Aguas da Amazonia

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Águas da Amazônia, Sete ou oito peças para um balé (Portuguese for "Waters of the Amazon, seven or eight pieces for a ballet") is a 1993/1999 musical composition by the American contemporary classical composer Philip Glass. Its first recording was performed by the Brazilian instrumental group Uakti.

Originally composed as a dance score for a ballet company of Belo Horizonte (Grupo Corpo),[1] following the introduction between Uakti and Philip Glass by Paul Simon, it draws inspiration from the Amazon waters with tones of classical, new age and jazz music. The track listing dedicates each song to one of the rivers:

  1. Tiquiê River
  2. Japurá River
  3. Purus River
  4. Negro River
  5. Madeira River
  6. Tapajós River
  7. Paru River
  8. Xingu River
  9. Amazon River (version of Etude No. 2 Vol. 1 for piano)

A last title much in the same style but departing from this nomenclature is also part of the album:

  1. Metamorphosis

Glass composed the music which the group performed under the artistic direction of, and with arrangements by, Marco Antônio Guimarães [pt] (also at the strings). This was the first time that Glass's music was arranged by another composer. Paulo Sérgio dos Santos and Décio de Souza Ramos Filho played the percussion instruments and Artur Andrés Ribeiro the woodwinds. Regina Stela Amaral and Michael Riesman complemented Uakti's performance of the work at the keyboard. Glass described the result as "a true melding of my music with their sensibilities."

In 2017, Charles Coleman released an orchestral arrangement of the work featuring the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra and Absolute Ensemble, conducted by Kristjan Jarvi.[2]


  1. ^ "Grupo Corpo - Sete ou oito peças para um ballet". Retrieved 2018-04-08. Based on eight themes written by American composer Philip Glass and Brazilian instrumental ensemble Uakti, choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras balanced the formal rigor that had marked his work till then and created an artless choreography. Movements scores appeared as a series of sketches, annotations or studies for a choreography and 7 or 8 Pieces for a Ballet had its debut in 1994 displaying an apparently unfinished character in a superb flawless form. As in contemporary art in which corrections may be visibly incorporated to the final result, dancers’ movements came in variations, from a “dirty” aesthetics resembling rehearsals to a pristine final result. In this sense, this is a ballet that would rather propose than foretell. The obssesive, cold, and precise quality of Glass’ themes written especially for this ballet led Pederneiras to orchestrate solos with automaton-like movement repetitions in contrast with ensembles full of organic movements charged with latin sensuosness inherent to the unique Uakti sound. Scenography by Fernando Velloso and costumes by Freusa Zechmeister gave the ballet its visual identity, exploring early minimalism. They filled the stage with green, blue, and yellow stripes whereas white dominated Paulo Pederneiras’ lighting.
  2. ^ "'Aguas da Amazonia' Brings a Welcome Flood of Technical Ambition". Houstonia. Retrieved 2018-04-08.

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