Cluzeau-Mortet, Luis [Ricardo] (1889–1957)

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Cluzeau-Mortet, Luis [Ricardo] (1889–1957)

Luis [Ricardo] Cluzeau-Mortet (b. 16 November 1889; d. 28 September 1957), Uruguayan composer, violist, and pianist. Born in Montevideo, Cluzeau-Mortet studied piano, harmony, and composition with his maternal grandfather, Paul Faget, a winner of the Grand Prix of the Paris Conservatory. Later he studied violin and viola with María Visca. In 1914 he joined the Asociación Uruguaya de Música de Cámara, for whom he played viola until 1931, when he accepted the position as first viola in the Uruguayan state orchestra (OSSO-DRE), where he remained until his retirement in 1946. Cluzeau-Mortet received an invitation from the British Council to visit London in 1938, to which he responded by giving concerts of his vocal and piano works there and in Paris.

Cluzeau-Mortet's musical output comprises nearly two hundred works. His career can be divided into three periods: a brief romantic-impressionist phase that produced songs based on French poetry; a nationalist period; and a universalist phase. It is for his nationalist works that he is best known; indeed, Cluzeau-Mortet, with Alfonso Broqua and Eduardo Fabini, is considered a progenitor of Uruguayan nationalism. About half of his output, which includes several orchestral pieces, is made up of chamber music works. Among them the vocal and piano compositions are the masterpieces of his career. Pericón for piano (1918), premiered by Artur Rubinstein, and Canto de chingolo for voice and piano (1924), recorded by RCA Victor in 1930, are the most well-known and representative works from his nationalist period. Other important works are: Llanuras (1932); Soledad campestre (1936); Rancherío (1940), premiered by Jasha Horenstein in 1947 and winner of a SODRE composition competition; and Sinfonía Artigas (1951), all for orchestra. He died in Montevideo.

See alsoMusic: Art Music .


Composers of the Americas, vol. 14 (1968), pp. 47-64; New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 4 (1980).

Susana Salgado, Breve historia de la música culta en el Uruguay, 2d ed. (1980), and Cluzeau-Mortet (1983).

Additional Bibliography

Ficher, Miguel, Martha Furman Schleifer, and John M Furman. Latin American Classical Composers: A Biographical Dictionary. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1996.

                                    Susana Salgado