As minhas lições de Canto: Notas ao Vaccai para uso dos Portugueses

As minhas lições de Canto: Notas ao Vaccai para uso dos Portugueses

Gustavo Romanoff Salvini was born in 1825 in Prauss, in the former Prussian Poland. Official biographies say
that he left his homeland “due to political persecution” and that he “took refuge in Italy in late 1846”. There, he
perfected his singing studies, starting his lyrical career in 1849. Ten years later he entered Portugal, to sing at
the Royal Theater of São João. However, during a recital of Bellini’s “I Puritanni” an incident made him loose
his voice, putting an end to his lyrical career.

Settling himself in the city of Porto, Salvini turned to a teaching career. As a singing teacher, Salvini did not
understand why the Portuguese did not sing in their own language, preferring the Italian. Enchanted by the
sounds of the Portuguese language and its poets, Salvini decided to take the initiative to put the great poets of
Portuguese Romanticism into music, publishing in 1865 a compilation of 40 songs, which he named
“Romanceiro Musical”. In 1884, he would publish this compilation again, renaming it “Cancioneiro Musical
Português, (Portuguese Songbook): 40 melodies in the Portuguese language with piano accompaniment,
lyrics by the main Portuguese poets”.

More than making an effort to “get the Portuguese to sing in their own language”, Salvini wanted to found the
Portuguese “Kunstlied” (classical chamber song) and wanted a reform for music in Portugal. Continuing his
intention, Salvini intended to launch after Cancioneiro a new and even more unprecedented initiative: to write a
Singing method in Portuguese, with scientific rigor, and designed for Portuguese singers who, until then, had
no method in their language. “My singing lessons: Notes to Vaccai for use of the Portuguese” would be, for
Salvini, his musical testament. For Music History, this would have been the first scientific treatise about
singing voice ever written in Portugal, and for use of the Portuguese. Unfortunately, Salvini was unable to get
support to publish this method in his lifetime. In 1931 Salvini’s heirs and an illustrious man of Arts from
Oporto, named Bertino Daciano Guimarães, would launch an edition of this method, however incomplete,
missing a whole part, as well as the scores of the popular Vaccai method, nationalized by Salvini.
In 2020, the singer and musicologist Tânia Valente signs a complete, transcribed, revised and commented
edition of this innovative method for its time, which, in the 21st century, still manages to be one of the few
singing methods written in Portuguese. At the same time, this method is a testimony of what music teaching
in Portugal was like at the end of the 19th century. in addition to including Salvini’s reflection about the
European composers of his time.seu tempo.


Year of publication: 2020


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