Monday, December 12, 2011

Humberto Mauro's Sangue Mineiro

The Brazilian film-maker Humberto Mauro is best known for his 1937 film Descobrimento do Brasil, the score of which was written by Villa-Lobos. New to YouTube is this beautiful silent film Sangue Mineiro, from 1929, a restored print from BossaFilmes with an excellent soundtrack of music from the period.

Villa-Lobos's first String Quartet plays an important role in the score, as does his rarely-heard orchestral work Ruda: God of Love. The complete music credits are at 1:16:40; included are pieces by Mignone, Hekel Tavares, Camargo Guarnieri, Nazareth, and Guerra Peixe.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Villa-Lobos Top 10

In commemoration of the 52nd anniversary of Villa-Lobos's death, journalist Rui Agapito wrote this excellent article at [English translation by Google]. I was really pleased that Rui asked me to come up with my favourite 10 pieces by Villa-Lobos. My choice:
  1. Preludes for guitar
  2. Choros #10
  3. Nonetto
  4. Quarteto simbolico
  5. Bachianas Brasileiras #5
  6. String Quartet #07
  7. Prole do Bebê, book 1
  8. Uirapuru
  9. Floresta do Amazonas
  10. Missa São Sebastião
What are your favourite 10 works by Villa?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Villa-Lobos for trumpet & orchestra

Here's a brand-new video from the 49th Festival Villa-Lobos taking place this month in Rio. This is a fabulous new arrangement of the Saxophone Fantasia for trumpet and orchestra, by Roberto Duarte.

Marcelo Rodolfo from the Museu Villa-Lobos says this about the new piece in an email:
According to Flávio Gabriel, the splendid trumpet player who accepted the challenge, this is the most difficult work he ever played in his life. But the result, as you'll hear is worth it. A lot!!! My expectation is that other trumpet players will be encouraged to meet this challenge, too. Strangely, Villa-Lobos never wrote a work for trumpet, even in chamber music, just some solos in orchestral parts.
This concert is from November 19th, and featured Orquestra Sinfônica de Barra Mansa, under the direction of Vantoil de Souza. Two other concerto arrangements are being premiered at this year's Festival: Cirandas das Sete Notas (for cello - originally for bassoon), and the Guitar Concerto (for harp).

I'm anxious to hear what you Villa-Lobos lovers think about this new take on a very familiar work.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

1930 Varese/Villa-Lobos Concert in Paris

Here is the notice in La Semaine a Paris of the March 14, 1930 concert in Paris with important performances of music by Edgard Varese (Octandre, Offrandres) and Villa-Lobos (Quinteto em forma de choros, Saudades das Selvas Brasileiras, Deux Choros Bis, Poeme de l'Enfant et Sa Mere, Cirandas, and Chansons typiques bresiliennes).

I don't know the music of Marcel Mihalovici, but he hung out with some very talented musicians.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Agenda VivaMúsica

The monthly magazine Agenda VivaMúsica is available on the web. This month's issue focuses on Villa-Lobos, with the highlight being the 49th Festival Villa-Lobos.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Danças Brasileiras from BIS

A new CD from BIS features the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP) under the direction of Roberto Minczuk. It includes dances by Alberto Nepomuceno, Alexandre Levy, Francisco Mignone, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Oscar Lorenzo Fernández, Camargo Guarnieri, Edino Krieger, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Clóvis Pereira and César Guerra-Peixe. 

The Villa-Lobos piece is the Dança Frenética, written in 1919. This is the second recording of the piece; it's also on an old Marco Polo disc conducted by Roberto Duarte. The disc will be released on on November 22nd.

Maestro Minczuk spends part of the year in Rio de Janeiro as the Principal Conductor of the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, but he's also the Music Director of the Calgary Philharmonic. I'm looking forward to making the 150km trip down Highway 2 from Red Deer to Calgary to see Minczuk conduct the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus in Choros #10, Villa-Lobos's greatest work, on December 3rd.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Green Mansions Project

Alfred Heller is the founder and president of the Villa-Lobos Music Society of New York City. Alfred is a composer, conductor, and pianist, and, I'm pleased to say, a friend of mine.  It's great to see today's announcement of the Green Mansions Project. There's more information at the project website. I'm hoping I might be able to make it to New York for the October 1, 2012 Gala at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

49th Annual Festival Villa-Lobos

The 49th Annual Festival Villa-Lobos takes place in Rio de Janeiro from November 11 to November 27. Featured performers include soprano Rosana Lamosa, pianist Lúcia Barrenechea, the Quinteto Villa-Lobos, Art Metal Quinteto, Quarteto Radamés Gnattali, violinist Daniel Guedes, Trio Aquarius, Wagner Tiso, Naná Vasconcelos, Andre Mehmari & Hamilton de Holanda, guitarist Turibio Santos, and pianist Cristina Ortiz.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Two Modernists in Paris

Villa-Lobos and Edgard Varese met in Paris in 1929, and soon became best friends. I'll be adding some posts in the next few days about their interactions, and how two great modernist composers explored new musical ideas and new sounds together.

Here is a poster from an important concert at the Maison Gaveau Salle des Concerts on May 30th, 1927.  Opening and closing the concert were a couple of ground-breaking works: Amazonas, the 1917 ballet by Villa-Lobos, and Ameriques, a large-scale work written by Varese in 1918-21 and revised in 1927.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Award-Winning Miloš Karadaglić Plays Villa-Lobos

Miloš Karadaglić, who recently won the Specialist Classical Chart Award and the Young Artist of the Year awards at the 2011 Gramophone Classical Music Awards, plays the first Villa-Lobos Prelude.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Villa-Lobos Trio Video

Here is a bit of the 1st Villa-Lobos Piano Trio by the Austria-based Villa-Lobos Trio (along with some beautiful Piazzolla and Zequinha de Abreu's great "Tico Tico no fuba"). The Villa-Lobos Trio was recently nominated for a Latin Grammy for their 2010 Oehms Classics CD.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Roberto Burle Marx: The Modernity of Landscape

A new book about the great modernist landscape architect and designer Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994) shows his versatility and originality. Roberto and his musician brother Walter were friends of Villa-Lobos. One of Roberto Burle Marx's Villa-Lobos legacies is the garden he designed in 1986 for the Museu Villa-Lobos.

