Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New book by Fábio Zanon

The guitarist and music professor Fábio Zanon has published a new book on the music of Villa-Lobos. Here is the complete bibliographic information:

Título: Folha Explica: Villa-Lobos
Autor: Fábio Zanon
Editora: Publifolha
Edição: 1a. edição, 2009
Idioma: Português
Número de páginas: 120 páginas
Formato: 11 cm x 18 cm (largura x altura)
Especificação: Offset 90 g/m², 1x1 Cor, Brochura
Peso: 111 gramas
ISBN: 978-85-7914-127-0
ISBN-13: 978-85-7914-127-0
Área: Folha Explica

Zanon discusses Villa-Lobos and his new book in this video. Critic Franco Irineu Perpetuo speaks very highly of the new book in this article.

Villa-Lobos on Cultura FM - January 2010

Every month I post highlights from the upcoming schedule of Cultura FM from Sao Paulo. Since you can listen live to this station on the Internet, it's a great way to hear Brazilian classical music.

January 4:
15:00 TARDE CULTURA - Música e Notícia:
Entre outras obras, Pequena Suíte de Heitor VILLA-LOBOS. Rebecca Rust (viloncelo). David Apter (piano).


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Diapason, November 2009

This splendid image is from the "Alma Brasileira", the Villa-Lobos story by Francois Laurent in the November 2009 issue of Diapason magazine (p. 56-61). I don't remember seeing this picture before, though it certainly evokes one side of Villa's personality. Laurent knows the Villa-Lobos discography really, really well. His "indispensable" picks on CD:
  • Villa-Lobos par lui-meme
  • The Cuarteto Latinoamericano complete String Quartets
  • The BIS complete Bachianas Brasileiras and Choros
  • Anna Stella Schic's complete piano music
  • Carl St. Clair's complete Symphonies on cpo

Monday, December 28, 2009

Report from Paris

In a recent column Alexandre Freitas provides some information on "Hommage à Villa-Lobos", an international conference that took place at the Sorbonne on December 14-15, 2009. This event attracted some of the most distinguished European scholars, including Eero Tarasti from Helsinki, the semiologist turned Villa-Lobos biographer, and Anaïs Flechet from Paris, who has recently written a Villa-Lobos book. As well, there were reports from Brazilian musicians such as Sonia Rubinsky, Roberto Duarte, and Ricardo Tacuchian.

There's more information on the Conference here.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Hommage à Chopin

Just in time for the Chopin Bi-Centennial, this upcoming Hyperion disc by pianist Jonathan Plowright (to be released in February 2010) includes Hommage à Chopin, the work that Villa-Lobos wrote for the 100th Anniversary of Chopin's death in 1949. The Hyperion Records website includes audio clips and a PDF of the excellent notes by Jeremy Nicholas.

Watch for this work to show up in a lot of Chopin concerts this coming year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Villa-Lobos: Sua Obra

It's been difficult over the years to get a clear picture of the complete catalogue of Villa-Lobos's music, but musico-bibliographers have been working behind the scenes to bring things into focus. The Museu Villa-Lobos began to clean things up with the publication in 1965 with the first edition of Villa-Lobos: Sua Obra. This was followed by the 2nd edition in 1972.

David P. Appleby became Villa's Köchel in 1988, with the publication of his 1988 book Heitor Villa-Lobos: a bio-bibliography. (Bio-bibliographies in music, no. 9. New York: Greenwood Press). Appleby came up with 567 numbers ("W" for Work, though these are often changed to "A" for Appleby, which is only right) for the major pieces Villa-Lobos wrote.  There are certainly missing works in Appleby's listing, and he didn't include a fair number of choral and vocal works included in the Musica Sacra and Guia Pratico collections in the main listing.  However, Appleby's list should reduce some of the hyperbole concerning Villa-Lobos's prodigious output (though there are lots of sources out there that continue to throw out 2,000 as a total).

Appleby's book was immediately followed in 1989 by the third edition of Villa-Lobos: Sua Obra, by the Museu Villa-Lobos.  These two works have been my main guides in my Villa-Lobos web work so far.

So it's exciting to see the publication on the Museu Villa-Lobos website of the new edition of Villa-Lobos: Sua Obra.  This 2009 publication is termed "Versão 1.0, based on the 1989 edition".  It will be interesting to see how much new information is included in this 362 page catalogue, which you can download here.  Thanks once more to the amazing Museu Villa-Lobos for their work in making the music of Villa-Lobos more accessible in the 21st Century.

Monday, December 21, 2009

47th Festival Villa-Lobos Video

Congratulations to Marcelo Rodolfo from the Museu Villa-Lobos, for putting together such a successful Festival.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Robert Bonfiglio plays the Harmonica Concerto

Robert Bonfiglio is an amazing advocate for Villa-Lobos; he's performed the Harmonica Concerto around the world many, many times. You can listen to all three movements of this work at YouTube, taken from a live concert with the Gewandhaus Orchestra conducted by Fabio Luisi. The first movement is here, the second movement is here, and the third movement, with pictures from Bonfiglio's September 2009 visit to the famous Manaus Opera House, is below:

Robert has a couple of performances of the Harmonica Concerto coming up in the New Year: with the the Galicia Symphony, conducted by Enrique Diemecke, on January 4th; and with the Rockford Symphony, conducted by Steven Larsen, on January 16th.

Feliz Natal

Villa-Lobos wrote Feliz Natal, to words by Manuel Bandeira, in 1945. This lovely piece (beautifully sung here by the a cappella group InCanto) is obviously well-known in Brazil, since the audience join in for the last verse.

You can see the first bit of the original score here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Projeto B's "A Viagem de Villa-Lobos"

I've posted a few times about the amazing "A Viagem de Villa-Lobos" by Projeto B. Here's a chance to listen to the whole album streamed online, from the excellent Rádio UOL website.

Here are Villa-Lobos and the members of Projeto B, as drawn by Manu Maltez. There's more information about the CD here.

Choros #10 in Santo André

Here's the first part of Choros #10, performed by the Orquestra Sinfônica de Santo André and the Coro da Cidade de Santo André e Coro da Unesp, conducted by Carlos Moreno.

Things have changed a lot in the fifteen years since I began doing Villa-Lobos work on the web. I've always posted information about Villa-Lobos concerts, but here's nearly instant video from a concert in Brazil the day before yesterday!

Here's part two.

The Guitar Etudes arranged for piano

In their book Choro: a social history, Tamara Elena Livingston-Isenhour and Thomas George Caracas Garcia discuss the influence of Chopin on the guitar etudes.
To some degree, his guitar works also pay homage to Chopin, whose piano etudes were clearly the model for Villa-Lobos's estudos for guitar. These are true concert etudes for the guitar and, like the Chopin works, are meant for the stage; they are not limited to the status of mere pedagogical tools. Villa-Lobos's Estudos also represent an attempt, consciously or subconsiously, to legitimate the guitar as a concert instrument and raise it to the level of the piano... [p. 189]
The Serbian pianist Julija Bal has arranged a number of the etudes for piano, and I think they sound really well on the instrument.  You can listen to them at Bal's excellent website.

By the way, Jose Vieira Brandao adapted the five guitar preludes for piano.  Sonia Rubinsky plays them on volume 7 of her complete Naxos series of Villa-Lobos piano music.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Projeto B's Villa-Lobos

A great arrangment of Choros #2 performed by Projeto B, from their recent CD "A Viagem de Villa-Lobos".

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Interview with BIS's Robert von Bahr

The latest issue of Fanfare includes an interview by Martin Anderson with Robert von Bahr of the Swedish record company BIS.  The recent Diapason d’Or de l’Année award to BIS for John Neschling's recordings of the complete Choros was mentioned by von Bahr, who is still scratching his head about Neschling's ouster from his post with Osesp.  "Neschling really kept the orchestra on its toes," von Bahr said.

