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Written by Lindsay Westley   
Published on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 01:15

Sergio Roberto de OliveiraMay 16, 2013 - When writing Incelença de Domingos, a piece commissioned by LiveConnections for Sunday’s Mélomanie + Minas concert, Brazilian composer Sergio Roberto de Oliveira had a wide range of musical styles and traditions to use as inspiration. He decided on a very traditional type of Brazilian song, the incelença, this time sung and played 12 times in homage to one of the country’s most beloved popular musicians, Dominguinhos. Played on baroque instruments and incorporating contemporary elements of Brazilian music, Incelença de Domingos is full of the contradictions that make LiveConnections’ collaborations fresh and inventive.

We caught up with Sergio just after his arrival in Delaware, where he’s on location to rehearse with Minas and Mélomanie in preparation for their May 19 concert.


The piece you composed for Mélomanie and Minas, Incelença de Domingos, pays homage to a beloved Brazilian popular musician, Dominguinhos, who has been ill for some time. What is it about Dominguinhos that caught your attention?
Dominguinhos is a very popular Brazilian musician. This piece embodies much of what he represents, as it is a mix of traditional and popular — the baroque instruments and the contemporary sound. Also, the name “Incelença” refers to a tradition of the Brazilian countryside. When someone is very ill or about to die, people sing a song with 12 stanzas, asking God to guide the person's soul onward.

How do you express that sentiment or theme through the piece?
The piece isn’t only about Dominguinhos; it’s also about making it mine and for these two ensembles. A theme is repeated 12 times, played by different instruments. I begin with guitar, harpsichord and cello. Then each instrument takes the lead in turn, repeating the incelença 12 times in the traditional way.

This collaboration allows you to mix baroque instrumentation with the sounds of your home country. Has that given you additional freedom of expression?
For me it was wonderful to create a sound for both ensembles; I started my career in popular music, playing the piano. Only later did I become a classical composer. To do that, I had to have the qualities of both in my head. So in this piece I used a lot of Brazilian rhythms from popular music, and used the baroque instruments as a classical element. People maybe think those are very different things, but in my opinion, the combination is very common.

You’ve worked with Mélomanie several times in the past, and will be recording another of your works, Angico, for their new CD. How does your music fit in with the music of Minas, another Brazilian group?
When we met up in Rio to discuss this collaboration, I heard some beautiful Brazilian music from Minas. Minas has a popular sound, and I take a more classically contemporary approach. Combined in this concert, we'll hear exciting aspects of Brazilian music - a mix that is common in Brazilian culture. 


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