:: The articles in this series were originally published
:: in the online magazine Daniella Thompson on Brazil.


 

The corporate lyricist

Mangione stands in for Vinicius de Moraes. Why?

Daniella Thompson

29 June 2010


Cinema Odeon, Rio de Janeiro

The other day, as I was reviewing Trio Esperança’s latest CD, I encountered a curious phenomenon. One of the album’s tracks was a sung version of Ernesto Nazareth’s famous tango brasileiro “Odeon,” and the liner notes identified the lyricist as Ubaldo Sciangula Mangione.

Nazareth composed “Odeon” in 1910 as a tribute to the Cinema Odeon, in whose lobby he was hired to play the piano for the diversion of patrons awaiting the next show. The cinema—at the time the most magnificent in Rio de Janeiro—had opened the previous year on the corner of Avenida Central (now Rio Branco) and Rua Sete de Setembro, in the commercial heart of the city.

The score was published in 1910 by Casa Mozart (E. Bevilacqua & Cia No. 6602). According to Nazareth scholar and collector Alexandre Dias, the composer himself underwrote the cost of publishing “Odeon,” which he dedicated to the distincta empreza Zambelli & Cia, owner and manager of the cinema.

Cinema Odeon was demolished in 1928, six years before the death of Ernesto Nazareth. In 1934, the year he died, the publishing rights to “Odeon” were transferred to E. S. Mangione by contract, along with the entire catalog of E. Bevilacqua & Cia. The new publisher was a recent arrival in the Brazilian market, the firm having been established in the late 1920s by the Sicilian immigrant Estevam Sciangula Mangione.


Dircinha Costa was the first singer to record “Odeon.”

Some years after Nazareth’s death—possibly in the 1940s—one Hubaldo Maurício, about whom nothing is known, wrote lyrics for “Odeon” that were recorded only once, by Dircinha Costa, in 1963 (Copacabana 6.555-A). Hubaldo’s lyrics describe the sensations of a young couple visiting Cinema Odeon in its glory days, beginning with the piano music in the lobby before the show, followed by a movie featuring a villain, and concluding in the lobby, where the agile pianist, unnamed but clearly Nazareth, played tangos, choros, and valsas.

Odeon
(Ernesto Nazareth/Hubaldo Maurício)

Ó que saudade das «Soireés» e «Matinês» lá do Odeon...
E lá o saguão, o pianista muito sério, o seu piano a dedilhar...
Os namorados, no intervalo, passeavam a se olhar!
Bilhetes mil, tinham asas, voavam era o jeito de amar.  

E, mais tarde, na sala de projeção
O «mocinho» lutava contra o «vilão» era luta, luta dura
Soco, tapa, ponta-pé, bofetão...
A «mocinha» chorava e torcia, em vão...
A platéia gritava com emoção
Pega, bate, pisa, mata, mata, esse grande «vilão»!

E na saída, pra amenizar as emoções
No saguão põe-se a escutar
Ágil pianista tocando tangos,
Choros brejeiros, valsas lentas bem dolentes,
Encantados, embalados, num repente
O pianista vão cercando,
Se chegando, quase, quase a dança, ah!...


Cover of Nara Leão’s eponymous 1968 album

In 1968, only six years following Dircinha Costa’s recording, Nara Leão decided to record “Odeon.” Not content with Hubaldo Maurício’s lyrics, she asked Vinicius de Moraes to write new ones, and he complied. This time, the focus was not on the vanished cinema but on choro itself, which had become an endangered species.

Odeon
(Ernesto Nazareth/Vinicius de Moraes)

Ai, quem me dera
O meu chorinho
Tanto tempo abandonado
E a melancolia que eu sentia
Quando ouvia
Ele fazer tanto chorar
Ai, nem me lembro
Há tanto, tanto
Todo o encanto
De um passado
Que era lindo
Era triste, era bom
Igualzinho a um chorinho
Chamado Odeon

Terçando flauta e cavaquinho
Meu chorinho se desata
Tira da canção do violão
Esse bordão
Que me dá vida
Que me mata
É só carinho o meu chorinho
Quando pega e chega
Assim devagarzinho
Meia-luz, meia-voz, meio-tom
Meu chorinho chamado Odeon

Ah, vem depressa
Chorinho querido, vem
Mostra a graça
Que o choro sentido tem
Quanto tempo passou
Quanta coisa mudou
Já ninguém chora mais por ninguém

Ah, quem diria que um dia
Chorinho meu, você viria
Com a graça que o amor lhe deu
Pra dizer “não faz mal
Tanto faz, tanto fez
Eu voltei pra ficar com vocês”

