Brazilian Modernism Avant-garde
My doctoral dissertation investigates the use, significance, and reception of the twelve-tone method within the musical works of Claudio Santoro and the Group Música Viva. This research also examines nationalism in Brazilian music, from the conservative concepts of national identity in the 1930s to the key role played by Santoro’s utopian vision of equality exemplified in the twelve-tone movement in 1940s that led to later developments in Música Nova and Composers of Bahia in the 1950s. The rupture with contemporary musical language posed a pervasive problem to modern musical aesthetics, politics, and ideology. Within an antagonist reception from national composers, contextualized within Getúlio Vargas’s dictatorial agenda, the adoption of the twelve-tone principles led to a dodecaphonism movement framed in dialogue to society. In this sense, Brazilian dodecaphonic serialism requires a thorough investigation regarding its singular substance as an aesthetical and political movement. In order to comprehend how dodecaphonic serialism came to the forefront of the Brazilian avant-garde, it is necessary to investigate the development Santoro’s post-tonal music language in the late 1930s. In 1939, Hans-Joachim Koellreutter created Música Viva and introduced Santoro to dodecaphonism. Later, Santoro was instrumental in the adoption of twelve-tone techniques within the avant-garde movement.
In this light, Santoro’s musical language became the aesthetic and ideological catalyst within the rise and fall of the Música Viva’s avant-garde. This perspective brings new light to contemporary scholarship, especially the group’s activity in Brazilian musical scene from 1940-1951. As I demonstrate, the group socially intermediated contemporary music through the creation of aesthetical manifests (1944, 1946), musical periodicals, editions of modern music, concerts, and radio broadcasting programs. In order to understand a progressive break with tonality, the adoption of the twelve-tone method, and the development of a national style, I analyzed seminal musical works of Santoro, César Guerra-Peixe, Eunice Katunda, and Edino Krieger. Supplemented by an unpublished documents, correspondences, musical bulletins, and music manuscripts, this research aims also at understanding how the composers of the group created musical that became the center of a new Brazilian musical modernism.