Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Choros #10 in San Francisco

To many, Villa-Lobos' masterwork is the Choros no. 10, written in 1926. This piece has been recorded a few times - most notably with Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony on the RCA CD "Alma Brasileira", and the classic performance conducted by the composer from the 6-CD set "Villa-Lobos par lui-meme".

For a recent performance of the Choros no. 10 that MTT performed with the San Francisco Symphony, Michael Steinberg has written one of the most in-depth and searching program notes I've ever read. This "note" includes impressive scholarship and points to all sorts of interesting further research. Better yet, it's fun to read. Here's a sample:

"The music of Chôros No. 10, a tidal wave of energy, engulfs us more and more until, as old Goethe said when young Mendelssohn played him the Beethoven Fifth on the piano, one thinks the house will fall down."

I'm looking forward to reading more of Steinberg's program notes on the excellent website.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

VL Conference in Paris

The International Villa-Lobos Conference will take place soon - April 10-13 at the L'Institut Finlandais in Paris. Here is the tentative schedule of the Conference - I'll update this page as I receive new information. I'll also include reports from the Conference, from this Blog and on the HVL Website.

Monday, March 11, 2002

New CD from Calgary

A very interesting, and very welcome message from down Highway 2 a piece:

"I thought you might be interested to know that last fall the Calgary Philharmonic recorded music by Villa-Lobos for CBC Records. The works are his Suites #2 & 3 from his film score for The Discovery of Brazil. Also on the disc will be two works by Darius Milhaud influenced by the time he spent in Brazil during the first world war.

This CBC Records disc is being released in May 2002. I'll follow up with details when they become available.

Harold Gillis, Producer - CBC Radio Two, Calgary, AB"

This is really beautiful music, which deserves to be better known. The Discovery of Brazil suites have always been among my favourites on the standard Villa-Lobos par lui-meme 6 CD set on French EMI, and I enjoy the Naxos CD as well. I'll pass on the information on the new disc as I receive it from Harold.

Sonia Rubinsky CD

My mention of Sonia Rubinsky above sent me to the Brazilian pianist's website, at This is an excellent example of how good a performing artist's website can be. The site is kept up to date, and with the heavy international schedules of modern performers that can be a challenge. Here's a note about an upcoming event:

"Thursday, March 14th, 6:30 pm Villa-Lobos "release-party" of Volume II at Klavier-Haus, Address: 211 West 58th St., New York, NY 10019. RSVP at (212) 245-4535. Come and discover the music of Villa-Lobos. This evening I will be playing selections from Volume II of Villa-Lobos, and I will discuss specific elements of the project: the organization of the series, editions, the different genres of Villa-Lobos' music for the piano and its special challenges. The public will have a chance to purchase the newly released CD."

This CD is the second in the Naxos series of complete piano music. The series so far (2 of a planned 7, altogether) has been very well reviewed around the world - it's one in an absolutely amazing string of artistic and engineering successes from this amazing recording company. Once again, hats off to Naxos!

And when you listen to the CDs, I think you'll tip your hat to Sonia Rubinsky as well. Her interpretations are full of character, as are those of Alfred Heller (on Etcetera), Débora Halász (on BIS) and Marc-André Hamelin (on Hyperion), to name a few of the pianists who have recorded works included on the first two discs. Listening to some of these works side by side only increases my respect for Villa-Lobos as a composer of music for the piano.

Incidentally, while typing the above, I listened to the very generous RealAudio samples from the Hamelin CD "Villa-Lobos Piano Music," on the Hyperion label. It really is marvellous music!

And don't forget, speaking of the piano music, to check out the CDs of Ricardo Peres on the HVL Website.

Mai Israeli Sings VL Songs

A recent e-mail from Mai Israeli in Tel Aviv reports on last month's Villa-Lobos concert there:

"i am very happy to tell that the recital i gave in tel Aviv were a great success and we got very good critics in the newspapers. the audience were facinated, they said they never knew that this kind of music can be so excited and full of feelings. i also told some stories from the stories you have send me." The stories I sent Mai came from cronicas translated by Lee Boyd and Harold Lewis - most can be found at the "Essays" page on the HVL Website.

Mai goes on to say: "we have been invited already to perform in some other places in israel and in April we will perform in Paris in the first Villa lobos conference."

There will be an impressive list of people performing at the Paris Conference. Others scheduled to appear include guitarists Turíbio Santos and Benjamin Bunch, and pianist Sonia Rubinsky. I'll update this list when I hear more...

Paris Conference

Lee Boyd is one of the lucky people who will be attending the International Villa-Lobos Conference, to be held at the L'Institut Finlandais, Paris, April 10-13, 2002. Lee will be presenting a paper entitled "Truth and Justice for Dona Arminda, as well as for Dona Lucília, and even Dona Lisa." It's clear that Lee's presentation will add a great deal to our knowledge of Villa-Lobos' life. I'm looking forward to posting more information about this fascinating subject as I receive it.

I'll also pass on information about the Conference as I receive it, Dear Blog Reader. I'll try to post a bit more frequently in the next little while. This is an exciting time in Villa-Lobos scholarship!

Heitor Villa-Lobos: A Life

An important new book is just about to be published: David P. Appleby's Heitor Villa-Lobos: A Life (1887-1959).

You can buy the book from I'll post more information once I receive my copy. Note that the Scarecrow Press website includes a Table of Contents.

I love the picture on the cover. Surely Villa-Lobos deserves to be on the cover of Cigar Aficionado!