Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sonia Rubinsky Contest, v.7 winner & v.8 review

The contest is now over; thanks, everyone, for participating!

Congratulations to Joe Michels of Troy NY, the penultimate winner of a CD from Sonia Rubinsky's complete set of Villa-Lobos's Piano Music on Naxos. We're now down to the last disc in this set; your last chance to win! It's easy to enter: send an email to and tell me your favourite piano piece by Villa-Lobos. If you've already entered, your name stays in the pool.

The winner of Volume 8 will be drawn on Friday, August 6. 

The final disc in the series was recorded, once again, in L'Eglise Saint-Michel in Paris, this time in April 2007.  The focus of this disc is the world of children and Brazilian folklore.  The final two volumes (#10 and 11) of the piano albums of the Guia Pratico require a high level of virtuosity from the pianist.  As James Melo points out in his liner notes, the last album is dedicated to the great Polish pianist Mieczyslaw Horzowski.  It's too bad, by the way, that Hozowski hasn't left any significant Villa-Lobos recordings behind; the only one I know of is on a BBC Classics CD with 2 short pieces.

The 11th Album of Guia Pratico, by the way, is much later than the first ten.  It was published in 1949, nearly 20 years after the bulk of the collection came out, during Villa's musical education phase.  Rubinsky handles everything Villa-Lobos throws her way, and that's not inconsiderable.  Rubinsky also handles the simpler, more delicate early Suites Infantils very well.  I find some of these early pieces quite impressive; they speak to the innocence and purity of childhood.

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