Lower Mogiana, May/June, 1931
Jaguari (now Jaguariúna), Pedreira, Amparo, Socorro all with the second program.
First program. There wasn’t room for the piano on the stage. Therefore, we had to build a platform. A good concert, well attended and appreciated. We visited the hot springs, and took plenty of water to cleanse the liver and the kidneys, and the sometimes indigestible food we had ingested during the past four months.
After some additional small cities, we arrived at…
São João da Boa Vista
Home of Guiomar Novaes. The people adore their native daughter. In this city there was great interest in the concert. The house was completely packed. A crowd waited for our arrival at the station. First program. Villa-Lobos was warmly applauded after his lecture. Anita Goncalves had to return to the stage several times and finally give an encore. But it was Souza Lima, ending the concert with Alegria na Horta by Villa-Lobos, who aroused from the people the most enthusiastic applause, making him return to the stage many times for bows and finally having to play an encore. A short piece, which, as I recall, was a Minuet by Paderewsky. As the people continued to stand and applaud, Souza Lima played in addition La Campanella of Liszt-Busoni. Now, finally satisfied, they passed to compliments and solicited autographs from all the artists. I also autographed several programs.
Following, we went to the customary reception, and rested for the journey the next day.
I can’t neglect to tell a story about the great pianist of our country.
Around 1942, I returned to São João da Boa Vista, accompanying Guiomar Novaes for a concert in her home town and another in Marília. This time it wasn’t by train. We went by plain accompanied also by Dr. Otávio Pinto. I admired the simplicity of Dra. Guiomar. In the middle of the flight, without any embarrassment, she took from her purse a rosary and prayed throughout the flight. She did the same every time I flew with her.
I don’t need to describe the success of those concerts, especially that in São João da Boa Vista.
Later in 1942, I was supposed to accompany Guiomar Novaes to give concerts in Natal and Recife. The voyage was to be made by boat. It was the time of the European War. Brazil had already suffered the torpedoing of some ships along its coast. The voyage was dangerous. I was frightened. The artist needed me. I prepared myself to travel. When everything was prepared, including the piano, for Guiomar Novaes always played on her own piano, almost on the eve of departure, orders arrived from Natal canceling the concerts, for military reasons. “Ai!...” I breathed deeply.
But, returning to the Villa-Lobos Excursion, we arrived at Santa Rosa.
A tiny city, enclosed within a large plantation of the Matarazzo family. An intimate concert. Everyone knew each other and greeted each other. A large portion of the audience was made up of workers on the plantation, and most were Italians. It was a pleasant concert, and was patronized by the prefecture of Cajuru, to which the plantation belonged.
The reception was in the house of the plantation administrator, where we were also lodged, as if we were in our own homes. We were very well served, with Italian dishes prepared by the wife of the administrator. We were sorry to depart, to leave such a friendly family, so hospitable, but we had to continue our return journey to Ribeirão Preto.
This was the only city at which the excursion performed two times. This second concert was organized by a group of farmers of Ribeirão Preto.
The concert was held in a hall called the Legion Hall. I believe it was the Legião Brasileira de Assistência. We used the piano and the stage belonging to the hall. It was a very good concert, well applauded and attended.
This commission did not offer a reception for the artists. It offered a banquet held in the Hotel Ricci, where we were lodged. Many people were invited. With the champagne, a man who wasn’t the prefect saluted Villa-Lobos and the artists, praising the work they were doing for the promotion of music, saying that they were a team of flag bearers [“banderantes”] for music. Villa-Lobos responded, thanking him, saying that he had worked hard and suffered much to spread his music and that of Brazil, and ended with that phrase he repeated many times during the excursion: “Don’t be surprised to see a Christ without a beard.”
Resuming our journey, we went again to the city of Casa Branca, and got on the branch line of São José do Rio Pardo e Mococa.
São José do Rio Pardo
A beautiful city. As always, a large number of people awaited the arrival in the station of the excursion. We were lodged in the Hotel Brasil, which was close to the principal plaza.
The concert was again much applauded.
A caravan from Guaxupé, State of Minas Gerais, neighboring city to São José do Rio Pardo, which was present at the concert, asked maestro Villa-Lobos to extend the excursion to that city. As is known, the excursion could only perform in the State of São Paulo. Checking the schedule, Villa-Lobos resolved to go there. We stayed a few days in São José do Rio Pardo, to wait for the organization of the concert in that city. We took advantage of that time, in addition to resting, to take some trips. We visited the state secondary school, some plantations, to one of which we went in the early morning to drink fresh milk. We visited the Rio Pardo which passes through the city, with its majestic bridge, all constructed of iron, and areas along the river. We also visited a house along the banks of the river, where Euclides da Cunha retired to write Os Sertões.
Not much time passed before there arrived in the hands of the maestro a pass from the railroad, on account of the prefecture of Guaxupé, for a round trip between Guaxupé and São José do Rio Pardo, and also a pass for the shipping of the piano.
On the determined day, we resumed traveling. Very well received at the station, we were lodged at the Hotel Cobra, the best and most modern hotel in the city.
We arranged the installation of the piano, and the stage was large enough in spite of it being a cinema. The concert was very good, with much applause. In the lecture, Villa-Lobos expressed gratitude for the interest the people of Guaxupé had in the concerts of the excursion. The reception was served in the dining room of the Hotel Cobra, where we were staying.
I had already been in that hotel in 1922 and 1923, doing warrantee work for Piano Brasil on pianos sold there. At that time, it was a small hotel constructed of wood. But now, no. It is a modern hotel constructed totally in brick. Its proprietors were Agenor de Lima and Alice Pereira Lima.
To my surprise, after the passage of a few years, these people became my aunt and uncle, through my marriage to a niece of theirs, Conceição Pereira, now also Chechim.
I have had no further contact with Guaxupé since the Villa-Lobos Excursion. I got to know Conceição in São Paulo, and in São Paulo we were married. Fate had it that years later a daughter of ours, Maria Lucy, pianist who studied with concert pianist maestro João de Souza Lima, married a son of that household, Dr. João Batista Lima, medical doctor, and a son of ours, Dr. Paulo Eduardo, medical doctor, married a daughter of the same household, the teacher Maria Angélica Pereira Lima. We all became on large family.
Our arrival in this city was, as you might say, normal. As in all the other cities, there were celebrations, greetings and flowers.
We were lodged in the Hotel Terraço. For the concert, it was necessary to build a platform, as the piano didn’t fit on the tiny stage of the cinema. This was a good thing, as it improved the acoustics of the hall a great deal. The concert was beautiful, and was much applauded, especially Souza Lima, who was always the most appreciated. In that concert, the singer Anita Gonçalves was on the verge of not being able to sing. She became ill early in the day, was medicated with sedatives, and until the time of preparing for the concert was still uncertain she would participate. A local doctor gave her an injection and said, “She will perform.” And she sang normally.
Mococa was the last city of this stage, and following it we returned to São Paulo.
The organizing commission prepared for our farewell, along with a reception, a grand ball. I didn’t take part in the reception, being involved in the loading of the piano, this time returning also to São Paulo for a general going over, as was necessary at the end of each stage. But I didn’t miss the ball, no! I had been asked in advance by the young ladies of the commission not to miss it. I was the only single young man in the entourage. We all danced enough, and, already nearly dawn, retired to rest a little. Soon after, we journeyed to São Paulo, closing out the third stage.