Program 1
"Brazilian Beats"

MUSIC: De Abreu: Tico-Tico no Fubá (ProArte CDD 312, Track 9). Down and under...

Do you remember this tune? If you do, you must be about my age... or older. I hate to tell you this, but you know you're getting old when the popular music of your youth is recorded by the classical pianists of today. We'll listen to this piece, and a whole host of other once popular, now classical, tangos, waltzes and other dances on this edition of Compact Discoveries.

MUSIC: Up, then down and out.

Hi, this is Fred Flaxman, your guide for Compact Discoveries.
When compact discs first appeared, I bought a player which came with - I think it was - eight or nine free CDs. When I got tired of listening to these recordings, I went to the public library and borrowed from their collection.

On my first trip to the library, I noticed a CD called Brazilian Tangos and Waltzes of Ernesto Nazareth [Air-nes-toe Na-za-reh]. I had never heard of Nazareth, much less had any idea how to pronounce his name, which is spelled N-A-Z-A-R-E-T-H, as in Jesus of. But it sounded as though Brazilian Tangos and Waltzes might be fun to listen to, and the price was certainly right. So it came home with me, and this is the first piece I heard:

MUSIC (2:30): Odeon by Nazareth from ProArte CDD 144, Track 1.

That was a tango called Odeon [O-dé-un] from an Intersound ProArte compact disc titled Brazilian Tangos and Waltzes of Ernesto Nazareth.. Odeon was the name of a movie theater in Rio de Janeiro where, from 1920 to 1924, Nazareth earned his living by accompanying silent movies on the piano.

The performer in this CD was the extraordinary Brazilian pianist, Arthur Moreira Lima [Ar-tur Mor-é-ra Lee-ma].

Well, for me, this CD was a case of love at first sound, and it became my very first compact discovery.

It seems to me that Nazareth is a cross between Chopin and Scott Joplin. If Chopin had written tangos as well as waltzes, mazurkas and polonaises, that's what his tangos might have sounded like.

Nazareth wrote waltzes, too. Here's one called Epônina [é-po-nee-na]. The title is taken from a now altogether out-of-style woman's name.

MUSIC (6:34): Nazareth: Epônina, ProArte CDD-144, Track 4.

That was Epônina [é-po-nee-na] by Ernesto Nazareth - the Brazilian Chopin - performed by Arthur Moreira Lima [Ar-tur Mor-é-ra Lee-ma].

Nazareth was born in 1863 in Rio de Janeiro, where he lived throughout his life. His father was a career civil servant. His mother played the piano and was his first piano teacher, but she died when he was only ten. He then studied with a family friend, but his formal lessons ended when he was only 14, the same year his first piano composition was published. In fact he used the proceeds from that sale to pay for a few final lessons from a professional piano teacher.

When Nazareth accompanied silent films at the Odeon, the movie theater had a little orchestra as well. In it was a cellist named Heitor Villa-Lobos [é-tor Vil-la-lo-bos]. Villa-Lobos, who went on to become Brazil's most famous composer, later praised Nazareth as "the true incarnation of the Brazilian soul." And Villa-Lobos based several of his works on the chôros [caw-ros], blues-like Brazilian tunes which Nazareth helped develop.

This gives me just the excuse I need to play for you my favorite Villa-Lobos chôros [caw-ros], the first one he ever wrote. It's performed by guitarist Michael Cedric Smith on a Newport Classic Premier release.

MUSIC (4:30): Villa-Lobos: Chôros No. 1 from Newport Classic NPD 85518.

That was Chôros No. 1 by Heitor [é-tor] Villa-Lobos, as performed by guitarist Michael Cedric Smith.

Villa-Lobos was not the only 20th-Century composer to be influenced by Ernesto Nazareth, and Nazareth's influence was not confined to his native Brazil. French composer Darius Milhaud, in his autobiography, Notes Without Music, writes about hearing Nazareth play the piano at the Odeon cinema. Milhaud wrote: "His playing helped me better understand the Brazilian soul."

Well, just like you don't need to be Jewish to love bagels, you don't need to be Brazilian to write Brazilian music. So Milhaud set out to master the captivating rhythms of this music himself. Among the results was a delightful, tongue-in-cheek composition, Le Boeuf sur le Toit - "The Bull on the Roof." Milhaud got the title from a popular Brazilian song. In this piece he uses the very same tune that Nazareth uses in one of his pieces:

MUSIC (0:23): excerpt from Milhaud: Le Boeuf sur le Toit on EMI CDC-7 47845-2, Track 6, starting at 7:49, ending at 8:10.

Now here's the same melody as used by Ernesto Nazareth in a tango called Carioca [kah-dee-aw-ka]:

MUSIC (6:20): Nazareth: Carioca from ProArte CDD-144, Track 15.

