Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Villa-Lobos Concerti on WGBH

Here's some great programming from one of my favourite radio stations: WGBH (it's at the top of my iPhone radio list). I've never counted before, but like nearly every genre, the Villa-Lobos concertos add up. Let's see: 5 piano concertos (plus Momoprecoce, BB#3, Choros #11, and Introduction to Choros), 3 cello concertos, the concerto grosso, and concertos for harp, bassoon, harmonica, guitar, saxophone. Looks like WGBH might be including fairly obscure works in addition to these, to come up with 21 altogether. It's so great that we get to hear something other than a few Bachianas Brasilieras or works for guitar.

Mondays–Fridays, May 1–29, 10am on 89.7
(5pm on All-Classical WGBH) Composer Heitor Villa-LobosClassics in the Morning
The music of Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887–1959) offers a chance to explore the intertwining of European and South American roots that make up Brazil's vibrant culture. In this 50th anniversary year of the composer's death, hear one of his 21 concerti each weekday in May, including the early works, which spotlight piano and cello, as well as the later, less conventional textures of soprano saxophone and harmonica.


  1. Here's the list of works from the WGBH playlists. There are a couple of duplicates, and Cello Concerto #1 seems to be missing. But there are two really interesting works included: Fantasia de movimentos mixtos, the excellent violin concerto; and O Martírio dos Insetos for violin and orchestra. Neither has been recorded, so we may get a chance to hear recordings of concert performances.

    May 1 - Piano Cto #4
    May 4 - Ciranda das Sete Notas
    May 5 - Momoprecoce
    May 6 - Fantasia de movimentos mixtos
    May 7 - O Martírio dos Insetos
    May 8 - Choros #11
    May 11 - Introduction to Choros
    May 12 - Ciranda das Sete Notas
    May 13 - BB#3
    May 14 - Piano Cto #1
    May 15 - Cello Fantasia
    May 18 - Saxophone fantasia
    May 19 - Piano Cto #2
    May 20 - Piano Cto #3
    May 21 - Guitar Cto
    May 22 - Piano Cto #4
    May 25 - Harp Cto
    May 26 - Cello Cto #2
    May 27 - Piano Cto #5
    May 28 - Harmonica Cto
    May 29 - Concerto Grosso

  2. Something is wrong. Today, instead of the Fantasia of Movimentos Mixtos, they are playing Choros 11.

  3. Darn! I was hoping WGBH had gotten a hold of a broadcast tape from a concert (perhaps the Long Beach concert with Marijn Simons). More info on the Fantasia here: http://www.villalobos.ca/fantasia-movimentos-mixtos

  4. The Boston Symphony Orchestra performed it in 1950, under the direction of Eleazar de Carvalho, apparently with Oscar Borgerth as soloist. I wrote to the orchestra last year requiring some information and this was the answer:

    "Your inquiry regarding the Villa-Lobos Fantasia de movimentos mistos, for violin and orchestra was forwarded to the Archives. The BSO performed the work with Eleazar de Carvalho conducting in Symphony Hall on February 4, 5, and 22, 1949. The BSO never made a commercial recording of this work, but what the University of Texas probably has is a cd made from a broadcast recording. At the Library of Congress there exists a collection of broadcast recordings from that era from NBC's radio series called "Dress Rehearsal." I suspect that the cd in the U. of Texas library is a dub from that collection. I don't know where you live, but you could probably hear this at either of those places.

    I'm sorry to say that this is not available as a commercial recording.

    Barbara Perkel
    BSO Archives"