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Francisco Mignone

Francisco Paulo Mignone was born on 3 Spetember 1897 in Sao Paulo (Brazil). His father was the flutist Alferio Mignone and so Francisco Mignone was musically educated from an early age. As a teenager he also received piano lessons with Silvio Motto. He gained local popularity at the age of 13 when he performed as a pianist and orchestra leader in the choro style under the pseudonym of Chico Bororo. He also began to compose music at this time, at first in the mentioned choro style and under his pseudonym. Francisco Mignone then studied music academically first at the Sao Paulo Conservatory (graduation in 1917), later at the Milan Conservatory in Italy under Vincenzo Ferroni.

Francisco Mignones serious compositions received immediate success in Europe, his orchestral piece "Congada" was performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under Richard Strauss. In 1926 his work "No sertao, for orchestra" was awarded the first prize of the composition competition of the Sociedade de Concertos Sinfonicos in Sao Paulo.

Mignone returned to São Paulo in 1929 to teach harmony, and in 1933 became professor at the Escola Nacional de Música in Rio de Janeiro, a position he held until 1967. Beside his work as a teacher Francisco Mignone focused on composing and he became one of the most important and most significant musical figures of Brazilian classical music.
Francisco Mignone died on 19 February 1986 in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).                                                       (the Mignone family, with Francisco at the piano)

Mignone was a versatile composer, dividing his output nearly evenly between solo songs, piano pieces, chamber instrumental works, orchestral works, and choral works. In addition, he wrote five operas and eight ballets. Among his violin compositions are a Violin concerto (1961), a Concerto for violin and chamber orchestra (1975), a Nazarethiana for violin and orchestra (1977, originally for piano solo) and a Double concerto for violin, piano and orchestra (1966)


(Mignone with his second wife Maria)



In my possession are 4 handwritten scores of the following songs:

  • A tu puerta estan cantando, for voice and piano (1928)
  • Si quieres que yo te quiera, for voice and piano (1928)
  • Ma scovarlo non potro, for voice and piano (1930)
  • Sei felice, mio tesor, for voice and piano (1932)

The first two songs belong to the song cycle "Tres cantos populares espanhois" and are the first and third song of the cycle. The second song is not in my possession. This song cycle was premiered on 2 March 1928 by Hina Spani (voice) and Francisco Mignone (piano) at the Teatro del Popolo in Milano (Italy). The "Tres cantos" were later published Mangione.

The two latter songs are individual works and remain unpublished and unperformed so far.

All these handwritten scores come from the estate of famous Polish soprano Wanda Werminska (1900-1988) and are signed by her. The manuscript of "Sei felice, mio tesor" is additionally signed by Francisco Mignone on the title page and dated "29.04.1932". Wanda Werminska was the prima donna of the Warsaw Opera House, but made several concert tours to South America over the decades. There is a documented concert in Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) in 1934, another one at the Argentinian embassy in Rio de Janeiro in 1949.

The compositions are written on "Papel Weco" sheets, a South American brand. So it is likely that she received the handwritten scores directly from Francisco Mignone.

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© Tobias Broeker