The Boeuf chronicles, Pt. 13
A tribute to the astute.19 June 2002
Ernesto Nazareth lived in Ipanema from 1917 to 1929, first residing at 158 Rua Doutor Vieira Souto (now Avenida Vieira Souto). In 1918, following the death of the Nazareths daughter Maria de Lurdes, the family moved to 12 Rua Visconde de Pirajá (then called Rua Vinte de Novembro). When this photo was taken, the street had already changed its name.
At a conference convened in 1926 by the Sociedade de Cultura Artística of São Paulo, Mário de Andrade elaborated about Ernesto Nazareths place in Brazilian music:
In general, dance compositions base their vulgarization on imitating the popular orchestral chorus. Popular dances are in the majority sung dances. It has always been so, and the virtuoso instrumentalists of the Renaissancewhen they transplanted the gigues, allemandes, and sarabandes from song to instrumenthad a considerable task of creative adaptation. This adaptation consisted in extracting from the sung dances their song essence and giving them an instrumental character. They substituted the strophic theme with a melodic motif, the oral phrase with a rhythmic cell. Based on my current state of knowledge, although with reservations, I foresee that like the milonga and her successor, the Argentine tango, the maxixes direct origin was instrumental. However, in order to popularize itself, the maxixe, as well as the Argentine tango and the foxtrot, soon became a song form and turned into a sung dance.
This songlike aspect can be perceived even in the most admirable choreographic musicians, like John Philip Sousa or Johann Strauss, through their strophic rather than cellular norm of invention. One feels the sung melody and the oral verse. Ernesto Nazaré stands apart from this general aspect of choreographic composers by way of the almost systematic absence of vocality in his tangos. It is the motif, the melodic cell, or the rhythmic cell that serves as the foundation for his constructions. Espalhafatoso, for example, is constructed upon only one rhythmic cell, while Sagaz is entirely built on a rhythmic-melodic motif of four notes. [...]
In reality, Ernesto Nazaré is not representative of the maxixe, even less so Eduardo Souto, Sinhô, Donga, and Marcelo Tupinambá himself, who was a provincial variant of the originally carioca dance. Ernesto Nazaré could be taken for the great herald of the maxixe, that is, of the genuinely Brazilian urban dance, already free of the Hispano-African character of the habanera. [...]
Rarely except in these two tangos [Tenebroso and Talisman] does Ernesto Nazaré abandon joy. He didnt possess that permanent sadness [Andrade calls it tristura], so typical of our people, with which Marcelo Tupinambá is intimate. Its the mirthful and jovial stimulation of the carioca that Ernesto Nazaré represents.
Rua Visconde de Pirajá, Ipanema, in 1920 (photo: Augusto Malta)
Tune No. 13: Escovado (1905)
Escovado in common parlance means astute. In his book Panorama da Música Popular Brasileira, Ary Vasconcelos tells us that Nazareth was a devoted family man who generally gave his compositions titles that paid tribute to relatives. Travêsso was dedicated to his son Ernesto, Marieta and Eulina to his two daughters, Dora to his wife Teodora, Brejeiro to his nephew Gilberto, etc.
The tango Escovado (see the score) falls into the above category. The piano score in my possession dedicates the composition ao seu irmãozinho Fernando Nazareth. In his CD-ROM Ernesto Nazareth, Rei do Choro, Luiz Antônio de Almeida offers this information about the tune:
Tango first published by Casa Vieira Machado & Cia. and dedicated to Fernando, the composers younger brother. It became one of Nazareths great successes, and its principal theme was later used by the French composer Darius Milhaud in his ballet Le Boeuf sur le Toit (1919). In September 1930, accepting an invitation from Eduardo Souto, then artistic director of Odeon-Parlophon, Nazareth recorded this piece in a disc that was enthusiastically received by the press.
Escovado (no. 19 at top left) in Nazareths list of his tangos
In Le Boeuf sur le Toit, section A of Escovado appears at 6:34 min. into Louis de Froments recording. Having just quoted Nazareths Carioca in the violins with Escovado played in counterpoint by the trumpet, Milhaud now quotes Escovado in the violins with Carioca counterpointed in the flute.
Its interesting to observe that although the two tunes were composed in different keys (Escovado in major, Carioca in minor), Milhaud adjusts the key of each counterpoint to fit that of the dominant melody. When Carioca is the primary theme, Escovado is played in minor key; when Escovado takes over, Carioca gains a major key.
Fundação Joaquim Nabucos database lists five recording in 78-rpm discs, four of which are undated and three are played by bands. The only dated recording is the one made by the composer himself in 1930. It was one of four sides he recorded for Odeon four years before his death (the other three were Apanhei-te Cavaquinho, Nenê, and Turuna). These four sides represent half of Nazareths entire personal output on disc.*
Autor: Ernesto Nazareth
Intérprete: Banda do Corpo de Bombeiros
Autor: Ernesto Nazareth
Gênero: Tango Brasileiro
Intérprete: Ernesto Nazareth (piano)
Data gravação: 10.09.1930
Data lançamento: Dez/1930
Escovado has been adapted for various instruments and recorded by luminaries such as Custódio Mesquita and his Orchestra, Carolina Cardoso de Menezes and her Conjunto, Dilermando Reis, Turíbio Santos, Arthur Moreira Lima, Raphael Rabello with and without Dino Sete Cordas, Eudóxia de Barros, Joel Nascimento, Henrique Cazes & Família Violão, and many others. Egberto Gismonti adapted the tango for piano and orchestra, and Paulo Porto Alegre created a transcription for guitar quartet executed by Quaternaglia.
Well hear an excerpt from the 1979 recording by Turíbio Santos & Conjunto Choros do Brasil in the album Valsas e Choros. Conjunto members included Dino Sete Cordas and Raphael Rabello.
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* In 1912, four sides were recorded for Casa Edison, with Pedro de Alcântara on piccolo and Nazareth on piano. They played Odeon and Favorito (both by Nazareth) Linguagem do Coração by Joaquim Callado, and Choro e Poesia by Pedro de Alcântara (the latter tune would later receive lyrics by Catulo da Paixão Cearense and become famous as Ontem ao Luar).
Copyright © 20022016 Daniella Thompson. All rights reserved.