Saturday, December 28, 2019

Villa-Lobos: Ambassador of Music

Here is a lovely article about the human side of Villa-Lobos, written by Henri Leiser, a friend he made during his 1945 trip to the United States. I love these stories about Villa's special relationships with Rubinstein, Stokowski and Koussevitzky, and his love of children and vanilla ice cream. The anecdote about the Moment Symphony shows that Villa-Lobos could continue to think as a Parisian avant-gardiste even though by that time he had left behind the modernist style of the 1920s. Remember that John Cage's 4'33" wasn't conceived until 1947-48!

This is from Musical Courier, May 1, 1945.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Merry Christmas from The Villa-Lobos Magazine

Unknown photographer, from the Museu Villa-Lobos Website. Creative Commons attribution

Heitor Villa-Lobos sent this photo to far-away Rio de Janeiro from New York City on Christmas Eve, 1957. His own mother had died in 1946, so perhaps this went out to Mindinha's mother, Villa's mother-in-law.

"À nossa querida mãezinha, Feliz Natal e Ano Novo. NY, 24/12/57. Villa-Lobos"

"To our dear mother, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year."

I'm also thinking of my Mom, who would have turned 92 last week. And I'm also very thankful to all my Villa-Lobos friends around the world. Feliz Natal!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Villa-Lobos at the New York Public Library

One of the photos posted to the new website of the Museu Villa-Lobos in Rio de Janeiro is from a 1940 banquet in New York honouring Carleton Sprague Smith, the chief of New York Public Library's Music Division. At this event Sprague Smith welcomed the absolute cream of Brazilian music, who were in New York for the 1939-40 World's Fair. Here are the Brazilian musicians & the guest of honour, from left to right:

Front row: Lourival Fontes (2), Carleton Sprague Smith (4), Renato de Almeida (5), Villa-Lobos (6)

Back row: Lorenzo Fernandez (2), Mário de Andrade (3), Camargo Guarnieri (6), Brasílio Itiberê (7), Luiz Heitor Correia de Azevedo (8), Herbert Moses (9)

New photos from the Museu Villa-Lobos

Welcome news from the Museu Villa-Lobos in Rio de Janeiro: they have a new website, with lots of digitized goodies promised for 2020. But there are already some cool photos up. I zeroed in on Canadian Content first, of course: here is a photo of Villa & Mindinha taken during their 1951 trip to the Great White North. Here the composer banters - in French, I assume - with journalists in the CBC-Radio Canada studio, in Montreal, I believe.

I've seen this next shot before, but cropped, & in lower resolution. An animated Villa-Lobos talks with a Radio Canada interviewer, in Montreal, I assume, from 1951. Somewhere on the web is a portion of the audio from that interview. I'll see if I can find it...

More to come!

Villa-Lobos in Paris, in impressive company

It's a big deal for me to come across a Villa-Lobos picture I haven't seen before. This shot was taken in Paris, c.1955-58; it's from the collection of the singer Annette Celine, who is the daughter of the great pianist Felicja Blumental, a close friend of Villa-Lobos. That's Léonide Massine, who in his earlier years was the principal choreographer of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Next to him is Mindinha, then Blumental, Celine, and finally Villa-Lobos, looking very relaxed and at home in Paris, his true second home.

I came across this at the invaluable Heitor Villa-Lobos Facebook page.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

John Sebastian's recording of the Harmonica Concerto

One of Villa-Lobos's happiest late works was the Harmonica Concerto, commissioned by John Sebastian. Lisa Peppercorn reminisces about her visit with Villa-Lobos while he and John Sebastian worked on the Harmonica Concerto.
It was one of my joys to work with John and Villa-Lobos during the writing of the Concerto. The composer sat at the huge semi-circular desk with a pot of black thick coffee, several cigars and ashtrays all around working on several compositions at once, while watching a TV at intervals. All the time wearing a hat...

A fine recording was made with Sebastian, released on LP by Heliodor, but no commercial CD was available for a long time. That means that eBay & used record stores became the source for this version. So it's great to hear about this re-mastering by Curt Timmons at Klassik Haus, available on CD, FLAC or MP3.

I've commented before about this work being especially well represented with recordings. With the new Naxos disc things are better than ever!