He mentioned that BIS will be recording again in Sao Paulo, in February 2010.  One can only hope that BIS might be starting a complete recording of Villa-Lobos orchestral works.  If they could raise the bar for such great works as Amazonas, Uirapuru, Erosão, and Ruda the same way they did for the Bachianas Brasileiras and Choros, that would be a great start for Villa-Lobos in the coming year.

Friday, December 4, 2009

TV Cultura documentary footage

Here are scenes from the November 17, 2009 Villa-Lobos documentary on TV Cultura's program Metrópolis.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Villa-Lobos on Cultura FM: December 2009

Every month I post highlights from the upcoming schedule of Cultura FM from Sao Paulo. Since you can listen live to this station on the Internet, it's a great way to hear Brazilian classical music. Occasionally Cultura FM presents live concerts or rare recordings. This month there are interesting concerts on the 2nd, 19th, 26th, and 27th.

December 2
21:00 OSESP AO VIVO - Gravações exclusivas realizadas na Sala São Paulo:
Luciano GALLET - Dança brasileira. Francis HIME - Concerto para Violão. Heitor VILLA-LOBOS - Bachianas brasileiras nº 7. Arturo MÁRQUEZ - Danzon nº 2. Fábio Zanon violão. Alondra de La Parra, regente

December 6
11:00 O BRASIL DE VILLA-LOBOS - com Turíbio Santos - Edição Especial:
Sinfonia nº 4 (Vitória) e Sinfonia nº 5 (Melodia das montanhas). Orquestra Sinfonia da Rádio de Stuttgart. Reg. Carl St. Clair.

December 13
11:00 O BRASIL DE VILLA-LOBOS - por Turíbio Santos - Edição Especial:
Ciranda das sete notas para fagote orquestra de cordas - Ezequiel Fainguersel (fagote) e Orquestra de Câmara de Bloomingtou. Reg. Thomasz Golka

December 14
13:00 DELICATESSEN com Teresa Lima:
Henry PURCELL - Chacona em Sol menor. Musica Antiqua Köln. Reg.: Reinhard Goebel. / Anton Bernhard FÜRSTENAU - Serenata. Rogério Wolf (flauta). Marcelo Jaffé (viola). Paulo Porto Alegre (violão). / VILLA-LOBOS - Sonata para violoncelo e piano n°2 op. 66. Monique Duphil (piano). Jay Humenston (violoncelo).

December 18
13:00 DELICATESSEN com Teresa Lima:
VILLA-LOBOS - Trio n° 1. Aulustrio.

December 19
10:00 CIRANDA - Academia Brasileira de Música:
VILLA-LOBOS - Ciranda das Sete Notas para fagote e cordas. Andrés Engström (fagote). Ensemble Instrumental de Grenoble. Reg.: Marc Tardue.

December 20
11:00 O BRASIL DE VILLA-LOBOS com Turíbio Santos - Edição Especial:
Pequena Suíte para violoncelo e piano composta em 1913. Sonata nº 2 para piano e cello composta em 1916. Antonio Menezes (cello) e Cristina Ortiz (piano).

December 26
17:00 MUSICA DE CAMARA - EDIÇÃO ESPECIAL: OFERENDA MUSICAL - Gravações exclusivas no Teatro São Pedro:
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS - Quatuor para flauta, oboé, clarinete e fagote. Rogério Wolf (flauta), Hansjörg Schellenberger (oboé), Ovanir Buosi (clarinete), Fábio Cury (fagote). / Niccolò PAGANINI - Quarteto para violão e cordas No.9. Fábio Zanon, (violão), Betina Stegmann (violino). Alexandre Razera (viola), Antonio Lauro Del Claro (violoncelo). / Heitor VILLA-LOBOS - Prelúdios para violão solo
Prelúdio No. 2 em Mi Maior - Andantino / Prelúdio No. 4 em Mi Menor - Lento / Prelúdio No. 1 em Mi Maior - Andantino expressivo. Fábio Zanon (violão)

December 27
11:00 O BRASIL DE VILLA-LOBOS - por Turíbio Santos - Edição Especial:
Choros nº 6 - Orquestra Rias de Berlim. Reg. Heitor Villa-Lobos / Melodia Sentimental e O Martelo. Conjunto Rabo de Lagartixa./ Chorinho da Suíte Popu lar Brasileira. Henrique Annes (violão)
20:00 MUSICA CONTEMPORANEA - Concertos CPFL ao vivo. Apresentação: João Marcos Coelho:
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS - Serestas sobre impressões de Paris./ FAURÉ/ Reynaldo HAHN/ DEBUSSY/ RAVEL/ POULENC - Canções. Manuela Freua (soprano). Dana Radu (piano).

December 29
14:00 PIANÍSSIMO - Apresentação do pianista e professor Gilberto Tinetti:

December 30
01:00 PIANÍSSIMO - Apresentação do pianista e professor Gilberto Tinetti:

Festival Villa-Lobos in Caracas

From Venezuela, the 3rd annual Festival Villa-Lobos, featuring the famous Sinfónica de la Juventud Venezolana Simón Bolívar, and the Sinfónica Juvenil de Caracas.  These are heavy-weight Villa-Lobos programmes!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Villa Lobos – Uma canção de amor

Here's another homage to Villa-Lobos, by the Escola de Dança Petite Danse. Featured music includes “Cair da Tarde”, “Evocação”, “Miudinho”, “Cubanita”, “Remeiro do São Francisco”, “Bachianas Brasileiras nº 5”, A maré encheu, “O Canto do Uirapuru” and “Trenzinho do Caipira.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Homenaje a Heitor Villa-Lobos in Madrid

This "Homenaje a Heitor Villa-Lobos" includes new works for oboe, guitar and cello written in honour of the composer by Félix Sierra (b. 1947) and Jorge de Carlos (b. 1954). Both are professors at the Royal Conservatoire of Madrid.

These works will be played by the Trío Cordvent (Vicente Fernández Martínez, oboe; Jesús Saiz Huedo, guitar; and Juan Enrique Sainz Jiménez, cello). There's more about the event here.

Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol

I haven't seen Glauber Rocha's 1964 film Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (called Black God, White Devil in the U.S.), but I recently came across the original trailer on YouTube:

I didn't realize how important the Villa-Lobos score was to this film - it's clear from the trailer that Rocha has an ear for the effective use of orchestral music in telling a story.

Susan Schild highlights this in her review of the film at
The outstanding sound track alternates Bach with Villa-Lobos, whose Fifth Bachiana contributes to one of the film's most striking moments: the love scene of Corisco and Rosa, choreographed and rhythmical, an unexpected outpouring of guileless poetry against a desolate backdrop marked by poverty and violence.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Villa in Concert

This concert in the Viva Villa! series includes songs from the Guia Pratico. I would imagine that the concert might include songs Villa-Lobos that conducted in one of his mass-choir Canto Orfeonica concerts, like the one pictured in the poster: at the Campo do Fluminense in Rio de Janeiro in 1932.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Editorial in O Globo

This moving editorial in the November 18, 2009 edition of O Globo is the culmination of months of Villa-Lobos's increasing profile in Brazil. There's a lot of love for Villa in that country!

Here is the Google English translation. "You do not need any special talent, no specific knowledge, to hear the "Little Train of the Caipira" and get in touch with the deep Brazil."

New Villa-Lobos Book

The new book Villa-Lobos: Processos composicionais, by Paulo de Tarso Salles
(CMU-ECA/USP) includes musical analysis of the Choros, Bachianas, Amazonas, Uirapuru, and the guitar and piano music.