Roberto Burle Marx also collaborated with the composer: in 1959 (the year of Villa's death) he worked on stage and costume designs for the ballet Zuimaluti, with music by Villa-Lobos, and a libretto by Mario de Andrade. I haven't been able to track down any references to this work other than the Burle Marx designs.  Zuimaluti isn't included in the latest version of Villa-Lobos: Sua Obra. Have any Villa-Lobos scholars out there heard of any surviving music from this project?

Burle Marx is an amazing artist; you can see many of his designs in this preview of the new book.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Alfred Heller on Villa-Lobos

My good friend Alfred Heller says all sorts of great things about Villa-Lobos in this short interview on Veja TV, including this: "Villa-Lobos is the most important composer since Beethoven."

Alfred Heller knew Villa-Lobos well during the last few years of the composer's life, when he acted as his assistant in New York in the late 1950s. Alfred's conducting and piano playing on a wide range of CDs has enriched the Villa-Lobos discography. Read his excellent article "The One-World Style of Villa-Lobos".

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Two Villa-Lobos Discs Nominated for Latin Grammy Awards

Two Villa-Lobos discs have been nominated for Latin Grammy awards.  The excellent Delos CD from the Brazilian Guitar Quartet [pictured above] includes a wide variety of piano and chamber works arranged for four guitars by group member Tadeu do Amaral. You can listen to Track 14 from the disc at Soundcloud: it's one of Villa-Lobos's Cirandas, A procura de uma agulha (Hunting for a Needle).

The other disc is from the young Austrian ensemble the Villa-Lobos Trio: pianist Rosângela Antunes, violinist Florian Wilscher, and cellist Katrin Schickedanz. This fine Oehms Classics CD includes Villa-Lobos's early (1911) First Piano Trio, along with an arrangement by J. Bragato of Piazzolla's Las Cuatros Estaciones Portenas, and an interesting work by Lucio Bruno-Videla called Yumba Verwandlung. You can listen to the first movement of the Villa-Lobos Piano Trio at the VLT website.

Good luck to both groups!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Arte de Villa-Lobos

In 2009 TV Cultura showed the documentary "A Arte de Villa-Lobos" on Programa Mosaicos. It's so nice to have the entire show, in 6 parts, on YouTube. There are lots of great bits in this first section: Anna Stella Schic playing the 2nd Piano Concerto in a 1979 concert, and an endorsement from Aaron Copland, who didn't often say nice things about Villa-Lobos:
"A passionate type of man. I don't know how he ever managed to get to sleep at night. He seemed to be so very much alive all the time: very spontaneous, easily combustible, you know, just very lively in the head. So it was fun to be with him."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Video: Portrait of Villa-Lobos in Rio

Portrait of Heitor Villa-Lobos in Rio by medicitv

This excerpt from a longer documentary on Villa-Lobos at Medici.TV includes one of the greatest of Villa-Lobos stories: the meeting in Rio between the young composer and the pianist Arthur Rubinstein.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Villa-Lobos at

From, a mix of Popular Villa-Lobos, music by Villa-Lobos in jazz & MPB versions by Cyro Baptista, Egberto Gismonti, Rabo de Lagartixa. And a second mix: Villa-Lobos Chamber Music.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tarsila do Amaral

Yesterday (September 1) was the 125th anniversary of the birth of Tarsila do Amaral. Born the year before Villa-Lobos, the great Brazilian painter was a friend of the composer's, and a participant with Villa-Lobos in the festivities during the Semana de Arte Moderna in Sao Paulo in 1923. Many of Tarsila's paintings show up on Villa-Lobos CDs. The painting above (Carnaval em Madureira, 1924), for example, is on the BIS set of the Complete Choros and Bachianas Brasileiras.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Villa-Lobos Digital Project at the ABM

Here's an exciting project from the Academia Brasileira da Música.
Villa-Lobos is considered the greatest Brazilian composer of all time and, undoubtedly, one of the world greatest geniuses of music in the twentieth century.  
A controversial artist, but widely respected and admired, his compositions are part of great artists’ repertoire and are performed in the most important concert halls around the world. His monumental orchestral work - which includes symphonic poems, concertos, ballets, symphonies, suites, operas, famous “Bachianas Brasileiras”, the “Choros”, the “Forest of the Amazon” and many others -, lacked a revised orchestral edition to do justice to what Villa-Lobos represents for the Brazilian and world culture. For a long time Dr. Marisa Gandelman (former attorney of the ABM - Brazilian Academy of Music) cherished the complex and difficult to achieve dream to transform this lack in reality.
Many performing rights of Villa-Lobos works belong to foreign publishers, especially Max Eschig, from Paris. The first and most difficult step was to obtain the permission of these companies to produce BAM own editions. The second step was to invite Sarau Agência de Cultura Brasileira, a renowned company in the cultural market, to develop a management and fundraising project required to achieve this goal. 
Therefore, the Digital Villa-Lobos project has as its main goal to provide Villa Lobos scores and orchestral material, in a high-level edition, stimulating and making possible the performance of Villa Lobos symphonic works.  
When we were invited to take the Project’s artistic direction we decided to create, under our presidency, a commission formed by academics Luther Robinson, Henrique Morelenbaum, Ricardo Tacuchian and Turibio Santos, to set the parameters of future issues and have the collaboration of professionals signing several works reviews.
Sarau's work bore fruit, the sponsorship came. Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional, moved by the Project’s significance, was receptive to provide the necessary funds to the first part, that is the editing of the first fifteen works. Shortly after, the Consul Company aware of the importance of a better dissemination of Villa-Lobos works came to meet us to offer the sponsorship of another stage. The work began. There are still other important works to be edited. New sponsors are expected to honor and promote the one who was and still is the biggest name of Brazilian music.
Here are the scores to be published in the first stage of the project:
  • Alvorada na Floresta Tropical
  • Choros #06
  • Momoprecoce
  • Danca Frenetica
  • Danca dos Mosquitos
  • Introducao aos Choros
  • Guitar Concerto
  • Mandu-Sarrara
  • Madona
  • O Naufragio de Kleonicos
  • Bachianas Brasileiras #9 (orchestral and choral versions)
  • Symphony #06
  • Fantasia for Cello and Orchestra
  • Genesis
  • Choros #10
  • Choros #07
  • Harp Concerto
  • Magnificat-Alleluia
  • Dancas Africanas
  • Rudepoema (orchestral version)
  • Amazonas

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Yerma from Manaus

In April of 2010 Villa-Lobos's opera Yerma was performed at the famous Opera House in Manaus. The Amazonas Filarmônica is directed by Marcelo de Jesus, and the production is directed by Allex Aguilera.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Villa-Lobos: Uma Vida de Paixão Trailer

Here's a trailer for the outstanding film by Zelito Viana, Villa-Lobos: Uma Vide de Paixão (2000). The trailer-hype for this one is on the mark: "Passional, Exagerado, Revolucionario, Grandioso." Just like the composer himself.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Concert from the 2010 Festival Villa-Lobos

You can listen to a podcast of this concert from Radio MEC's program A Grande Música (June 18, 2011).

Festival Villa-Lobos: cantores

Obras do compositor interpretadas por Licio Bruno, Verushka Mainhardt, Jaime Vignoli, Nilze Carvalho e Maria Tereza Madeira
A apresentação de cantores populares e líricos no evento realizado no Espaço Tom Jobim, no Jardim Botânico, durante o Festival Villa-Lobos. Nesta edição, obras para canto de Villa-Lobos são interpretadas por cantores populares com acompanhamento fiel à partitura original, e por cantores clássicos com arranjos populares.
Seleção musical
Abrideira pro Villa – Jaime Vignoli
De Heitor Villa-Lobos:
Lundu da Marquesa de Santos – João Cavalcanti, voz
Viola Quebrada – Nilze Carvalho, voz
Canção do Poeta do Século XVIII – Veruschka Mainhard, soprano
Remeiro de S. Francisco – Lício Bruno, barítono
Canção da Folha Morta – Nilze Carvalho, voz
Modinha – Nilze Carvalho, voz
Saudades de Minha Vida – Veruschka Mainhard, soprano
Na Paz do Outono – Veruschka Mainhard, soprano
Redondilha – Lício Bruno, barítono
Serenata – Lício Bruno, barítono
Cantiga do Viúvo – João Cavalcanti, voz
Realejo – Maria Tereza Madeira; R. Alvim; Luis Barcelos; Nilze Carvalho
Ária – Veruschka Mainhard, soprano
Melodia Sentimental – J. Cavalcanti; N. Carvalho; V. Mainhard; L. Bruno

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Song of the Uirapuru

I love listening to the Cambaxirra (mentioned in the second part of Bachianas Brasileiras #5). So I thought I'd post the song of the Uirapuru:

Uirapuru (Cyphorhinus arada VE-km67 19940712 S1 ATC) by Dean Frey

There are so many Creative Commons-licensed bird songs on the web now.  This one is by Allen T. Chartier, recorded in Venezuela, 12-07-1994, found at this great website. Here's a lovely picture of the "Musical Wren" ("Uirapuru" is the Portuguese name, based on the Tupi "wirapu 'ru").

This picture, in the public domain, is from the Catalogue of the birds in the British Museum. Volume 6, by John Gerrard Keulemans (1842–1912), and comes from the Wikipedia article.

And here, for comparison, is the first part of Villa-Lobos's ballet Uirapuru. This recording is by the OSMSP, conducted by Rodrigo de Carvalho.

Uirapuru, by Villa-Lobos (clip) by Dean Frey

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Villa-Lobos the conductor

It's not often one reads about Villa-Lobos the conductor, except when he's conducting his own works. This report from Rio in the November 15, 1935 issue of the Paris music magazine Menestrel shows the range of Villa the conductor. It's not a surprise to see the music of his friend Florent Schmitt, and you can hear the influence of others in Villa's music from the 1930s: especially Ravel, and (obviously) Bach.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wow! James Ellroy likes Villa-Lobos!

Novelist James Ellroy was a big hit at FLIP 2011, the international literary festival in Paraty, a small city in Rio de Janeiro state. It seems, from this recent story on the Globo website, that Ellroy spoke a fair amount about music. He's a big fan of Beethoven, but he also, according to the video on the site, likes Villa-Lobos. The article: "James Ellroy diz admirar Heitor Villa-Lobos na Flip", or "James Ellroy expresses admiration for Villa-Lobos at FLIP."

This reminds me a bit of the Royal Couple's recent visit to The Calgary Stampede, where everyone was really pleased that the Prince & Princess wore the white Stetson hats they were given. Not that we're at all insecure in the New World.

"Listen," says Ellroy, "I'm in Brazil; I'm your guest. I'm going to say some good shit about your country."

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mandu Çarará

The Bierce Library at the University of Akron in Ohio holds the collections of Walter Burle Marx, the composer, conductor and close friend of Villa-Lobos. Thanks to librarian David Procházka for this scan of the first page of the score.

You can watch an excellent performance of this rare "secular cantata" at YouTube. Roberto Tibiriçá conducts the Sinfónica de la Juventud Venezolana "Simón Bolívar", the Sistema Nacional de Coros Sinfonicos (Zulia, Tachira, Merida y Metropolitano), and the Niños Cantores del Nucleo Los Teques, in a concert from Caracas from last January 30th.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Alberto Ginastera's Tribute to Villa-Lobos

One of Alberto Ginastera's best known piano works is his Preludios Americanos, op. 12, written in 1944. Included in the 12 characteristic pieces are homages to some composers he admired: Aaron Copland, Roberto Garcia Morillo, Juan Jose Castro, and Heitor Villa-Lobos.

You can listen to No. 11. Homenaje a Heitor Villa-Lobos, played by Fernando Viani, here at

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Villa-Lobos Twitter Marathon

#HeitorADay is the hashtag for a new Villa-Lobos Twitter project of mine, based in part on the notoriously large output of the great Brazilian composer, and in part because the music is so great.  I'll be listening to a different Villa-Lobos piece every day, and tweeting about it. I'll keep track of all the tweets here and here. We'll see how long it takes to use up my pretty extensive Villa-Lobos music collection.

