Monday, March 29, 2010

Yerma in Manaus

It looks like the production of Yerma at the Teatro Amazonas is a go for next month.  Here is the cast and production staff for the show, from the Amazonas Festival website.  This is a really big deal - a rarely performed Villa-Lobos opera in the great Opera House in the Amazon rain-forest.

23.Abr (Sex) - 20h - Teatro Amazonas
25.Abr (Dom) - 19h - Teatro Amazonas
30.Abr (Sex) - 20h - Teatro Amazonas
Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959)
Ópera em três atos
Libreto do compositor, baseado na obra de Federico Garcia Lorca
Yerma – Ana Lucrecia Garcia
Juan – Marcello Puente
Maria –Isabelle Sabrié
Victor – Homero Velho
1ª velha – Keila de Moraes
2ª velha – Elaine Martorano
3ª velha – Elmiza Carvalho
4ª velha – Regina Santiago
5ª velha – Lincoln Pires
6ª velha – Kelly Fernandes
1ª moça – Patrícia Botelho
2ª moça – Carol Martins
1ª lavadeira - Jaiana Silva
2ª lavadeira - Lídia Mendes
3ª lavadeira – Carolina Herculano
4ª lavadeira - Thalita Azevedo
5ª lavadeira - Dhijana Nobre
6ª lavadeira - Thelvana Freitas
1ª cunhada – Miriam Abad
2ª cunhada – Raquel Brasil
Dolores – Elaine Martorano
1ª mulher – Tamar Freitas
2ª mulher – Marinete Negrão
1º homem – Cristiano Silva
2º homem – Eli Soares
Macho – Randal Oliveira
Fêmea – Priscilla Pinheiro
Menino – Marlon de Souza Pereira
Menina – Marília Rodrigues Pinheiro
Voz feminina interna – Elane Monteiro
Companhia de Dança do Amazonas
Coral Infantil do Liceu de Artes e Ofícios Claudio Santoro
Coral do Amazonas
Amazonas Filarmônica
Direção Musical e Regência: Marcelo de Jesus
Direção Cênica e Figurinos: Allex Aguilera
Coreografia: Monique Andrade
Iluminação: Moisés Vasconcelos

Thanks to Richard, who posted this information on a comment to my story about Yerma in Brazil.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Digital Cabernet Challenge

An interesting and illuminating experiment at the Proper Discord site: can you tell the difference between compressed and CD-quality music? I couldn't (and admitted so in the poll).

Here's another poll: try this digital Cabernet Sauvignon test.
  1. Play your favourite Villa-Lobos CD or MP3 file (I chose John Neschling's version of Choros #08).
  2. Open a good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon (for me, it was a 2006 Penfolds Bin 407).
  3. Click on the video above.
So, which wine is better?  Can you really tell the difference?  Let me know!

P.S.  Note to Casa Valduga's advertising agency: next time, use Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5 as the background music in preference to Vivaldi.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Clara Rodriguez at Wigmore Hall

The Venezuelan pianist Clara Rodriguez will be playing three Villa-Lobos works in her Wigmore Hall concert on April 12, 2010.  Check out her website - you'll find a nice version of Poema Singelo, from a live performance in London.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Trío Cordvent's "Homenaje a Villa-Lobos"

Jesús Saiz Huedo from Trío Cordvent sent me an update on their concert "Homenaje a Villa-Lobos," which took place in Madrid last December. You can watch videos of many of the works from that concert at The Trío Cordvent website.

Here is Recordando a Villa-lobos by Félix Sierra; a lovely work:

Cristina Ortiz plays Bachianas Brasileiras no3

The two greatest Villa-Lobos works for piano and orchestra aren't included in the five Piano Concertos. They are Choros #11 and Bachianas #3; both are among Villa's top works. Each of these fairly rare pieces calls for a virtuoso pianist, a large, well-prepared orchestra, and a conductor who can provide a sense of forward momentum to the sprawling scores.

Here is Cristina Ortiz playing BB#3, with Fábio Mechetti conducting the Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais in a concert from August of 2009. The second, third, and fourth movements are also at YouTube, thanks to the MinasMusical Channel.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Burial of Villa-Lobos

From TV Tupi, film footage of the scene in the square in front of the Theatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro on November 19, 1959, two days after Villa-Lobos died. I find these scenes very moving.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Music Wins

Recently I've been following two really interesting stories about Brazilian pianists.  Last month I blogged about Marcelo Bratke, who overcame near-blindness on his way to becoming a world-renowned concert pianist.  I look forward to the publication of Bratke's new recording of the complete Villa-Lobos piano music.

Another story, in O Globo's Gazeta on-line, is a feature on the great pianist and conductor João Carlos Martins. The article by Erik Oakes tells the really fascinating stories of the incredible physical disabilities Martins has overcome: nerve damage and repetitive strain injuries to both hands, combined with the effects of a nasty mugging in Bulgaria.  Last October Martins appeared with jazz great Dave Brubeck at Lincoln Centre, and he'll be conducting the Orquestra Camerata Sesi on March 16 in Espírito Santo.  That concert includes Bachianas Brasileiras no. 4.

One of the coolest things in Oakes' story is that the Sao Paulo Samba School Vai-Vai will be including the story of Martins in their 2011 Carnival presentation.  The title will be A Música Venceu - The Music Wins.

Recently I've been enjoying the music of João Carlos Martins on The Naxos Music Library.  Martins recorded the complete keyboard music of Bach on the Labor label, and you can listen to all of them at NML.  I especially enjoy his concertos discs, and especially Brandenburg Concerto no. 5: LAB7042.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Choros no. 6

From the 30th Annual Festival de Inverno de Campos do Jordão in July 1999, Roberto Tibiriçá conducts the Festival Orchestra in Choros no 6, one of Villa's greatest works.   Part 2 is here, and part 3 is here.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

David Soyer

I've read quite a few tributes to cellist David Soyer of the Guarneri Quartet, who died on February 25 at the age of 87.  His music has given me so much pleasure over the years, and in the last week I've enjoyed listening to a variety of CDs that I've acquired over the years that this great musician played on.

I was surprised to read in Anne Midgette's article in the Washington Post about some of Soyer's freelance work:
He supplemented his solo appearances with stints ranging from playing in the NBC Symphony under Arturo Toscanini to performing in the studio band on the first-ever "Ed Sullivan Show." He played with pianist-singer Nat "King" Cole, backed jazz singer Billie Holliday on her final major album and soloed on folk singer Joan Baez's 1964 recording of Heitor Villa-Lobos's "Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 -- Aria."
The Joan Baez BB#5 has been a favourite of my readers at the HVL Website and The Villa-Lobos Magazine over the years.  The cello soloist in this piece doesn't always necessarily get credited on CDs or in concert programs, but listening to this piece again David Soyer's playing is really a standout.  Now I'm off to check out the Billie Holiday and Nat Cole discs!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Villa-Lobos on Cultura FM: March 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.

March 1:
23:00 NOTURNO:
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART – Quinteto em sol menor  KV 516. Quarteto Melos e Franz Beyer (viola). / Maurice RAVEL – Conversas da Bela com a Fera. London Brass. / VILLA-LOBOS - Berceuse - Barcarolla do Trio no. 2. Aulustrio. / KURTAG - Canto Gregoriano: De Adão a Abraão. György Kurtag (órgão). Schola Hungarica. Reg.: Janka Szendrei.