Brazil 500 cruzados front (9), featuring portrait of Volla Lobos, musical notes and florating lily pads of the Amazon
HomeBrazil – Villa-Lobos, The Amazon’s Faithful Witness

Brazil – Villa-Lobos, The Amazon’s Faithful Witness

Brazil 500 Cruzados Banknote – Face and Back
Brazil 500 Cruzados Banknote front
Brazil, 500 Cruzados, front

From wikipedia:  He was ….coming to terms with the conflicting elements in his experience, and overcoming a crisis of identity, as to whether European or Brazilian music would dominate his style. This was decided by 1916, the year in which he composed the symphonic poems Amazonas and Tédio de alvorada, the first version of what would become Uirapurú (although Amazonas was not performed until 1929, and Uirapurú was only completed in 1934 and first performed in 1935). These works drew from native Brazilian legends and the use of “primitive” folk material. 

closeup detail of Brazil 500 Cruzados Banknote front, featuring lily pads and musical score

The Musical score, “Uirapuru“, is mingled with the floating Vitoria Regia in this illustration on our banknote, such that it’s not clear if the music is background or foreground to the Amazon’s floating lily pads, for they are as equal.  And that “mingling” is depicted beside the mind of the master, as, perhaps, emanating from him; or perhaps, he is merely a witness of the Amazon’s grandeur, and his score is his faithful chronicle.

closeup detail of Brazil 500 Cruzados Banknote front, featuring lily pads, musical score and piano keyboard

The keyboard, depicted on our banknote, is oriented unexpectedly, but, likely, perfectly.  For it is the Amazon that produces the music upon our instruments.  And, perhaps, it’s not so much that we create the music, as that the music is there, and it is discovered.

The piece was dedicated to Serge Lifar, the Ukrainian ballet choreographer and dancer, following his ensemble’s performance to the music.
The Victoria Regia is the 2 meter diameter lily pad of the Amazon, and the Uirapuru is the indigenous bird of jungle legend.

Brazil 500 Cruzados Banknote back, featuring conductor