Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A tour-de-force of musicianship and technology

Antonio & Alberto Lysy: South America. Music by Villa-Lobos, Casals, Piazzolla, Kodaly, Bach, Gardel, Filiberto, Mora

In 1958 cellist Bernard Greenhouse and composer Heitor Villa-Lobos organized a concert at New York's Town Hall of The Violoncello Society, a newly formed group led by Greenhouse and made up of many of the top cellists of the day. The concert, which was recorded and released on an LP, though unfortunately never re-released on CD*, included a number of Bach Preludes and Fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier. These were adapted by Villa-Lobos in 1941 for "an orchestra of cellos". In his score he asks for a minimum of ten, and in the end Greenhouse rounded up 32 cellists for the recording.

In this new Yarlung Records disc Antonio and Alberto Lysy provide a well-chosen selection of South American music for cello and violin, and a few other instruments. In a tour-de-force of technology and musicianship, and in a tribute to his hero Bernard Greenhouse, cellist Antonio Lysy multi-track recorded between 16 and 28 cellos playing 4 to 7 parts in one of Villa's Bach fugues, and in Pablo Casals' multi-cello piece Les Rois Mages (The Three Kings). Producer Bob Attiyeh provides this explanation in his excellent liner notes:

The effect is quite stunning.

There's much more on this disc. Two popular Villa-Lobos pieces show up, featuring Antonio's cello with two guests: O canto do cisne negro (The Song of the Black Swan) with harpist Marcia Dickstein Vogler; and Assobio a Jato (The Jet Whistle) with Anastasia Petanova on flute. There are a number of works from Argentina featuring Coco Trivosonno on bandoneon. Finally, there's a major work for father and son, with Alberto Lysy on violin: Zoltán Kodály's Duo for Violin and Cello. This is a well-planned, beautifully-played and expertly recorded disc.

* but listen to it on YouTube here.

This post is also featured at Music for Several Instruments.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Bom apetite!

Here is a very cool project from back in 2012, by soprano Julianne Daud and chef Ivo Faria da Costa of Vecchio Sogno Ristorante in Belo Horizonte. Chef Faria matched pieces by Villa-Lobos with dishes he created, and served them as Daud and a small group of musicians performed.

The fish appetizer goes with Uirapuru:

The next course with Choros no. 5, "Alma Brasileira":

With pork ribs "à moda sertaneja" (country style), the Toccata movement from Bachianas Brasileiras no. 2, the Little Train from the Caipira:

Finally, for dessert, Villa-Lobos's sweetest music, the Aria from Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5: