At the age of twelve José Vianna da Motta composed the Gaieté, Galop op. 35, in E flat major, which is classed with his childhood works written between 1873 and 1883. It is noteworthy that Vianna da Motta had initially called it Circo equestre (Equestrian circus) and that, in the same period, he composed The Jockey Club, Caprice op. 32, a piece also related to the equestrian universe. It is very likely that inspiration for the composition of Gaieté, Galop op. 35 came from a horserace seen at the Lisbon Jockey Club, the same place where the Campo Grande hippodrome would be built later.
The harmonic architecture of the Gaieté, Galop op. 35 does not present any notable peculiarity beyond the fact that the dominant tone is never used in any section (see structural analysis below). On the other hand, the structural organization of the piece reveals some originality.
1- 17- 33- 48- 65- 81- 97- 102- 122- 138- 152- 166- 180-
Intro. a a' b x2 c b' bridge d b' bridge a' b'' Concl.
E♭: I IV ii (vi/IV) IV IV/IV IV _I
E♭ A♭ f A♭ D♭ A♭ _E♭
Theme a, relative to sections a and a', is perceived as the main theme since it is presented in the main tonality immediately after the introduction of measures 1 to 16. However, theme b, relative to sections b, b' and b'', appears more frequently – mainly in the subdominant tone – while the theme a only reappears near the conclusion (see b. 152- 165). Although theme b recurs between each of the other sections (a, c and d), the aforementioned characteristics dismiss the hypothesis that the piece is organized according to the principle of the rondo form. Indeed, its form seems to be similar to fantasia or the impromptu, in which the sections follow one another freely to the tune of the composer’s inspiration.
João Costa Ferreira