Cláudio Santoro options considerably within the Naxos Music of Brazil collection, which is a joint endeavor with Brazil’s Ministry of International Affairs to advertise music by Brazilian composers in an in depth collection of recent albums. Santoro (1919–89) wrote fourteen symphonies, all of which function on the mission’s launch schedule and signify essentially the most vital set of works within the style ever composed in Brazil. This weblog visits Symphonies Nos. 5 and seven that had been launched in March of this yr; our subsequent weblog in November will function Symphonies Nos. 11 and 12, slated for launch that month.
Born in Manaus, Santoro’s profession started in 1940 when he composed his Sonata for Solo Violin, the primary work written by a Brazilian composer to make use of twelve-tone approach. That very same yr he composed his First Symphony, which met with the approval of the German musician (and his instructor) Hans-Joachim Koellreutter, chief of the ‘Música Viva’ motion that promoted new instructions through which to take Brazilian music.
Within the late Nineteen Forties, nonetheless, Santoro’s music took a radical flip. This was on account of his political and ideological convictions and his function because the Brazilian delegate to the 1948 Prague Congress of Progressive Composers, whose remaining manifesto urged composers to keep away from extreme subjectivity and look to their nationwide folks traditions for inspiration.
The works Santoro wrote throughout the Nineteen Fifties had been influenced by his seek for a mode that communicated extra instantly with an viewers, reaching this through the use of nationalist components. Throughout that decade, he composed 4 symphonies, of which the Fifth and Seventh had been essentially the most imposing in scale.
Composed in 1955, the Fifth Symphony premiered the next yr in Rio de Janeiro with Santoro himself conducting. Though it attracts on folk-based materials, his manner of utilizing this materials may be very totally different from the options employed by different composers on the time, in that he applies a extra summary method, quite than clearly referencing folks melodies and varieties.
The primary motion, for instance, is constructed on the Lydian-Mixolydian mode, sometimes used within the folks music of northeastern Brazil, thus recreating the ambiance with out truly referencing any recognisable melodies. Listed here are the closing minutes of that motion.
Fifth Symphony 1st motion (8.574402)
The second motion, which acts because the scherzo, is a full of life, vibrant dance that makes use of an array of typical Brazilian percussion devices, as demonstrated on this brief extract.
Fifth Symphony 2nd motion (8.574402)
The sluggish motion that follows is a theme and variations primarily based on the Xangô chant, which varieties a part of the Afro-Brazilian candomblé spiritual rites that grew from the African diaspora. Such materials had beforehand been drawn on by main Brazilian composers corresponding to Heitor Villa-Lobos and Francisco Paulo Mignone, the latter utilizing it in one of many actions of his 1933 ballet Maracatú de Chico Rei. It is a very uncommon instance of the direct use of people materials in Santoro’s work typically. As talked about in regard to the primary motion of the symphony, he tends to make use of it in additional summary style, eliminating direct references to conventional Brazilian components.
Right here’s the opening of the motion that presents the preliminary variations earlier than introducing a rhythmic ostinato of an indigenous character that steadily acquires the function of a second theme.
Fifth Symphony third motion (8.574402)
Santoro makes use of minimal sources to craft the finale. It’s constructed on a single theme, heard on the outset, that undergoes fixed adjustments in harmonisation interspersed with highly effective orchestral unison passages. We be part of the motion within the method to the dazzling coda the place full of life string writing results in a closing restatement of the principal theme as a brass chorale.
Fifth Symphony 4th motion (8.574402)
The opposite recording on this latest launch is of Santoro’s Seventh Symphony, the work which successfully introduced the composer’s ’nationalist’ decade to an finish. Written in London in 1959, it was Santoro’s entry in a contest sponsored by Brazil’s Ministry of Schooling and Tradition to commemorate the completion of the development of the nation’s new capital, Brasília, which was to be formally inaugurated the next yr.
The Seventh is likely one of the longest and most complicated of all Santoro’s symphonies. It was additionally one of many composer’s personal favorite works and appears to mirror the significance the town went on to have for him within the following a long time (extra of which in our subsequent weblog on his Eleventh and Twelfth Symphonies). Though the symphony just isn’t programmatic as such, its depth does mirror the historic second at which it was composed and the visions of modernity related to a brand new capital metropolis.
The primary motion is once more monothematic, constructed on a four-note motif said by the strings within the sluggish opening part. We be part of the motion in the beginning of the next Allegro part, when the identical motif is declaimed by the horns, setting in movement a vigorous episode through which rising blocks of sound are constructed on rhythmic ostinatos, whereas contrasting sections make use of the identical four-note motif in lyrical passages from the woodwind and strings.
Seventh Symphony 1st motion (8.574402)
The sluggish motion that follows is once more constructed on minimal thematic materials and unfolds within the relaxed method indicated by the rating’s ‘quasi recitativo’ marking. Right here’s the opening part.
Seventh Symphony 2nd motion (8.574402)
The third motion scherzo remembers the character of that within the Fifth Symphony, though the construction is a bit more complicated. As soon as once more, nonetheless, Santoro makes use of a four-note motif for his general template. Having simply returned from a break penning this weblog to take a fast stroll round my native park, I discovered myself surrounded by a symphony of fantastic birdsongs, principally structured in 4-note calls. Maybe it’s true, as they are saying, that ’much less is extra’. Right here’s the opening of the motion, as much as the purpose the place Santoro introduces a contrasting repeated-note theme introduced by the trumpet.
Seventh Symphony third motion (8.574402)
Though the finale is once more primarily based on a four-note motif, the entire temper of the motion represents a big shift in fashion. Its astringency has been interpreted as representing the notions of the cutting-edge modernity that had impressed the constructing of Brasilia. The opening of the motion clearly demonstrates this.
Seventh Symphony 4th motion (8.574402)
The Seventh Symphony was premiered in 1964 in Berlin, with Santoro himself conducting the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. Within the brief area of time since its composition, nonetheless, Santoro had already skilled a collection of occasions that might have a profound affect on his music, such because the constructing of the Berlin Wall, the founding of the College of Brasília, the place he established the music division in 1962, and the army coup in Brazil in early 1964. By that time, his music—maybe as foreshadowed within the finale of the Seventh Symphony—was already heading in new instructions. We decide up the path in our subsequent weblog.