Fr. Lourdino Barreto Fr. Lourdino Barreto's measure of greatness laid in the courage of his conviction: "Bloom where you have been planted." And bloom indeed, he did. While recognition in his lifetime may not have been proportionate to his extraordinary genius, the man, nevertheless, towered above his contemporaries, leaving behind an in-duplicable legacy. I recall his letter to the editor of the Navhind Times which appeared on September 3, 1975. The letter was in response to an interview of Mr. Ansther Lobo, under the caption: "A Musical Scientist". That letter, like a meteor, instantly illumined my obscure understanding of the essence of music. -Dom Martin
A Musical 'Scientist'
Sir, - This has reference to the interview with Mr. Ansther Lobo under the heading "A musical scientist", on August the 17th. It reads: "Prof. Lobo is combating the philosophy that music can be made out of noise and not sound . . . . He is also attacking the 3000-year old belief that music is nothing but a conglomeration of arbitrary notes". Mr. Lobo is introduced as a "doyen of Western classical music who is equally conversant with Indian classical music". To which music does Mr. Lobo refer to? The Western music is tonal and harmonic, and it has taken its path of development on harmony, counterpoint and orchestration all based on affinity of notes between themselves, with their own logic and order. On the other hand, the Indian music which is modal and melodic, has studied the relationship of notes and their subdivisions in a way as no other musical systems of the world. That analytical study gave rise to an indefinite number of ragas, each one with its own emotional character and that from the time of Matanga.
Mr. Lobo, "a conversant with Indian classical music" should know how old this author is. Mr. Lobo propounds that the "classical music rests on the foundation of the basic natural laws" . . . but "he asserts and says that in the inevitable clash between consonance and dissonance, the former has to triumph and the result is music". Which are the natural laws that Mr. Lobo refers to? Is nature all monotonous? Is surface all level? Are the waters of the sea and rivers all stagnant? Oh no! And likewise is music; there is room for calm consonance, for hard dissonance, and for rough noise altogether. The question is not of one prevailing over the other, but of each one contributing its own way to the world of music.
Mr. Lobo presents his discoveries in acoustics. He even calls himself a second Galileo and a second Newton in music. Where is the revolution Mr. Lobo introduced in music? In theory books? Music is not theory nor research work, not even of a mathematical or astronomical category. Music is essentially language, the language of soul, the spiritual and emotional language; those are only subsidiary contributors of its main intent.
While expressing his views on beat music, Mr. Lobo makes all the same imbalanced statement. How much does he know of the beat music to say that it "has no norms, no forms"? Will Mr. Lobo presume to be equally doyen of beat music? His argument that those who do not know music can play beat music will be enough to deny to that music the character of musicology? How is it that folk music known as "music par excellence" is accepted as a prize possession of those who do not know music at all? His statement that "beat musicians do not require training at all" is simply ignorance of the fact.
FR. LOURDINO BARRETO
- Sir: Goans are a peculiar ethnic group. They are as noted for their traits as they are reputed for producing polymath geniuses, some of whom have made it all the way up to the gallery of world heroes. And while the stature and achievements of those in the forefront are being promulgated in the prominent columns of a newspaper, the cerebral characteristics of the lesser known have been fortuitously revealed and recorded in such unreserved columns as the 'Readers' Views'. There was one instance many years ago when Mr. Ansther Lobo was interviewed by the Navhind Times. Certain discordant notes which the 'scientist' Mr. Lobo made in context with his experiments in synthesizing western and eastern music were, underscored and attuned by a relatively unknown reader: Fr. Lourdino Barreto. I had not heard about him before that, but the rhythmic pulse of his contentions were of such timbre as could only have come from the notes of a maestro. In the subsequent years, I began to hear more of him; his appointment as Director of Academia de Musica, and the operas and operettas which he conducted with remarkable competence. But now I read that his services have been terminated, and his termination itself becoming an issue involving him, the Secretary of the Kala Academy and the Government. As far as this issue is concerned, time shall determine who was the better virtuoso; time being the greatest virtuoso in Truth's concert hall. Meanwhile, it shall suffice that I quote some lines which I saw displayed at the desk of one sincere, retired advocate residing at Altinho, Mapusa: "There are two kinds of suffering. Suffering which comes from the Justice of God, and that which comes from the injustice of men."
- O Heraldo, February 19, 1981
LOURDINO BARRETO -- PRIEST-TURNED-MUSICIAN REMEMBERED by J. Loiola Pereira (Navhind Times, January 23, 1998)