The book's references to Stravinksy, Bartok, Schoenberg, and Webern should be helpful in placing Villa-Lobos within the mainstream of 20th century music, rather than the Amazonian back-waters in which his reputation has been mired for much of the time since his death 50 years ago.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

O Martírio dos Insetos

The publication of a new Villa-Lobos score is an exciting event. O Martírio dos Insetos, written in 1925 for violin and orchestra, has been edited and adapted by violin & piano by Ricardo Averbach.

This is a piece I've never heard. There is a 2006 Brazilian CD Impressões Brasileiras, by violinist Daniel Guedes and pianist Flavio Augusto, with the violin & piano version.

You can buy the score from or

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Villa walks through the city

Tributes to Villa-Lobos on the 50th Anniversary of his death have come from visual as well as musical artists. One example is the Tribute to Villa-Lobos at the UN. And there are some great new caricatures of Villa-Lobos (here and here), who has been the subject of as many clever but good-natured caricatures as any famous composer I know of.

This project by artist Manu Maltez looks really cool. Maltez drew the cover of Projeto B's new CD A Viagem de Villa-Lobos. That image of a driven composer is only part of a sixty-page book of a an imagined trip by Villa-Lobos through Rio de Janeiro. Maltez's blog includes a number of arresting images from this project. They're a bit of a challenge coming after the jolly caricatures of a kindly and self-possessed celebrity.

Here's a bit of Google-translated commentary from Maltez's blog:
Presence is what is the person after it has gone. I wanted to draw this atmosphere. Carve smoke. One of the things I like most about this art thing is that we can suggest both without having to confirm anything.

Guess who's charuto?

Rio was Villa's city, and it's the city of Maltez.
I took the guy to walk through my city just to see what was left.

The big day in Brazil

Today is the 50th anniversary of the death of Villa-Lobos: November 17, 1959. Villa-Lobos lovers are celebrating his music with special concerts, conferences, and exhibitions around the world: in Rio, Sao Paulo, New York, Luxembourg, and Paris. But in Brazil the date is being especially remembered, and not just in the classical music press. The newspaper page above, featuring a great Villa-Lobos caricature by Baptistao, is from yesterday's O Estado de Sao Paulo (November 16, 2009). And below is a page from today's edition (November 17, 2009) of O Globo in Rio de Janeiro:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Villa-Lobos: Legends & Facts

A new article in Bravo! by Paulo Nadal presents Lendas e Fatos (Legends and Facts) about Villa-Lobos. I learned lots about Villa-Lobos from this; even in Google's Translation. Some fun facts:
  • Villa was involved in a tribute to the famous Brazilian aviator Santos Dumont in 1903. This was during his two-year stint with the choroes group Cavaquinho de Ouro, led by Quincas Laranjeira.
  • Villa's first gig as a conductor was in 1908, at the Theatro Santa Celina in Paranaguá PR. During this period (and this is where I might be missing something in the translation), Villa was on the run from the (choros-persecuting?) police.
  • Villa-Lobos learned about the music and culture of the Amazonian Indians from the files of anthropologist Edgar Roquette-Pinto and his brother Raul Bormann, who was part of the famous Cândido Rondon Expedition. Rondon was part of the famous River of Doubt trip with Teddy Roosevelt.
The amazing picture above is by Marcos Garupi.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Siberian Virtuosi at the Concurso Nacional Villa-Lobos

The Concurso Nacional Villa-Lobos started in 1979, under the patronage of Mindinha, and has continued on and off since then. The ninth competition begins in Vitória ES on November 12, 2009, with a concert by the Russian Chamber Orchestra "Siberian Virtuosi", that features Bachianas Brasileiras #9.

The Competition has categories for Piano, Voice, & Guitar. [PDF on - free registration required]

Monday, November 9, 2009

More about John Neschling's Música Mundana

This interview by John Neschling by João Luiz Sampaio, following the recent publication of Neschling's book Música Mundana, includes some fascinating insights into the classical music world in Brazil and around the world.  Neschling mentions in the interview that he'll be going to Paris to accept the Diapason d'Or for his Complete Villa-Lobos Choros CDs, and that he would like someday to follow up this recording (with his former orchestra, the Osesp) with a complete series of Choros with l'Orchestre National de France. 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Homenaje a Villa-Lobos in Mexico

It's hard to keep track of the many major Villa-Lobos projects taking place this week around the world. Here's one from Mexico: Homenaje a Villa-Lobos at the Casa do Brasil, which takes place from November 13-20.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sonia Rubinsky wins Latin Grammy

At last night's Latin Grammy awards ceremony, Sonia Rubinsky won a well-deserved award for Best Classical Recording for the 8th and last volume of her Complete Villa-Lobos Piano Music recordings for Naxos.

Here were the other nominated recordings:

Bach: Cello Suites
Andrés Díaz; Alan Bise, producer [Azica Records]

Cavaleiro Neukomm Criador da Música de Câmara no Brasil
Ricardo Kanji & Rosana Lanzelotte; Anna Carolina Gomes, producer [Biscoito Fino]

Concierto De Aniversario
Ricardo Morales & The Pacifica Quartett; Luis Enrique Juliá, producer [ProArte Musical]

Thursday, November 5, 2009

John Neschling's Música Mundana

The Brazilian conductor John Neschling's new book Música Mundana is sure to make a stir when it's released next week. His dismissal from the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo (Osesp) in January was highly controversial - I blogged about this story here and here. It will be interesting to see the response to this release.

Thanks once again to Carlos at the Audições Brasileiras blog for this information.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Le Week-end Villa-Lobos

"Le Week-end Villa-Lobos" is project of Radio France: three concerts in mid-December 2009 which feature the music of Villa-Lobos.

Le Week-end begins on Friday, Dec. 12, with a concert of the Orchestre National de France. Featured works include the first suite of the Descobrimento do Brasil and the second Cello Concerto with the great Brazilian cellist Antonio Meneses.

The second concert, on Saturday, Dec. 13, again features Meneses, this time with another stand-out Brazilian instrumentalist: pianist Cristina Ortiz. Finally, on Sunday, Dec. 14, the mini-festival ends with a concert by the Percussions de l'Orchestre National de France.

Villa-Lobos had a special feeling for the city of Paris. He lived there for long periods in the 1920s and the 1950s. He did some of his best conducting, and certainly his best recording, in the Radio France studios. I'm hoping that Radio France Musique eventually broadcasts all three of these concerts. If they do, I'll post the information here, and I'll be listening on my great Radio France iPhone app.

Latin American Cultural Week '09 in NYC

The 2009 version of NYC's Latin American Cultural Week includes two important all Villa-Lobos concerts. On November 8th, soprano Stela Brandao and pianist Max Lifchitz will perform the complete cycle of Modinhas & Canções. Then, on Nov. 10th, the Heitor Villa-Lobos Celebration II event will include some rarely performed chamber works:
  • Sextuor mystique (Sexteto mistico)
  • Quatuor symbolique (Quarteto simbolico)
  • Suite for Voice and Violin
  • Poêma da criança e sua mamâ
Performers continue to programme the tried-and-true works, but 2009, the Ano Villa-Lobos, has brought lots of more adventurous choices. The Quatuor symbolique, for example, is one of Villa's greatest chamber works, from his most creative modernist period. It's one thing to put together the odd combination of instruments - harp, celesta, flute, and saxophone - but probably another to add a good group of female voices. But it's all most worthwhile in the end. Perhaps after the significant new concert activity in 2009 (more than 100 concerts are listed in the Villa-Lobos Concerts database for November 2009 alone) we'll see some of Villa's unknown works show up more often in live performance and in good modern recordings.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Simpósio Internacional Heitor Villa-Lobos

While Cariocas will be busy all November at the 47th Festival Villa-Lobos, Paulistas will have their chance to delve into Villa's life and music at the International Villa-Lobos Symposium organized by the Music Department of the University of Sao Paulo, the Instituto de Estudos Brasileiros, and the USP Orchestra.  The event takes place from November 16-21.  Here is the program for the Symposium.

