Musical Integration: The Stylistic Evolution of the Music of Cláudio Santoro as Observed in his Works for Piano

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2007-06-03

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The Brazilian composer Cláudio Santoro (1919-1989) is one of the major figures in twentieth-century Brazilian music. His musical legacy includes nearly five hundred compositions. Among them there are fourteen symphonies, several chamber works, concertos, vocal compositions, one opera, music for films, and seventy-three known works for piano solo. Beginning with his very first compositions, his intense and extremely idealistic personality, always searching for new ideas and new musical expressions, led him to explore diverse idioms in his music. His musical path began with an early twelve-tone period in the 1940s, defying the traditional nationalistic musical environment in the country. From there came a drastic turn to a nationalistic idiom, motivated by his social ideals. A more subjective nationalistic idiom in the late 1950s gradually led him to search for new musical paths. A period of experimentation with avant-garde techniques, including aleatory and electro-acoustic music brought him new resources and different colors to his music. In his late years Santoro integrated in his music all his personal searches into a deep and passionate idiom. The many prizes and international recognition he collected in all of his aesthetic periods are evidence of his great success as a Brazilian composer. The purpose of this study is to trace the musical evolution of Cláudio Santoro as may be seen in his piano works. Among his legacy for this instrument are included six sonatas, two sonatinas, thirty-four preludes, groups of short pieces and some individual works. As a basis for understanding the importance of Santoro's contributions to the Brazilian piano repertoire, a general historical account of the main developments in the music composed for this instrument in Brazil prior to Santoro's time is presented in the first section. Santoro's innovative personality and his characteristic compositional style deserve to be better known and studied, and his music, to be appreciated as one of the most powerful artistic expressions in Brazil.

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