Thursday, April 28, 2016

Villa-Lobos at the Hotel Bedford

"Visiting Villa-Lobos at the Hotel Bedford in Paris in May 1958, we found ourselves in the presence of a man of typically Brazilian cordiality who knew at once how to set his companions at ease."
 - Pierre Vidal, the French journalist who wrote the liner notes for the great Villa-Lobos par lui-même record album from French EMI.
In 1952 Villa-Lobos decided to make Paris his European headquarters, and he settled in to a suite in the Hotel Bedford, 17, rue de l’Arcade, in the 8th District. He was pleased and flattered to be offered the same suite used by the Emperor of Brazil, Pedro II, during his exile after 1889. He even used the Emperor's writing desk. In 1971 the Brazilian ambassador arranged for this plaque. It was still there when I made my pilgrimage in 2004, but I don't see it on Google Street View.

photo: Ed Tervooren

This photo is from  Lisa M. Peppercorn article "H. Villa-Lobos in Paris", Latin American Music Review, Vol. 6, No. 2 (Autumn - Winter, 1985), pp. 235-248.



It's so cool that the Hotel Bedford takes its musical heritage seriously. This photo is from a page about Villa-Lobos on their website. It was at the Hotel Bedford in 1954 that Villa-Lobos composed his ballet Gênesis; I wonder if that's what he's writing here.



It's interesting that Segovia lived for a time at the Bedford as well, and that the two spent time together there. I've been posting lately about these two great musicians. I knew they had met in Paris, but didn't realize they were hanging out there in the 1950s as well.

On February 20, 2016, pianist Coraline Parmentier gave a "Concert de piano en hommage à Villa-Lobos" at the Hotel Bedford. There's a YouTube video of her A Lenda do Caboclo, which I can't embed here.


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