I'm in this for the long haul!  Feel free to listen and tweet along.

Tweets #1 to #32: June 30, and July 1-31, 2011
Tweets #33 to #62: August 2011 
Tweets #63 to #89: September 2011

& Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude 22, arranged for 8 cellos by Villa-Lobos, on a Yale Cellos disc
Serestas - a collection of amazing songs written from 1923 to the early 40s -
Saudades das Selvas Brasileiras, from 1927 - Fred Sturm video:
Choros #05 "Alma Brasileira" -
Cirandas, 16 piano pieces based on children's songs -
Villa-Lobos Cor dulce, cor amabile, a late choral work.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Turibio Santos plays Introdução aos Choros

Here's an archival video of Turibio Santos playing the rare Introdução aos Choros, with the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo directed by Diogo Pacheco. The Introduction to Choros is a "Symphonic Overture" to the Choros series, and includes themes from a number of Choros. Note that the first Choros, for solo guitar, is played immediately following the Introdução.

The video is undated; my guess, based on hairstyles, would be late 1970s.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Emperor Jones

In 1956 the great choreographer José Limon commissioned Villa-Lobos to write a score for a ballet based on Eugene O'Neill's play The Emperor Jones. Above is video of the first 10 minutes of a CBC television broadcast with the Limon Dance Company, from March 13, 1957. The full performance is 23 minutes, and is available on DVD.

Earlier this month, the Limon Dance Company presented a revival of The Emperor Jones 25 years after its premiere. Here are excerpts from that production, in rehearsal at SUNY Purchase.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ivan Pires's Music for Children

Here's an interesting concert program, especially considering the charity involved: Barnardo's Children's Charity. There's more information on this July 6 concert, at Westminster Cathedral Hall, here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

South of the Border with Disney

In 1942 Disney released the 30-minute film "South of the Border with Disney". There's a great clip of Villa-Lobos conducting a huge choir of school children at the Vasco da Gama stadium in Rio (at the 4 minute mark).

At one point Disney and Villa discussed including a "Little Train" segment for a sequel to Fantasia. Sadly, the project never worked out.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Villa-Lobos Book from Germany

A new book has been released by the German publisher Max Brockhaus: the author is Cornelia Napp, and the title is „Personal representatives“ in musikverlegerischen Kulturbeziehungen. Die Vertretung von Heitor Villa-Lobos in den USA. Mit Zeittafel „Villa-Lobos in den USA 1947–1961“.

Villa spent a fair amount of time in the U.S. - mainly in New York - in the last 15 years of his life. He was busy with his Broadway show Magdalena, with guest conducting, and with various commissions, including those for the Philadelphia, Boston, and Louisville Symphonies.  This book covers these important stories from the point of view of Milton A. Peterson, who represented Villa-Lobos in many of these activities.

Go to the Max Brockhaus Musikverlag website for more information.  Here is the book's Table of Contents.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Four Maestros

NOTE: I screwed up the caption of this excellent photo the first time around.  Thanks to Roberto for this corrected version:

Villa-Lobos and his famous cello in a group that includes Maestros Tabarin, Souza Lima and Franklin de Mattos.  This 1931 photo was taken at Hotel where Villa-Lobos was living at the time, in São Paulo. Franklin de Mattos, a great friend of Villa-Lobos is from Botucatu, one of the destinations of the Caravana Villa-Lobos, the road trip on the Trenzinho do Caipira that Villa led through the back-woods of Brazil. This photo is from a great website maintained by Prof. Roberto Vicençotto Ribas.  Lots of other great photos there.

Uirapuru from Madrid

I've been waiting for this to show up on YouTube. It's another part of a concert in San Lorenzo del Escorial from April 17, 2011, with Jordi Francés Sanjuán conducting JORCAM (Joven Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid). This is the 2nd half of the great early ballet score, Uirapuru. YouTube also has videos of Bachianas Brasileiras #8 from the same concert.  This is an excellent performance by these young musicians, and the HD version of the video is stunning.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Maria Lúcia Godoy Podcast

Soprano Maria Lúcia Godoy (b. 1929) is an outstanding singer of the generation after Bidu Sayão. She specialized in the music of Villa-Lobos; among her famous recordings are Bachianas Brasileiras #5, Forest of the Amazon, and Serestas.  You can listen to a podcast from the Radio MEC program A Música Clássica no Brasil, in which Godoy sings a selection of Serestas, and some traditional songs from Minas Gerais (she grew up in Belo Horizonte, and graduated from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais).

Dom, 27/02

A Arte de Maria Lúcia Godoy

A soprano brasileira interpreta tradicionais modinhas mineiras e composições de Heitor Villa-Lobos

"Cantares de Minas" (1985), álbum da cantora Maria Lúcia Godoy

A consagrada soprano Maria Lúcia Godoy nos oferece sua interpretação de algumas das mais tradicionais modinhas mineiras, reunidas no álbum Cantares de Minas. O programa apresenta ainda algumas das obras vocais, entre serestas e modinhas, de Heitor Villa-Lobos. Um repertório inteiramente adequado à voz da cantora. 

No programa
Seleção de modinhas mineiras  – Cantares de Minas
Seleção de modinhas e serestas de Heitor Villa-Lobos

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tribute to Arminda

Arminda Neves d'Almeida Villa-Lobos was Villa's devoted companion from 1936 to Villa's death in 1959, and the first Director of the Museu Villa-Lobos from 1960 until her death in 1985. Villa called her "Mindinha".

