa o teu pouso
d’além;/ Eu sei histórias bonitas…/ Vem!// Quando nas cestas d’espuma/ Sigo à toa até o mar,/ As
princesas que morreram/ Descem na luz do luar./ Jangadeiro que murmuras,/ Eu sou princesa também;/
O rio está na vasante…/ Vem!// Minhas escravas são virgens/ Loucas, esbeltas, morenas;/ Têm mais
ternura nos olhos/ Que orvalho nas açucenas./ Jangadeiro, a noite é fria,/ Tem mal-assombro o sertão;/
Minhas escravas são lindas…/ São!// Tenho colares de per’las,/ Harpas d’ouro em que descanto;/
Governo a luz das estrelas,/ Pára o luar ao meu canto./ Infante, a choça é deserta./ Ninguém te espera lá,
não;/ Minhas histórias são belas… São!”// E assim elas levam às grutas sombrias,/ Às grutas
medonhas dos rios, do mar/ Aqueles que ouviram seus cantos à noite,/ Distantes do fogo querido do
lar.// Ouviste, menino? – Não corras do rancho, Que ali as Uiaras se ocultam revéis; São elas as moças
que vivem cantando,/ Crianças roubando…/ São moças cruéis!” (Concert note EM-UFRJ of the concert
held on 1 August 1897 at the Salão do Instituto Nacional de Música)
112 Cascudo 1983: 131, 139.

reveals some nuances in the representation of the Iara legend that certainly come from

his own imagination.

The literary work of Alexandre José de Melo Moraes Filho (1844-1919)

contributed to the flourishing primitivism associated with the mythic vision of Brazilian

nature and native inhabitants. Its approach to the subject kept some Romantic

idealization contrasted with brutal realism reflecting the influence of scientificism in the

literature of his time. Although Melo Moraes “was the first consistently to use Indian

legends, superstitions and traditions as literary themes in expressions that do not seek to

glorify the Indian himself” (Cantos do Equador (1880), and Mitos e Poemas (1884)),

his approach further mythified the savagery of the Indian. For instance, Pátria Selvagem

contains nature description (“Na Mata Virgem”) [In the virgin jungle], crudeness and

horror of savage nature (“Naturalismo”), horrible description of cannibal feast

(“Canibalismo”), and description of dance of slave Indians at Christmas (“O Baile

Indiano”) [Indian ball]. Melo Moraes naturalist-like description of the Indian

foreshadows the primitivism of Brazilian Modernism, as much as his description of

cannibal scenes helped to construct the imagery that engendered the Anthropophagic


The Indian issue had wide repercussion during the first two decades of the

twentieth century. The idealized view of the Indian constructed by Indianismo was

replaced by the ethnographic view constructed by the reports and conferences by

sertanistas and ethnographers. “The Indian became the subject of science. However,

this new ethnographic view also conveyed a kind of unrealistic and nostalgic


113 Driver 1942: 166-70.

114 Martins 1977-8, 5: 541.
Geographical-anthropological knowledge caught popular imagination with

sertanistas’ field reports disseminated through newspapers, letters, art & science

magazines, books, museums, and conferences illustrated with pictures and films. The

frontier work of Candido Mariano da Silva Rondon (1865-1958) was reported since its

beginnings in 1892, and had a high point of popularization with the conference series at

the Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro on 5, 7 and 9 October 1915, and his illustrated

book Missão Rondon: apontamentos sobre os trabalhos realizados pela Comissão de

linhas telegráficas estratégicas de Mato Grosso ao Amazonas, published in 1916.

In 1905, Curt Nimuendaju started researching Indian cultures in Brazil

(especially the Guarani in the region of Bauru, São Paulo state) with an approach that

openly rejected ethnocentrism. In 1914, Nimuendaju published the important scientific

study on the indigenous population, “Die Sagen von der Erschaffung und Vernichtung

der Welt als Grundlagen der Religion der Apapocuva-Guarani,” in Zeitschrift für

Ethonologie (Berlim), vol. XLVI, which discussed the religion and mythology of Indian

groups through an ethno-psychological approach to Brazilian indigenous culture.115

In 1910, the creation of the Serviço de Proteção aos Índios gave a major turn to

the official policy towards the Indian that made it deliberately laic and as much scientific

as possible so that the contact between the Indian and the European was no longer

overridingly in the hands of Catholic missionaries.116

Roquete-Pinto used to exhibit motion pictures in his conferences at the National

Museum in Rio de Janeiro since 1910. Two years later he opened the path to Brazilian

documentary movies by bringing from Rondonia the first ethnographic films about the

Nambikuara Indians, which were exhibited in 1913 at the conference room of the

115 Martins 1977-8, 5: 281, 541.

116 Martins 1977-8, 5: 441.
National Library in Rio de Janeiro. On 27 May 1913, Roquete-Pinto presented

“Aborígenes e Etnógrafos” [Aboriginal people and ethnographers] in the conference

series about the current knowledge on the Indians in Brazil promoted by the National

Library in Rio de Janeiro. Among the issues discussed by Roquete-Pinto was a critical

review of the ethno-linguistic classification of Brazilian Indian groups proposed by

