I enjoyed writing music, copying orchestration scores. I used to copy all his work. If he would take a little longer to come out with news one, I would ask him: “that’s it, nothing else? “ He was ashamed because I refused to be paid. So, eventually he would send me a cute little present.
He’s got a natural virtuosity. I don’t remember him making any mistake. It was pure natural technique. He did not study hard. He was so lazy! He used to say he’d chosen music as a career because it was the easiest one for him. So he would definitely not study the whole morning if he could have something done in half an hour.
The first time I went to the National Radio we performed one of his arrangements for two pianos. It was called Dialogando. He enjoyed very much, so he started composing for two pianos and therefore we have played a lot together.
I started to play with him only after my mother’s death, in 1954.
We started as a duet and then he formed the Sextet and I joined the group as the second pianist. The Sextet has toured in Europe in 1960. We’ve been in Portugal, France, England, Germany and Italy. We were enthusiastically welcome, especially in Portugal. Greeted and spoiled. Edu da Gaita had gone with us and he performed the Concerto para Harmônica e Orquestra (Concert for harmonica and orchestra) that Radamés dedicated to him. It was a great success. Then we had other concerts, where Radamés and I played the Quatro movimentos dançantes para dois pianos (Four dancing movements for two pianos), also known as Suíte coreográfica (Choreographic suite). That is a hard but very good one. It has a few measures that I could never do as Radamés did. He would show me what he wanted me to do, [Aída sings]. I would do it exactly the same, vigorously, but it did not sound the same. I guess his hands were special. I tried my best, but it was never the same!
We had a long stay in Portugal, about twenty days. Then, it was Paris. We went to London. I enjoyed it better than Paris. Then, we went to Italy. I was overwhelmed to step on the old Italy, my father’s land. We did great in Italy. We have made a great concert at the RAI (Italian television) and then we came back to Brazil. They couldn’t believe it! The Sextet playing an arrangement of Aquarela do Brasil just sounded as a complete orchestra, being only the six of us! The Italian maestro was amazingly surprised.
After we came back to Rio, it did not last much longer. I retired. I guess it has lasted for around ten years on the whole. [Aída has left the Sextet in 1965].
Extracts of interview granted by Aída Gnattali , Radamés’ sister, pianist and piano professor, when she was 92 years old, registration and transcription by Maria Clara Wasserman, in her apartment, Humaitá, February, 2003.