Joaquim Antônio Da Silva Callado, Jr.

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Joaquim Antônio da Silva Callado (called also Callado Jr. because his father is of the same name) was the most important flutist and improviser of his time. A noted composer, he left several virtuosic…
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Joaquim Antônio da Silva Callado (called also Callado Jr. because his father is of the same name) was the most important flutist and improviser of his time. A noted composer, he left several virtuosic pieces. "Flor Amorosa" (with lyrics added later by Catulo da Paixão Cearense) is performed by the chorões (choro players) even today. Among his most important works, "Lundu Característico" (1873) is a strong indication of the Brazilianization of the European polka and the strength of maxixe. In fact, he was the first non-anonymous composer to work for the nationalization of European music and the creator of a personal virtuosic flute style (quick octave jumps that gave the impression of two flutes being played together) which served as a departure point for generations of important flutists such as Viriato, Patápio Silva, Henrique Flauta, Pixinguinha, Benedito Lacerda, Altamiro Carrilho, and others. He is considered the "father of the chorões" (choro players), being the most accomplished composer in the choro gatherings. His seminal Conjunto Choro Carioca, appearing between 1867 and 1880, was the first group to employ that denomination, which reinforced his distinguished role in the development of that style, later an important genre.

His father, Joaquim Antônio da Silva Callado, an Afro-Brazilian musician, trumpeter, and bandmaster, gave the initial stimulus in Callado Jr.'s musical studies in piano and flute. At eight, he studied with Henrique Alves de Mesquita for a year until Mesquita left for France. Mesquita was one of the first musicians to promote a fusion of the European repertory with the Brazilian way of playing, having a noted passage in Paris, opening his own works in the French capital, and composing in 1871 "Olhos Matadores," which is considered the first Brazilian tango. Therefore, his influence over the young Callado is not to be disregarded.

At 15, Callado wrote his first composition, "Querosene," having the first success as composer four years later with the quadrilha "Carnaval de 1867." In July 1866, he performed as second flutist in a concert for the imperial family at the Teatro Ginásio Dramático. He was a young father of five and had to work actively wherever possible. In 1871, he became the flute professor at the Music Conservatory, enjoying the fame of being the most important flutist of his time. Among noted musicians associated with him who must be mentioned are pianist, composer, and the first Brazilian female conductor Chiquinha Gonzaga; his great friend, flutist, and saxophonist Viriato Figueira da Silva; and violonista (Brazilian acoustic guitar player) Saturnino, who was a great improviser and his preferred accompanist.

In 1873, he presented in concert a lundu (one of the two first Brazilian genres, together with the modinha), causing scandal because only slaves consumed the lundu until then. In 1879, he was decorated by emperor D. Pedro II as commander of the Ordem da Rosa, the highest imperial honor. He was also a professor of the Liceu de Artes e Ofícios (Rio) nominated by his godfather, field marshal José Basileu Neves Gonzaga (father of Chiquinha Gonzaga).

In 1880, Callado caught meningoencephalitis in the epidemic that was ravaging Rio during that time and he died in March. da Silva died two years later, and a group of friends organized a festival to raise enough funds to buy a house for Callado's widow and sons, and to build a mausoleum for Callado and da Silva at the Caju cemetery.