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The Brazilian composer contingent featured Villa Lobos' Impressoes Seresteiras (1936) or 'Serenade Impressions' and his Hommage a Chopin (1949) -- his final work for solo piano. Both make full use of the entire keyboard with cascading, brilliant colourations and unusual chordal harmonisations so typical of the composer's 'soul' and eternal love of life. Mignone's Sonata No 1 (1941) from his San Paolo background emphasizes the piano's bass register, includes series of repeated notes and explores a typical Brazilian rhythm. Fernandez, in his Three Etudes in the Form of a Sonatina (1929) features a rising-falling left hand figure which haunts the listener's fancy, while Nocturno (from the 1890s) by Miguez is strongly Chopinesque, breaking out into a refreshing and vibrant coda. Strangely, the last two appearing in the second half elicited more emotional response from listeners, but they were by this time agreeing with Monteiro's older fellow countryman Nelson Friere who describes his pianist afficionado as 'More than an extraordinary pianist ... a musician of uncommon talent and sensibility ...'
Travelling back in years to when Eduardo was nine, he followed his native studies with a musical education in Italy at the International Piano Foundation; then in the USA with an Artist's Diploma at the New England Conservatory with Wha-Kyung Byun, the wife of concert pianist Russell Sherman. 'She had only to describe how she wanted the music to sound, and I was able to play it that way exactly.' He still values her mostly as the ideal influence on his career, so far, and as early as 2000 was awarded a Doctorate in Music at Sorbonne; subsequently Professor (2002), then Vice-Principal of the music department at the University of Sao Paolo. A more recent appointment, Director of Piano Solos, takes in Rio de Janeiro, affording him much personal pride. 'Nelson Friere, Cristina Ortiz and myself will play full-length recitals. A young lady student then demonstrates her performing ideas in two Chopin pieces.'
I enquired about seminars involving professionals and youngsters alike. 'No, we give everyone the freedom of stating their own points of view.' Even 'way out' opinions are voiced: 'I listen to every one very closely. Sometimes I modify my own opinion to coincide with others, but basically I know what I want, anyway. That is important.' Behind it all is a total respect for the Urtext, in other words for the original score indications. 'Students ask me: "Do I play this piece like ...", nominating a favourite performance -- perhaps a gramophone recording, maybe myself or a fellow teacher. I smile patiently then suggest they try to discover their own way; better still be guided by the composer's intentions!'
Copyright © 29 March 2008
Bill Newman, London UK