Octavio Pinto

Heard on WQXR (classical music in NYC) last night, three of the charming piano pieces in Scenes from Childhood by Octavio Pinto, played by Byron Janis. A performance of the full set of five (“Hobby-Horse”, “March, Little Soldier!”, “Ring Around the Rosie”, “Run, Run!”, “Sleeping Tim”) by Guiomar Novaes, Pinto’s wife, for whom they were written:

Novaes and Pinto:

About Pinto, from an AllMusic biography by Blair Johnston:

Brazilian composer Octavio Pinto is perhaps better remembered as the husband, from 1922 on, of the brilliant and famous Brazilian pianist Guiomar Novaes. Pinto was in fact not a musician by trade, but actually an architect with a thriving business throughout Brazil. He did manage, however, to get some piano lessons from the well-known Hungarian pianist Isidore Philipp (teacher also of Pinto’s wife when she was at the Paris Conservatoire) as a young man, and he issued a relatively steady stream of music — character and show pieces for solo piano — until he died in 1950. Pinto’s most often-played piece of music is one written for and made famous by his wife: Childhood Memories (Scenas infantis, from 1932). Well-known in South American musical circles even before marrying one of that continent’s greatest virtuosi, Pinto was a close friend of Heitor Villa-Lobos.

On Novaes, from Wikipedia, the thumbnail biography and a story from her early life:

Guiomar Novaes (February 28, 1895 – March 7, 1979) was a Brazilian pianist noted for individuality of tone and phrasing, singing line, and a subtle and nuanced approach to her interpretations. She is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century.

Born in São João da Boa Vista (in the area of São Paulo state in Brazil) as one of the youngest children in a very large family, she studied with Antonietta Rudge Miller and Luigi Chiafarelli before she was accepted as a pupil of Isidor Philipp at the Conservatoire de Paris in 1909. That year there were two vacancies for foreign students at the Conservatoire — and 387 applicants. Novaes played for a jury that included Debussy, Fauré and Moszkowski. Her pieces were the Paganini-Liszt Etude in E, Chopin’s A flat Ballade and Schumann’s Carnaval. She won first place. Debussy wrote a letter in which he reports his amazement about the little Brazilian girl who came to the platform and, forgetting about public and jury, played with tremendous beauty and complete absorption.

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