Monday, October 28, 2019

São Paulo's Villa-Lobos recording revolution

Heitor Villa-Lobos: Guitar Concerto, Harmonica Concerto, Sexteto Místico, Quinteto Instrumental

In the past ten years we've been blessed with a new generation of Villa-Lobos recordings from São Paulo that have instantly become the new standards for interpretation, instrumental playing and engineering. These include the complete Bachianas Brasileiras, Choros and Symphonies series. Now we have a very welcome disc in Naxos's new series The Music of Brazil, which takes on the first of the composer's commissioned concertos from the last decade of his life, along with some important chamber works.

The Guitar Concerto, written for Andrès Segovia in 1951, is somewhat controversial. Jason Vieaux, speaking for the Defence, has expressed his love for the work. Meanwhile, John Williams said, "it just isn't a very good piece, technically or musically." This has always been a popular work, thanks to a plethora of great recordings, by Julian BreamGöran Söllscher, and my own favourite, by Norbert Kraft. There's even a very convincing recording by John Williams himself! But I'll admit that, at least in its final movement, the Guitar Concerto, like much of the commissioned music from Villa's final decade, suffers from some undistinguished patches of banal passage-work, though in this case they connect some of the composer's finest tunes. Lovely tunes were never a problem for this guy! I've only listened to this new recording of the Concerto by Manuel Barrueco and OSESP (the São Paulo Symphony) under Giancarlo Guerrero, five or six times, but I'm already suspecting this will go to the very top of the list. Barrueco's playing is outstanding, especially in the Cadenza, and even in the Finale the partnership between soloist and orchestra makes the most compelling case for bringing this work out of the John Williams cold.

Eero Tarasti refers to Villa-Lobos's "limpid late period". The Harmonica Concerto, written for John Sebastian in 1955, partakes fully of the relaxed, late-night noodlings that are seemingly built-in to the instrument. Beginning with a theme that's disconcertingly similar to the Hancock's Half-Hour theme-song by Wally Stott/Angela Morley, Villa-Lobos continues his formula here: lots of arresting, sometimes quite beautiful, themes held together with characteristic runs and doodles by the solo instrument. In this case, as so often throughout his career, Villa-Lobos cottons on to a wider variety of effects from his instruments than are standard, providing a kaleidoscopic effect of instrumental orchestral colours. The playing here by José Staneck is very fine, though this recording lacks some of the energy of the classic album by Robert Bonfiglio and the New York Chamber Symphony under Gerard Schwarz.

As fine as these two works are, I was most interested in the two chamber works, by the OSESP Ensemble, made up of some very fine musicians indeed. The Sesteto Místico (aka Sextuor Mystique) was nominally written in 1917, though it was revised later in Villa's career. This is a fine example of Villa's modernist style, well ahead of anything being written in Latin America, and close to the leading edge in Europe. Tarasti refers to its "contrapuntal colorism... a refined, aquarelle-like texture simply because of the choice of instruments." He notes that "a corresponding combination is not to be found in European chamber music of the period." This is a very fine recording, with delicate filigree effects and all the colours of the rainbow.

We return to the 1950s with the Quinteto Instrumental, written in 1957. This is a work of pure nostalgia, though it's French nostalgie rather than the usual Brazilian saudade, with Villa-Lobos looking back to his time in Paris in the 1920s. The sounds of the instruments evoke Ravel, as does the mildly ironic and sentimental tone of the music. If there is a falling-off in Villa-Lobos's inspiration in the commissioned works of the 1950s, it's hard to hear it in the great chamber works of the period, including the late String Quartets and this Quintet. And it's a great work to end this very, very fine disc from São Paulo. I look forward to more in this series!

This disc will be released on November 8, 2019. This review also appears at Music for Several Instruments.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Two modernist masterworks in Paris

Here is an announcement of an important concert, from the Parisian journal Excelsior : journal illustré quotidien : informations, littérature, sciences, arts, sports, théâtre, élégances, June 1, 1929. The headline works are two masterpieces of modernism: Edgard Varèse's Amériques, & Heitor Villa-Lobos's Amazonas. From Gallica, the digital library of the Bibliothèque National de France.

