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Ernesto Nazareth, Brazil's Tango Master

Piano Sleuth Joseph Smith Resurrects Overlooked Classical Gems

Ernesto Nazareth, Brazil's Tango Master

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Ernesto Nazareth, Brazil's Tango Master

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Ernesto Nazareth (1863-1934). hide caption

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Cover of 'Tangos, Milongas and Other Latin-American Dances for Solo Piano.' hide caption

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The tango is usually associated with Argentina, but piano sleuth Joseph Smith has turned up music by a Brazilian tango composer, Ernesto Nazareth (1863-1934).

Nazareth was more interested in classical European music as a teenager, but his family could not afford to send him abroad to learn. The pianist then chose to focus on native Brazilian music and began performing to accompany films at a movie theater in Rio de Janeiro.

Smith plays two tangos by Nazareth (pronounced "Naza-ray"): "The Fighter," written in 1917 and "The Ninth of July," composed as a tribute to Argentia's Independence Day anniversary.

In 2003, Smith edited a book of tango sheet music, Tangos, Milongas and Other Latin-American Dances for Solo Piano.