Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Villa-Lobos Works at the HVL Website

I've been managing the Heitor Villa-Lobos Website, on and off, for more than 12 years. It started (as some html files on my Library's website) as a fooling-around-with-the web kind of thing, but has picked up speed since then.

One of the things I've been wanting to do over the years is to build a robust back-end database to drive the site. Now that we've been up and running on Drupal for a few years (thanks Cory!) I've had a chance to begin building those databases.

The first is the so-called Upcoming Villa-Lobos Concerts. "So-called" because the records of tonight's concerts in New York, and next week's in Sao Paulo, and next month's in Paris, became a valuable archive of important performances after a few years. So you can see that on Saturday, September 13, 2008, Robert Bonfiglio is in Hong Kong playing the Harmonica Concerto, and that Clemens Völker is playing VL guitar works in Hamburg. But you can also see details of an important concert by the Spectra Ensemble in Gent, Belgium, from January 1999. Altogether there are a couple thousand records of concerts, mainly from 1999 to 2009.

The power of the relational database allows you to slice this a number of useful ways: you can search by work (and see the 21 performances of Rudepoema, for example). You can also look at this information by location (and kick yourself for not being in Wagga Wagga, Australia, for this interesting concert back in June 2008).

The reason I'm posting about Drupal databases today, though, is to point out that I've started a couple of new databases. One aims to someday be a more-or-less complete listing of important Villa-Lobos recordings. So far I've added 25 - only five or six hundred to go.

The latest is the Big Kahuna: a list of all the works of Villa-Lobos. There are 25 so far, but some are just stubs. There's considerable hyperbole about how prolific Villa-Lobos was. A complete list won't be over 2,000. I'll feel good about my list when it's over three or four hundred, and it will be approaching completion well before a thousand.

I'll let you know when I'm done....

September 3, 2008: no, I'm not done yet. But there are 50-60 records in the database now, and I've categorized them as well.

September 9, 2008: and a new list of works by date.

December 8, 2008: More than 270 works so far, and the law of Diminishing Returns kicks in. I now have copies of Appleby's 1988 Bio-Bibliography (source of the W. numbers for Villa-Lobos's works), and the 1989 edition of Villa-Lobos: Sua Obra (I had been making do with the 1972 version all this time! Imagine!)

By the way, I would add something to the Wikipedia article on the L of DR, but it just doesn't seem worthwhile...

Are we there yet?

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