Fernão Cardim, Gabriel Soares, and Martius during the Colonial period. In the same

year the third (revised) edition of Couto de Magalhães’ O Selvagem, a collection of

Indian myths and legends in which he proposes a classificatory system of Indian

theogony, appeared.117

The increasing interest on the Indian also raised issues of human and civil rights,

which were discussed by Roquete Pinto’s conference “Sur la situation sociale des

Indiens du Brésil” [On the social situation of the Indians in Brazil] presented at the

Universal Meeting of Races, London in July of 1911; and by João Mendes Jr. (1856-

1923) in Os Indígenas do Brasil: Seus Direitos Individuais e Políticos [The Indigenous

people of Brazil: their individual and political rights] (1912).118

The popularization of current knowledge on the Indian was carried by

periodicals such as the Revista da Semana, which published a picture of the Carajá

Indian in the issue of 6 October 1901, and Cidade do Rio, which published an article

about the Amazonian Indians in the issue of 14 November 1901; books such as Vicente

Chermont de Miranda’s Glossario Paraense, “a collection of words peculiar to the

Amazon, especially the Marajó Island” (1905) and the many editions of Couto de

Magalhães’ O Selvagem; the live exhibition of Indian culture such as the Bororo Indian

ritual during the Exposição Nacional (1908) by the Instituto Histórico e Geográfico

117 Martins 1977-8, 5: 458, 490, 524; Orico 1975: 44-47.

118 Martins 1977-8, 5: 461, 496.
Brasileiro at the Teatro João Caetano; and Rondon’s and Roquete-Pinto’s activities

reported in daily newspapers, magazines, conferences, books and motion pictures, and

the rage provoked by Theodore Roosevelt’s expedition “através do sertão do Brasil”

(in the backlands of Brazil) in 1914.119

Although the purpose of folklorists such as Silvio Romero, and frontiersmen

such as Euclides da Cunha, Rondon, and Roquete-Pinto was to foster an “objective”

knowledge of Brazilian territory and people according to anthropo-geographical

concepts,120 popular imagination interpreted this literary and iconographic material

through Edenic myth glasses. Even magazines with scientific proclivity such as Revista

do Brasil disseminated the vision of a “marvelous geography, nourished by the

existence of large areas of unexplored land in Northern and Western Brazil, stirring the

imagination of the elite, which laid dreams of richness, abundance and exoticism in

places such as the Amazon.”121 Places such as the Amazon were an overwhelming

challenge to science not only for its topography and geology but also for its fauna and

flora. “It was as if the language of science lost its efficacy when dealing with such

monumental nature which remained indomitable.”122

119 RS, 11 Oct. 1908, no. 439, p. 948, Ribaltas. See chapter 2.
120 The major published works by Euclides da Cunha are Os Sertões (1902), Contrastes e Confrontos
(1907), and À margem da história (1909). For Cunha’s contribution, see Gilberto Freyre (1966)
“Euclides da Cunha, revelador da realidade brasileira,” in Euclides da Cunha, Obra Completa (A.
Coutinho, ed.); and Luis Costa Lima (1997). Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon (1865-1958), Brazilian
sertanista (frontiersman) and geographer, established a pacific policy for the encounter with Indian
populations of Brazilian unknown territory, whose maxim was “To dye, if necessary. To kill, never.”
Rondon always incorporated scientists into his expeditions, which allowed the study and research of
Brazilian geography, bothany, zoology, ethnography, and anthropology. For Rondon’s contribution,
see Darcy Ribeiro, O indigenista Rondon (1958); and Luca 1999, 119- 123. Roquete-Pinto’s major
published works are “O Brasil e a Antropogeografia” (Revista do Brasil, Dec. 1916, vol. 4 no. 12), and
Rondônia (1917). For Roquete-Pinto’s contribution, see Luca 1999: 116-7, 121.
121 Luca 1999, 113.
122 Luca 1999: 114.

Villa-Lobos’ Uirapuru can be inscribed within this Edenic imaginary created

out of Brazilian early-twentieth century anthropogeography, Colonial writings revival,

travellers’ chronicles and Indian legends. Villa-Lobos populated Brazilian “marvelous”

forest with “exotic birds” and “gentle and uncorrupted people.” Villa-Lobos

discarded the Romantic bird, the sabiá, and adopted another native bird associated with

the Amazonian imaginary of “marvelous nature” and folk belief. Villa-Lobos chose a

native bird plenty of allure, from its fascinating singing, the difficulty in getting a sight

of it, its amulet properties, to the controversy about its actual species.123

The mythology around the uirapuru bird was subject of Ermano de Stradelli’s

Vocabulário Nheengatu-Português (18--), Henry Walter Bates’ O Naturalista no Rio

Amazonas (1856),124 Couto de Magalhães’ collection of Indian mythology O Selvagem

(1876; Part 2) and its contentious response by Silvio Romero (1888),125 Gustavo

Barroso’s Mythes, Contes et Légendes des Indiens, Folklore Brésilien (1930), Gastão