This is pretty much a rave from the correspondent, Pierre Leroi. He says of Amazonas, "C'est une véritable orgie de thèmes, souleves par un souffle irrésistible. Et des oppositions heurtées de couleurs, d'ombres et de clartés achèvent de donner á l'œuvre un relief saisissant."

Leonard Bernstein's Little Train

This is very cool: Leonard Bernstein & the New York Philharmonic play, and beautifully demonstrate, Villa-Lobos's "Little Train" movement from Bachianas Brasileiras no. 2. This is a masterpiece of classical music education, from the renowned Young People's Concerts series. Thanks once again to Rodrigo Roderico for posting this.


"That's the noisemaking department back there." Here, from the Library of Congress, is Bernstein's list of the interesting percussion instruments Villa-Lobos uses.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Sinfonietta no. 1 from Porto Alegre

Watch Simone Menezes conduct the Orquestra Sinfônica de Porto Alegre (OSPA) in a portion of Villa-Lobos's engaging Sinfonietta no. 1, written "in memory of Mozart".

Mozart isn't a composer one normally thinks of in connection with Villa-Lobos, and indeed, this sounds unlike anything else Villa wrote. But in the end nearly everything is grist for Villa-Lobos's musical mill, and the results are certainly worth his tarrying on this particular neo-classical by-way. The Sinfonietta no. 1 has become the musical calling card of Simone Menezes, whose career is certainly heating up. I hope that this piece will always be in her repertoire even when she tackles the big bruisers of orchestral music; charm always has its place!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Villa-Lobos by Jean Manzon

I've seen this photo on the web before, though usually in a cropped version, but I never knew who the photographer was. It turns out it's by the French photo-journalist Jean Manzon. He began working in Paris before WWII, for Paris Soir and Paris Match, but moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1940. The Villa-Lobos portrait looks like it might be from the mid-1950s.

The composition of this picture reminds me a bit of this 1961 still-life by the great Brazilian photographer Otto Stupakoff, which was used on the cover of a recent Naxos Villa-Lobos Symphonies disc.

But back to Jean Manzon. Here's his very fine portrait of another great Brazilian, the painter Candido Portinari.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

A strong, atmospheric, Villa-Lobos program

Heitor Villa-Lobos: Lenda do Caboclo, Próle do bébê No. 2 (excerpts), Choros No. 5, Bachianas brasileiras No. 4, Valsa da dor, Ciclo brasileiro (excerpts), Poema singelo

It's great to see a new Villa-Lobos disc; there's been a significant drop-off in recording activity in the years leading up to 2019, the 60th anniversary of the Maestro's death. Villa's piano repertoire is a major strength of his catalogue, reflecting both his modernist and nationalist tendencies. Though no virtuoso pianist himself, the composer was very close to some of the greatest pianists in Brazil and Europe: Rubinstein, Blumenthal, and Novaes, among many others. And we have a wide range of superb recordings available, from pianists like Nelson Freire, Marc-André Hamelin, Sonia Rubinsky and Marcelo Bratke. This is a well-chosen program from the Washington D.C. based Jason Solounias, though I would have preferred that he include the entire Ciclo brasileiro (the great Dance of the White Indian is missing). Many single-disc piano programs include Choros no. 5, Bachianas Brasileiras no. 4, and the Valsa da dor, but it's good to see some pieces from the 2nd Book of the marvellous Próle do bébê, which isn't as well known as the 1st.

I was quite impressed with the playing throughout; the tricky rhythms are solid, and there's a real sense of atmosphere that goes with Villa-Lobos's various landscapes: for example, the scrubland of Brazil's north-east in the Festa no sertão from the Ciclo brasileiro, and the Canto do sertão from BB#4. In the latter movement, very few pianists (or conductors in the orchestral version) play the insistent note of the Araponga percussively enough for my taste - they should listen to the call of the bird itself. Hit those B-flats harder! This performance of the lovely Valsa da dor is full of grace and style; Solounias plays the piece with sentiment but without sentimentality.