Next week the Museu VL will be presenting three programs in tribute to Mindinha.  Here is what's happening (in Google translation):

Tuesday: 17/05, 16 hours - Roundtable:
"Project Mini-Concert Didactic Museum of Villa-Lobos - 25"
Participants: Turibio Santos, guitarist, former director of the Villa-Lobos, Jayme Vignoli, composer, arranger; Josimar Carneiro, composer, arranger, Luis Carlos Barbieri, guitarist, music producer, Charles Smith, professor, guitarist; Monica Mangia, guitarist ; Ronildo Candide, cellist. Mediation: Marcia Ladeira, museologist.
Wednesday: 18/05, 16 hours - Lecture:
"The Muse and the Museum" - Tribute to Arminda Villa-Lobos, founder and first director of the Villa-Lobos
Participants: Ely Gonçalves, first museologist of the Villa-Lobos and Rui Mourao, writer, director of the Conspiracy Museum, former Coordinator of the National Museum of the National Foundation Pro-Memory.
Thursday: 19/05, 16 hours - Roundtable:
"Mindinha Villa-Lobos - Affective Memory"
Participants: Alceo Bocchino, conductor, composer; Herminio Bello de Carvalho, a poet, composer, Célia Maria Machado, Harper, Noel Devos, bassoonist; Turibio Santos guitarist, former director of the Villa-Lobos.
Mediation: Valdinha Barbosa, researcher.
Music Participation: Marcio Malard, cello / Wagner Tiso, piano
Valdinha Barbosa / Marcia Slope
Educational Action of MVL
(21) 2226-9818
(21) 2226-9020
mvl.educa @

I recently came across this letter from Mindinha to Marguerite Long, the great French pianist who was a great friend of Mindinha and Heitor, and an advocate for Villa-Lobos's music.  The letter was written on June 2, 1962.
Very, very dear friend,

I never forget you. You are always in my thoughts. My soul is empty without the presence of our unforgettable Villa-Lobos, but in spite of everything, my health is fine…. The government created the Villa-Lobos museum… and I am in charge of a radio program for the Ministry of Education called 'Villa-Lobos, his life, his work.' …I insist on writing to you about this because I cannot have a program about Villa-Lobos without having your contribution… It would make me very happy and the program would be all the better for it. It is because of the deep friendship he had with you… for his sincere admiration for your art, well, everything, that I hope to hear from you soon…. You can understand how I feel, without the one who represented everything to me: my immense love, my mentor, my friend, and how difficult it is to live.
This heartbreaking outpouring of grief to a close friend is from "Marguerite Long: a life in French music, 1874-1966," by Cecilia Dunoyer, p. 180

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Trenzinho Funk

Xplau's Villa-Lobos Remix 5.0 project includes this new look at the famous "Little Train" movement of Bachianas Brasileiras #2. It's my favourite in a whole series of remixes of works such as Uirapuru, the 16th String Quartet, and Genesis. For more, go to the Villa-Lobos Remix Myspace Page, and website. And if you're in New York later this month, you can see the US premiere on May 14 at Symphony Space Music, with guests Sonia Rubinsky & the Colorado Quartet.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

OSB Concerto Manifesto

The first movement of Bachianas Brasileiras #4, played by former members of the Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira (OSB) in their "Concerto Manifesto". Notice the SOS/OSB shirts all of the musicians are wearing. More on the story here, and at Slipped Disc.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Villa-Lobos Conducts Villa-Lobos

The greatest recording project of the music of Villa-Lobos comes from France in the 1950s. Though the recorded sound was thin, Villa-Lobos was at the helm, and he was given plenty of time to prepare his excellent musicians.  Released on 10 LPs in 1958, "Villa-Lobos par lui-même" was by far the best way to learn about the music of the legendary Brazilian composer in the 20th Century, especially after the set was released in a set of six compact discs just after the Villa-Lobos Centennial in 1987.

The set included all nine of the Bachianas Brasileiras (the 4th and the 9th in their orchestral versions). A highlight was the 5th, with the great soprano Victoria de los Angeles outstanding in both movements.  But there was so much more here: the four suites of the Discovery of Brazil and the 4th Symphony were two interesting orchestral works that weren't likely to show up in concerts or recordings. Though it was a shame that the full set of Choros weren't included - it was only recently with the complete Choros series from OSESP and John Neschling that we realized how great a series it is - there was one standout. The 11th Choros is one of the two great concertante works for piano by Villa-Lobos (the other is BB#3), and the great Magda Tagliaferro Aline van Barentzen [thanks for the correction, Harold!] is splendid as a soloist. [Tagliaferro shines in Momoprecoce].

The set seems to be still available at most outlets, and at a very good price. But now there's a new version - perhaps re-mastered - coming out. I've seen it at a number of UK web stores, usually for about £15 for 6 CDs. That's an amazing bargain.  If only they've somehow improved the sound! [I just saw this set on - to be released May 31, 2011.]

Even though we have new sets of Bachianas Brasileiras, the Choros, and the Symphonies, in excellent recordings with superb sound, there will still be a place for these Paris recordings. New generations of conductors especially should pay special attention to Villa-Lobos's own recordings. They represent the true spirit of his music, no matter how imperfectly he was able to communicate it to his French musicians.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

OSESP Benefit Concert for Japan

The Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo (OSESP) has organized a concert to benefit the victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.  It will be held on April 11, one month to the day after the disaster, and will include Japanese and Brazilian musicians. The concert features Toru Takemitsu's Requiem, as well as music by Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras #5 and #9, and choral works performed by Coro da Osesp. Wagner Polistchuk conducts. There's more information here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Villa-Lobos inJazz

Villa-Lobos has often been used as source material by jazz musicians - Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, George Benson, David Sánchez, Kenny Dorham, The Modern Jazz Quartet, among others.  In Brazil, jazz musicians treat Villa-Lobos tunes as standards, like the Great American Songbook.  Projeto B is an excellent example of Brazilian musicians re-thinking Villa-Lobos in a jazz idiom.

"Villa-Lobos inJazz" is a project of Octavio Garcia, based, as he says, "on the deepest roots of our culture."

projeto VILLA-LOBOS INJAZZ crowdfunding catarse from otavio garcia on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Cool Composer Challenge

O.K. Here’s the Cool Composer Challenge. Can you come up with a picture of a composer cooler than this one of Heitor? Post a link to the picture in a comment below, tweet with the #coolcomposers hashtag, or send me an email. I'll post all the pictures at The Cool Composer Challenge page at The Villa-Lobos Website.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Arte de Cristina Ortiz

Cristina Ortiz, one of Brazil's great pianists, is featured on a weekly program on Radio MEC FM, called "A Arte de Cristina Ortiz". The program is on every Sunday at noon (11am EDT - 9am here in Red Deer), so you can listen to the Radio MEC live stream. Episodes are also available, a couple of weeks later, as podcasts. Listen to this program from January 23, 2011, which features the 3rd Villa-Lobos Piano Concerto from the complete set on Decca, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Miguel Gomez-Martinez.