Cruls’Hileia Amazônica: aspectos da flora, fauna, arqueologia e etnografia indígenas

123 Some ornithologists, folklorists and native people maintain that there is the “true” species of
uirapuru, while others sustain that there are many species. See, for instance, Orico (1975: 279-281),
Goeldi (1981), Johan Dalgas Frisch (1982). It seems that the bird whose song is similar to the one
transcribed by Spruce and used by Villa-Lobos is the Leucolepia musica. Dicionário Aurélio:
Uirapuru, [Do tupi wirapu'ru] S. m. Bras. 1. Designação comum a várias espécies de aves
passeriformes, da família dos piprídeos, especialmente as mais coloridas dos gêneros Pipra L.,
Chiroxiphia Cab., Teleonema Reich. Seu canto, que só se ouve uns 5 dias por ano (quando constrói o
ninho) e, ademais, apenas durante cinco a 10 minutos, ao amanhecer, é tido como particularmente
melodioso, musical, e diverso do que o de outra ave qualquer, a ponto de, segundo a lenda, os outros
pássaros todos se calarem para escutá-lo. Var. e sin. (em regiões diversas do Brasil): irapuru, guirapuru,
araparu, irapurá, tangará, rendeira, pássaro-de-fandango, realejo. Next entries: Uirapuru-de-cabeça-branca;
Uirapuru-de-cabeça-encarnada; Uirapuru-de-costa-azul; and Uirapuru-verdadeiro. All these varieties of
uirapuru bird are aves passeriformes and distinguish from each other by family and color.
124 Cascudo (1988, entry “Uirapuru”).
125 Silvio Romero, in his História da Literatura Brasileira (1888), criticized Couto de Magalhães’s

view of Indian religion by remarking that “the Indians were not polytheist as Magalhães’ work has
implied when he defined Indian mythology as comprising [the entities of] Anhangá, Curupira, Jeropari,
Caapora, Saci-Pererê, Boitatá, Urutau, Rudá, Uirapuru, Boiaçu, etc., under Tupã’s supremacy.”
(Romero 1980, 1: 115) The popularity of Couto de Magalhães’ O Selvagem is attested by its third
(revised) edition in 1913 (Martins 1977-8, 5: 524); therefore, four years before Villa-Lobos’ Uirapuru.
(1944); of poetic renditions of Indian legends such as Humberto Campos’ sonnet

“Irapurú” (a poem from Poeira, 1911-1915); and of literary works such as Gastão

Cruls’ novel Amazônia Misteriosa (1925, reached its fourth edition in 1935), Raimundo

de Moraes’ Na Planície Amazônica (a classical book, awarded prize by the Brazilian

Academy of Letters in 1926, reached its fourth edition in 1936), and Cassiano Ricardo’s

Martim Cererê.126 Uirapuru is substantially present in Brazilian folklore. According to

folk knowledge, the uirapuru has charming power over the other birds and beasts of the

forest, and when it sings, all the other birds gather around him to listen to his enchanting

song. Uirapuru myth went beyond the Amazonian Indian culture spreading among rural

and urban population of Northern Brazil, including “tavern keepers, greengrocers, small

merchants, small shopkeepers, etc.” According to local belief, stuffed uirapuru, if

prepared by the pajé (Indian shaman), is the most powerful amulet for business, game,

love and happiness, and people use to bury it beneath front doorways, keep it in coffers

or drawers, or carry it in their pockets. The uirapuru talisman generated a small, local

industry (especially in Santarém) of folk beliefs.127

Uirapuru birdcall was first transcribed by the British botanist Richard Spruce,

who stayed in the Brazilian Amazon from 1849 to 1864, and figures in his book Notes

of a Botanist on the Amazon and Andes (1908; edited by Alfred Russel Wallace).128 It

is very likely that Villa-Lobos knew the following report by Spruce given the similarity

between Spruce’s transcription of the uirapuru birdcall and the uirapuru theme used by

Villa-Lobos in his symphonic poem/ballet:

126 Driver (1942: 170-1), Orico (1975: 51, 53 and 279), and Martins (1977-8, 6: 373-5).
127 Stradelli (18--) quoted in Orico (1975: 52) and Cascudo (1988, entry “Uirapuru”); Couto de
Magalhães quoted in Orico (1975: 53); Raimundo de Moraes quoted in Orico (1975: 50-1); Cascudo
(n.d.: 118-119); and Orico (1975: 279).
128 Cascudo n.d.: 118-119.

There was a little bird which interested me exceedingly by its song, although I
did not get a sight of it. It is called Uirá-purú (which means merely Spotted
bird), and is said to be about the size of a sparrow. As Senhor Bentes had told
me I should certainly hear it at the caxoeiras [water falls], adding that “it played
tunes for all the world like a musical snuff-box,” I was constantly listening for
it; and at length one day, just after noon – the hour when birds and beasts are
mostly silent – I had the pleasure of hearing it strike up close at hand. There was
no mistaking its clear bell-like tones, as accurately modulated as those of a
musical instrument. Its “phrases” were short, but each included all the notes of
the diapason; and after repeating one phrase perhaps twenty times, it would
suddenly pass to another – sometimes with a change of key to the major fifth –
and continue it for an equal space. Usually, however, there was a brief pause
before a change of theme. I had listened for some time before I bethought me of
writing down its song. The following phrase is the one that oftenest recurred:

Musical example No. 30: Spruce’s musical transcription of uirapuru bird call

œ œœœœ œ‰ œ œ œ œ œ œ Œ
& J œ J œ etc.

