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19 May 2017


I haven't watched television for decades; and it was many years ago that I last witnessed a 'Eurovision Song Contest'. So I missed the 2017 Finals on Saturday 13 May.

However, I heard later that the Portuguese entry had won and it received high praise as a song of real musical quality, unlike so much of the rap, pop and disco offerings of today. The song is called AMAR PELOS DOIS.

So I found it on YouTube and had an agreeable surprise. Introduced by some lush sounds from the orchestral strings, it proves to have two themes, each of 16 bars (8 + 8).

It is a gentle tune in 3/4 tempo. It is in the key of F, though richly endowed with G minor and D minor chords. Its simple, appealing, swooping phrases - much repeated - quickly imprint themselves on the listener's mind.
The beginning of Theme A, as it sounded to me.
And Theme B.
But what specially interested me was that it had so much in common with the songs composed in the Golden Era of the 1920s and 1930s. It was the kind of song Gershwin, Vernon Duke, Hoagy Carmichael, Richard Rodgers, Harry Warren, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter or Oscar Hammerstein might have written. It has a good melody; and the deceptively-simple music is comfortably served up in the eight-bar phrases so beloved by all jazzmen.

The structure is identical to that of most of the 'spirituals' in the traditional jazz repertoire. Like Lily of the Valley, Down By The Riverside, Precious Lord, Take My Hand, and In The Sweet By and By it has a 16-bar Theme A (equivalent to a VERSE) and then a 16-bar Theme B (equivalent to a Chorus).

So I think it's a tune of considerable interest to traditional jazz fans and musicians. And I'm glad it won.