Brazil - Pedro II - Chega de Saudade

Peace | View Score

War | View Score



2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, 4 French Horns, 2 Trumpets, 2 Trombones, Tuba, Timpani, Tam-tam, Suspended cymbal, Bass drum, Strings


Piccolo, Flute, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, 4 French Horns, 2 Trumpets, 2 Trombones, Tuba, Timpani, Suspended cymbal, Bass drum, Tom-toms, Tam-tam, Crash cymbal, Harp, Piano, 7 Shakers, 2 Ganzas, 3 Guiros, 3 Surdos, Batas, 3 Tambourines, Large Drum, Guitar, Repique, Zambuma, Berimbau, Strings


Before beginning work on a leader’s music, I will always read a little on the leader’s life and legacy in order to more accurately portray their character through the leader music. Upon reading about Dom Pedro II, I was struck by a man who was an outstanding, humble leader, and yet I had a sense that he was also a rather melancholy man. 

He fulfilled the role of emperor for Brazil not out of a sense of entitlement, but duty. He accepted marriage to a woman he was not attracted to, despite being deceived on what her looks would be before seeing her in person. Two of his four children died at very young ages. He lived simply and refused the lavish financial compensation that could have legally been his (US $405,000 per year in 1840). Rather than fighting a coup d'état, he accepted the outcome and lived his last two years in exile in Europe, living poorly. And yet, after his death, Pedro II was celebrated and revered, even by those who led the coup d'état to remove him from power. 

Before finding a source melody or beginning work on his leader music, I knew I wanted to bring out a sense of melancholy longing that I felt was an integral part of Pedro II’s life and story. His peace theme in particular ended up being my avenue for this expression. 

Finding a Brazilian source melody was no easy task. The development of truly Brazilian music is relatively recent in comparison with some of the other civs in Civilization V, and as such, there is plentiful documentation and sheet music of much of the music we know as Brazilian - choro, samba, bossa nova, among many other styles and forms. I considered using a work by Heitor Villa-Lobos, but ultimately decided on what is considered by many to be the first bossa nova,Chega de Saudade, by Antonio Carlos Jobim (listen here). It also just so happened to lyrically fit the melancholy/longing aspect of Pedro II I felt would be appropriate when reading over his life story. 

My knowledge of Brazilian culture is also a little more intimate than many of the other civs I have composed for, having taking a few trips there a number of years ago, the longest being a month-long, helping out on World Vision boats serving those in the Amazon. If it were not for these trips, I may have overlooked another musical element I wanted to include in the war theme - the berimbau from the Brazilian martial art, capoeira

Pedro II’s peace theme brings out his melancholy nature and transforms one of the last motives in Chega de Saudade into the main melody for the peace. The opening and closing are broad, grand gestures while the middle section features solo flute accompanied by clarinets and oboe, alluding to Pedro II’s humble living as well as his exiled end. 

His war theme brings out the rhythmic undergirding one would expect in Brazilian music, and a very clear presentation of the Chega de Saudade melody throughout. The berimbau is also featured, playing a motive commonly heard in capoeira. Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Chôros no. 10 was also an inspiration (in particular the second half which includes chorus, listenhere), and there are some stylistic choices that allude to Villa-Lobos’s Chôros no. 10. 

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