That was Carioca [kah-dee-aw-ka] by Ernesto Nazareth. Carioca [kah-dee-aw-ka] is the word Brazilians use for people who were born in Rio de Janeiro. This piece is one of 220 short piano works Nazareth composed in his lifetime, which ended in 1934.

You're listening to Compact Discoveries. I'm Fred Flaxman.


On Compact Discoveries today we're exploring "Brazilian Beats" - music which is usually, but not always, written by Brazilian composers. We just heard one theme that was used, in very different ways, by both Ernesto Nazareth, a Brazilian composer, and by Darius Milhaud, a Frenchman. Now here are the Brazilian beats of Le Boeuf sur le Toit in its entirety. The performance is by the French National Orchestra, conducted in the dynamic, spirited manner you would expect from the late Leonard Bernstein. Keep your ears open and holler something like voilà! when you hear the Nazareth theme come up at about seven minutes, 47 seconds into the piece. As repetitious as this music is, the Nazareth theme is used just once, and then for only 23 seconds.

MUSIC (19:30): Milhaud: Le Boeuf sur le Toit from EMI CDC-7 47845-2, Track 6.

That was Le Boeuf sur le Toit, by Darius Milhaud, played by the French National Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Bernstein on an EMI recording - a piece chock full of Brazilian tunes and rhythms.

Do you have any idea what a Brazilian polka might sound like? Well, let's get back to Nazareth, now, and listen to one. This is Apanhei-te, Cavaquinho! [Ah-pan-nyé-té, Ca-va-kin-yo] which means, "I've Caught You, Cavaquinho!" The cavaquinho is a Brazilian instrument similar to the ukelele.

We hear this musical race first as Nazareth wrote it for the piano. Then we'll hear it in an unbelievable performance by classical flutist Paula Robison.

MUSIC (1:55): Nazareth: Apanhei-te, Cavaquinho, ProArte CDD-144, Track 11.

MUSIC (2:09): Nazareth: Apanhei-te, Cavaquinho, Omega OCD-3016, Track 17.

That was Apanhei-te, Cavaquinho! [Ah-pan-nyé-té, Ca-va-kin-yo] by Ernesto Nazareth. It was performed first, as Nazareth wrote it, by pianist Arthur Moreira Lima. Then you heard it as played by classical flutist Paula Robison from an Omega compact disc called Brasileirinho [Bra-zi-lé-deen-yo]. She was accompanied by a Brazilian ensemble consisting of two guitars, a cavaquino, and percussion.

I mentioned earlier that the Lima piano recording was my very first compact discovery, and that I found it in a public library. Well, I liked it so much I went out and bought my own copy, and I've played it countless times since. So I was delighted when I learned that Intersound ProArte had issued another CD of Brazilian Dances performed by Lima - more than half of them by Ernesto Nazareth. Later Intersound issued yet a third Lima CD - unfortunately the only one which is still in print. It's a compilation of 16 Nazareth tangos from the first two albums.

I'd like to play for you now one of the pieces that is not by Nazareth from the Brazilian Dances CD. When I was growing up, it was undoubtedly the most famous Brazilian tango of them all. You probably have never heard of the composer - Zequinha de Abreu [Zeh-ke-nya dé A-bré-u], who lived from 1860 to 1935. You might not even recognize the name of the piece - Tico-tico no Fubá [tee-co-tee-co no foo-ba] which means something like "crazy mess" in English. But, if you're my age or older, I'm sure you'll recognize the tune:

MUSIC (2:13): De Abreu:Tico-tico no Fubá, ProArte CDD-312, Track 9.

That was Tico-tico no Fubá, [tee-co-tee-co no foo-ba] by Zequinha de Abreu [Zeh-ke-nya dé Ah-bré-u], a piece which became world famous in the 1930's as a result of its use in the MGM movie, "Bathing Beauties," and its best-selling recording by the Brazilian pop singer Carmen Miranda.

Tico-Tico was first performed by its composer in a nightclub in 1917 before it was either finished or named. The music's vivacious character made the dancing couples jump and twist with exagerated and disorganized movements. Abreu [Ah-bré-u] commented to his colleagues that the dancers looked like a "crazy mess" - and the piece has been called Tico-tico no Fubá [tee-co-tee-co no foo-ba] ever since.[55:28]

MUSIC (2:43): Nazareth: Duvidoso [ProArte CDD-144, Track 3]. Under:

Well, that's it for now. I hope you've enjoyed these Brazilian beats and that you'll let me know how you feel about this program. You can contact me in care of this station. Or by e-mail at That's All that with no spaces.

Compact Discoveries is made possible by the members of WXEL-FM, West Palm Beach, Florida, and the financial support of Barry and Florence Friedberg, Maurice and Thelma Steingold and an anonymous donor. The program was written and produced by your guide, Fred Flaxman, and is a production of WXEL-FM.

MUSIC: Up, piece ending at 58:00 [this will be 59:00 for stations using a one-minute optional station break at 25:33 into the program].

  ©2009 Compact Discoveries