For more information go to the Symposium website.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tribute to Villa-Lobos at the UN

The Tribute to Villa-Lobos at the United Nations in New York continues until Nov. 6. Here's a video explaining the project:

Curator Alcinda Saphita walks through some of the works of art from the exhibition in this video.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Villa-Lobos on Cultura FM: November 2009

Every month I post highlights from the upcoming schedule of Cultura FM from Sao Paulo.  Since you can listen live to this station on the Internet, it's a great way to hear Brazilian classical music.  Occasionally Cultura FM presents live concerts or rare recordings.

This month is special: it's the climax of the Ano Villa-Lobos, with the 50th anniversary of Villa's death coming on the 17th of November.  Cultura FM has set aside big chunks of time to play and discuss Villa-Lobos's music, including the following (Google-translated into more-or-less English):

Highlights of the Villa-Lobos Month:
  • Cena Brasileira , Fridays, 20:00, totally devoted to Villa-Lobos,
  • O Brasil de Villa-Lobos (The Brazil of Villa-Lobos), Sundays at 11:00 [Museu Villa-Lobos Director Turíbio Santos continues his series],
  • Oferenda Musical (Musical Offering), Saturday, Nov. 7, 17:00,
  • Supertônica (Supertonic) November 15 at 21:00, the most popular works of the maestro at strategic points in the city,
  • From 00h on November 17, interventions throughout the programming marking the anniversary
  • The works of the maestro are presented on the programas Tema e Variações (Theme &Variations), Sala de Concerto (Concert Hall), Tarde Cultura e Noturno (Late Night Culture). 
Times are local Sao Paulo times, one hour ahead of EST.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Seresta: Brazilian Serenade

There are so many American jazz musicians with a special relationship to the music of Villa-Lobos. Saxophonists like Branford Marsalis and Steve Wilson, have crossed over to the classical side to perform the Fantasia for Saxophone and Orchestra. Others, beginning famously with Gil Evans' version of BB#2 on Miles Davis's Sketches of Spain, have used Villa-Lobos as source material for jazz compositions. An important project from earlier this year was Robert Irving III's Sketches of Brazil. [Both were discussed in my post here, back in July 2009]. One of the most important projects from the past is 2003's Alegria by Wayne Shorter.

Here's another new project with a really strong Villa-Lobos pedigree. Seresta: Brazilian Serenade is designed as an homage to the composer on the 50th anniversary of his death in 1959, as well as to Miles Davis's Sketches of Spain from the same year. The Steve Griggs Ensemble is based in Seattle, and they will perform Griggs' work there on November 19th. The Seresta page on Griggs' website includes MP3 versions of computer renditions of his arrangements. Here's one of my favourites, "Xo Xo Passarinho" from Cirandas:

I'm impressed with what I've heard, but wish I could be at this performance. I hope it makes its way onto disc as well.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Villa-Lobos on Globo News

This promo for three special films on Villa-Lobos to be shown on Brazil's Globo News, beginning on November 8, includes some awesome home movie clips, plus a bit of Turibio Santos playing the guitar:

I'm assuming that Globo News is something like CBC Newsworld or CNN. I might be wrong, but I can't see either setting aside a lot of time for in-depth programs on classical musicians who died 50 years ago, even to fill their 24-hour schedules.

Thanks to a tweet from @claudiorgs for the heads-up on this.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Modinhas & Canções in NYC

Villa-Lobos wrote two series of Modinhas & Canções: the first in 1936 and the second in 1943. Both will be performed on Sunday, Nov. 3rd, at Christ & St Stephen’s Church in New York City, by soprano Stela Brandão and pianist Max Lifchitz. This free concert is organized by the Pan American Musical Art Research, Inc. (PAMAR), as part of the 4th Annual Latin American Cultural Week.

These two song cycles aren't often performed or recorded that often, but they include some very popular songs. The Lundú da Marqueza de Santos from the first set has become a real favourite, in versions for soprano & tenor, and in various instrumental arrangements (including one in the recent Quinteto Villa-Lobos CD.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tribute to Villa-Lobos at the U.N.

Later this month the United Nations will be the scene of a new exhibition "Tribute to Villa-Lobos", featuring paintings by Brazilian artists. One of the featured artists will be the Bahia-born Ferjo, whose room with piano is pictured above. Others include Alexandre Emmanuel, Artur Moreira, Cassia Maia, Flory Menezes, Cila Santos, Ed Ribeiro, Arlete Costa, Luciano Lima Lima, Arnaldo Garcez, Astride Rosa, Junia d’Affonseca, Deborah Costa, Isabel Amaro, Ricardo Nascimento, Iris Alvares, Sandra Romano, Maria Antonia, D. Finotto, Shizue, Laila Guimaraes, Lucia Tolentino, Gzanotti, Ce Granito. Institute Dirson Costa de Arte e Cultura Amazonicas: Indigenous Brazilians from the Amazon Duhigo, Dhiani Pa’saro, Sanipa, Too Xacwa, Yupury, Tchanpan, and Kawena.

The opening reception for the exhibit begins at 6:00 p.m. on October 30th, and will feature a concert by soprano Caroline Braga, tenor Denis Hurtado, guitarist Daniel Duarte, and pianist Livia Sandoval. More information is at the Consulate General of Brazil in New York website.
Thanks to artist Ed Ribeiro @edribeiroart whose tweet put me on to this.

Brazil Inspires Villa-Lobos

From the October 25, 1948 issue of Life (via Google Books). Villa-Lobos had a high reputation in the popular press in America at the time: "...rated by many critics as the best serious composer the Western Hemisphere has produced."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Marcelo Bratke on Radio3

I've written before about Marcelo Bratke's big plans for the Ano Villa-Lobos, 2009. Here is the first part of a Radio3 interview by Sean Rafferty with Bratke (I believe from In Tune, last Sept. 11th).  The second part of the interview is here.  Looks like we have lots to look forward to - especially the upcoming complete Villa-Lobos piano recordings on the Quartz label - from this talented pianist!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Viva Villa!

A major new exhibition on Villa-Lobos has just opened in Rio de Janeiro. Viva Villa! is organized by the Arquivo Nacional, and runs from Oct. 12, 2009, to Jan. 5, 2010. The exhibit has an impressive list of partners, incuding the Museu Villa-Lobos (RJ), Library of Congress (Washington), Richard Rodgers Library, Spanish Institute, New York Public Library (New York), Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris), the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecília, and more.

Besides the exhibition of audio-visual materials relating to Villa's life and music, Viva Villa! will include concerts and film presentations.

The film component of the exhibition looks really interesting. Films include Humberto Mauro's "Descobrimento do Brasil", along with films from Brasil's Cinema Novo which feature Villa-Lobos music: "Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol" and "Terra em Transe" by Glauber Rocha; "Macunaíma" by Joaquim Pedro de Andrade; “Arraial do Cabo” by Paulo Cesar Sarraceni; and "Menino de Engenho" by Walter Lima Jr. Of course, Zelito Vianna's important biopic "Villa-Lobos: Uma Vida de Paixao" wll be featured as well.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Choros #10 at The Last Night of the Proms

A really impressive performance of Choros #10, with a huge array of resources masterfully managed by Conductor David Robertson. The BBC's busy cameras help to put you right into the orchestra. Part 2 of the work is here - the singing of the BBC Singers and BBC Symphony Chorus is exceptional.