Simple as this music was, its coming from an unseen musician in the depths of
that wild wood gave it a weir-like character, and it held me spellbound for near
an hour, when it suddenly broke off, to be taken up again at so great a distance
that it reached my ear as no more than a faint tinkling.129

Uirapuru’s story made up by Heitor Villa-Lobos reveals the survival of

Colonial writings’ “marvelous nature” blended with Indian legends popularized by

folklore studies. Villa-Lobos was the first composer to make up a legend that contains

Indian-myth patterns such as transformation.

Uirapuru (“Le petit oiseau enchanté”) (Legend of the Magic Bird) (Brazilian
Ballet) An Indian legend tells that the nightly song of the Uirapuru bird was so
enchanting that the Indian maidens gathered in the evenings to search for the
magic troubadour of the Brazilian forests, because the sorcerers told them that
the Uirapuru was the most handsome Indian chief that there has ever been on
heart, and that he was the king of love). Tropical moonlight night. An ugly
Indian appears in the calm and quiet forest, playing the nose flute made of bones
in a challenge to the magic bird which attracted the Indian maidens with its
singing. The most beautiful Indian maidens come after the sound of the flute,
but get disappointed as they see the ugly Indian. The Indian maidens decide to

129Spruce (1908: 101-102) in vol. I, chap. III. “An excursion to Obidos and the river Trombetas
(November 19, 1849 to January 6, 1850)”
banish him with brutality, battering him, pushing him, and kicking him. The
Indian maidens search anxiously for the Uirapuru through the tree leaves,
hoping to find the handsome young Indian. The fireflies, the crickets, the owls,
the [illegible], the frogs, [illegible], the bats, and all the nightly fauna witness the
eagerness of the Indian maidens. Once in a while one can hear some soft trills
announcing the Uirapuru and filling that environment with joy. I beautiful and
strong Indian maiden with an arrow in her hands rises like a skillful hunter of
nightly birds. As she sees the magic bird, she targets the birds with the arrow.
The magic bird falls on the ground. The Indian maiden is surprised as she sees
the bird transformed into an handsome Indian. He is disputed by the other
Indian maidens, who have also chased him eagerly, but the Indian maiden who
had wounded him wins. At the dispute climax, the dooming nasal sound of the
ugly Indian’s bone-flute. The Indian maidens try to hide the handsome Indian
since they are afraid of the revenge of the ugly and evil Indian. However, the
handsome Indian is caught by the terrifying Indian, who throws an arrow with
fury and revenge, deadly wounding the handsome Indian. The Indian maidens
carry the handsome Indian to the border of a pond, where he sudenly transforms
himself into an invisible bird, leaving the sad and loving Indian maidens, who
can only hear his marvelous singing fading in the depth of the quiet forest.

Uirapuru (“Le petit oiseau enchanté”) (Lenda do Pássaro Encantado) (Bailado

Brasileiro) (Conta uma lenda que a magia do canto noturno do Uirapuru era tão
atraente que as índias à noite se reuniam à procura do trovador mágico das
florestas brasileiras, porque os feiticeiros lhes contaram que o Uirapuru era o
mais belo cacique que existia sobre a terra e era o rei do amor). Noite tropical e
enluarada. Numa floresta, calma e silenciosa, aparece um índio feio, tocando uma
flauta de osso pelo nariz, querendo desafiar o pássaro encantado da floresta, que,
com o seu canto mágico, atrai as jovens índias. Ao ouvirem o som da flauta,
surgem em grupo alegre as mais belas silvícolas da região do Pará.
Decepcionam-se, porém, ao descobrirem aquele índio feio e, indignadas,
enxotam-no brutalmente com pancadas, empurrões e pontapés. Ansiosas,
procuram pelas folhagens das árvores o Uirapuru, certas de encontrarem um
lindo jovem. São testemunhas desta ansiedade os vagalumes, os grilos, as
corujas, os ba[ilegível], os sapos, [ilegível], os morcegos e toda a fauna noturna.
De quando em vez, ouvem-se ao longe alguns trilos suaves, que, anunciando o
Uirapuru, irradiam o contentamento de todo aquele ambiente. Seduzida pelo
mavioso canto do Uirapuru, surge uma linda e robusta índia de flecha e bodoque
em punho, como uma adestrada caçadora de pássaros noturnos. Ao ver o
pássaro encantado, lança-lhe a flecha, prostando-o por terra. Surpreende-se,
porém, ao vê-lo transformado num belo indígena. É ele disputado por todas as
índias, que também ansiosas o esperavam, saindo vitoriosa, no entanto, a
caçadora que o ferira. No auge da disputa, ouve-se o toque fanhoso e agourento
da flauta de osso do índio feio. Temendo uma vingança do índio feio e mau, as
índias procuram esconder o belo índio, que é ainda surpreendido pelo temido
índio, que, feroz e vingativo, atira-lhe uma flecha, ferindo-o mortalmente.
Pressurosas, as índias carregam-no em seus braços à beira de um poço, onde
ele, subitamente se transforma num pássaro invisível, deixando-as tristes e

apaixonadas, ouvindo apenas o seu canto maravilhoso, que se vai sumindo no
silêncio da floresta.130

