The music of Brazilian composer José Siqueria this weekend. José Siqueria was a conductor, musicologist and composer. Born on June 24, 1907 – he died on April 22, 1985. He studied saxophone and trumpet with his father. He then entered the Escola Nacional de Musica in Rio de Janiero. He was conductor of the Orquesta Sinfonica Brasileira of Rio de Janiero beginning in 1940. He went on to conduct numerous orchestras throughout the world. He went to Europe for a time to study with Olivier Messiaen, Tony Aubin, Eugene Bigot and Jacques Chailly. He remained active all the way up until his death in 1985. Virtually none of his work is familiar to audiences outside of Brazil these days.
This performance of his Danza Brasileira Number 4 is played by the NBC Studio Orchestra conducted by Henri Nosco and was part of the series Music Of The New World in 1944. During World War 2, music from South America became very popular with audiences. Part of it was political – there was a fear that Nazi Germany would gain a major foothold in South America with the ultimate objective, and part of it was an attempt to create an improved view of Latin America, not only as an important Ally in the war effort, but also to bring awareness of a rich cultural heritage through art and music. There were several programs like Music Of The New World broadcasting during World War 2. It was part of a concerted effort to prevent Nazis from gaining influence or to disrupt governments in the region.
It’s difficult to judge the music of a composer based on one short piece. From what I’ve heard I would say the music of José Siqueria would benefit from being rediscovered by a new audience.