I enjoyed the liner notes, which include a fascinating conversation between Solounias and pianist Jose Ramos Santana, though there were a few points I disagreed with. I won't bore you with those here. Okay, maybe just one! Ramos Santana posits that "The older [Villa-Lobos] got, the music becomes more dense and complex." Though there's obviously no simple trajectory, I would think that in terms of complexity Villa's piano music peaked early, with Rudepoema and Próle do bébê (both of which were published in 1921). When the composer returned from Brazil and undertook his folkloric research and educational responsibilities, and a more nationalistic tone, his music becomes more popular and accessible (and easier to play!) This process played out in the 1930s, and you can hear it here in the Bachianas and the Valsa da dor.

This is a very promising beginning, and I look forward to future albums from Jason Solounias. Any repertoire would be great, but I would suggest Rudepoema, one of the greatest 20th century works for the piano. And, oh yes!, The Dance of the White Indian.

This album will be released on September 6, 2019

This review is also posted at Music for Several Instruments.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Villa's Hollywood adventure

I've posted and tweeted many times about Heitor Villa-Lobos's Hollywood adventure in the late 1950s. He was hired to write the score for MGM's 1959 film Green Mansions, directed by Mel Ferrer, and based on William Henry Hudson's novel. There are a number of great photographs of the composer and Mindinha hanging out with the stars on the set; some of them at least are by the great photographer Bob Willoughby. Here's one I haven't seen before:

Behind the camera is the great cinematographer Joseph Ruttenberg; next to him are the stars of the film, Audrey Hepburn and Anthony Perkins. Villa-Lobos tells Mel Ferrer a joke; I expect it's one of his tall tales from his early years wandering in the Amazon forest. Looks like the photographer (Willoughby?) cut off Mindinha at the far right of the picture.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Villa-Lobos in today's O Estado de São Paulo

From today's O Estado de São Paulo (August 4, 2019), "Villa-Lobos Pelo Avesso" ("Villa-Lobos Inside Out").

Besides two favourite pictures of the composer with the stars of MGM's 1958 film Green Mansions, Audrey Hepburn and Anthony Perkins, there are two recent books referenced in the article:

and Villa-Lobos um compêndio: novos desafios interpretativos, 2017, edited by Paulo de Tarso Salles and Norton Dudeque

Thanks to Luciene Gelmini for the head's-up on this!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

More Villa-Lobos by Josef Breitenbach

Earlier I posted a portrait of Villa-Lobos by the German-American photographer Josef Breitenbach, from 1957. There are also a series of photographs from a session in 1959. As usual the composer is open and interactive. The photographer has picked up on the special bond between Villa & Mindinha.

1959 was, of course, the year of Villa-Lobos's death, and some pictures from then show him tired or in pain. There's a certain amount of that here, but also great dignity. This is a portrait of a serious man, and a genius.

Heitor Villa-Lobos by Josef Breitenbach, 1959. Direct and clear-eyed, with, and without, the famous cigar.

These photos are from The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation at The Center for Creative Photography.

Villa-Lobos by Josef Breitenbach

Here's a portrait of Heitor Villa-Lobos that I don't think I've seen before. It's from New York in 1957; the photographer is Josef Breitenbach. I wonder which score the composer is working on. His published works that year included mostly chamber music, but 1958 saw important orchestral and operatic works: Forest of the Amazon and A Menina das Nuvens. What a cool pen he uses to write his music!

From The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, via The Center For Creative Photography.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Strong Villa-Lobos guitar, and a great modernist chamber work

Villa-Lobos: Preludes & Etudes for Solo Guitar; Sextuor Mystique

I've always thought of Urania as a re-mastering and re-packaging company, and over the years I've enjoyed a number of their historic reissues (most recently, a fine album of Paul Hindemith conducting his own music). But they also do a lot of original recording in Italy, and there are many such discs to explore on their website. One that naturally caught my eye was this all-Villa-Lobos disc from guitarist Andrea Monarda. His version of Villa's Preludes and Etudes for Solo Guitar goes into the very, very long queue of recordings of these works. Popular works that fit nicely on a single LP or CD have a tendency to multiply. I'd rate Monarda a bit above the middle of this crowded pack, he delivers a lively performance that's especially well recorded. I often find that a particular guitarist will be stronger in one group or the other ("the classical guitar world is divided into two types of musicians..."), and Monarda, I think, is much more successful in the Etudes. A couple of the Preludes are perhaps a bit under-characterized, when compared with outstanding versions by Norbert Kraft or Timo Korhonen. But Monarda impressed me with the drama of the 1st and 12th Etudes, and the saudade of the 5th and 11th.