Villa-Lobos’ making of an Indian-like legend reframed the identification of the

Indian with nature by inserting the marvelous component and inscribing it within an

atemporal framework. The marvelous component is related to Colonial writings and

nineteenth- and twentieth-century folklore studies. The Edenic vision of Colonial

writings constructed the image of American “nature impregnated with mysteries and

encrypted meanings” through the numerous reports of travelers who have supposedly

witnessed the transformation of one animal into another, such as, for instance, the

transformation of butterflies into humming birds reported by Simão de Vasconcelos in

Crônica da Companhia de Jesus do Estado do Brasil, Fernão Cardim in Tratados da

Terra e Gente do Brasil, and Guilherme Piso in História Natural e Médica da Índia

Ocidental.131 Such transformations were first reported to the Portuguese by the

Indians,132 and later recorded by folklorists and ethnographers as Indian myths.

Transformations within the natural world, and between the human and the natural world,

have been approached by folklore studies as a recurring motif in Indian-related


The transformational motif has a parallel with the Uirapuru program written by

Villa-Lobos for his ballet/ symphonic poem. Since transformations are “imaginal

material” constructing mythical narratives, the transformational motive embodied by the

Indian-bird transmutation concurs to the establishment of mythical framework in Villa-

Lobos’ Uirapuru. According to Doty, “Mythical language operates as an aesthetic

device (…) express[ing] meanings through concrete and graphic imagic diction.

130 Typed page attached to the autograph P. 39.1.2 (full score) held by MVL-RJ.
131 Hollanda 1969: 217, 211-212.
132 Hollanda 1969: 213.
133 See Cascudo: n.d.
Attention to the actual types of graphic imagery employed in myths - for instance ...

metamorphoses ... - may reveal conceptual patterns otherwise easily overlooked.”134

The transmutation of the Uirapuru Bird into the Handsome Indian and back to

the Uirapuru Bird constructs the ballet’s natural imagery revealing “aspects of natural

and cultural orders.”135 Through that transmutation, the Indian is identified with nature.

Uirapuru’s graphic imagery translates the physicality of this merging identity. Also, the

Uirapuru bird/ Indian transmutation connection constructs the Edenic vision of nature

through the marvelous component.

Uirapuru is among the most representative works of Villa-Lobos’ Modernist

tinge of landscape, since it reflects the dialectics between the updating of musical

techniques concomitantly with the representation of the savage and magic world. “The

driving forces of Brazilian Modernism lay in the tension between Futurism and

Primitivism, namely, the adoption of cosmopolitan techniques concomitantly with the

representation of the savage and magic world.”136 The following analysis aims to show

how Villa-Lobos translated the symbolism of Uirapuru’s literary program into music.

Villa-Lobos’ reshaping of Indianismo as expressed in Uirapuru integrates the

transformational motive representing the Indian magic and primeval world and Brazilian

“marvelous nature” with two Indianismo conventions, namely, the identification of the

Indian with nature, and the opposition between the noble savage and the primitive

Indian. Those conventions and motif are musically translated by characterizing the main

agents of the ballet through specific scale-types and pitch centers, in addition to timbral,

textural, and rhythmic patterns, and also through their dramatic interaction.

134 Doty 1986: 22-3.

135 Doty 1986: 34.
136 Wisnik 1977: 167.
The symbolic area of each character is defined in the present analysis as the

scale-type and pitch center of their first appearance or intervention in the major events of

the ballet, which does not necessarily coincide with the first presentation of their themes.

Those major events are the sole display of the Uirapuru Bird, the arrival of the Indian

Maidens, the coming out of the Handsome Indian, and the appearance of the Ugly

Indian (See Table No. 2. All references to scale types are based on Antokoletz (1992;

1993) and Kostka (1989), and should be considered regardless of enharmonic spelling,

and in the case of non-diatonic scales, also regardless of ordering. The pitches in

brackets are omitted in the specific passage under discussion. Please, refer to orchestral

printed score New York: Associated Music Publishers, 1948).

The sole display of the Uirapuru Bird (mm. 134-184 in Block 4) establishes its

symbolic area in E-Phrygian mode (E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E). The coming out of the

Handsome Indian (mm. 197-215 in Block 5) establishes his symbolic area in F-Locrian

(F-Gb-Ab-Bb-Cb-Db-Eb-F), although enharmonically written in E#-Locrian. The

appearance of the Ugly Indian (mm. 361-3 in Block 7; musical example No. 32b) in the

Seven-Note Scale System 1 (or Lydian-Mixolydian) on rotation 5 (E-F#-G-A-B-[C#]-

D#-E), then transposed a fourth above (A-B-C-[D]-[E]-F#-G#-A), establishes his

symbolic area in the non-diatonic realm. The Indian Maidens (mm. 185-196 in Block 5;

musical example No. 33) are characterized by chord progression based on C#-

Mixolydian (C#-D#-E#-[F#]-G#-[A#]-B-C#) with octatonic insertions (for instance, D

and A from Octatonic-0, and E from Octatonic-2).

The two Indianismo conventions are presented in Part A (mm. 1- 134). Block 1

establishes the identification of the Indian with nature by presenting the Uirapuru Bird

and the Handsome Indian simultaneously and both in the same scale (F-Locrian;

musical example No. 31). Block 2 presents the Ugly Indian in non-diatonic scale. The

dramatic interaction between Block 2 and 3 establishes the polarity noble savage versus

primitive Indian by opposing their scale-type characterization, namely, the Seven-Note

Scale System 2 of the Ugly Indian (on rotation 6 A-Bb-C-[D]-E-[F#]-G#-A, then

transposed a fourth above, F-[G]-A-B-C#-D-[Eb]-F, and transposed a fourth above

again, Bb-C-D-[E]-[F#]-G-[Ab]-Bb) versus the Octatonic-0 (C-D-Eb-F-F#-G#-A-B)

of the Handsome Indian, but keeps their primeval kinship by placing them in the non-

diatonic realm at this point of the ballet. In retrospect, the opening section of the ballet

(mm. 1-67) can be considered the exposition of the main characters of the plot and their

significance, and its repetition (mm. 68-134) serves to reiterate its premises.

The identification of the Indian with nature is embodied musically through

characterization by pitch collection. The simultaneous presentation of the Uirapuru

theme with the Handsome Indian theme (mm. 2-18 in Block 1; musical example No.

31) in the same F-Locrian mode embodies musically the identification of the Indian with

nature. In this instance, uirapuru blends with the Indian by singing in his mode and

tonal center. The identification of the Handsome Indian with the Uirapuru Bird is

further represented throughout the unfolding of the piece. After the Uirapuru display

(mm. 134-184) in E-Phrygian, the bird is wounded by the Indian Huntress’ arrow and

transforms itself into the Handsome Indian in F-Locrian. Later in the piece, when the

Handsome Indian is about to be wounded by the Ugly Indian’s arrow, he is presented

in the Uirapuru bird mode and tonal center (E-Phrygian), symbolically corroborating

their mutual identity, or the identification between the Indian and nature. Then, the

Handsome Indian transforms himself into the Uirapuru bird from E-Phrygian to E-

Locrian, with a short transition in Octatonic-2 (D-E-F-G-G#-A#-B-C#). Uirapuru short

transition in Octatonic-2 corroborates its identification with the Handsome Indian since

the latter’s theme shows Octatonic potential (m. 5) and appears in two later instances

under octatonic guise (mm. 31-57 in Octatonic-0 with some diatonic insertion; and mm.

216-226 in Octatonic-0 and Octatonic-1, that latter of which consisting of C#-D#-E-F#-

G-A-Bb-C). After briefly taking up the octatonicism implied in the Handsome Indian

theme, the Uirapuru bird sings its farewell song in E-Locrian consummating Indian-

nature sameness; uirapuru lastly sings in its tonal center (E) in the Handsome Indian

mode (Locrian; musical example No. 34).

Musical example No. 31: Villa-Lobos’s Uirapuru, Uirapuru theme and Handsome
Indian theme

b >œ . œ ˙ œ bœ bœ b˙. œ
1st Violins bœ. œ ˙ œ bœ bœ bœ b˙. œ ‰
&c ∑ J Œ ‰ bœ J
ß 3 3

?c Ó
Violoncellos, Basses
bœ. j . bœ bœ bœ j
F œ b˙ bœ œ œ bœ œ bœ œ
œ bœ bœ ˙ œ œ bœ bœ œ bœ bœ b˙ ˙. œ
œ bœ bœ ˙ œ œ bœ bœ œ bœ bœ bœ b˙ ˙. œ
&‰ J Œ ‰ J J b œ ‰
3 3 3 3 3 3

? > j
b˙ œ b˙ œ ‰ b˙
œ ˙. bœ bœ
> œ bœ
bœ bœ ˙. œ œ bœ bœ œ œ œ bœ bœ bœ bœ w
bœ bœ ˙. œ œ bœ bœ œ œ œ bœ bœ bœ
& J ‰ J ‰ J bœ bœ bœ bœ bœ w
3 3 3

? bœ bœ bœ bœ b˙ j
˙ b˙ b˙ œ. bœ ˙
ß > >
˙ b˙ w
&˙ b˙ w ∑ ∑

œ ˙ œ nœ ˙. bœ ˙. œ œ w
> > > > ƒ

The Ugly Indian theme (mm. 19-24; musical example No. 32a) in Seven-Note

Scale System 2, confirmed by his later appearance in Seven-Note Scale System 1 (mm.

361-3; musical example No. 32b), further defines his character in the non-diatonic

sphere. The polarity between the modal diatonicism of the Handsome Indian and non-

diatonicism of the Ugly Indian can be considered a musical parallel to Indianismo

literary convention of the noble savage as opposed to the primitive Indian. Likewise, the
convergence of the Handsome Indian and the Uirapuru Bird in the modal-diatonic

sphere symbolizes their kinship, translating musically Indianismo literary convention of

the identification of the Indian with nature.

Musical example No. 32a: Villa-Lobos’s Uirapuru, Ugly Indian theme

Uœ . U bœ.
U œ . # œ œ nUœ .
Flute solo
#œ œ œ U œ bœ. œ œ #Uœ . œ œœ # œ œ œ œ nœ
&c œ
œ œ
œ .. œ nœ #œ
Repeat a few times, ad libitum
bœ. bœ œ œ œ. œ œ œ bœ. bœ œ œ œ. œœœ
& .. ..

b œ . b œ œ œ œ . œ œ œ Uœ œ . œ œ œ #Uœ . œ n œ # œ œ œ œ œ Uœ . œ œ œ œ œUœ . œ œ U
b œœ œœœ œ œ œ b œ n œ œ b œ .. # œ 5
& œ .. œ .. 4
F rall. ƒ rapido π F rall.

5 j œ
& 4 #œ. œ #˙

Musical example No. 32b: Villa-Lobos’s Uirapuru, Ugly Indian theme

œ U̇ œ. #œ œ Uœ œ Allegretto deciso
œœ œ #œ œ œœ 5
&4 c œ 4 #œ œ œ œ #œ œ #œ œ nœ
ƒ 3 3

Musical example No. 33: Villa-Lobos’s Uirapuru, Indian Maidens theme

Clarinet 1&2
j j j j j j j
& C ‰ # œœ .. œœ œœ .. # œœ œœ .. œœ œœ .. # œœ œœ .. œœ œœ .. # œœ œœ .. œœ œœ ..
>F > > > > > > >
> >
œœ œ ..
# œ œœ # >œœ .. œ # >œ . œœ # >œœ .. œœ œ>œ .. œœ # >œœ .. œœ >œœ ..
? C ‰ # œœ .. œ œ.
Bassoon 1&2

Celeste ( f )
> > > > > > > >
&C ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙
> > > >
Cello w/harm.
Harp (F ) Piano(p)
> > > >
?C ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Piano tacet

˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙
#w w > > > >

Musical example No. 34: Villa-Lobos’s Uirapuru, Uirapuru farewell song

œo œo œo o œo Œ œo œo œo o œ o œo U
‰ œ
&Ó ‰ J œ ‰ J œ o œ b œo ≈ Œ
F 3

The common modal-diatonic realm of the Uirapuru Bird, the Handsome Indian

and the Indian Maidens points to their potential kinship. This issue is settled by their

further implications in the tonal fabric. Octatonic implications place the Handsome

Indian and the Indian maidens in the same realm. The first three notes of the Handsome

Indian theme (mm. 3-4) have Octatonic-2 potential as much as the Indian Maidens

chords plus the pitch G in the violins (mm. 185-6) and the previously mentioned

octatonic insertions of the pitches D, A, and E (mm. 186-7) have Octatonic-0 and

Octatonic-2 implications. Implied octatonicism is the common ground between the

Handsome Indian and the Indian Maidens placing them in the same realm of mythic

primeval virtue. However, the Uirapuru Bird and the Indian Maidens do not manifest

further affinity concerning their implied scale-types. The pentatonic segment of the

Uirapuru Bird theme (m. 5-6, for instance) does not echo in the Indian Maidens chords,

which dissociates them from any kin relation. Their lack of musical kinship beyond

diatonic relation symbolizes their prey-huntress relation.

Mythical time is created by the work’s two-part cumulative form and non-

functional harmonic language. Although the piece can be divided into two parts (Part A

mm. 1-134, and Part B mm. 134-382), the speculum relation among the recurring

themes (abcba; adbbeda where e is an insertion to adbbda; and dabcad) creates another

level of cohesion that blurs the work’s overall binary form (see Table No. 2 below). The

thematic speculum abcba (comprising Part A and the first block of Part B) blurs the

bipartite sectioning of the work. The overlaping of the speculum-like adbbeda with

dabcad sustains Part B as an unity. While the recurrence of a, b and c by the end of the

piece suggests a rounded-like binary form, the final recurrence of a and d suggests a

fusion of Part A with Part B. In retrospect, the numerous recurrences of a, b, c, and d

throughout the piece confers a cumulative meaning to those themes, and their placement

within block juxtapositions results in mosaic forms. The last block summarizes the

works cumulative form by recalling themes a, b, and c framed by theme d.

