The eminent Brazilian composer Marlos Nobre has published an open letter to the conductor of the national symphony orchestra, refusing him permission to perform his works in protest at the sacking of half its musicians. The gesture is the more poignant since, as Nobre specifies, he has known the conductor since he was a child and presented him with his first professional instrument. I publish the letter verbatim, as received.
Open letter to Roberto Minczuk
Roberto, I am anxious to write this letter seeing how you got involved in this embarrassing and sad situation.
Did you, Roberto, have no one close to open your eyes to the immense folly that was the whole situation created in the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra?
I write you as a conductor and composer who knew a Roberto still 10 to 12 years old participating in the “Young Instrumentalists Competition” I organized back in 1974 on the “Concert for Youth” on Globo and Radio MEC. In this competition, you emerged as a young talent, promising enough that I gave you as a gift a brand new horn (yours at that time was impracticable). I remember years later, in your concert debut as conductor of the OSB in Rio, I was approached by your old and honored father, in tears, telling me that the horn was kept in a glass enclosure, framing the living room of your paternal home. It was extremely moving see your father so visibly happy watching your debut as conductor of the large and prestigious Brazilian Symphony Orchestra. Among other works, you conducted the Symphony “Eroica” by Beethoven. And our OSB responded to your gestures, giving at the occasion a memorable Interpretation of the work. These same musicians who are now beeing, with absolutely incomprehensible anger, relentless harassed for you as director of OSB.
Well, Robert, like your father, an old and honored musician, I learned that you can only make music with the light spirit open, connected only with the higher duty that the interpreter have that is to reveal the great message of love, universal understanding and mutual respect that emanates from every major musical work. It’s not possible to the musicians yield the most of their qualities, against the arrogance, the disrespect, t
he imposition, the inhumanit
y, human ineptitude of those who are imposing and are not giving them the conditions to create the wonderful message of music.
Roberto, that boy I gave a horn is now a source of major disappointment I ever had in my life. A deep and irreversible disappointment. You and only you alone are responsible for an unprecedented situation in the symphonic music of Brazil, to submit a full orchestra at a public embarrassment by dismissing with cruelty and disrespect for their past more than half of its components through the most unacceptable excuses possible. Neither the excuse of higher musical quality would be justification for such a high degree of human, artistic and personal aggression that you impose our OSB musicians. You do not respect age, services provided, idealism nor humanity. All these core values in human relations and art disappear in your hands at this sad moment in music history in Brazil.
The ideals that have always been the great strength of the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, Roberto, you cannot destroy. Moreover, I see with sadness that you’re getting a way to destroy yourself so perfectly, so definitely, so vehemently as his greatest enemy ever could, nor would have such a degree of destructive imagination.
Your self–destruction shocks me because it seems that you, Roberto, came into this negative process, without returns or detours, unaware that anywhere in the world where you go up on stage to direct anorchestra you will have an answer of contempt and disapproval from the public and the musical world.
As a composer, it’s not my desire to see my work performed by this leftover Symphony Orchestra directed by you (which I refuse to call the OSB because it was irresponsibly destroyed by you).
I do not consent to have my work performed unless for the real BRAZILIAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA that we have learned to love, to revere and protect from any desperation passenger abuses, aggressionand moral disrespect.