Maestro Lyrio Panicali in detail of the photo printed on the back cover of the LP 'Nova Dimensão', Photo: Reproduction / Odeon

Especially for those who insist on the reductionism of the uninformed epithet “apartment music” or “elitist music”, we will talk today about an essential record to understand that bossa nova went far beyond the stool and guitar. It is a very modern fifty-year-old, new dimension, an album by maestro Lyrio Panicali and his orchestra, released in 1964 by Odeon.

Of Italian descent, born exactly 108 years ago (yes, today would be his birthday) in Queluz, on the border between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Panicali began his training as a conductor in 1922, at the age of 16, at the Instituto Nacional de Música. . At the age of 26, as a conductor and pianist, he joined the Companhia Negra de Revistas, a troupe led by the black actor Wladimiro di Roma, which marked an era in the Teatro de Revista. Discussing what later happened to Lyrio Panicali, as a conductor and as a composer, would require countless paragraphs. Let us here, then, pay attention to the capital importance of new dimension.

Despite the dark specter imposed by the civil-military coup of March 31, 1964 was one of the most luminous years for Brazilian popular music, both in terms of song and instrumental productions. The main propagating agent of this fertile environment, of course, was the newly created bossa nova. From the whispered singing of João Gilberto and the horizon of infinite harmonic possibilities imposed by the dividing guitar of Bahia, the generation impacted by bossa left in search of other great experiments.

Cover of the LP “New Dimension”. Photo: Reproduction / Odeon

Not by chance, many of the albums released after Chega de saudade (1959) expressed, from the title, a simple goodbye to musical nostalgia and kept eyes and ears fixed on the windshield of the future. case of New Structures, by Luiz Carlos Vinhas, Flora is MPM (acronym for Modern Popular Music), by Flora Purim, The New Dimension of Samba, by Wilson Simonal (which contains seven arrangements by Panicali), Samba New Scheme, by Jorge Ben, Samba Forward, by Samba Trio and The Time and Time of MPM, from Rio 65 Trio de Dom Salvador.

When did the album release? New Dimension, starting from the directions explored by inaugural samba-jazz (or bossa-jazz) combos, such as the Tamba Trio, the Bossa Três, the Modern Jazz Sexteto and the Sambalanço Trio, another experiment in the big-band format, with bossa nova and of great relief, had already been made by Panicali in the album The revolution, from Modern Brazil Orchestra (Odeon, 1963).

On the occasion, the composer Chico Feitosa was full of praise for the maestro: “A genius is often talked about, a lot is praised. And Lyrio Panicali is a genius, little talked about, little praised. A man who transmits poetry, beauty and technique within his harmonic creations. I can only say that everything is born in a different sound from the chords of this genius that is Lyrio Panicali”, referendum Feitosa on the back cover of the LP.

Emphasizing the freshness of Panicali's “irresistible modernist impulse” – a phrase expressed by Gilberto Miranda in the verse of new dimension – the album's repertoire brought instrumental re-readings extracted from the cream of the bossanovista songbook. Among the 12 themes, Consolation, by Badden Powell and Vinicius de Moraes, different beat, by Maurício Einhorn and Durval Ferreira, South Zone Balance, by Tito Madi, silly wolf, by Carlos Lyra and Ronaldo Bôscoli, and Brazilian God, by the brothers Paulo Sérgio and Marcos Valle.

There are those who also insist on the silly theory that bossa nova had an ephemeral life and that it was capitulated as a result of the advent of the young guard and tropicalismo. Proving otherwise, albums like The revolution e new dimension made a school and resulted in works launched, in the following years, under the baton of other great conductors such as the exquisite The Spectacular Sound of the Carlos Piper Orchestra (Continental, 1965), by the Argentine conductor, and albums that appropriated radio hits, an example of Big Stop, by trumpeter Formiga and His Orchestra (Cast, 1970), and Explosive! (London, 1970), by conductor Nelsinho.

Maestro Lyrio Panicali in a personal file photo taken from the official Facebook page maintained by his niece, Rosa Maria Panicali.

For these and others, not only today, on his birthday, it is necessary to preserve and revere the memory of this fundamental maestro called Lyrio Panicali. About him, a certain Tom Jobim gave the following statement, in 1963: “This current movement that is seen in Brazilian popular music owes a lot to Lyrio Panicali. It is not today that my dear maestro has been fighting for the evolution of our popular music. Among his many fans there was one called Heitor Villa-Lobos. Lyrio puts a lot of love into everything he does and that's why he's very sought after. He was always a good guy and he welcomed me with open arms when I knocked on his door in search of teachings. And, perhaps because he gave a lot of himself to others, he received this grace: a soul open to what is new and the talent necessary to be Lyrio Panicali”

Happy listening and until the next Quintessence!

Originally published on the magazine's website Brazilian in 26.6.2014

Listen to the album New Dimension

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