Jorge Peixinho
I met Jorge Peixinho in 1981, in Acqui Terme, a charming little spa town near Turin, during the International Contemporary Music Festival Proposte musicali, which, at that time, was directed by a very young Aldo Brizzi and me. I was immediately struck by his spontaneous behaviour, free from all of the whims typical of composers. He was dressed in a shabby way, as if he were not interested in practical things. He enjoyed talking not only about music, but also about other cultural and social matters, and it was interesting listening to him.

He took an active part to round?table discussions and concerts, always bringing his own original contribution. He also played a piece which was performed on percussion instruments and various objects. The main part of the performance consisted in listening to the sound vibrations produced by a gong immersed in a huge bucket of water. He was made fun of by the hypocritical respectability of the neo-romantics (I remember that, during the performance, Tutino and Mosca started to play morra!), but he was greatly appreciated by all the other musicians and musicologists who were there and who were attracted by his musicality, his sincere participation in the sound, and his cleverness in building up centrifugal sound lines.

I liked the man and the musician. Some of the scores written by him were exhibited in a big travelling exhibition, called La musica, le idee, le cose, which was opened at the Palazzo del Broletto in Novara, and then toured in a dozen prestigious places such as the Accademia Chigiana in Siena and the Civica Scuola di Musica in Milan. The exhibition was part of the Acqui Terme Festival programme and it was also displayed in the Palazzo Pretorio in Certaldo, where, in those years (1981/85) I organised Certaldo-Luglio-Musica, a festival of new music which had repercussions all over Italy. I also invited Peixinho.

I remember that Peixinho’s scores excited a great interest everywhere even though they were his most personal compositions and the name of the Portuguese musician was almost unknown here. I commissioned him to compose a piece and he surprised me choosing one of my own texts for a vocal piece with piano. I was struck by the energy of that work and I think that Peixinho himself was struck in his turn by the success he obtained.

He gave me one of his scores as a present, which I preserve as a precious thing. It hangs in my study, in good company, with manuscripts from other composers friends of mine.

Once he invited me to Lisbon. I cannot remember the reason why I could not go, but I was honestly sorry, because I would have liked to embrace him again, to see him working in his environment. Now I am angry with myself for not having done my best to go there, considering that I have lost this opportunity forever.

There was no other occasion to meet him. News of him reached me through my friend Aldo Brizzi who, unfortunately, told me about his death. I then thought, with melancholic and sweet nostalgia of what a dear person Jorge was, and I also thought that European music had lost one of its exponents; certainly a great composer, a promoter of the cultural life of his country, a free intellectual.

I think his major lesson to me was the freedom of his thought, of his music making. Thank you Jorge.

I hope that his work will find a rigorous placing in the international panorama and that this book will contribute to making it widely known also in Italy.

Renzo Cresti - sito ufficiale