Saturday, October 27, 2001

VL on Cultura FM

With the major Brazilian classical radio stations now available live on-line, I'll be watching out for major Villa-Lobos concert events and noting them here.

On October 31st at 11:00 a.m. São Paulo time (that's 6 in the morning here in Red Deer) you can hear an hour of VL's music on the program Circanda, on Rádio Cultura FM. The program includes two items from Brazilian CDs that might be difficult to come across in North America or Europe: the rarely recorded Sinfonietta number 1 (I've never heard it myself) with the Orquestra Petrobrás Pró-Música, and the important modernist work Sexteto místico with a Brazilian ensemble that inclues harpist Cristina Braga.

On the same program the following day you can hear the superb recording by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, pianist Ralf Gothoni and conductor Sakari Oramo, of the important Choros number 11.

A useful site in Portugese - from Portugal - is Leonor Lain's biographical essay Villa-Lobos. Among the many Villa-Lobos pictures is one of my favourites, which shows Villa-Lobos and his close friend Edgard Varese in Paris in 1927.

The site includes a revealing chronology of 20th Century ideas. It's interesting to note, for example, that while Villa-Lobos and his colleagues Manuel Bandeira, Oswaldo de Andrade and Mário de Andrade were shocking the citizens of Sao Paulo in 1922, Neils Bohr was winning his first Nobel Prize in Physics, and Henri Bergson was writing Duration and Simultaneity. This reference to Bergson sent me to some books and websites, at one of which I found a quote which might have been used as a motto by the young modernist rebels in Sao Paulo:

"Art has no other object than to set aside the symbols of practical utility, the generalities that are conventionally and socially accepted, everything in fact which masks reality from us, in order to set us face to face with reality itself."

I just came across the English version of the site - excellent!

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