There's lots of Villa-Lobos included in this series - go here for the complete list - but Ortiz plays much more than Brazil's favourite composer. Check out her Chopin, Schumann, or Stenhammar.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Villa-Lobos por uma Soprano

Ivy Goulart is a Brazilian documentary film-maker who lives in New York.  His new film "Villa-Lobos por uma Soprano" (Villa-Lobos by a Soprano), from the evidence of the trailer, looks like it will provide some new insights into a composer whose reputation continues to grow world-wide.  The 35-minute film features soprano Stela Brandão.  You can watch the trailer at YouTube, or at the Goulart Films website.  I'll post information about screenings or DVD availability when I find out more.  I'm anxious to see the whole film!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Victory Symphony in Caracas

Conductor Roberto Tibiriçá has sent me the links to new high-quality versions of video from his January 2011 concert with the Orquesta Sinfónica de la Juventud Venezolana "Simón Bolívar". Here is the rarely-played 4th Symphony (the "Victory", written in 1919). Villa-Lobos piled on the orchestration in this piece, which calls for a "fanfarra" of brass instruments, and a "conjunto interno" with even more brass. In this performance the Banda Sinfónica Juvenil Simón Bolívar provides more-than-capable support.

Having to bring this many musicians on-stage (and asking the percussionists to play such instruments as pratos, bombo, tambor, caixa clara, sinos, sistro, pandeiro, guizos, chocalho, and others) helps to explain why this work isn't in the standard repertoire.  But an exciting performance like this one points to a bit of a re-examination of the symphonies, which have always been damned with faint praise, especially in comparison with the orchestral Bachianas Brasileiras, Choros, ballets, and tone poems.

The highlight of that concert, though, was a real eye-opener: the pretty much never-performed secular cantata Mandú Çárárá, written in 1939.  Unlike the symphony, this is one of Villa's greatest works, nearly on the same level as Choros #10 and the Nonetto.  And once again, it's presented to best effect with the same high-flying orchestra, this time with the Sistema Nacional de Coros FESNOJIV (which includes a charming children's choir).  So here is the official video (much better than the shaky camera version I posted last month).

The last piece from the concert is the overture to Lo Schiavo, by Carlos Gomes.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Partimpim Dois: O Trenzinho do Caipira

Adriana Calcanhotto is a Brazilian singer and composer with an alter-ego, Adriana Partimpim, in whose guise she performs and records music for children.   The second Parimpim album was released in 2009, and it includes an amazing version of O Trenzinho do Caipira from Bachianas Brasileiras #2.  With words by the great Brazilian poet Ferreira Gullar, and support from a very tight band, this is a really exceptional version of a piece that's become a Brazilian pop/jazz standard, almost a second national anthem.  And it has an exceptional video (unfortunately embedding is disabled, but I encourage you to trek on over to YouTube to check it out).  I love the references to things Villa-Lobos loved: kites, trains, children, and cats.

You can listen to the album at this flash-based site; click on Partimpim Dois: CD.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Villa Lobos, o maestro

I just came across a new children's book from Brazil: Villa Lobos, o maestro, written by Lúcia Fidalgo, with illustrations by Fabiana Salomão (published by Ed.Paulus in 2011).  There are a couple of charming illustrations from the book at Salomão's blog.

I'm not sure of the best way to buy this book outside of Brazil.  The ISBN is 9788534928540, and here's an online store that stocks it.

Ivy Improta

I've been enjoying one of the Podcasts in the series Música e Músicos do Brasil, from Radio MEC-FM.  The February 12, 2011 program features the Brazilian pianist Ivy Improta.  This was a name I wasn't familiar with, but I was very impressed with her performances of Brazilian music by Villa-Lobos, Guarnieri, and others.  I was especially impressed with her Valsa da Dor, and a swinging Alma Brasileira (Choros #05).

Here's some information on Ivy Improta, which comes from a 2003 article by Bruce Gilman about the pianist's grandson, musician Gabriel Improta:
Ivy Improta was a child prodigy who Villa-Lobos brought to Rio de Janeiro from the interior São Paulo for studies with Tomás Teran. She worked with Villa-Lobos throughout her career and became recognized as the classical pianist who toured extensively, unveiling Brazilian classical music both solo and with orchestras. Tomás Teran introduced her to Eurico Nogueira França, a pianist, teacher of music history, and music journalist for Correio da Manhã, Jornal do Brasil, and O Estado de S. Paulo. He was a close friend of Villa-Lobos, and together they worked to establish the Academia Brasileira de Música (Brazilian Music Academy). When Ivy was 20 years old, they were married; their best man was Villa-Lobos. 
Teran was a close friend of Villa's, and the composer dedicated many great works to him.  By the way, he was one of Tom Jobim's teachers.

I've never seen any Villa-Lobos recordings by Ivy Improta, which is a shame.  She played the piano in the premiere of the Fantasia Concertante for piano, clarinet, and bassoon (a work which was dedicated to the pianist Eugene List.)  This seems to be the only picture of her on the web:

Make sure you listen to that podcast before it's gone (probably in a couple of weeks).  Can anyone tell me more about this excellent musician?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chiquinha Gonzaga

Today is the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day, and it's also Carnaval season, so that points to one amazing person: the composer and feminist pioner Chiquinha Gonzaga.  As I've posted previously, Chiquinha was born early enough to fight against slavery in Brazil (it was abolished in 1888), but lived long enough (1935) to be a major influence, friend and mentor to Villa-Lobos.

There are some good resources about Chiquinha online, from a basic English Wikipedia page to the official site (in Portuguese) at  The picture to the left, which shows Chiquinha at the time of her first success as a composer in 1877, is from that excellent site.  Also there are links to YouTube videos and PDF versions of sheet music.

A CD I highly recommend is Luciana Soares' Brasileira: Piano Music by Brazilian Women, on the Centaur label, from 2007.

