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Born in Brazil of Portuguese descent, Gomes studied in Milan, and the strong Italian influence is evident in this his most popular composition, Il Guarany. Though one may imagine the hand of Verdi gently resting upon Gomes’ shoulder during its composition, Gomes was innovative in his use of Amazonian folk songs as in the opening bars, flexed his harmonic muscles with abandon (with many ear-grabbing surprises), and wrote with a keen sense of forward momentum with frankly hair-raising results. This challenging potboiler overture for brass band clearly demonstrates Gomes’ expert counterpoint, modulatory prowess, use of cross rhythms, and organic manner of composition, the entire piece composed of motives derived from a handful of well crafted themes.
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