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Sarah Hamilton-Tyrrell, „Mário de Andrade, Mentor: Modernism and Musical Aesthetics in Brazil, 1920-1945”

The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 88, No. 1 (Spring, 2005) pdf

Inspired by the approaching centenary of independence, turn-of-the-century intellectuals reconsidered the nation’s values. Evolving alongside the series of social and economic transformations affecting the country, a multifaceted ideology emerged as the fundamental basis of Brazilian modernism, and the first two decades of the twentieth century proved that cultural production was related directly to the fallout of historical circumstances. During this critical time, artists who were motivated to question tradition initiated the modernist movement; by renouncing the past, these activists isolated their work from established cultural trends, leaving them without fixed stylistic goals and aesthetic norms. As the undisputed leader of cultural modernism in Brazil, Mario de Andrade (1893-1945) labored to define a vision to which artists could adhere, through generations and ensuing trends, and claimed that actualizing postwar European models of constructive modernist tendencies could make possible a similar renovation of Brazilian culture. When investigating the cultural production he influenced, it is difficult to isolate any particular dimension of Andrade’s diversified perspective, but his vision narrowed gradually to two distinct and necessary emphases: 1) an ideological focus on Brazil’s current social reality; and 2) the use of pure and essential native resources to achieve a unique nationalist aesthetic. The two platforms combined to form a new expressive stimulus, and a representational brasilidade (Brazilianism) became, for the musical modernist, the only legitimate inspiration for creative expression. Through a survey of selected writings and a clarification of his methodology, this article specifically explores Andrade’s approach to the aesthetic orientation of Brazilian composers.

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