Besides three pieces by Chiquinha, there are works by Nininha Gregori, Kilza Setti, Maria Luiza Priolli, Adelaide Pereira Silva, Clarisse Leite, Maria H. Rosas-Fernandes, and Branca Bilhar. The disc is available at The Naxos Music Library, catalogue #CRC2680.

Monday, March 7, 2011

De Batutas e Batucadas

With the recent interest in Villa-Lobos at the Rio Carnaval, it might be a good to remind people of this excellent flash-based site: De Batutas e Batucadas.  It tells the fascinating story about the 1940 encounter between Leopold Stokowski and Villa-Lobos.  Villa was Stokowski's entrance to the world of popular Brazilian music, and especially to the Choroes and the Samba.

The site includes streaming audio of the most important result of this project: Columbia's album Native Brazilian Music.  Highlights include the ground-breaking Pelo Telofone, with Donga and Pixinguinha, and a couple of Macumbas with amazing rhythms.  There are also some cool pictures, such as this one from the 1940 Sodade de Cordao, the Carnaval school visited by Villa-Lobos.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bloco Feitiço do Villa's Samba

It's Carnaval time in Brazil, and everyone will be humming this great samba, from the Bloco Feitiço do Villa. There's lots more information in an earlier post.

I love the allusion to the last great Villa-Lobos samba, from the samba school Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel's entry in the 1999 Carnaval, "Villa Lobos e a Apoteose Brasileira." Watch highlights here:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Martyrdom of the Insects in Ohio

Here's something most of us have never heard before. O Martírio dos Insetos is a very clever piece for violin & orchestra written by Villa-Lobos in 1925 (his modernist period). This is the U.S. premiere, recorded at last week-end's concert at Miami University in Oxford OH. Daniel Guedes is the violinist, and Ricardo Averbach conducts the Miami University Symphony Orchestra.

Though this is possibly the first performance of the piece since its premiere in 1948, there's an easily available score for the violin & piano adaptation made by the composer.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Another video from the Manaus Yerma

Here is another video from the 2010 production of Villa's opera Yerma. Keila de Moraes sings the aria "Henrique, il pastor."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

New CD reviews

I've been busy lately writing notices for the Naxos Customer Review Team, all of which you can read here.  They include Andres Villamil's Chicaquicha, guitar music from Colombia which includes some pieces which sound to my ear to be influenced in a major way by Villa's Preludes and Etudes.  Also Manuael Blancafort's Piano Music, volume 5 - the end of a great series from Naxos and a great achievement for the pianist Miquel Villalba.  Blancafort and his Catalan compatriots Albéniz, Montsalvatge, and Mompou have the same mix of local folklore and Debussy/Ravel influences in their piano music as Villa-Lobos.  I was really impressed with these CDs, along with new recordings from Anna Vinnitskaya, and Edward Gardner & the BBC SO.  As usual, Naxos continues to produce and distribute some amazing CDs.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Villa-Lobos at the 2011 Carnaval

A Bloco de carnaval is a street Carnival group. A brand-new group is Bloco Feitiço do Villa, which will be parading on the morning of March 5, 2011 (Villa's 124th Birthday), in front of the UFRJ Music School.

"Feitiço do Villa" means, I believe, "The Charm of Villa", though Google Translate for some reason gives "Groundhog Villa", which is charming in its own way.  The focus of the group is a common theme here at The Villa-Lobos Magazine: the importance of Villa-Lobos and classical music to popular music and the Samba.  Here are the words of the block's Samba:

Eu vou juntar
Chopinho com Chopin
Não importa o amanhã
Hoje eu só quero Bach

Vou misturar
Cartola com Ravel
Villa-Lobos com Noel
Pra ver que bicho dá

Eu vou provar
Que batuta batuca
Que fagote no pagode
Pode dar um bafafá

Se Noel Rosa
É um clássico nato
Villa-Lobos é de fato
Um artista popular

Hoje tudo é fantasia
Hoje tudo é ilusão
E na folia
Clara Nunes, quem diria,
Canta em duo com Bidu Sayão

Nosso bloco desfila
Com magia quase sobrenatural
Que legal
É o Feitiço do Villa
Encantando de alegria o carnaval

Which comes out thusly in Goonglish:
I'll join
Chopinho with Chopin
No matter what tomorrow
Today I just want to Bach

I will mix
Cartola with Ravel
Villa-Lobos with Noel
To see what kind of animal gives

I'll prove
That baton Batuca
What bassoon at the pagoda
Can you give a brouhaha

If Noel Rosa
It's a classic native
Villa-Lobos is in fact
A popular artist

Today everything is fantasy
Today everything is illusion
And in the revelry
Clara Nunes, who would say,
Sing a duet with Bidu Sayao

Our block parade
With almost supernatural magic
That's cool
It's Groundhog Villa [sic]
Enchanting joy of the carnival
The words and music are by the great Brazilian classical composer Edino Krieger, and his son Edu, an accomplished popular composer and performer.  I'm looking forward to following the adventures of this group as they venture forth onto one of the world's most dazzling stages: the Rio Carnaval.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

48th Festival Villa-Lobos

The Museu Villa-Lobos has been presenting annual Festivals featuring the music of the Maestro for nearly half a century. This video shows how relevant Villa's music remains today, and it also highlights the vitality of the classical music scene in Brazil. Kudos to the Museu for this awesome Festival.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mandu Çarará in New York

From the New York Philharmonic Archives, the program of an important concert conducted by Villa-Lobos.  This was the first (and the last?) North American performance of the secular cantata Mandu Çarará that included a full orchestra.  Also included was an important work by Villa's close friend Florent Schmitt.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blue Rose Duo Villa-Lobos CD

Blue Rose Duo is cellist Lars Hoefs and pianist Rose Chen.  Their new Villa-Lobos CD from Wanderlust Music contains all of Villa's music for cello and piano except for the 2nd Sonata (the score for the 1st Cello Sonata is lost).  The disc was recorded in California a year ago, and it's available from various web sources, including (Mp3 download) and CDBaby.

