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.