Table No. 2: Villa-Lobos’s Uirapuru

Block 1 (m. 1-18) a Uirapuru theme; F Locrian (simultaneously with)

P b Handsome Indian theme; F Locrian

a Block 2 (m. 19-24) c Ugly Indian theme; Seven-Note System 2

r Block 3 (m. 25-67) b Handsome Indian theme: Stravinskian-Rite; Octatonic-

t O with diatonic insertion (mm. 31-57)

A Repeats entirely Part

A (m. 68-134)

Block 4 (m. 134-192) a Uirapuru theme; E Phrygian (mm. 136-184): uirapuru

P display: block organized in abba form, respectively,

a mm. 136-141; 146-158; 161-172; 177-184)

r Block 5 (m. 185-227) d Indian Maidens theme; C# Mixolydian: Satie or Boris

t Godunov-like chords; (mm. 185-193) Indian Maidens

B approach

b Handsome Indian theme; F Locrian (m. 197)

b Handsome Indian theme; Octatonic-0 + Octatonic-1

Block 6 (m. 227-340) e Exotica: 4 sub-sections: Primitive dance I, Primitive

dance II, Scheherazade; and Primitive dance III

Block 7 (m. 341-375) d Indian Maidens theme; Mixolydian

a Uirapuru theme; F Locrian (m. 347)

b Handsome Indian theme; F Locrian (mm. 350-5)

c Ugly Indian theme; Seven-Note System 1 (mm. 361-3)

a Uirapuru theme; E Locrian (m. 370)

d Indian Maidens theme; Mixolydian (m. 374)

The cumulative meaning of the recurring themes articulated within non-

functional harmony creates a new kind of discourse that concurs to the installment of

mythical time. Musical landscape atemporal dimension or mythical time is based on

non-functional interactions between modal, octatonic, pentatonic, whole-tone, and non-

diatonic pitch sets structuring block juxtapositions that result in mosaic and cumulative


In Amazonas, Villa-Lobos added the use of Indian and Indian-like melodies and

rhythms in the making of musical landscape that fostered the Edenic vision of nature by

evoking the mythical world associated with the Indian. Amerindian tunes were available

through such works as Jean de Léry’s Histoire d’un voyage en la terre du Brésil,

autrement dite Amérique (1578), Spix and Martius’ Reise in Brasilien (1823), Barbosa

Rodrigues’ Pacificação dos Crichanás and Poranduba Amazonense (1890), Karl von

de Steinen’s Unter den Naturvolkern den Zentral-Brasiliens (1894), Nicolau

Badariotti’s Exploração no Norte de Mato Grosso (1898),137 and also Santana Neri’s

Folk-lore Brésilien. Poésie populaire, contes et légendes, fables et mythes. Poésie,

musique, danses et croyances des Indiens. Accompagné de douze morceaux de

musique (1889). In addition to quoting tunes collected by anthropologists and other

explorers,138 Villa-Lobos added the use of “primitivistic melodic ideas (from all

137 Béhague 1967: 166.

138 “In fact, the Indian themes occurring in his works come from the studies of anthropologists and
other explorers. If Villa-Lobos had had his own Indian themes, collected by himself, he naturally would
have used them. It does not, of course, follow that Villa-Lobos would have been unable to empathize
with the original Indian music on the basis of his few documents, or to create themes suggestive of it.
In any case, he hardly heard original Indian music during his trips.” (Tarasti 1995: 40)
evidence not actually borrowed Indian material, but made up of a few pitches and of

small intervallic and short-range contours).”139

Uirapuru and Amazonas musically embodied contemporary view of the

“imagined Amazon.” These symphonic poems/ ballets conveyed the Edenic view of

nature by combining the mythical framework created by Indian-inspired literary

programs with musical sounds that were perceived by contemporary reception as

embodying Brazilian landscape’s uniqueness and nature in its unspoiled, original state.

Musical landscape of these works reflects an essensialist view of Brazilian identity since

“landscape’s timelessness and profuseness encapsulates a meta-historical essence of


139 Béhague 1994: 55.

140 Süssekind 2000: 37-8.


The elite musical culture of the Brazilian First Republic showed a paradoxical

interaction between cosmopolitan ideals and the search for national identity. On the one

hand, it was a period of significant renovation in Rio de Janeiro’s musical life. During

these decades, the Brazilian elite audience was exposed to a larger number of genres and

styles, from historical to contemporary music, and composers updated their technique

showing a wider variety of influences. The broadening of Brazilian elite musical culture

beyond the realm of Italian opera reflected the ideology of “progress” and

“civilization” that bolstered large contextual changes, including the modernization of

the Brazilian economy with the abolition of slavery, and of the Brazilian political system

with the end of monarchy and the establishment of the republican regime. The Federal

Capital was the main stage for the vindication and ostentation of all those changes. The

reurbanization of Rio de Janeiro materialized the modernization of Brazil at the

utilitarian and symbolic level. The ideal of “civilization” and “progress” epitomized by

Rio de Janeiro architectural Haussmanization had its parallel in music with the vogue of

French orchestral and operatic music, the championing of “the music of the future” and

Wagnerism, and the introduction of “popular symphonic concerts.” The musical

production of Brazilian composers reflected all these modernizing trends, especially

through the increasing importance of symphonic music, and the broadening from the