Tuesday, February 3, 2009

News about Villa-Lobos Scores

This story in the Brazilian magazine Concerto by Ricardo Tacuchian (the composer who is also the current president of the Academia Brasileira de Música) came to my attention thanks to my friend Wellington Müller Bujokas:


Here is Wellington's translation:

“The Brazilian Academy of Music (ABM) has conquered, in 2008, a great victory for the national culture. Many of Villa-Lobos’ works were attached to publishing contracts with Max Eschig. Some of these editions presented mistakes or were hired in bad-quality handwritten copies. This fact discouraged some artists and orchestras to program the master’s works. Furthermore, the Brazilian performer, in order to program Villa-Lobos’ music, depended on the hire charged by the foreign publisher which had no interest in doing new editions. Through its copyright bureau, ABM has gotten an agreement with the French publisher, benefiting both parts.

"ABM will offer, gratuitously to the publisher, new editions revised by the greatest authorities and specialist in the composer’s work. Due to their musicological rigor and graphical quality, these editions will substitute the old ones. On the other hand, ABM will acquire performance rights for the whole Latin America.

"This agreement, currently, covers a partial number of Villa-Lobos’ works, but it will be expanded in so far as we rise resources to edit all the pieces that were contracted by the author during his life. This way, we will encourage the diffusion of Villa-Lobos’ work, collecting 100% of copyrights of performances in the Latin America and reducing the cost of purchase and hire in Brazil. As if it was not enough, we will get back for our nation an invaluable spiritual heritage. We hope we will be able, in the next year, to inform that new pieces of the carioca composer will be in this program of recovering of our cultural inheritance, including also
the American publishing houses that own the referred copyright. We are currently working for this.

"We must emphasize that, independently of the project above, ABM’s Bank of Scores keeps its project of editing all the works by Villa-Lobos that were not yielded to commercial publishers. This is the case of the Forest of Amazon, whose copyright for the whole world belongs integrally to ABM and that is turning out to be a champion of live performances and recordings.”

Thanks, Wellington, for your work on this. We've heard rumours of this coming, but it seems to be a more comprehensive project than I had thought.

The copyright situation is complicated by the fact that in 2010, the music of Villa-Lobos goes into the public domain in those countries (Canada being one; Portugal is another) who use the death +50 years rule. There is lots more on music copyright issues at the Internet Music Score Library Project.

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