Clarice Assad


(2005) Brazilian Fanfare

Duration: c.a. (5 minutes) | Commissioned by the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra

Program Notes

Composing a Brazilian orchestral work has been a very exciting experience for me. I was thrilled with the immense arsenal of possibilities. Still, I was also a bit skeptical because I knew that it would be virtually impossible to incorporate all aspects of Brazilian music into one single piece. Brazil is a very young country with a very young history, but it is also the largest country in South America. Consequently, each little region has a great variety of cultures and sub-cultures. It would be challenging to describe the many different styles and genres that make up the music of Brazil.

Still…I wanted Brazilian Fanfare to comprise as many of these elements as possible, portraying a portion of every region as a caricature; while focusing on the joyful, light, humorous, and warm aspects of this country because this is how most people relate to Brazil. I also wanted this work to be easily recognizable as ‘Brazilian’ without having to write a ‘bossa nova’ section in the middle!

This piece uses the most commonly known Brazilian rhythms in their raw form. There are as many as five, and they all come from different origins within Brazil. For example, the Olo- dum from Bahia, the Samba from Rio de Janeiro, Chorinho from Sao Paulo, Baiao from the Northeast part of the country, and some other rhythms that may be derivative of those regions or variations on the rhythms themselves.

However, this work is not based solely on Brazil’s rhythms and regions. It also tends to “time travel” throughout the years of Brazilian styles comprising elements from early Brazilian music of the 17th century ( slow/waltz )to the more recent trends.

There exists a few definitions of the word Fanfare. One is… a brief ceremonial piece of music usually played solely by the brass family of instruments. Fanfare is also known to be played as an introduction to something or someone of particular importance. And lastly, Fanfares have been traditionally pretty loud selections practically screaming for attention. To that effect, this piece contains solid use of the winds and brass as it makes its statement loud, clear, and humorous. I wish Brazilian Fanfare could showcase a little bit of all of these definitions… introducing the listener to many different styles and genres of Brazilian music.


2fl 2ob 2cl 2fg / 4hn 3tpt 3tbn 1tuba / timp / 2 perc. / strings

“The program began with a lively, polished rendition of “Brazilian Fanfare,” by the Brazilian composer Clarice Assad, in its New York premiere. Ms. Assad’s colorful, deftly  orchestrated work incorporates rhythms from different regions of her native country, like  the olodum from Bahia and the samba from Rio de Janeiro, and earlier styles like the waltz, with boisterous brass and percussion and sultry string interludes.”

– Vivien Schweitzer The New York Times

“Brazilian Fanfare by composer Clarice Assad,throughly delighted the senses incorporating at least five different Brazilian dance style while employing winds, brass and primitive percussion. Boisterous and filled with humor, the piece skipped merrily from one infectious rhythm and melody to the next.”

– Chattanooga Times

“Colorful, energetic, and eminently listenable, fusing together a multitude of musical ideas in a popular idiom. Repeated performances may well contribute to making this work a familiar concert opener. ”

– Mel R. Wilhoit, CSO: Finnish Fusion

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