A few words for Radamés

How should we classify a musician with the authentic capacity to compose inspired symphonies, concerts for violin, piano, cello, accordion, harmonica and so many other instruments; popular waltzes and choros and still, he sits at the piano and beautifully plays his music, as well as the other’s? A man is recognized for its style, says Buffon. If that is to be acclaimed as a truthful statement, the maestro has created his own and all those who are capable of such achievement should be honored to perform the Radamés Gnattali’s style!

Alceo Bocchino (1918-2013) (Heading Maestro of the Orquestra Sinfônica do Paraná, pianist and composer)

From the CD Três concertos e uma Brasiliana, by Radamés Gnattali, registered by Rádio MEC/SOARMEC, 1997.

 “(…) Radamés gave me a great help in my career. Since I don’t know music, he has written maybe 90% of the orchestrations for my songs. He was a great friend, more than a brother. Brazilian music has become poor now.”

Braguinha (1907-2006) (Carlos Alberto Ferreira Braga, composer, known as Braguinha and also as João de Barro.)

Statement by Braguinha to Jornal O Globo, of February 4, 1988, the day after Radamés' death

(…) Radamés Gnattali stands outside the circle of those who ritualize the bureaucracy. He stands in a sort of dignity level that belongs only to great artists who are born to blossom in a marginal space. The word culture, he worshipped it in his rosary of sounds, in his patuás (fetishist object of devotion consisting of two pieces of blessed cloth kept in a small leather bag) adorned with musical notes, in the búzios (fetishist ritual consisting of throwing small natural shells on a cloth and interpreting the generated diagram) oracle thrown over the pentagrams – the only altar where he would make any sort of pseudo religious ceremony, detached from the official power, that he despised. Some totems do cohabit in his atheism though: Pixinguinha and Anacleto de Medeiros, for example, lived together with Chagall at an exclusive floor. (…)

Hermínio Bello de Carvalho (1935) (Poet, writer, composer and cultural producer)

In Radamés: Marginalidade imposta pelo sistema, by Hermínio Bello de Carvalho, published on the newspaper Direitos Já, March/April edition, 1988.

Radamés is impermeable. When he does popular music, that is really popular music. When he does concert music, that is by all means concert music. One does not touch the other. As the arranger or conductor, he knows how to handle it. Under his command, a symphonic orchestra would play a samba without loosing its spirit and still not sounding as a symphony.

The musician with a distinguishing open mind has no other option: to respect him.

Luciano Perrone (1908-2001) (Percussionist, Radamés Sextet’s drummer)
Luciano Perrone comments during an interview to Museu da Imagem e do Som (Image and Sound Museum), Rio de Janeiro, 1985.

(…) He doesn’t like to talk about his own work. Same as an apple tree for its apples, he’s got a natural detachment for his own fruit. Without Radamés’ fruit though Brazilian music would loose one of its most delicious sources of pleasure.

Luís Paulo Horta (1943-2013) (Journalist, music critic)
From a rough and not dated typed text signed by the author, filed at Radamés’ private archive.

A new composer, quiet unknown in São Paulo, should specially to be mentioned, the gaúcho Radamés Gnattali. Under his extraordinary abilities to conduct the orchestra produces a rare and magnificent sonority. I would say it sounds “just” a little too much of a jazz style for my taste, which is definitely and defensively national. Although still very young, his control of the orchestra is absolutely outstanding. He is our best hope for the moment

Mario de Andrade (1893-1945) (Writer, poet, composer, musicologist, critic of arts)
Andrade, Mário de. Música, doce música. São Paulo: Martins. 1976.

Radamés has been more than a father for me. I was 14 years old when I first met him. He taught me everything about music and gave me great support on my career. Worldwide known as one of the best composers of his century, his influence has touched a whole generation, from people of my age up to Tom Jobim.

Raphael Rabello (1962-1995) (Guitar player, composer)
On the newspaper O Globo, Feb 4th 1988, the following day of Radamés’ funeral.

Radamés is a carpenter, born right there in the house carpentry.

Radamés lives in a calm street, full of birds.

Radamés you are the most beautiful thing anybody has ever known.

I’ll give you a kiss and I will invite you for a nice beer.

Tom Jobim (1927-1994) (Composer, arranger and pianist)
Tom Jobim’s comments during an interview to Museu da Imagem e do Som, (Image and Sound Museum), Rio de Janeiro, 1985.

(…) I always dreamed that Maestro Radamés would conduct for me. I wanted to hide behind the piano. All my life I’ve been hiding. This was at the National Radio, I almost fainted, I was so afraid! Those guys were terrible. The union people just watching the time, and interrupting the rehearsals when the time was over! “ Stop it “! So, I guess Radamés helped me to face those weird situations.

Tom Jobim (1927-1994) (Composer, arranger and pianist)
Tom Jobim’s comments during an interview to Museu da Imagem e do Som (Image and sound Museum), Rio de Janeiro, 1985.