Friday, May 8, 2009

Alex Ross in Brazil

New Yorker music critic Alex Ross will be in Brazil in July for Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty (FLIP) 2009. In this article in today's Atarde Online, some people (including musicians Isaac Karabtchevsky, Arthur Moreira Lima, and Ricardo Castro) wonder why Ross didn't feature more Brazilian composers in his prize-winning book The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century. I appreciated the mentions of Villa-Lobos in the book, but I do hope that Villa-Lobos the modernist might loom a bit larger in a future edition of the book.

Villa's stock as a modernist has risen, I think, even since Ross wrote his book. The recent BIS series of the complete Choros gives one a better feel for how important they are in the music of Villa-Lobos and more generally in the whole world of music in the 1920s. Ross focussed more on the Bachianas Brasileiras series.

As to other Brazilian composers of the 20th century, it's hard to be noticed in Villa's shadow. I look forward to reading The Rest is Noise blog during the Flip trip, and hearing what Ross thinks of the state of Brazilian classical music in this century as well as the last.

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