mundo  mundo  vasto  mundo  /  world  world  wide  world — One would be strongly tempted to assume that this line of poetry had been written by a contemporary poet of the late 20th, or even the early 21st century. In fact, however, it came from the pen of one of the most important lyric poets of the Americas, the Brazilian Carlos Drummond de Andrade, whose 100th birthday is being celebrated this year by creative artists and lovers of literature in his native country. Brazil, a country which is larger than all of Europe, is still almost always equated with the tourist cliché of samba, lambada, carnaval. These are undoubtedly part of life in Brazil, but constitute merely a small portion of it. The fascinating wealth of facets which make up the culture of this country, with its literally continental dimensions, is for the most part still totally unknown, even for enthusiasts in the whole world. The eurocentric tradition of thought and feeling unfortunately pays little attention even to the periphery of the European continent, especially in regard to music. At best, its potential might be viewed as a marginal phenomenon under the Label of folklore. How many music lovers — indeed, even professional musicians — are familiar with Spanish composers other than Manuel de Falla or Finnish composers besides Jean Sibelius? Altering this situation, providing stimuli which might help to broaden people's horizons, opening their eyes and ears to the incredible wealth of cultures outside of the European continent: Two Brazilian musicians, at the head of a more than thirty-strong team, have dedicated themselves to these objectives in 2002  baritone Renato Mismetti and pianist Maximiliano de Brito. Their background, unusual talents, and expertise in multiple fields have predestined these two men for a project of this sort. The musical trade publication New York Concert Review wrote, after a concert at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in November 2000: "It would be hard to imagine a better ambassador than Renato Mismetti  to promote the Brazilian art song". Der neue Merker in Vienna commented on the concert at the Margravial Opera House of Bayreuth (2001): "It is essential to emphasize the cultural mission of the two interpreters Mismetti and de Brito, who make these works ring out in a sensitive, fascinating fashion". One of America's most prominent contemporary composers. Brazilian Marlos Nobre, wrote: "Nothing better can happen to a composer than to find interpreters of your distinction" and called the two men "true heroes of Brazilian music". His colleague, composer and musical ethnologist Kilza Setti, did not hesitate to write, following the premiere of her song cycle Singende Landschaften (Singing landscapes), based on poems by Margret Hölle, as performed by Mismetti and de Brito in August 2001: "This was one of the most beautiful musical experiences of my life!" Renato Mismetti and Maximiliano de Brito created the project series Poetry & Music in the year 2000 with the support of the Apollon Foundation in Bremen. The basic concept of performing poetry from one cultural circle which has been set to music by composers from a different cultural circle, thus stimulating new compositions for the concert projects every year, has in the meanwhile provided music lovers in Europe with intensive contact with new realms of sound and feeling. The positive, indeed enthusiastic, reactions on the part of the audience has rein forced the artists' and organizers' certainty that this is indeed the right path toward providing desirable and necessary facets to the so widely criticized globalization. The two performers have been appearing in European music metropolises for years with the greatest of success. Today they are not only considered cultural representatives of their country, but, as artists, make an active, honorable, important contribution to international understanding. I am happy to have become acquainted with this project, which truly serves to unite peoples, and am very pleased to assume the patronage for this project for the year 2002.
Opening Words Sabine Eichhorn President of the Grerman-Brazilian Society