Friday, November 8, 2013

Sebastian Benda plays Villa-Lobos

Memoires, the new 2-CD set from Genuin by the Swiss pianist Sebastian Benda (1926-2003), includes works by Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, Martin, Mussorgsky, and 5 pieces by Villa-Lobos, recorded from 1961 to 1994.

Though the back of the CD only says "Selected works" of Villa-Lobos, the actual tracks are:
  • Alma brasileira 
  • Festa no sertão 
  • Lenda do caboclo 
  • Impressões seresteiras 
  • Dança do indio branco 
These pieces were recorded in 1981.

Benda spent nearly 30 years (1952-1981) in Brazil, though he traveled extensively in Europe during that period as well. During that time he had a significant impact on the musical life of the country. In a short note on Villa-Lobos that Benda provides for the liner notes, he says this about Brazil's greatest composer:

Villa-Lobos’s personality is energetic and highly authentic; his music is the music of Brazil, the music of the jungle and the sertão, the dry outback in the northeast, and the music of the sea. It describes the unique characteristics of the people, the way of life and the natural environment of Brazil and is uncommonly vital and impressive. He transforms the folklore, which has a regional character at its center, into a universal language whose message reaches audiences on all continents with ease.

Here is Benda in Sao Paulo in 1952:

I know Benda best from his chamber music recordings (especially the Naxos recording of the Martinu cello sonatas with his son Christian). This wide-ranging collection shows he was a gifted pianist and musician.

No comments:

Post a Comment