Chora bastante meu chorinho
Teu chorinho de saudade
Diz ao bandolim pra não tocar
Tão lindo assim
Porque parece até maldade
Ai, meu chorinho
Eu só queria
Transformar em realidade
A poesia
Ai, que lindo, ai que triste, ai que bom
De um chorinho chamado Odeon

Chorinho antigo, chorinho amigo
Eu até hoje ainda percebo essa ilusão
Essa saudade que vai comigo
E até parece aquela prece
Que sai só do coração
Se eu pudesse recordar
E ser criança
Se eu pudesse renovar
Minha esperança
Se eu pudesse me lembrar
Como se dança
Esse chorinho
Que hoje em dia
Ninguém sabe mais

Subsequently, Vinicius’ version of “Odeon” received several notable recordings. The blind vocal group Os Titulares do Ritmo performed it on its 1976 LP Brasílico. In 1995, Eliete Negreiros included it in her CD 16 Canções de Tamanha Ingenuidade. Two years later, the Rainha do Choro, Ademilde Fonseca, sang it on the TV program Ensaio. This recording is included in the CD of that program, A Música Brasileira Deste Século por Seus Autores e Intérpretes—Ademilde Fonseca (SESC São Paulo JCB-0709-039, 2000). Also in 1997, Vânia Bastos sang the same version on her CD Diversões Não Eletrônicas (Velas). A delicately moving interpretation was created by vocalist Bel Dias and guitarist Almir Côrtes in Choro da Voz (Gravina Música, 2008).


Ademilde Fonseca mentioned Vinicus by name in her introduction to “Odeon” on the TV program ‘Ensaio’ (1997).

By pure chance, all the artists listed above hail from São Paulo. Why that should be the case is a question left for another investigator. Here we’ll observe that, with the exception of Ademilde Fonseca, who possesses an old-fashioned vozeirão, all the women singers are invariably endowed with small voices. Were they all inspired by Nara Leão’s recording? This is indubitably the case of the mineira Fernanda Takai, lead vocalist of Pato Fu, who dedicated an entire CD, Onde Brilhem os Olhos Seus (Deckdisc, 2007) to songs previously recorded by Nara. Fernanda’s “Odeon,” wrapped in pop garb, also appears on her live CD Luz Negra (Deckdisc, 2009).

Up to recent years, the lyricist credit for “Odeon” in vocal recordings was faithfully given to Vinicius de Moraes. The year 2004 marked seventy years since the death of Ernesto Nazareth. The following year, in accordance with Brazilian copyright law, his body of work fell into the public domain. This was a windfall for recording artists, and the number of Nazareth recordings has increased markedly. At the same time, and for inexplicable reasons, the lyricist credits were thrown into confusion.

In Fernanda Takai’s CDs, the credit goes not only to Vinicius but also to Hubaldo. Mônica Passos, who sings a French version of “Odeon” penned by Georges Moustaki in her CD Lemniscate (Archie Ball, 2008), credits Ubaldo Sciangula Mangione. Alexandre Dias tells me that even some of the newer instrumental recordings credit the corporate lyricist. And indeed, Altamiro Carrilho’s rendition of “Odeon” in the CDs Concerto em Niterói— parte 2 and Da Lapa 2 (both from Biscoito Fino) identifies the authors as Ernesto Nazareth and Ubaldo Sciangula, and the publisher as Public Domain/Mangione.

What happened to Vinicius? Mangione isn’t telling. Two e-mails I sent to the publisher a month ago went unanswered.

Questions also linger about the lyricist of Nazareth’s “Apanhei-te, Cavaquinho,” whose name is variously given as Báldoman or Hubaldo, and is currently represented as Ubaldo Sciangula Mangione.

Both “Odeon” and “Apanhei-te, Cavaquinho” (attributed to (Ernesto Nazareth/Hubaldo) are proudly displayed among Mangione’s most successful songs.


Cover detail of a score published by Mangione & Filhos Cia Ltda in 1968 (courtesy of Alexandre Dias)


Detail from the same score, copyrighted by Mangione in 1945 and 1968 (courtesy of Alexandre Dias)

Hubaldo/Báldoman and Vinicius are hardly the only lyricists whose names have been subsumed by the corporate stand-in. The Mangione online catalog includes 136 songs credited to Ubaldo Sciangula Mangione. Among these songs’ true authors are Antônio Almeida, José Gonçalves, M. Keiroz (with Rolando Boldrin), J. Filho, Uzema, Hubaldo Silva, Silva de Almeida, Souza Cruz, Jano, P. de Paula, and their various partners.