However, it's the title work which sets apart this album: the remarkable Sextuor Mystique (aka Sexteto Mistico), nominally written in 1917, though the score was lost and Villa-Lobos re-wrote it from memory decades later. The musicologist Lisa Peppercorn believes it was actually written during the 1920s, Villa's modernist period that includes some of his greatest music; I would tend to agree. Monarda has put together an ensemble named for the work, though it's unlikely the Sextuor Mystique Ensemble will be able to find anything else written for just this combination of instruments: guitar, flute, oboe, harp, saxophone and celesta. The SME do a marvellous job in this case, highlighting its Paris/Rio split personality.

The two decades before and after the Millennium were a golden age of Villa-Lobos recordings. The great composer's reputation was rising after its inevitable decline following his death in 1959, and his Centennial in 1987 primed the pump for a strong comeback. Soon there were multiple new discs released every month. Lately, though, there have been fewer and fewer new releases, with the notable exception of the recently completed Complete Symphonies series from Naxos. It's encouraging, then, to see this new project from Italy. I hope it's the sign of more Villa-Lobos activity to come.

This review was also posted at Music for Several Instruments.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Rudepoema for Orchestra

Here's a marvellous work: the orchestral arrangement Richard Rinjvos made in 2010/2011 of Villa-Lobos's great piano work from 1921/26, Rudepoema, which was dedicated to Arthur Rubinstein. The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by James Gaffigan, in a 2011 concert from the Concertgebouw.

Villa-Lobos made his own orchestral arrangement of the piece in 1932. It was published by Max Eschig, and performed a few times in the 1940s, including at this 1945 Boston Symphony Concert at Harvard.

In his book on Villa-Lobos, Prof. Eero Tarasti comments:
When one compares the piano version of Rudepoema to the orchestral arrangement made by the composer himself, one can only be amazed at how 'orchestral' the piano work already is.
Thanks again to Rodrigo Roderico for posting this. I remember listening to this on Radio Netherlands Worldwide, back in 2011; it's nice to have it back.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Amazonas from Chicago

An exceptional performance of Amazonas from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Juanjo Mena, from 2013. Thanks to Rodrigo Roderico for posting this.

The ballet Amazonas was written in Rio in 1917, (possibly a re-working of the earlier - now lost - score Myremis) but didn't receive its premiere until 1929 in Paris.  It's a work of real power and focus, one of the young composer's greatest early works. According to Eeero Tarasti, it's " almost avant-gardist work in relation to its time, a work comparable to Varèse's Ameriques."

Is this too good to be true, though? There's no mention in the Museu Villa-Lobos's Villa-Lobos: Sua Obra, 2009, of a manuscript score, so we only have the score published in 1929 by Max Eschig. I'm thinking at least some of this might have been written in 1929, around the peak of Villa-Lobos's modernist period. Or some super-charging, at the very least!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Bachianas Brasileiras no. 4 from São Paulo

A recent (2019) performance of the orchestral version of Villa-Lobos's Bachianas Brasileiras no. 4 from the São Paulo Symphony (OSESP), conducted by Wagner Polistchuk.

Thanks once again to Rodrigo Roderico for posting this.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Villa-Lobos and the City of Brotherly Love

This photograph from the De Agostini collection shows Heitor Villa-Lobos with the Philadelphia Orchestra's Eugene Ormandy; it's dated 1945. This is a standard trope for Villa-Lobos photos: the composer demonstrating Brazilian percussion instruments. I'm assuming that this was taken in Rio de Janeiro, from the instruments and the big map of Brazil on the wall behind the two musicians. They had recently been hanging out together in the States; Ormandy was one of the celebrities - along with Nelson Rockefeller, Leopold Stokowski, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Arturo Toscanini and Yehudi Menuhin - at a Farewell Luncheon for Villa-Lobos in February, 1945.

