Diogo Pacheco

Ivor Abrahams, Paths V, 1975
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By WALNICE NOGUEIRA GALVÃO*

Comments about one of the most important conductors in Brazil

At dawn on August 17, 2022, our dear maestro passed away, at the age of 96 well lived, marked by extraordinary dedication to his art. And to the promotion of musical culture, the countercurrent of a planetary setback.

Many people became accustomed to their radio and TV programs for decades on end, spreading classical music to the masses, with scholarly commentaries. acted in Globe, Eldorado, Culture, and in the latter until almost the year of his death. Alongside his career as a conductor with a coat and baton, he was a militant newspaper critic.

Student of Hans-Joachim Koellreuter and disciple of Eleazar de Carvalho, the latter, given the young man's vocation and talents, took him under his wings. He made him his assistant at the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra and took care of his training, with scholarships abroad.

The young maestro, who had a prominent streak of humor and mischief, distinguished himself by valuing the avant-garde and experimenting, which brought him closer to the popular. He became interested in concrete poetry and gave recitals mixing it with music. This was in the 1960s, when anything was possible. Always irreverent, but professionally very serious, he created, with Paulo Herculano, Samuel Kerr and Henrique Gregori, all professional conductors and instrumentalists, scholars of high caliber, the vocal quartet Master Singers, who wore white lace surplices, camouflaged as an altar boy.

The experiment that caused the most stir, due to the unusual combination, was the selection of Elizeth Cardoso, who stood out among popular singers, as a soloist in Bachianas no. 5. Shaking conventions, she released her powerful voice in the prime space of Theatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

Then our conductor would lute lute, with Alaíde Costa and her unusual timbre, capable of incredible chromaticism, rivaling jazz singers like Sarah Vaughn and others. She shone in a recital of medieval and renaissance melodies at the Municipal Theater of São Paulo.

If he selected popular singers to sing classical music, Diogo Pacheco could reverse the process, summoning bel canto artists to interpret pop numbers, which we usually heard sung by Roberto Carlos, Erasmo Carlos and Wanderléa. The show at Teatro Maria Della Costa was called The Young Guard in classic style. Chamber orchestra and harpsichord on stage, Zwinglio Faustini and his handsome deep bass, Eladio González, Stella Maria: the result was extravagant and fun. Those serious men, in formal attire, in the poses of opera singers, using their powerful and polite voices to utter frivolities such as “Hey Hey / what a wave / what a wild party…” – and so on… It is a pity that you are welcome recordings remain of this, due to the maestro's penury and lack of interest from the companies.

Another unorthodox initiative took place at João Sebastião Bar, Paulo Cotrim's nightclub in the heart of the student gathering, on the corner of Rua Major Sertório and Rua Maria Antônia, where the Faculty of Philosophy was located. Sponsored by intellectuals and artists, the house became a success. There, the singer Claudete Soares and the pianist Pedrinho Mattar became permanent attractions, the latter a great name in jazz, with international prestige, who even played at the White House.

Our conductor was in charge of programming classical music at the friendly address, which was decisive in spreading Bossa Nova in São Paulo, for which it became a kind of embassy. He also staged interesting and varied “pocket” shows. In an uninterrupted parade of attractions, from Tom Jobim to Elis Regina, from Tamba Trio to Geraldo Vandré.

In his eagerness to bring classical music to broader audiences, Diogo Pacheco composed numerous soundtracks for theatrical and cinematographic productions. Your work for the film Paths of Salvation, directed by Anselmo Duarte in an adaptation of a play by Jorge Andrade, it won the Governor of the State award, the highest in the country. He was requested by the most influential directors of the stage, in relevant plays.

Whoever was lucky enough to have contact with the maestro's brilliant career and unforgettable achievements can count, with double luck, on the biography Diogo Pacheco, a maestro for everyone, by Alfredo Sternheim.

*Walnice Nogueira Galvão is Professor Emeritus at FFLCH at USP. She is the author, among other books, of Reading and rereading (Sesc\Ouro over Blue).


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