The samba “Amar É um Prazer” was co-authored by Antônio Almeida and José Gonçalves (Zé da Zilda). Almirante was the first to record it, in late 1937. The composer Antônio Almeida sang it on TV in MPB Especial (1974), a program released on CD as A Música Brasileira Deste Século por Seus Autores e Intérpretes— Antônio Almeida (SESC São Paulo JCB-0709-051, 2001). In 1976, Cristina Buarque included the samba in her LP Prato e Faca (RCA Victor 103.0165). Both the above albums listed the two authors. In his MPB Especial program, Almeida reminisced about Zé da Zilda, who at the time of the composition was still known as Zé com Fome. Yet the Mangione online catalog mentions neither Almeida nor Gonçalves, attributing the authorship instead to Ubaldo Sciangula Mangione (Hubaldo Mangione).

Amar É um Prazer
(Antônio Almeida/José Gonçalves)

Amar é um prazer que a gente tem antes de morrer
Quando a gente encontra uma boa mulher que saiba viver
Que não seja orgulhosa, que não tenha chiquê
Mas ainda não encontrei

Por isso é que eu não amei, nem dei o meu coração
Porque sou de opinião que não há uma só mulher
Que saiba viver e não tenha chiquê

Amar é um prazer que a gente tem antes de morrer
Quando a gente encontra uma boa mulher que saiba viver
Que não seja orgulhosa, que não tenha chiquê
A mulher que não é leal

A gente só causa mal inves de nos dar prazer
Só server pra aborrecer assim tão igual você
Que é orgulhosa e tem muito chiquê


José Gonçalves co-authored the samba “Amar É um Prazer” with Antônio Almeida.

Rolando Boldrin co-authored the marcha “Meu Carnaval” with M. Queiroz.

The marchinha “Meu Carnaval,” a cry of saudades for the outlawed lança-perfume, was recorded by Paulo Queiroz in 1961 for the California label (TC-1266-B). Co-authored by Rolando Boldrin and M. Queiroz, it is attributed to Ubaldo Sciangula Mangione (M. Keiroz) in the Mangione catalog.

Meu Carnaval
(Rolando Boldrin/M. Queiroz)

Meu carnaval este ano não tem graça
O meu cordão não vai à praça
Por quê? Pergunte quem quiser
Eu vou dizer, a razão não é mulher

Não é ciúme da mulher amada
Não é dinheiro que me falta não
Eis meu quixume, eis a razão
Sem lança-perfume lá se foi a tradição!

The lyricist Uzema collaborated with various melodists to produce songs in the 1950s and ’60s. Among them was the marchinha “Enchente da Maré” (co-authored with Jota Filho) recorded by Linda Batista in 1954 and released for the carnaval of the following year on RCA Victor (80.1399-A). In addition to “Enchente da Maré,” 42 other songs in which Uzema had a hand are now attributed to Ubaldo Sciangula Mangione.

Hubaldo or Ubaldo Silva, who, like Uzema, was active in the 1950s and ’60s, has 55 songs in the Mangione catalog, all attributed to Ubaldo Sciangula Mangione. Among them is the samba “Quatro Velas,” co-authored with Sereno and recorded in 1962 by Roberto Vidal on RCA Camden (CAM1105-A).

And then there are the real head scratchers. In what appears to be a computer error run amok, the Mangione catalog displays the following songs, which are attributed to Ubaldo Sciangula Mangione and to disparate Mangione authors who never collaborated with each other. Since none of these songs were recorded, checking their true credentials is a difficult task.

  • GUACIRENE – Ubaldo Sciangula Mangione (Hubaldo Silva/Uzema/Souza Cruz/Báldoman)
  • Ó QUE XUXU – Ubaldo Sciangula Mangione (Hubaldo Silva/Uzema/Souza Cruz/Báldoman/P. de Paula)
  • SÓ NÃO ENCONTRA JEITO – Ubaldo Sciangula Mangione (Hubaldo Silva/Uzema/Souza Cruz/Báldoman/P. de Paula)
  • TANGUINHO – Ubaldo Sciangula Mangione (Hubaldo Silva/Uzema/Souza Cruz/Báldoman/P. de Paula)

So who is Ubaldo Sciangula Mangione, and why has he usurped Vinicius de Moraes’ and other songwriters’ copyright?

At first, I thought the name was a portmanteau made up of [H]ubaldo [Maurício] and [Estevam] Sciangula Mangione. Not so. According to Collector’s Studios, Ubaldo Sciangula Mangione is the current president of Mangione, Filhos & Cia Ltda. He is also in charge of SADEMBRA (Sociedade Administradora de Direitos de Execução Musical do Brasil).

All of which gives one pause.

This article is a work in progress and will be updated as new information emerges.



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