The main later connection between Villa-Lobos and Ormandy came in 1952, when the Philadelphia Orchestra commissioned Villa's 9th Symphony. There's apparently a copy of the original score in the Eugene Ormandy Collection at the University of Pennsylvania, but I don't believe this work has ever been played in the City of Brotherly Love. The première of the Symphony had to wait until 1966, when Ormandy conducted the work in Caracas during a Latin American tour of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Philadelphia can also take credit for the 8th Symphony, from 1950; Villa-Lobos himself conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra in the première, though, oddly, this was in New York.

Ormandy made no commercial recordings of Villa-Lobos; however there is a Test Pressing disc in the Eugene Ormandy Collection of Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra in a suite from Descobrimento do Brasil, a recording from a October 10, 1941 concert. I'd love to hear that! The city of Philadelphia had special meaning for Villa-Lobos because of the connection with Leopold Stokowski, who conducted a number of Villa-Lobos American premières going back to the 1920s.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Ciclo Brasileiro from Brasília

It's so nice to hear Sonia Rubinsky play Villa-Lobos. Thanks to Rodrigo Roderico for posting this recent video of the Ciclo Brasileiro, from a 2018 concert at the Banquet Hall of Itamaraty Palace

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Choros no. 9 from Caracas

File this under "Great Villa-Lobos Works I've Never Heard Before". This is Choros no. 9, from 1942. It's played by the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra under Roberto Tibiriçá, in Simón Bolívar Hall, Caracas, 2010. I've heard it before, but of course never live! Another great video from Rodrigo Roderico!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Overture to Izaht

From a July 13, 2018 concert celebrating the Academia Brasileira de Música's 73rd anniversary, here is a rarity: the Overture to Villa-Lobos's 1912 opera Izaht. The Orquestra Sinfônica Nacional da UFF is conducted by Tobias Volkmann.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Bachianas Brasileiras no. 3 in Budapest

Bachianas Brasileiras no. 3 is one of Villa-Lobos's greatest concertante works, but it's not programmed as often as it should be. Here's a fine version from Budapest, with Jean Louis Steuerman and the Hungarian National Philharmonic under Zóltan Kocsis. This was recorded at Béla Bartok National Concert Hall in 2015. Thanks to Rodrigo Roderico for this.

Friday, January 4, 2019


Heitor Villa-Lobos wrote a ballet score Rudá in 1951, based on his own story about the various pre-Columbian Amerindian civilizations: Aztec, Inca, Mayan and others. The work was premiered at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in 1954, with only an orchestral performance, I believe. Here are some costume designs by Iberê Camargo for a 1959 production that never came off.  Above is his design for the role of Conhori, while his backdrop design is below.

Here is a performance of Rudá by Orquestra do Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro under the direction of Mário Tavares.

A Brazilian composer you must know

The Ovalle Project: works for piano by Jayme Ovalle

The Brazilian composer Jayme Ovalle is a close contemporary of Heitor Villa-Lobos; he was born seven years after, and died four years before his much better-known compatriot. Like Villa-Lobos, Ovalle wrote a great deal of music for the piano throughout his career, and this splendid two-CD set by Andree-Ann Deschenes (whose Villa-Lobos I praised in 2017) shows Ovalle deserves a place amongst the great Brazilian composers for the piano, a group that also includes Camargo Guarnieri, Chiquinha Gonzaga and Ernesto Nazareth. But Ovalle is more like Chopin than the musical polymath Villa-Lobos; nearly everything he wrote was either a song or a piano piece.

But Ovalle's trajectory in music is similar to Villa-Lobos's in a number of other ways. Both melded erudite and popular styles, and combined Brazilian traditions of salon music with up-to-date European modernism, especially influenced by Debussy, Ravel and Satie. Like Villa-Lobos, Ovalle spent a good deal of his time outside of Brazil, in Europe and New York, and shared a cosmopolitan outlook that's often reflected in his music. Deschenes has chosen works that show the many facets of Ovalle's music, from Nazareth-style pieces in maxixe and choro styles, to characteristic, folk-like tunes reminiscent of Villa's Guia prático, and finally to more complex works like the splendid Third Lengenda. This collection has immediate appeal, with its lovely melodies and captivating rhythms, but it rewards close listening as well. Playing with intense virtuosity and cool control, Deschenes has done Ovalle and Brazilian music a great service with this project. Very highly recommended!

This review also appears at Music for Several Instruments.