Thursday, April 14, 2016

Villa-Lobos at the Proms

It was great to see three (3!) Villa-Lobos works - all from the Bachianas Brasileiras series - included in the recently released programme for the 2016 BBC Proms, which take place from July 15 to September 10. A major focus of the Proms will be South America, due in part to the overlap between the Proms and the 2016 Olympics, which take place in Rio de Janeiro from August 5 to August 21. Though 2016 is the Centennial year of Alberto Ginastera, there's only a single work of his: the ballet Ollantay, played by the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Juanjo Mena in Prom 24 on August 2.

The first of the Villa-Lobos pieces is Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5, which will be performed by Golda Schultz and an orchestra of cellos led by Guy Johnston. This Chamber Music Prom 2 takes place at Cadogan Hall on July 25.

The second Bachianas is unfortunately incomplete; the first movement of the orchestral version of number 4 is part of the August 24 Prom 51 concert by the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop. This Prelude movement is often programmed separately in Brazil. It's great to see that Marlos Nobre's Kabbalah is also included on the program.

Finally, we have Bachianas Brasileiras number 2, played by the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra under Gustavo Dudamel, part of Prom 67 on September 4. I'm also looking forward to hearing the Venezuelan composer Paul Desenne's Hipnosis mariposa.

There hasn't been as much excitement about a Proms schedule amongst Villa-Lobos fans since 2009, when Choros no. 10 was featured in the Last Night of the Proms. "Excellent fare for the Last Night!"

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