Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A new recording of O Martírio dos Insetos

Here's a coincidence: in my previous post I talked about Villa-Lobos's O Martírio dos Insetos, written in 1917/1925 for violin and orchestra. Of course I said we really need a good recording of this fascinating work. That's something I've said many times about many Villa-Lobos works over the past 25 years, and there are only a few major works still left unrecorded (in spite of the exaggerated talk about how prolific a composer he was). And now here is an upcoming recording of the work, from Naxos naturally, though not the full violin and orchestra version, but an arrangement for violin and piano by Ricardo Averbach. I'm looking forward to this disc, due for release on December 7, 2018. A nice Christmas present for all the Villa-Lobos fans out there!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Heifetz plays Villa-Lobos

Here is a real find by Rodrigo Roderico, who has been posting some great Villa-Lobos performances on YouTube. A Mariposa na Luz is the final movement of O Martírio dos Insetos, a work for violin and orchestra that Villa-Lobos wrote in 1925 (the first two movements) and 1917 (the finale). It's played here by one of the 20th century's greatest instrumentalists, Jascha Heifetz, with Donald Voorhees conducting the Bell Telephone Hour Orchestra. This is from a 1946 radio broadcast on NBC.

The Martyrdom of the Insects is a work that should be much better known. Here is a more recent performance of the entire work. Daniel Guedes is the violinist, with the Miami University Symphony Orchestra, under Ricardo Averbach. We badly need a good recording of this work!

Friday, October 5, 2018

A new Marcelo Bratke piano release


Here's a release I've been waiting for a while: the latest in Marcelo Bratke's series of complete piano music by Heitor Villa-Lobos. This 2-CD set, billed as vol. 4 & 5, will be released on October 19, 2018. Included are all 11 of the albums of Guia Pratico, plus three other works: Petizada, Brinquedo de Roda & Historias da Carochinha. Watch for my review soon, at Music for Several Instruments (and I'll also post it here at The Villa-Lobos Magazine).

The cover photo of Marcel Bratke makes reference to the photo on the back, with the composer at the blackboard. I've misplaced the photo credit, if I ever had it, but I'm busy looking on the web, & will add it here if I find it. Great shot!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Musical synchronicity with Prokofiev and Villa-Lobos

Here's a new video from Simone Menezes, in which she compares two modernist works written in 1916/17, one in St. Petersburg and the other in Rio de Janeiro.

This really is a case of musical synchronicity: Prokofiev's First Symphony "Classical", written as an homage to Haydn, has so many similarities to Villa-Lobos's Sinfonietta no. 1 "À memória de Mozart". While the Prokofiev work is one of the staples of the orchestral repertoire, the Villa-Lobos work is almost unknown. If you're in Switzerland later this month, you'll have a chance to hear Simone conduct this work with the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne.  This concert will be broadcast on Swiss Radio Classic; I'll let you know the date and time.