Keil, Alfredo

(1854-1907)
   Portuguese composer, musician, and painter of German descent who wrote the music for [I]A[/I] Portuguesa, the official national anthem of Portugal since 1911. Kiel began his studies in Germany, where he won bronze and silver medals for his work. He also showed his work in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 1890, he opened an atelier on the Avenida da Liberdade, Lisbon, where he presented his seascapes, landscapes, and portraits. These works sold well, and some were even acquired by King Luís I for the royal art collection: A Saída da Igreja, A Primavera, Marinha, and Pôr-do-Sol.
   Having learned to play the piano, Keil began to study music with Hungarian pianist Oscar de le Cinne. Professor Ernesto Vieira taught him instrumentation and harmonization. Keil's first musical works were Aurora, Teus Olhos Negros, and Roses, Pompons e Romança. These were followed by Morenita, Souvenir de Vienne, and Carnaval. Well received, these works encouraged Keil to try his hand at opera. In 1882, he presented Suzana, a comic opera in one act. This was followed by other musical works, such as Recueil, melodies for the piano; Pátria, a work for piano and singer; Orientais, a symphony with chorus and solos; and D. Branca, an opera in four acts with a libretto taken from the poem by Almeida Garrett of the same title.
   D. Branca, presented in 1888, was wildly popular, which inspired Keil to write more operas: Irene (1893), and Serrana (1902). In 1902, he wrote the Hino do Infante D. Henriques for a festival marking the birthday of Prince Henry of Aviz (Prince Henry the Navigator), which was played by four military bands and sung by massed choruses. Additional patriotic music included, in 1895, a march titled Marcha de Gualdim Pais and A Portuguesa, with words by Lopes de Mendonça, which became the Portuguese national anthem in 1911.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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