Egberto Gismonti's Saudações

Egberto Gismonti's new album Saudações has been released by ECM in Europe, and will be available in North America later this month.  It's a double album, with the orchestral suite Sertões Veredas - Tributo à Miscigenação on one disc, and a duo-guitar recital with his son Alexandre on the other.

I've only heard clips from the suite, but this article by João Marcos Coelho finds very strong influences of Villa-Lobos and Bach in this music for strings (played on the disc by the Havana-based Camerata Romeu, directed by Zenaida Romeu).  The other strong influence seems to be the Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier, who was a close friend of Villa-Lobos and someone with a great understanding of music.

According to Coelho, "A primeira audição de Sertões Veredas provoca a estranha sensação de estarmos diante de uma obra do Villa-Lobos inédita e recém-descoberta." - he has the strange sensation of hearing a a newly-discovered unknown score of Villa-Lobos.

I look forward to hearing the entire album, listening for the influences of Villa and Bach.  More importantly, though, it will be great to hear the first orchestral music from a composer for whom I have the greatest respect.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Quinteto Villa-Lobos Turnê Africana

The Villa-Lobos Concert Locations database includes a long list of cities where about 15 years' worth of Villa-Lobos concerts have taken place. Five new locations have just been added, thanks to the new tour of Africa by the Quinteto Villa-Lobos:

  • Tunisia: Cartago
  • Botswana: Gabarone
  • Namibia: Windhoek
  • Mozambique: Maputo
  • Kenya: Nairobi
You can follow the tour on the QVL blog.

First reports from "A Menina das Nuvens"

[Foto: divulgação Palácio das Artes / Paulo Lacerda]

The first review of the important production of the opera A Menina das Nuvens - The Girl in the Clouds - has appeared. Irineu Franco Perpetuo writes in the Concerto website that while the opera "may not be the best Villa-Lobos, [...] it is worth knowing."

Perpetuo describes some of the challenges that came with this project, including the dangerous, 7-metre fall of baritone Licio Bruno, which necessitated some cast changes. Apparently Bruno is recovering well from this scary incident.

Perpetuo complains of excessive length and some banal writing by Villa-Lobos in the first two acts. But all comes together in the third, "...where the lush orchestration and neo-romantic Villa-Lobos of the 1950 meets the melodic serenade of the 1930s and some rhythmic and harmonic daring of the 1920s."

Let's hope that this production is a sign that Villa's stage works might be in for more productions, and recordings, in the future.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More about the Instruments of Amazonas

A year ago I wrote about the interesting instruments included in the score of Villa's great early masterpiece Amazonas. Since then I've come across conductor Roberto Duarte's interesting book Revisão das Obras Orquestrais de Villa-Lobos, v.2., which is a detailed description of the scores of important orchestral works.

Duarte's book includes some interesting pictures of two instruments that he actually used in his landmark recording of Amazonas for Marco Polo in 1990. Here is the Violinophone:

and the Viola d'amore:

It's great that this important disc is once again in print. I'm listening to Amazonas right now at the Naxos Music Library: what an amazing work!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Latin Grammy nod for Sonia Rubinsky

The Latin Grammy nominations were announced in Los Angeles this morning. Congratulations to Sonia Rubinsky and the great people at Naxos for a well-deserved nomination. There are two classical categories:
  • Best Album, which includes Rubinsky's disc; and
  • Best Classical Contemporary Composition, which this year includes Orlando Jacinto Garcia, Clarice Assad, Gabriela Lena Frank, Roberto Sierra, and Alfonso Fuentes
Rubinsky's disc, the 8th and final one in her monumental series of Villa-Lobos's Piano Music, is worthy of an award not only for the series, but on its own. It includes some very important but under-played works. Rubinsky's recordings have helped to bring this music to a much wider audience; and hopefully to a new generation of pianists. She has helped to raise Villa's reputation as a composer, in the same way that people like Carl St. Clair, the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Roberto Minczuk, and John Neschling have done in the past ten years.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jet Whistle from the 1960s

This performance of Assobio a Jato by Julius Baker & David Soyer is impressive, in spite of some audio distortion. This is the first movement:

and the second & third movments are here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Villa-Lobos at the Last Night of the Proms

I felt privileged to be able to watch The Last Night of the Proms from the Royal Albert Hall, live via satellite here in Red Deer this weekend. It was a very enjoyable, if slightly exhausting, concert, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Singers & Symphony Chorus, and two amazing soloists (trumpeter Alison Balsom and mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly), all under the direction of David Robertson.

The highlight for me, of course, was Choros #10, which came across in spectacular fashion in the HD presentation, with BBC television's many roving cameras and excellent sound. David Robertson really got under the skin of this piece, which sounds difficult enough to hold together in a regular concert, much less the barely controlled chaos of The Last Night, with its hoovers & shotguns; a raucus crowd with flags, noisemakers, and sparklers; a huge programme of various styles of music; and a daunting technological challenge coordinating the music in the RAH and five Proms in the Park from around the UK.

That's one of the reasons Villa-Lobos fit so well into this concert: his music is barely controlled chaos itself. Choros #10 is a Proms-like concoction of ultra-sophisticated art music, near-silliness, and a well-loved nation-building tune (Rasga o Coração, "Rend my Heart"). Any Rio de Janeiro audience from the 1920s until today could sing this tune in the same way today's Prommers sing "Jerusalem" or "Rule Britannia".

You can hear the tune in this YouTube version of the second part of Choros #10, an excellent version by the Sinfónica de la Juventud Venezolana Simón Bolivar, conducted by Isaac Karabtchevsky:

And here is Anacleto de Medeiros' Schottische "Yara", aka Rasga o Coração, in a performance by pianist José Miguel Wisnik

If you didn't get a chance to watch or hear The Last Night concert, you have 7 days to listen on the web using BBC's iPlayer. You also have 7 days to read the excellent Programme Notes by Robert Maycock.

It was interesting seeing instant feedback on the concert via Twitter posts. Here's a selection (do a Twitter search on #lastnightoftheproms for more):
@sciencesub Oh good they are playing a piece by Hetoir Villa Lobos Now that I like!
@bexxi This Villa-Lobos piece is EXTREMELY cool: like a cross between Leonard Bernstein and Charles Ives.. #proms #radio3
@RoeDent #proms the villa-lobos sounds like 'little train' with added passengers!
@Braziel This Villa-Lobos on the Proms is fantastic. Makes me want to join a choir! Must be great fun to sing. #proms
@dotterel - the Villa Lobos was what we classical music lovers describe as 'absolutely bloody brilliant'. N'est pas? #lastnightproms
@SirCasey Villa Lobos answer to Beethoven's 9th symphony!
@goldsbrough Loved the Villa Lobos piece at the LNOTP. Must get a recording of it. #proms
@wongawoman1 villa lobos a definite highlight tonight at albert hall
It all comes to a climax with this post:
@propagation0 Villa-Lobos is GOD
The BBC isn't resting on its laurels when it comes to Villa-Lobos. This morning (September 14th) they begin a five-programme series on Villa-Lobos in Composer of the Week - I'm listening to the first one as I type this. Donald Macleod provides excellent commentary, along with a very well-chosen list of works from CD.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Video About the Newly Discovered Villa-Lobos Scores

The now-famous Villa-Lobos arrangements of four songs by Guy Ropartz are featured in this new video. It's so cool to see the media give this story so much attention!

