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The Crowning of Peter I
The crowning of Peter I, the first Emperor of Brazil, in the Royal Chapel, December 1, 1822. 1


In April 1821, the king returned to Portugal for a period of constitutional rule. He left his son Peter as regent of Brazil, and to him said the now famous words: "Pedro, if Brazil becomes independent, take the crown for you, before one of these adventurers take it, because I know that you shall respect me", and left the Rio de Janeiro with many concerns about his future.

It was a sad day for Nunes Garcia, who considered King an admirer of his music. He received as a reward for his 13 years' service in the court a tobacco box decorated with gold and precious stones, with the portrait of the king of ivory.

Marcos Portugal remained in Brazil, now in the position of music teacher of the prince regent.

Sigismund Neukomm left for France a week before the king's return trip to Portugal. Besides being the first composer to use a Brazilian folk theme in a composition, he made an important contribution to the history of Brazilian music, putting into paper a few modinhas, or songs of Joaquim Manoel da Camera, a popular singer and guitarist of the time. According to the testimony of Manuel de Araújo Porto Alegre, when he left, Nunes Garcia was preparing a presentation of Haydn's "Creation", whose score Neukomm offered him, but that did not happen. Instead, the priest wrote two psalms arranged on topics of this great work.

In 1821, he also composed a "Laudamus" that recalls the music of Rossini, whose operas began to be successful in the theaters of Rio de Janeiro.

The departure of the Portuguese court was a disaster for the country's public finances. They took with them what they could, leaving bankrupt the Bank of Brazil. Financial difficulties forced the prince to cut off the extra benefits given to the court musicians, including the "clerical heritage" of Nunes Garcia, keeping only his full salary.

From the second quarter of 1822, Jose Mauricio is to receive the quarterly earnings as a member of the Chapter of the Cathedral, and though his basic salary had been preserved, he claimed in a letter to the prince the extra benefit provided by John VI, justifying it as a payment for his public teaching of music. Having denied the request, he decided to quit the course of music that he ministered for 28 years.

The financial turmoil has put the Brazilians against the Portuguese traders, whose interests were disparate. The Portuguese aristocracy in Lisbon was also pressing the king to sign an act that would remove the condition of Brazil as United Kingdom. The Prince Regent, fearing riots that led to see the country divided into small republics, as in Spanish America, on the way to the city of São Paulo, in September 7, 1822 declared the independence of Brazil from Portugal. On December 1, he was crowned Emperor Peter I of Brazil.

In this crucial year, Nunes Garcia's only known work is the "Novena of the Holy Sacrament" (CPM 75). There are records that the town of Pindamonhangaba commissioned him a "Te Deum" presented at the Mass of thanksgiving to the Prince Regent when he spend the night there.

Portugal declared war on Brazil. The southern provinces remained loyal to the emperor, but Portugal still controlled the north. On March 21, 1823, the Emperor decided to attack them with the Brazilian fleet, under the command of British Admiral Lord Cochrane, who on most occasions by bluff, managed the surrender of the enemy vessels.

There is only one known work, written in 1823: the "Short Mass" (CPM 113). That same year, the Royal Chapel was renamed "Imperial Chapel".

Carioca Square in 1821
Carioca Square, downtown Rio de Janeiro in 1818. Here we see Castelo hill and Rua de São José, and at left, the tower of the Royal Chapel is seen in the sunlight.

1 DEBRET, Jean Baptiste. Viagem Pitoresca e Histórica ao Brasil [A Picturesque and Historical Travel to Brazil]. Rio de Janeiro: Itatiaia, 1992. v. 3, pr. 48.

2 MACEDO, Joaquim Manuel de. Um passeio pela cidade do Rio de Janeiro [A City Tour of Rio de Janeiro]. Rio de Janeiro: Garnier, 1991. Photograph Section, p. 224.

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