[Estarei só, num raio estereofônico ouvindo Brahms.]
[Victor Giudice]



The First Music

Victor Giudice was throughout life an amateur musician. Amateur in the sense adopted by Antonin Artaud: he who produces because he loves or suffers (TN: From the Portuguese word for amateur “Amador”, or “ama” – loves, and “dor” – suffering). His passionate involvement with music dictated his artistic preferences, behavior and even his view of the world. Perfect forms, in his view, would necessarily have the rhythm, progression and emotion of a symphony, a sonata, etc.

His most remote memories were of concerts enjoyed as a child – or his enchantment with the soundtracks of films and televisions series, as evidenced in
the autobiographical text he produced for a course on symphonic music. The nostalgic song Paese Mio in Luchino Visconti’s 1962 film Rocco and his Brothers would easily leave him in tears.

In his adolescence, he appeared on a television program that featured amateurs, hosted by Ary Barroso, winning top marks for his dubbing of Al Jolson's melodramatic rendering of the song My Mammy, or his performance on the piano of The Song of the Flea by Mussorgsky. The first time, Victor went on a dare. The second time, he went because Ary Barroso insisted he go. However, his need at an early age to help support his family prevented him from pursuing a career in music any further.

His prodigious memory stored entire opera and symphony scores, which he was even capable of conducting in impromptu concert soirées at his home. In addition, he had a baritone voice that was quite impressive.

Of an eminently synesthesic perception, Giudice saw images in music and music in images. Opera’s influences on cinema was just another one of his thematic fixations (see excerpt from an essay of this subject, published in the newspaper Folha de São Paulo). This characteristic would be reflected in his writing, which did not go unnoticed, for instance, by poet, writer and literary critic Gastão de Holanda, who saw in the short story A lei do silêncio (The Law of Silence), a paraphrase of Mikrokosmos, progressive pieces for piano by Béla Bartók.

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It was only in the 1990’s that Victor was given the opportunity to make public use of the musical knowledge he had accumulated during the various opera seasons since his childhood, devouring books and collecting records, classical music and opera scores and videos. Victor gave music appreciation classes, initially at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, and later at various other institutions in Rio, introducing his students to opera, lecturing on the role of symphonic music in western civilization and on composer Richard Wagner, who, along with Mahler, Liszt, Brahms, Mozart and Beethoven, shared a place in his pantheon of musical geniuses. At the CCBB, he also performed the seminal work of orienting the programming of opera videos, contributing to the formation of audiences with his magnetizing lectures.

In 1994, Giudice succeeded Ronaldo Miranda – who took over direction of Sala Cecília Meirelles – as the classical music critic for Jornal do Brasil. In this, he also possessed his own unique style, combining eminently technical analyses of performances and compositions with humor and fiction. In an environment dominated by conservatism, he had the courage to defend "new interpretations" against the "wear of repetitions". Generous without being permissive, he wasn’t afraid of socializing with the musicians, a fact which resulted in one of the most harmonious examples of conviviality between artists and critics in the industry.

During his illness, when it was necessary to contribute toward his recovery, and later, to pay homage to his memory, several renowned musicians organized various thoroughly moving concerts, among them the cellists Paulo and Ricardo Santoro, flautist Laura Rónai, organist Samuel Kardos and the soprano Ruth Staerke and bass Eliomar Nascimento.
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Samba and Theater

In music, Victor Giudice’s versatility also struck a predominant note. The professor of Wagner and the respected critic was also a composer of sambas, who was even invited to join the composers’ section of the Samba School, Unidos de Vila Isabel. If truth be told, the lyrics of his thematic sambas were a bit more sophisticated than the average samba, but the music, composed on his guitar, is genuinely popular and, as such, flawless.

He was sporadically drawn to the stage as composer of several scores for plays. In 1990, he actually performed his piano score live in the production of Prometheus staged the group Mergulho no Trágico, at Espaço Cultural Sérgio Porto. Shortly afterwards, when the American composer, Philip Glass, was preparing for a concert at the CCBB, Victor was elected to test the piano. He played Tango de Prometeu, stealing the scene at the rehearsal. Glass applauded his performance. Giudice truly deserved all the applause.

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