Villa-Lobos was a professional cellist before he became known as a composer, and many of his earlier works were written or arranged by him for cello and piano.  The most substantial pieces on the disc are the 1913 Pequena Suite, and the three movements that Villa originally wrote for cello and piano that were incorporated into his orchestral suite Bachianas Brasileiras #2.  But the emotional centre of the disc is the Song of the Black Swan (O Canto do Cisne Negro).  This beautiful piece was originally a portion of the symphonic poem Naufragio de Kleonicos, written in 1916.  The following year Villa-Lobos arranged the song for cello and piano, and it's taken off in the cello repertoire in recent years.  I count 16 performances in the Villa-Lobos Website Concerts Database, and 20 recordings!  The present recording of this piece is very good indeed, right up there with the recording by Antonio Meneses and Celina Szrvinsky on Avie.

The other smaller pieces on the disc certainly show Villa's gift for melody, though none is as striking as the Black Swan.  You'll often see these pieces arranged for other combinations; Robert Bonfiglio arranged a number of them for harmonica and orchestra for his RCA CD of the Harmonica Concerto, for instance.  There's a premiere recording of "Improviso #7", written for violin and piano from 1915, played here in a version for cello and piano that's very effective.  There are no Improvisos #1-6, by the way; no wonder Villa's catalogue was in such a messed-up state until David Appleby and the Museu Villa-Lobos began organizing things.

Lars Hoefs adds so much value to this disc with his excellent liner notes. This is a first-class production all around, and one of the standout Villa-Lobos discs of the past few years.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mandú Çárárá in Caracas

I normally don't post shaky web-cam YouTube videos here at The Villa-Lobos Magazine, but this is really exceptional.

Mandú Çárárá is probably the greatest Villa-Lobos work that nobody knows. It's a Secular Cantata from 1939 which is unavailable on CD. This exciting performance is from last weekend's final performance of the 4th annual Festival Villa-Lobos in Caracas. Roberto Tibiriça conducts the amazing Sinfónica de la Juventud Venezolana Simón Bolívar & Coro Sinfónico Juvenil de Venezuela.  I'm hoping that the other major work from that concert (Symphony #04) shows up on YouTube soon.


Magdalena video

This is my favourite piece from Magdalena, Villa-Lobos's 1948 Broadway show.  This video is from the June 2009 production in Campinas, featuring soprano Graziela Sanches.  There's more from this production at YouTube.

This show had an influence on musicals in the late 40s and into the 50s; I suspect that Leonard Bernstein knew the work well.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Choral CD from Hänssler Classic

I'm looking forward to this disc, due next month from Hänssler Classic.  Marcus Creed conducts the SWR Vokalensemble in an exciting programme of choral works, including some World Premiere recordings.  Here are the works included:
  • Cor dulce, cor amabile
  • Jose
  • As Costureiras
  • Bachianas brasileiras No. 9 (version for chorus)
  • Choros No. 3, "Picapau" (version for a capella)
  • Preces sem palavras
  • Duas lendas amerindias em nheengatu
  • Ave Maria (version for 4 part choir)
  • Bazzum
  • The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude and Fugue No. 8 in E flat minor / D sharp minor, BWV 853 (arr. H. Villa-Lobos for choir)
  • Na Bahia tem (version for male chorus)
  • Bendita sabedoria
You can pre-order the CD from

Cia. Bachiana Brasileira Plays BB#3

Pianast Flávio Augusto and the Orquestra Bachiana Brasileira, under the direction of Ricardo Rocha, play the least often performed work in the Bachianas Brasileiras series. It's one of the two great piano concertos of Villa-Lobos, along with Choros #11. None of the five works Villa titled Piano Concertos is at this level.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mandu Çarárá in Caracas

The 4th Annual Festival Villa-Lobos in Caracas continues with an important concert conducted by Roberto Tibiriça.  The Sinfónica de la Juventud Venezolana Simón Bolívar and the Coro Sinfónico Juvenil de Venezuela will perform two rarely played works: the 4th Symphony and the 1939 Cantata Mandu Çarará.

The latter work is especially in need of more performances and a good new recording.  In the words of Fabio Zanon, "It's a mystery why a work so spectacular is practically unknown."

Thanks to Eugenia Meijer Werner for the heads-up on this.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Brazilian Guitar Quartet Plays Villa-Lobos

The music of Villa-Lobos has always attracted arrangers, including the composer himself.  Villa adapted his own works in a multitude of formats; his first thoughts about musical ideas were rarely his last.  There is so much interesting music to adapt beyond the usual Aria from Bachianas Brasileiras #5 (which is out there in so many versions, including harmonica, saxophone, and percussion) and the Little Train movement from BB #2 (a favourite of marching bands and even reggae groups). 

The Brazilian Guitar Quartet included an arrangement of the entire Bachianas Brasileiras #1 in a previous CD "Essencia do Brasil" which I thought worked out very well.  The new BGQ Plays Villa-Lobos CD, which will be released later this month, includes a wide selection of music originally written for piano and chamber ensemble, arranged by Tadeu do Amaral for four guitars.  The music is selected and presented to show off Villa's music and the group's musicianship to best advantage.  There are a variety of infectious rhythms, some sweet and sad melodies, moments of modernist angularity, and transcendent beauty from one of Villa's greatest chamber works.

While Villa-Lobos often composed at the piano, and he wrote a host of amazing, idiomatic pieces for the instrument, his native instrument was the guitar.  His nickname as a member of a choroes group as a young man was "classical guitar".  His few pieces for guitar loom so large in the music for guitar, and he often imitates the guitar in his piano works and even his orchestral music.  When he wrote music for harp (besides his 1953 Harp Concerto, he wrote some very important chamber works with harp, especially in the 1920s) he was often thinking of the guitar: "I played the harp from my experience with the guitar", he once said.  I mention the harp because the four guitars of the BGQ often evoke this instrument in Amaral's Villa-Lobos arrangements.

It's interesting, then, to listen to the BCG version of the early modernist piano work Suite Floral, written under the influence of Debussy, Faure, and Ravel.  The sound of the guitars evokes the sound-world of Parisian chamber music with harp as much as it does the piano music of the impressionist masters.  This is definitely transatlantic music, though, since Brazilian rhythms are an important part of the work.  Another piece on this disc which stands out is Amaral's adaptation of the Twelfth String Quartet, one of Villa's greatest chamber works, a piece of great subtlety and power.  This disc is very highly recommended!