Thursday, August 4, 2011

University of Texas at Austin Chamber Singers in 'Sacred Music of José Mauricio Nunes Garcia'

[Sacred Music of José Mauricio Nunes Garcia; The University of Texas at Austin Chamber Singers; James Morrow, conductor; Longhorn Music LHM2007003 (2010)]

The Afro-Brazilian composer and organist José Mauricio Nunes Garcia (1767-1830) is profiled at Sacred Music of José Mauricio Nunes Garcia is a recording of two works:
Missa de Sonhora da Conceição (Mass of Our Lady of Conception) 1810, C.P.M. 106
Credo em si bemol (Credo in B flat major), C.P.M. 129

The University of Texas at Austin Chamber Singers and Orchestra perform on this recording under the direction of Dr. James Morrow, conductor. The CD was released by Longhorn Music, The University of Texas at Austin Center for American Music, LHM2007003 (2010).

“Notes on the music
by Ricardo Bernardes,
Musicologist and Conductor
Editor of José Mauricio Nunes Garcia's Missa de Nossa Senhora da Conceição 1810

“The most important period of Brazilian colonial music production began in 1808 with the Portuguese royal family's arrival in Rio de Janeiro. This caused a ripple effect of urban sophistication in the city as it became the capital of an overseas empire. Prince Regent João VI, future king of Portugal, founded the National Library, the São João Opera Theater, and the Royal Chapel of Music.

“The Mass on this recording was composed in 1810, at which time the Royal Chapel had more than one hundred musicians comprising renowned Brazilian and Portuguese singers and instrumentalists, as well as Italian castrati. This group was conducted by José Mauricio Nunes Garcia (1767-1830) from 1808 to 1811 and then by the famous Portuguese composer Marcos Portugal, who arrived towards the end of Nunes Garcia's term as conductor. A deep transformation in the musical language of Brazilian composers, such as Nunes Garcia, caused a 'modernization' to occur in their compositions. By the time of his tenure at the Royal Chapel, Nunes Garcia's music was strongly influenced by Italian opera from the beginning of the 19th century, whose iconic composers included Paisiello and Cimarosa. Nunes Garcia's music was also tied to the musical life of Portugal through the compositions of Marcos Portugal and Antonio Leal Moreira, both well-known composers in Brazil.

“The most emblematic, creative, and important work of this period is the Missa de Sonhora da Conceição (Mass of Our Lady of Conception) 1810, C.P.M. 106 (Portuguese abbreviation for Cleofe Person de Mattos's catalog of Nunes Garcia's works). Nunes Garcia put into practice all the techniques and coloristic possibilities of the orchestra he conducted. He also explored all the virtuosic possibilities of the excellent singers he had at his disposal. Different from the central European repertory, the structure of the musical Mass in the Italian, Brazilian and Portuguese 18th-century tradition was just the Kyrie and Gloria divided into several parts including both solo and choral movements. The other three parts of the ordinary Mass (Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei) could be in plainchant or composed as another musical piece. The Credo em Si bemol C.P.M. 129 (Credo in B flat major), not dated and much shorter than the Kyrie and Gloria, was chosen for this recording because it is the only one of Nunes Garcia's works to feature the same orchestration and key relation as the Missa da Conceição. It is interesting that while in our edition the Kyrie and Gloria are 346 pages, the Credo (including Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus dei) is no more than 40.

“After Brazilian Independence in 1822, the Royal Chapel became the Imperial Chapel and a period of decadence began. Nunes Garcia ended his days with severe financial difficulties. But his work and life were never forgotten by his pupils and admirers. Bento das Mercès conserved a major portion of Nunes Garcia's works. At the end of the 19th century, the Viscount of Tanay and the composer Alberto Nepomuceno were great enthusiasts of Nunes Garcia's music and added to the preservation of his musical heritage.

“Nunes Garcia's music has been resurrected thanks to these men and to the valiant efforts of Cleofe Person de Mattos, choral conductor and musicologist. She dedicated a major part of her life to study, perform, and promote Nunes Garcia's work before her death in 2000. In 2001, FUNARTE (an equivalent to the U.S. Endowment for the Arts) and its then-president Marcio Souza published the edition of the Missa da Conceição as the first book in a score collection entitled Musica no Brasil – seculos XVIII e XIX (Music of Brazil - 18th and 19th centuries). As a result of these and other important initiatives, Nunes Garcia is now recognized as one of the most significant composers of colonial Brazilian music. Now, with this recording of the Missa da Conceição, we can include this piece among his most important works such as the Requiem Mass (1816), Mass of Our Lady of Carmel (1818), and Saint Cecilia's Mass (1826).”
Disclosure: A review copy of this CD was provided by the record label.

1 comment:

Lee said...

Great brazilian composer!