Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chiquinha Gonzaga

Today is the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day, and it's also Carnaval season, so that points to one amazing person: the composer and feminist pioner Chiquinha Gonzaga.  As I've posted previously, Chiquinha was born early enough to fight against slavery in Brazil (it was abolished in 1888), but lived long enough (1935) to be a major influence, friend and mentor to Villa-Lobos.

There are some good resources about Chiquinha online, from a basic English Wikipedia page to the official site (in Portuguese) at http://www.chiquinhagonzaga.com.  The picture to the left, which shows Chiquinha at the time of her first success as a composer in 1877, is from that excellent site.  Also there are links to YouTube videos and PDF versions of sheet music.

A CD I highly recommend is Luciana Soares' Brasileira: Piano Music by Brazilian Women, on the Centaur label, from 2007.

Besides three pieces by Chiquinha, there are works by Nininha Gregori, Kilza Setti, Maria Luiza Priolli, Adelaide Pereira Silva, Clarisse Leite, Maria H. Rosas-Fernandes, and Branca Bilhar. The disc is available at The Naxos Music Library, catalogue #CRC2680.

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