Thesis: Indianismo and landscape in the Brazilian age of progress: Art music from Carlos Gomes to Villa-Lobos, 1870s--1930s

Indianismo and landscape in the Brazilian age of progress: Art music from Carlos Gomes to Villa-Lobos, 1870s--1930s
by Volpe, Maria Alice, Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin, 2001, 346 pages; AAT 3064681
Abstract (Summary)

This study is intended to show that Indianismo and Landscape were major symbols of national identity in Brazilian music between the 1870s and the 1930s. Their legitimacy was supported by the Carlos Gomes paradigm, their association with literary and pictorial traditions, the continuous reformulation of their associated meanings so as to convey shifting ideologies, and their continuous updating with European musical styles and genres. The association of Indianismo and Landscape with Brazilian literary and pictorial traditions informed music with a range of meanings that were collectively recognized by Brazilian elite culture of the time. This study proposes that the contribution of Indianismo in the nationalization process of Brazilian music needs not to be denied but reframed, since it did not reside "simply in its literary aspect" (as it is usually claimed) but carried major ideological issues concerning the construction of national identity. From Carlos Gomes' Il Guarany to Delgado de Carvalho's Moema and Francisco Braga's Marabá and Jupyra , the construction of national identity evolves from the ratification to the undoing of the myth of national foundation, from the positive to the negative view of miscegenation, up to the representation of Brazil as the land of outcasts. This study also proposes that Brazilian musical nationalism must be recognized not only in the use of "folk," "popular" and "Indian" elements but also in the musical description of landscape. The development from approaching landscape as poetic emotion in works such as Gomes' Al chiaro di luna , Braga's Paysage , and Henrique Oswald's Il Neige , to approaching landscape as a local reality in works such as Gomes' Il Guarany (Pery's scene) and "Alvorada" from Lo Schiavo , Braga's Marabá , Alberto Nepomuceno's "Alvorada na serra" up to Villa-Lobos' Uirapuru and Amazonas shows the increasing nationalization of musical landscape. Gomes established the major elements for the construction of nationalist musical conventions representing a localized landscape closely associated with the expression of national "feelings." Villa-Lobos reshaped nationalist conventions of musical landscape established by Brazilian Romantic composers, turning landscape into the embodiment of national "essence." This group of operatic and symphonic works makes a continuum from the historicist view of national identity constructed by Indianismo to the essentialist view constructed by Landscape.