Pianos em Jubileu

Ricardo Rocha's Orquestra Bachiana Brasileira will be presenting three serious piano concertos in one concert next weekend in Sao Paulo, by Claudio Santoro, Felix Mendelssohn (#1), and Heitor Villa-Lobos (Bachianas Brasileiras #3, one of his best concertos). More information here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Complete Symphonies on cpo

Why bother building your Villa-Lobos CD library one disc at a time? In the past few months BIS and Dorian have released the complete Choros, Bachianas Brasileiras, and String Quartets in inexpensive box sets. Now comes this new Complete Symphonies set on 7 CDs.

This is the final piece in the awesome project begun by conductor Carl St. Clair in 1997. Most of the symphonies, and many of the smaller orchestral works, were either world premieres on record, or were the first recordings outside of obscure Brasilian LPs. The orchestral playing of the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir received high marks from critics over the years, as did St. Clair's preparation (from sometimes incomplete or corrupted scores and parts) and conducting. The recording and presentation from cpo also was very warmly received. The website is the first place I've seen this posted on the web; the discs are due to be released on September 21, 2009. At €39.99 (about $60), this set is a major bargain!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Villa's Wake

The Velório (wake) for Villa-Lobos: some film footage from nearly 50 years ago.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Review: French Flute Chamber Music

Mirage Quintet: French Flute Chamber Music (Naxos 8.570444)

This year is not only the Ano Villa-Lobos in Brazil (the 50th Anniversary of his death), but also the Ano da França no Brasil, the Year of France. Villa-Lobos had a close relationship with France; Paris was his second home in the 1920s and the 1950s. He had many close friends amongst the musicians of France: Edgard Varèse, Olivier Messiaen, Florent Schmitt.

This new CD of French Flute Chamber Music from Naxos contains music from many of the composers Villa hung out with in Paris, and more importantly, the music on this disc participates in a certain style and sound from that time that Villa made his own, in works like the Nonetto, the Choros series, and the great early piano works.

The 1970s pop/rock group E.L.O. (Electric Light Orchestra) was famously formed to "pick up where [The Beatles'] 'I Am the Walrus' left off." Similarly, all the works on this CD come out of the sound world created by a single piece: Maurice Ravel's 1905 Introduction et Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet, and String Quartet. This lineup of composers comes from Ravel's generation, except for the youngster Francaix, who is 30-40 years younger than the rest. The pieces were all written in the 1920s or 1930s, all of them for flute, harp, and strings.

Though the music exists in that same sound world, subtle differences in the personalities of the composers emerge. Francaix is playful, Roussel muscular, and Schmitt nostalgic and a bit sentimental. Marcel Tournier's Suite, Op. 34 is a special treat. I knew, and enjoyed, the piece from a Hanssler Classic CD with the Linos Harp Quintet, but the Mirage Quintet give the work a forward momentum and depth that really makes it stand out. You can get a feel for this from the Mirage Quintet's YouTube video of the 3rd Movement (Lied: Assez Lent, Avec Melancolie) filmed during the CD recording in Toronto in 2007.

This recording took place under the watchful eyes and ears of the great team of Bonnie Silver & Norbert Kraft, who between them share producer, engineer, and editor functions. Kraft, by the way, is the very same guitarist who completely nailed the Villa-Lobos guitar music for Naxos in 2000. The sound on the new disc is predictably excellent, though some might argue that Robert Aitken's flute is too forward in the mix. It's hard to see how this music could be played or presented any better.

In 1957 Villa-Lobos wrote his Quintette Instrumental for Flute, violin, viola, cello, and harp, which looks back to the Ravel and Debussy models, and perhaps also to works like the Roussel Serenade and the Quintet by Guy Ropartz. But Villa's distinctive voice comes out very strongly in this late masterpiece. I would move the Villa-Lobos work to the top of the list of the pieces I've discussed in this review (all right, second after the Ravel!) Listen to the Quintette as played by the group mobius (also on Naxos, and available on the Naxos Music Library) and tell me if you agree.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Review: Klang der Welt - Brasilien

Here's a CD I took notice of back in July, when it showed up in the Naxos Music Library. Now that I've had a chance to listen more closely to it, I'm posting a fuller review here.

Klang der Welt: Brasilien

Heitor Villa-Lobos looms large in Brazil, and not just in the classical music world. In Brazilian popular music, jazz, and popular culture, and especially in this Ano Villa-Lobos (the 50th anniversary of his death), Villa-Lobos is everywhere. This makes it hard for the composers of Villa's generation, and those who followed him, to get noticed. This disc is a welcome introduction to some names that might not be well known to music lovers. Perhaps the new interest in Villa-Lobos in Brazil and around the world will be the tide that raises all boats.

The one fairly well-known work in this chronologically organized CD is Villa-Lobos's Quinteto em forma de Choros, written in 1928. It's a masterpiece, closely related to the Choros series that many (including myself) believe constitutes Villa's greatest achievement.

Luciano Gallet's Turuna for Clarinet, Violin, Viola, & Percussion is from 1926, and it's a real find. The work reflects Gallet's expertise in Brazilian folklore and popular music. It has the same fresh sound of the urban serenaders known as Choroes that permeates Villa-Lobos's music of the 1920s. The music really swings. But the Turuna shares with the Quinteto and the following work, Camargo Guarnieri's Two Songs for Flute and Voice, a sophisticated, modernist voice that relates to Villa-Lobos's strongest influences: Stravinsky, Debussy, and the many composers Villa met in Paris. You can hear in both the Gallet and Guarnieri, for example, the flute and clarinet sounds of Choros #02 of 1924. These works show that the international modernist style of Paris had found fertile ground in Brazil.

Francisco Mignone, who worked in both the nationalist and modernist styles and even flirted with serialism in the 1950s, wrote the Five Songs for Voice & Bassoon relatively late in a very long and productive career. The songs look back to the 1920s, and earlier, to the salon music of the late nineteenth century. There are few composers who write better for the bassoon - bassoonists should take up these songs in the same way they have adopted the witty Waltzes for Solo Bassoon.

Claudio Santoro's Mini Concerto Grosso is a gorgeous piece. It's a stylized work that looks back on neo-classicism in the same way that neo-classicism looked back on earlier music. It looks back to the new Brazilian style that Villa-Lobos took up in the 1930s. Santoro, like Mignone, had gone through a variety of styles (he shared a teacher, Hans Joachim Koellreutter, with Antonio Carlos Jobim, and also studied with Nadia Boulanger). Ronaldo Miranda's Variations also look back to an earlier period in Brazilian music: to a much-loved song by Anacleto de Medeiros, whose choros and schottisches from the turn of the century had a major influence on Brazilian popular music and art music alike.

Joao Guilherme Ripper was born in the year that Villa-Lobos died, and his star has risen very high in the last few years, with major triumphs in choral music and opera. Matinas, from 1996, is another strong work to close this enjoyable and illuminating programme from the very capable musicians of the Deutschen Oper Berlin.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Musical Mandala

Violinist Gil Morgenstern presents a fascinating concert in his Reflections series: "A Musical Mandala: From Bach to Barkauskas and Back", on October 18th at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. This is a typical high-concept presentation for Morgenstern, who is accompanied by pianist Donald Berman, and one that I would dearly love to attend:
The mandala is used in many religious traditions as an artistic aid for meditation to advance practitioners toward a state of enlightenment. A Musical Mandala takes the music of Johann Sebastian Bach as its starting point and circles through works by Schumann, Ysaye, Bartok, Barkauskas, Villa-Lobos, and Kreisler. Join us as we meditate on Bach's enormous influence on enlightened composers and audiences over a period of more than 300 years.
The Reflections series then goes on the road, to the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach on November 18, to North Carolina and Pennsylvania, and to Florence, Capri, and Rome, Italy.

