Arts Counsel

Share
Related Topics

Occasionally in my life I have found myself ahead of a trend, a lone prophet ushering in a new wave; and a bloody thankless task it is too, I can tell you. For instance, I happened to be in the United States as a teenager when the whole bossa nova thing broke, and I came back to England raving about Stan Getz and Desafinado and Antonio Carlos Jobim, and people patted me on the head, saying: "There, there, Miles. A blend of jazz and Brazilian music? There's a likely story. Just sit down for a while and you'll feel fine". Six months later the Stan Getz LP was issued in Britain, and all the people I knew went nuts about bossa nova, and then "The Girl From Ipanema" and Astrud Gilberto came along after that, and I said to the people who were going nuts: "This is the stuff I was telling you about!" but they couldn't remember me telling them about it, so I went into a sulk and retreated into my old jazz records.

But not my old ragtime records. This is because there were no old records of ragtime around, back then. All the histories of jazz said how important ragtime was as a precursor of jazz, but you couldn't get to hear any, except in modern honky-tonk versions hammed up for the tourist trade. Then it occurred to me that ragtime, being music written for the piano, was a part of jazz that one could play for oneself, so I set out to buy some ragtime sheet music and play it on the piano.

But there wasn't any. Nobody, back then, had reprinted any ragtime. So, as there seemed no other way of clapping my eyes on the sacred notes, I made the effort of going to the British Museum, who did actually have some, and I painstakingly copied out "Maple Leaf Rag" by hand. It took days and days. Finally I finished the copying. And as I did so, I noticed something I hadn't spotted before: a photocopying machine, about 10 yards from my seat. Disgusted, I flung the Scott Joplin book back at the museum staff, and went home to learn to play "Maple Leaf Rag" from my horrible handwriting, which I much enjoyed doing, though nobody else took a lot of notice of my tinklings.

Then, soon after that, "The Entertainer" came out and Scott Joplin became a hit and Joshua Rifkin went on sell-out tours playing Scott Joplin as it should really be played, and when people asked me if I knew about this guy Scott Joplin, I cursed and spat, because yet again I had been ahead of a trend and it had done me no good.

So today I come to tell you about Ernesto Nazareth, but I do it with some diffidence. Ernesto Nazareth was a Brazilian composer who lived from 1863 to 1934 and wrote tangos for the piano. I came across a book of his pieces published by Schott a year ago. I had never heard of him before. But the pieces looked rather attractive and playable by an amateur. So I bought the book. I have now mastered enough of them to know that the music is very lilting, and rhythmic, and seductive, and the best way to describe it is to say that it sounds like tangos would have sounded if they had been written by Scott Joplin. Ripe for a small trend, in other words. It's no use, however, looking up Ernesto Nazareth in any but the largest music encyclopedias. He is forgotten. Ignored. But his tangos do crop up on occasional CDs. The other day I saw a listing of a record of his stuff played by Marco Antonio de Almeida, and the CD was entitled Brazilian Ragtime, which suggests that I am not the only one to see the link with Joplin.

It may come to nothing. He may not even have a temporary surge of interest. But if ever Ernesto Nazareth's tangos do tickle the public palate, I am going to wave a copy of this article in everyone's face and say proudly that I got there first, and this PROVES it, and they are all going to say: "Yeah, Miles, whatever...", because, let's face it, nobody likes a smartarse.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Software Developer (Java /C# Programmer)- London

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global investment management fi...

Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CCNP, Cisco, London)

£65000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CC...

Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, Cisco, CISSP)

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, C...

Senior Network Engineer-(Design, Implementation, CCIE)

£60000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(Design, ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letters: The West flounders in the Middle East morass

Independent Voices
David Tennant as Hamlet  

To vote no or not to vote no, that is the question... Although do celebrities really have the answer?

David Lister
All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition