Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Villa-Lobos on the web: the dark side

Most of my connections as the "antenna of the Villa-Lobos blogosphere" (see the previous post) are very positive. I might find out about an awesome new recording of Villa's music, or another endearing anecdote from his life.

But every once in a while I come across a less than flattering reference to Villa-Lobos. In this case it's a whole series of less than flattering references, from Leandro Vieira's blog. His recent references to Villa-Lobos are here (and the Google machine translations into English, here).

Here's a representative sample, referring to Bachianas Brasileiras #5, a piece normally greeted with awe and adoration:

Oh coisa feia.
Vocálise insuportável.

or, according to Google Translate:

Oh ugly thing.
Vocálise unbearable.

All this is in the context of "A música erudita brasileira é um desastre" ("Brazilian classical music is a disaster"). Recently there have been some posts where Vieira responds to his predictably angry commenters who stick up for Villa-Lobos, a national icon as well as a composer.

Google Translate can give you a sense of a blog post in Portuguese, but I suspect that all the subtlety is missing. I get the feeling that Vieira's posts might have a mocking sub-text, but the first casualty of machine translation is probably humour. At the very least, he seems to be deliberately provocative, especially since he's launched his strongest missives into the blogosphere during the Ano Villa-Lobos. Considering Villa's rapidly rising reputation, both in Brazil and around the world, Vieira is rowing against the current. And in Brazil, the current of the Amazon is strong!

I'll keep an eye on this site!

1 comment:

  1. See there. He writes a new post about Villa.