Brazilian Scenes                                         by Francisca Aquino and Ricardo Vasconcellos

for Concert Band
Grade 3-4  Total Time: 7' 21"

         This piece is dedicated to Mr. Kevin Kastens (Hawkeye Marching Band Director, at the University of Iowa).

        The composition utilizes rhythmic and melodic elements from the samba, the capoeira, the bossa-nova, the baião, the frevo, the marcha-rancho and others. The option for the suite form allowed for the utilization of a larger number of those elements, coferring upon "Brazilian Scenes" an introductory nature regarding the diversity and complexity of the Brazilian music.
        The instrumentation was chosen, many times, with the intention of reproducing sounds and  effects which are typical of this kind  of   music with popular roots, generally performed with non-conventional instruments. The percussion was carefully chosen to make the piece performable by any Concert Band, keeping the original nature of the Brazilian percussion, as much as possible.

        Brazilian Scenes presents four contrasting   movements:

            I. "Sertão"  (Backwoods)               Listen to "Sertão"   recorded by the Music School of Brasilia Student Concert Band

                 The "baião" is a typically Brazilian genre, originally from the northeastern region, characterized by a vibrant rhythm and a melancholic melody. Originally, the singer sings to the accompaniment of an accordion (concertina), a zabumba (big bass drum), and a triangle. In the introduction, which has a rhythmic and energetic nature, the presence of the typical baião cell is subtly perceptible.            Between the 23rd and the 29th bars, a great "accelerando" transforms the  4/4 into a 2/4, leading to the baião´s main theme in "Doric" mode  and revealing  its characteristic rhythm . The coda is presented in the form of a short "stretto", making use of elements from both the introduction and the main theme.

                II. "Cantilena"  (Singsong Carol)          Listen to "Cantilena"    recorded by the Music School of Brasilia Student Concert Band

                  In   the  introduction, a dense  brass choral  and the tubular bells refer to a  mystical and  melancholic  ambience in which the beautiful Brazilian folk melody "O mana deix´eu ir" is presented. Its verses express the longing for the motherland. Despite its extreme simplicity "Cantilena" is a movement of deeply expressive character.

                III. "Capoeira"  (African Dance-Fight)          Listen to "Capoeira"  recorded by the Music School of Brasilia Student Concert Band

                 Originally, capoeira is an athletic game made up of a system of attack and defense, which arose in colonial Brazil among the banto slaves coming from Angola. Practiced in large groups and to the accompaniment of characteristic percussion instruments, the capoeira takes on the nature of a dance. When in action, the capoeira players perform extremely elastic movements, resembling springs. The first part of this movement has the precise character, although elastic, of the capoeira itself. The "wha-wha" effect obtained with the winds  tries to imitate the sound of one of the most typical Brazilian percusssion instruments: the berimbau. The second part , in bossa-nova style, presents a theme that is more expressive in nature, with a "leggiero" accompaniment.

             IV. "Carnaval"  (Carnival)            Listen to "Carnaval"   recorded by the Music School of Brasilia Student Concert Band

                Carnaval is the Brazilian folk celebration best known in the world. In its musical aspect, it encompasses the most diverse genres and rhythms.  The movement begins with a kind of slow march called marcha-rancho  and, after a short percussion solo and a strong whistle, ends with a quick carnival march (frevo).


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