Maybe I'll catch the concert in Capri.

Villalobiana in Mexico City

The Escuela Nacional de Musica at UNAM in Mexico City will be marking "el cincuentenario luctuoso" ("mournful anniversary") of the death of Villa-Lobos on November 17 & 19th of this year. This call for participation goes out to those connected with the school. This promises to be a significant Villa-Lobos event.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Villa-Lobos on Cultura FM: September 2009

Here are Villa-Lobos performances upcoming on Cultura FM from Sao Paulo. Listen here on the Internet. Times are local Sao Paulo times, one hour ahead of EST. Recommended: the Sunday series "O Brasil de Villa-Lobos" with Museu Villa-Lobos Director Turíbio Santos.

September 1:
HAYDN - Allegro moderato do concerto em ré maior, op.101. Jacqueline Durpé (violoncelo). Orquestra Sinfônica de Londres. Reg.: Daniel Baremboim. / Johann Christian BACH - Sinfonia, op. 3 n° 5 em fá maior. Orquestra do Festival de Londres. Reg.: Ross Pople. / BRAHMS - Allegro Appassionato da sonata em fá menor, op. 120 n°1. Richard Stoltzman (clarineta). Richard Goode (piano). / VILLA-LOBOS -Bachianas Brasileiras n° 5. Maria Bayo (soprano). Orquestra Nacional de Lyon. Reg.: Emmanuel Krivine.

September 4:
23:00 NOTURNO:
VILLA-LOBOS - Plantio do caboclo. Lydia Kennedy e Frans Van Gurp (violões). John TAVENER - Aleluia. Coro Sinfônico de São Francisco. Reg.: Vance George.

September 6:
11:00 O BRASIL DE VILLA-LOBOS - por Turíbio Santos - Edição Especial:
Prelúdios para Violão Goran Sollscher (violão) / Suíte para orquestra de câmara nº 2. Orquestra da Universidade de São Paulo. Reg. Carlos Moreno
Fantasia para saxofone Theodore Kerkezoz (saxofone)

September 9:
13:00 DELICATESSEN com Teresa Lima:
Joseph HAYDN - Sinfonia Hob. I: 72. Sinfônica Bamberger. Reg.: Jonathan Nott. / Osvaldo LACERDA - Poemeto / Cantilena / Toccatina. Antonio Carlos Carrasqueira (flauta). Maria José Carrasqueira (piano). / VILLA-LOBOS - Pequena Suíte. Zygmunt St. Kubala (violoncelo). Rosana Civile (piano).

September 12:
10:00 CIRANDA - Academia Brasileira de Música:
José Alberto KAPLAN - Variantes para flauta, violão e orquestra. Regina Lima Machado (flauta). Eugênio Lima de Souza (violão). Orquestra da Universidade Federal da Paraíba. Reg.: Carlos Anísio. / Radamés GNATTALI - Trio para bandolim e dois violões / Joel Nascimento (bandolim), Luiz Otávio Braga e Bartolomeu Wiese (violões). Clovis PEREIRA - Três peças nordestinas. Quinteto da Paraíba. / VILLA-LOBOS - A prole do bebê nº 1. Nelson Freire (piano).

September 13:
11:00 O BRASIL DE VILLA-LOBOS - por Turíbio Santos - Edição Especial Quartour para flauta, oboé clarineta e fagote.Joachim Schmitz (flauta), Petra Fhuhr (oboé), Johannes Moog (clarineta), Urich Freund (fagote). Sonata fantasia n° 2 para violino e piano - Nngagul Tumaugelov (violino) Bojidor Noer (piano). Lenda do caboclo, e Alma brasileira. Sergio e Odair Assad (Violão). Ciranda das sete notas.Orquestra New Music Stagium. Reg. Antonio Plotino. Sino Vernizzi (fagote).

20:00 MUSICA CONTEMPORANEA - Concertos CPFL ao vivo. Apresentação: João Marcos Coelho.
O grupo Sonax constrói seus próprios instrumentos, e seus integrantes criaram coletivamente a suíte "Villa-Lobos Landscape", tendo como convidado o violeiro Paulo Freire.

September 14:
13:00 DELICATESSEN com Teresa Lima:
Ernesto NAZARETH - Confidências - Valsa. Izumi Tateno (piano). / Peter Joseph von LINDPAINTNER - Concerto em fá maior Op. 44. Albrecht Holder (fagote). Orquestra Filarmônica de Stuttgart. Reg.: Nicolas Pasquet. / VILLA-LOBOS - Segunda sonata para violoncelo e piano Op. 66. Tânia Lisboa (violoncelo). Miriam Braga (piano). Yang Zhang (violino).

23:00 NOTURNO:
Ferrucio BUSONI - Peças características para clarinete e piano. Dieter Klöcker (clarinete). Werner Genuit (piano). / VILLA-LOBOS - Estudos. Sérgio e Odair Assad (violão).

September 16:
MOZART - Andante com cinco variações em sol maior, K. 501. Jeno Jandó e Zsuzsa Kollár (piano a quatro mãos)./ MILHAUD - Saudades do Brasil. Orquestra Nacional da França. Dir. Leonard Bernstein./ VILLA-LOBOS - Prelúdio das "Bachianas Brasileiras" nº 4. Orquestra de Câmara "Solistas de Londrina"./ GERSHWIN - Rhapsody in Blue. Leornard Bernstein (piano e regência). Orq. Filarmônica de Los Angeles.

September 20:
11:00 O BRASIL DE VILLA-LOBOS - por Turíbio Santos - Edição Especial: Sinfonia nº 1 e nº 6 de Villa-lobos Orquestra Sinfônica da Rádio de Stuttgart Carl St. Clair.

20:00 MUSICA CONTEMPORANEA - Concertos CPFL ao vivo. Apresentação: João Marcos Coelho:
"De Bach à Floresta Amazônica", de junho passado. Edna d'Oliveira (soprano) interpreta canções de Villa-Lobos acompanhada pelo notável violonista Sidney Molina.

September 22 (repeated September 23, 1:00)
14:00 PIANÍSSIMO - Apresentação do pianista e professor Gilberto Tinetti:

September 27:
11:00 O BRASIL DE VILLA-LOBOS - por Turíbio Santos - Edição Especial: Rudepoema . Nelson Freire (Piano). Prelúdio n° 2 para piano e violoncelo - Antonio Menezes (violoncelo), Cristina Ortiz (piano).

September 28:
13:00 DELICATESSEN com Teresa Lima:
CHOPIN - Balada n° 1 em sol menor Op. 23. Murray Perahia (piano). / Josef SUK - Fantastické Scherzo Op. 25. Orquestra Filarmônica Tcheca. Reg.: Jirí Belohlávek. / VILLA-LOBOS - Trio n° 1 em dó menor. Tânia Lisboa (violoncelo). Miriam Braga (piano). Yang Zhang (violino).

