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.