Composer, pianist, considered the last of the great Portuguese romantics and simultaneously the initiator of modern music in Portugal, Óscar da Silva joined with enthusiasm the modernist trends, and new currents. He was recognized, in life, as a great composer and a brilliant performer, especially of Chopin and Schumann.
Oscar Courrège da Silva Araújo was born in Porto on Rua Costa Cabral, on April 21, 1870, and died on March 6, 1958, in Leca da Palmeira.
In 1881, begins its studies of music and composed his first piece, Hino Infantil, sung by a children's choir under his direction at the Palácio de Cristal. In 1884, start to attend the National Conservatory.
In 1891, he plays for the first time, as a pianist. The following year, wins a Rainha D. Amélia scholarship and travels to Germany, where he continues his studies at the Leipzig Conservatory. His master, one of the greatest pianists of all time, Clara Schumann, the German composer Robert Schumann’s widow, which boasts unparalleled Oscar da Silva ability to interpret the husband's compositions. In 1894, he returns to Leca, where he lives until 1921, at Rua do Moinho de Vento. Performs several tours in Europe and America, including his land of welcome. In 1896, gives the 1st recital at Leca’s Club, along with Virginia and Guilhermina Suggia, Carlos Dubini, Constance Atkinson and Frank Castro. In 1898, he returns to this club, giving new performances in 1900, 1902 and 1903.
In 1901 he composed the lyrical novel in two acts, Dona Mécia. Between 1909 and 1910, his parents died and Oscar leaves the house on Rua Moinho de Vento to live with a friend in the Lugar de Vila Franca, na Rua do Arnado, already missed. He’s influenced by the pain, caused by his mother's death, and in 1910, composes the Dolorosas, for piano. In 1915 creates and publishes, in book, Sonata Saudade - A journey, for violin and piano.
In 1930 he leaves to Brazil, where he remains about 20 years, only returning to Portugal accepting António Salazar invitation. In 1935, he sees much of his work published and receive the Ordem de Santiago e Espada. In 1940, he composed the hymn of the Porto’s city.
In 1954, Óscar da Silva returns to Leca da Palmeira, to stay in an old student’s house, D. Aurélia Marques da Silva with her husband, Dr. José Marques da Silva. In the same year, the Leca Club organizes a concert in his honor. The musicologist Rebelo Bonito gave a lecture and Ernestina da Silva Monteiro, Carlos Figueiredo, Henri Mouton, Maria Adelaide Diogo Freitas Gonçalves and thesinger Maria Fernanda Castro Correia participated on a concert, accompanied at the piano by Óscar da Silva himself.
In addition to the already mentioned, among his compositions are included the Marcha Triunfal do Centenário da Índia for band; symphonic poems like Alma Torturada e Marian; chamber music, such as Trio and Quartet; passages for piano, Images, Tarantella, Portuguese Pages; and Nostalgias, Sonata das Saudades, Queixumes e Dolorosas, the last one played in his funeral. Some scores of piano works of Oscar da Silva were issued by the prestigious Casa C. F. Peters, Leipzig.
He received the Colar da Ordem de S. Tiago, and Gold Medals and Artistic Merit of the City Council of Porto. After his death, he was the subject of several other honors and revivalist concerts. As well as a street with his name there is a Music School with his name, in Matosinhos.
In 2005, the City Council of Matosinhos edited a CD "Oscar da Silva - Saudade – Violino e Piano ", played by Fernando Laires (Piano) and Alfio Pignotti (violin). This sonata is part of the Portuguese historical context and aesthetic current intellectual movement generated in our country after 1910, designated "Saudosismo". The work premiered in Oporto, in 1915, at the Palácio de Cristal building - Gil Vicente Theatre - where Óscar da Silva and the Belgian violinist René Bohet were the interpreters. The sonata was inspired by the Canção X from Camões; “… Agora a saudade do passado / tormento puro, doce e magoado / que converter fazia furores / em magoadas lágrimas de amores”.