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.