Alberto Nepomuceno

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String Quartet No.3 "Brasileiro"

 World Premiere Edition

Alberto Nepomuceno (1864-1920) was born in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza. His father, Vitor Augusto Nepomuceno was a violin professor and it was with him that Nepomuceno had his first music lessons. In 1888, he was able to leave for Europe to further his musical studies. In Rome he studied with Giovanni Sgambatti.  In 1890, he moved to Berlin where he studied composition with Heinrich von Herzogenberg and continued his piano studies with the famous teacher Theodor Lechetitzky. In Lechetitzky’s class, he met a Norwegian student whom he married in 1893. She had been a student and friend of Edvard Grieg and Nepomuceno moved to Bergen after his wedding and lived in Grieg’s house. Grieg, of course, was a proponent of nationalism in composition. Nepomuceno’s friendship with Grieg was instrumental in convincing him to write music which reflected Brazilian culture.  Before leaving Europe he visited Paris where he met such luminaries as Saint Saens and D’Indy. He subsequently returned to Brazil where he taught at the Institutio Nacional de Musica in Rio de Janiero. Later Mahler engaged him to conduct at the Vienna Opera but illness prevented this. He eventually returned to Europe in 1910 for a series of concerts in Brussels, Geneva and Paris. During this trip he became good friends with Debussy. Back in Brazil, he fought for the use of Portuguese in opera and song and remained the leading musical personality there until his death. Heitor Villa Lobos was among his many students.

Nepomuceno composed three string quartets. They all date from his time in Europe. String Quartet No.3 was subtitled by him “Brasileiro”—the Brazilian. It is dated in his own hand, Berlin 1890. Though performed in Brazil on rare occasions from manuscript copy, the music has never been published. Our edition is based on the original manuscript of the score and a set of hand-written parts found in the Biblioteca da Escola Nacional de Musica in Rio de Janeiro. While no notes have been changed, we have corrected errors which appeared in both.

Much of the Brazilian personality, landscape and culture can be heard in this wonderful work of four movements: From sad funereal dirges to bright and bouncy Brazilian rhythms and dances such as the Brincadeira. These are presented through the medium of the romantic tradition of European composition. If one listens closely enough, one can hear tinges of Mendelssohn and perhaps even Brahms. But these are only small traces. The music is undeniably that of Nepomuceno, who speaks with a fresh and unique voice all of his own.

We believe this work belongs in the repertoire and are hopeful that performing groups will seek to include it on their concert programs. But we also are confident that the huge ocean of amateur chamber music players will find great enjoyment from it.

Our edition is the World Premiere edition, and has been carefully edited and corrected by violinist Loren Silvertrust from the original manuscript located in Biblioteca da Escola Nacional de Musica in Rio de Janeiro. Like all of our works, it is printed on top grade paper with an ornate cover and biographical information about the composer in three languages.

Parts: $29.95

Score & Parts: $36.95




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