Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Villa-Lobos by Arnold Newman

On September 15, 1951, Heitor Villa-Lobos sat in New York for one of the greatest portrait photographers of the 20th century, Arnold Newman. Villa was one of the most photogenic of composers, and he spent a good portion of his life creating and burnishing his own image. These photographs are outstanding.

Newman pays special attention to Villa's famous cigar, or, rather, Villa wields it like a baton, and Newman is there to pick up on his vibe. He's like a rock star or Hollywood actor.

And this is my absolutely favourite portrait of Villa-Lobos. Total relaxation; complete self-possession.


Sunday, September 4, 2022

Mr. Famous


From the Museu Villa-Lobos photo archive, this great photograph, from 1958, of Villa-Lobos with Audrey Hepburn and her little Yorkshire Terrier. The dog's name was "Mr. Famous". Villa is visiting the set of the MGM film Green Mansions, directed by Audrey's husband Mel Ferrer, and based on the novel by W. H. Hudson. Villa-Lobos was hired to write the music, and he received an on-screen composer credit, though most of the score was written, in the end, by Bronislau Kaper. Villa later turned his Green Mansions music into Forest of the Amazon (Floresta do Amazonas), a very fine work for orchestra and chorus.

The still photographer on the set of Green Mansions was the great Robert Willoughby, so I wouldn't be surprised if this photo was taken by him.