Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New Choros CD on BIS

I'm enjoying listening to the new BIS Choros CD , with pianist Cristina Ortiz, and John Neschling conducting the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra. This is the first disc in a projected BIS series of the complete Choros. Some people think that the series of 13 Choros (or 14 or 15 or 16) is Villa-Lobos's greatest group of works. I'm inclined to think so, myself.

This is my second post on this CD this month; today I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about the Naxos Music Library. People in Red Deer can access this excellent resource through Red Deer Public Library's subscription; check to see if your local public or academic library subscribes on your behalf. If not, you can always get a personal subscription; they're very affordable.

NML gives you access to more than Naxos and Marco Polo (as large as those two labels loom for Villa-Lobos lovers!) There are many, many independent labels on NML, like BIS (recently named the Label of the Year by Midem). It's great to be able to listen to this music even before the discs are available to buy. The new BIS disc hasn't showed up yet on the main BIS site, and isn't up on Amazon.com yet, though you can buy it at Presto Classical in the UK.

And Choros #11 is certainly worth listening to!

Speaking of pianist Cristina Ortiz, who also shines in this CD in the solo Choros #5 ("Alma Brasileira"), I've been checking out the Concert Diary on her website. She's certainly a busy pianist, and a great advocate of the music of Villa-Lobos.

She takes Bachianas Brasileiras #3 on a long, long road trip this spring, with stops in Ljiepaja Liepaja, Latvia for the 16th International Piano Stars Festival, in Riga, Talinn, Vilnius, Bergen and Palma, Spain.


  1. FYI. The correct spelling of the Latvian city is Liepaja. Thanks for the useful blog.

  2. Thanks! It was cool learning more about Liepaja - here at Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liepaja - "the city where the wind is born." Also, it's the capital of Latvia's rock music.

    Latvia's third-largest city is about the same size as the Alberta city where I live, Red Deer, the third-largest city in Alberta - over 80,000 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Deer%2C_Alberta

    Here's a link to the International Piano Stars Festival:


  3. Am I alone in finding Ortiz's performance bland and underpowered in places? Gothoni in the Ondine recording is much more characterful and to my ears he moulds the music more idiomatically and effectively. Overall, Ortiz disappoints me. Oramo and his Finnish orchestra play with superb commitment. I find myself turning to the earlier recording more often than to the newer BIS version.

    Harold Lewis