September 30:
20:00 O VIOLÃO NA ERA DO DISCO: Juliam Bream - com Sidney Molina :
Gravações dos álbuns, "Julian Bream Plays Villa-Lobos" (1971), "Together" (1971), "The Woods so Wild" (1972) e "Julian Bream 70s" (1973).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Brubeck & Martins at Lincoln Center

Here's some exciting news: jazz legend Dave Brubeck & Brazilian conductor and pianist João Carlos Martins will be performing at New York's Lincoln Center this October. Martins, a former piano virtuoso who now conducts the Bachiana Filarmônica, will bring his orchestra with him from Brazil to Avery Fisher Hall. He'll conduct Bachianas Brasilieras #7, and he and Dave Brubeck will perform Bach together.
“The rapport between João Carlos and me was instant. And ever since that time we shared many a musical thought which is what the October 2nd concert is all about." - Dave Brubeck
Watch this excellent YouTube video to learn more about the close relationship these two great musicians have built together over the years:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Magnificat Alleluia at FIC 2009

The Festival Internacional de Corais (FIC 2009) website includes this page which includes the score, in various formats, for a choral arrangement of the 1958 Magnificat-Alleluia (originally written for mixed choir & orchestra). Here is a video (again, thanks to the FIC website) of the Orquestra Sinfônica e Coro de Câmara da Escola de Música da UFMG, directed by Vivian Assis. The soloist is Luciana Monteiro.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Villa-Lobos at MIMO 2009

The Mostra Internacional de Música em Olinda (MIMO) is an annual festival in Olinda, Pernambuco, in the North East region of Brazil. This year's festival includes a number of concerts with music by Villa-Lobos, including concerts with the Quarteto Radamés Gnattali and the Orquestra Sinfônica de Barra Mansa.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Festival Internacional de Corais

This international choral festival, which begins on September 18 in Minas Gerais, honours the legacy of Heitor Villa-Lobos. It's another major project during this Ano Villa-Lobos.

The festival has also organized two audio-visual exhibitions with the help of the Museu Villa-Lobos, one permanent, and another which goes on the road throughout Brazil beginning on Sept. 10. The FIC website has all sort of interesting information.

Here's something cool: every year (this is the 7th annual version) maestro Leonardo Cunha writes a theme song for the festival. This year's is called Mestre Villa:

The website includes PDF and MP3 versions of the music. Here are the lyrics of this piece, written by Fernando Brant.

(Leonardo Cunha e Fernando Brant)

a canção do povo
quem a fez foi Villa
que ouviu a alma do Brasil

mais que brasileira
é canção do mundo
foi o Mestre Villa quem criou

a cantiga, o choro, o violão
a seresta e vozes em coral
a ciranda, a dança e o lundu
floresta amazônica de sons

("olha a rosa amarela, rosa
tão bonita e tão bela, rosa
olha a rosa amarela, rosa
tão bonita e tão bela, rosa")

o Magnificat-Alleluia bate lá no coração
trenzinho atravessando o nosso interior
as Bachianas Brasileiras inventando um Brasil
que vive em nosso canto, em nossa voz.

In Google Translate's English version:

(Leonardo Cunha & Fernando Brant)
the song of the people
who made it was Villa
who heard the soul of Brazil

more than Brazilian
the world is song
Villa was the Master who created

the song, the crying, the guitar
the singers and choral voices
the nursery rhymes, dance and lundu
rainforest sounds

( "look at the yellow rose, pink
so beautiful, so beautiful, pink
look at the yellow rose, pink
so beautiful, so beautiful, pink ")

Magnificat-Alleluia there beats the heart
interior train crossing our inner
the Bachianas Brasileiras inventing a Brazil
that lives in our corner, our voice.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Music & Dictatorship in Europe & Latin America

I look forward to reading this really interesting book; I came across this Pre-Publication Announcement at the Interesting Music Stuff blog:
Music and Dictatorship in Europe and Latin America
Edited by Roberto Illiano and Massimiliano Sala
approx. 700 p., 210 x 270 mm, HB, ISBN 978-2-503-52779-6, EUR 125
Special pre-publication price: €105 valid until 31 October 2009
Series: Speculum musicae, vol. 14
Publication date: November 2009
The most interesting article for the Villa-Lobos scholar is T. Garcia's "Music and the Brazilian Estado Novo: Getúlio Vargas, Heitor Villa-Lobos and a National Music Education System," from which the following page is taken.

As I mentioned in a post earlier this year, we need a fuller discussion of Villa-Lobos's relationship with the darker side of the Vargas regime. It looks like this book might provide more information about both the particular case in Brazil and its context in the 20th century.

It's a coincidence, by the way, that I should come across the book A música nacionalista no govêrno Getulio Vargas twice in two days. This looks like a job for InterLibrary Loan!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Yale Glee Club, Robert Goulet, and the Brazilian National Anthem

The Yale Glee Club is 150 years old this year, and naturally there are many interesting stories to be told. This post on the Yale Glee Club blog, "From Charlton Lyons - Reviews of the 1941 Tour," tells a great one about a performance in Rio de Janeiro with a special guest:
...the world famous composer, Heitor Villa-Lobos, who was not merely in the audience that night but who, by prearrangement, came up on the stage to conduct the Yale Glee Club in its performance of its first number, the Brazilian National Anthem. And it was during our singing of their National Anthem that Villa-Lobos turned to the audience to conduct the audience as well. The Yale Glee Club did know that country’s national anthem—we knew it very, very well and could sing it a splendid version of Portuguese, but the Brazilians did not. I remember the occasion perfectly—well, almost perfectly. I have no recollection of the near silence of the audience reported by the reviewer, a silence owing to the fact that only a few could sing it. But, singing my own head off, I would not have heard that silence anyway, would I? No! Certainly not!
It's a great story from the Glee Club point of view, but it must have been a bit of an embarrassment for Villa-Lobos. That same year he published
A Música Nacionalista no Govêrno Getúlio Vargas ca. 1941, in which he characterised the nation as a sacred entity whose symbols (including its flag, motto and national anthem) were inviolable. Villa-Lobos was the chair of a committee whose task was to define a definitive version of the Brazilian national anthem.
The quote is from the Wikipedia article on Villa-Lobos, this section of which is based on Simon Wright's 1992 Villa-Lobos. When I read the Glee Club story, though, it made me think about the famous National Anthem incident starring Canadian Robert Goulet (again thanks to Wikipedia):
On May 25, 1965, Goulet mangled the lyrics to the United States National Anthem at the opening of the Muhammad Ali-Sonny Liston heavyweight championship fight in Lewiston, Maine. Goulet had never sung the anthem in public before, and replaced the lyrics "dawn's early light" and "gave proof through the night" with "dawn's early night" and "gave proof through the fight." The gaffe was reported in newspapers nationwide the next morning, and Goulet was criticized in opinion columns for a lack of knowledge of the lyrics.
The best part of the story isn't included here. I remember hearing Goulet talk about how, at a nightclub gig soon after this incident, he began to sing "O Say Can You See..." as a joke. He assumed that everyone had heard what happened, and would treat it as a joke as well. When the crowd began to sing along, though, he had no choice but to continue as well, and mangled the words once again.

I love that story. Goulet, by the way, was born to French Canadian parents in Massachussets, but spent his formative years 600 km to the north (!) of Red Deer's Villa-Lobos Central Control, in Girouxville, Alberta.

But back to the Hino Nacional Brasileiro. The Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado do Sao Paulo and their conductor John Neschling have recorded a CD of the absolutely authentic versions of the National Anthem (in orchestral and choral versions), and other national songs:

01. Hino Nacional Brasileiro - versão instrumental
02. Hino Nacional Brasileiro - versão com coro
03. Hino da Independência
04. Hino da Bandeira Nacional
05. Hino da Proclamação da República

You can download the entire album for free, thanks to the Osesp website. While you're there, check out their many freely-available podcasts.

Brazilian Music MP3s

For a limited time this sampler album of eight MP3s can be downloaded for free from's MP3 store. The songs are by Grupo Batuque, Sabrina Malheiros, The Ipanemas, Joyce, Clara Moreno, Azymuth, Jose Roberto Bertrami and His Modern Sound, and Marcos Valle.

There's lots more information about these musicians and this music from the website of the great Far Out Recordings company.

These downloads are only available on for Americans, unfortunately.