Friday, April 24, 2015

Through The Night from Brazil

One of my favourite programs on BBC Radio 3 is Through The Night, which features music in concert from around the world. Heard during the small hours of the night in the UK, it's prime-time listening here on the West Coast of North America. The latest episode includes some great music from Sao Paulo.

An OSESP concert from 2014, conducted by Isaac Karabtchevsky, begins the program. Two of the works were later recorded (in the studio) for the latest Naxos release in their Villa-Lobos Symphonies series: the ballet Uirapuru and the cantata Mandu-Carara. The great cellist Antonio Meneses is featured in another important work, the Fantasy for cello and orchestra.

It's also great to hear Maestro Karabtchevsky conduct the Heliopolis Symphony in some more Villa-Lobos. More on that worthwhile social and musical endeavor here.

Also, stick around for some guitar music from my favourite Villa-Lobos guitarist, Norbert Kraft. This program will be available for the next 30 days.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

New Symphonies disc: with Mandu-Çarará!

The latest CD in the excellent Naxos Symphonies series comes out next month. Symphony no. 12 is another big piece, written in New York and finished on the composer's 70th birthday, March 5, 1957. I'm looking forward to hearing this; Isaac Karabtchevsky and OSESP are making a big splash with this series (numbers 3, 4, 6, 7, and 10 are out so far).

But for me the most exciting work on the new disc is Mandu-Çarará, a cantata written in 1940 (a period when Villa-Lobos was working on his Bachianas Brasileiras series). This is the first commercially recorded version of this piece. I've heard recordings of live broadcasts, and it's a really impressive piece. It'll be a chance to hear Naomi Munakata's Sao Paulo Symphony Choir & Children's Choir at their best as well.

I'm also looking forward to hearing what Karabtchevsky and OSESP make of Uirapuru, an early masterpiece written under the influence of Stravinsky, which is well-represented on disc (including the ground-breaking Leopold Stokowski version from 1959).

The release date is March 30, 2015 in the UK, April 14 in the US.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Symphony no. 10 video from Naxos Records

From Naxos Records, highlights from the latest release in the complete Villa-Lobos Symphonies series. Isaac Karabtchevsky conducts Leonardo Neiva, baritone, Saulo Javan, bass, and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP) and Choir.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A little help, please...

Here's another picture from the Brazilian National Archive:


The picture was published on February 2,  1952 in Correio da Manhã, but there's no indication of who these gentlemen are. I'm pretty sure that's Walter Burle Marx on the left (and tolerably sure about the guy with the cigar!). Can anyone help with the identities of the other two?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

15-two, 15-four, and a pair is six

After 20 years in the Villa-Lobos on the web business, it's pretty rare for me to see a new picture of Villa-Lobos on the web. Here's one I haven't seen before; it was posted earlier today by the Brazilian National Archive on Twitter, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Villa's first public concert.
This is Villa's normal chaos as he composed. Always a cup of coffee; always a cigar. Is that a crib board on the table?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5 for Choir and Guitar

Here is something special: a new arrangement for choir (SATB) and guitar by Bob Chilcott of that most arranged of pieces, the Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5, originally written for soprano and an orchestra of cellos. I love the textures.

For the next month you can listen to the BBC Singers and guitarist Sean Shibe in this concert, featured today on the programme Radio 3 Live in Concert. BB#5 begins at 43:00.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Rio 450 and Villa-Lobos

On March 1st, 2015, the city of Rio de Janeiro celebrates the 450th anniversary of its founding in 1565.

One of the key celebrations will be a special series of concerts with the Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira (which celebrates its own 75th anniversary in August). Roberto Minczuk will conduct all 9 Bachianas Brasileiras in two concerts, on March 7th (#1, 5 with soprano Rosana Lamosa, 8 and 4) and March 8th (#2, 3 with pianist Jean-Louis Steuerman, 6 and 9). Those concerts are also conveniently close to Villa's March 5th birthday.

Other Rio 450 concerts this year feature such composers as Tom Jobim, Marcos Portugal, Henrique Oswald and Francisco Mignone.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Marcela Rahal sings Magnificat Aleluia

Mezzo Soprano Marcela Rahal sings the magnificent Magnificat Aleluia, which Villa-Lobos wrote in 1958 (the year before his death), with the Orquestra de Câmara da USP and Coral da ECA.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Verde Velhice

Here's something you don't come across every day: an orchestral work by Villa-Lobos that hasn't been performed since the 1920s.

Verde Velhice is short piece written in 1922, called 'Divertimento' in the unpublished score (held by the Museu Villa-Lobos). This performance at the 2014 Festival Villa-Lobos is by the Orquestra Sinfônica da UFRJ conducted by Marcelo Ramos. This music was last heard when the composer presented it in Sao Paulo in 1926.

Here is more information on the piece, from Villa-Lobos: Sua Obra, 1.0 (2009):

Muito Lento
2fl, 2ob, 2cl(Bb), cl baixo, 2fg, 4cor, 2trp, 3trb, tuba, tímp, tam-tam, hp, pf e cordas
AUTÓGRAFO (MVL): 34 x 27 - 10 p.
PUBLICAÇÕES: não publicada
COPYRIGHT: © 1922 by HVL
EXECUÇÕES: 1a 1926, São Paulo. Heitor Villa-Lobos, regente
OBSERVAÇÕES: • Com a indicação: "Divertimento"; • dedicada ao Conselheiro Antonio Prado.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

5th Piano Concerto

The 5th Piano Concerto is still not programmed very often. Here's an exceptional recent performance, though, from pianist Fabio Martino and OSESP under Celso Antunes (September 2014). This may not be profound music, but it sounds completely Villa-Lobosian to me. OSESP is nailing obscure Villa-Lobos lately, with this plus their new Symphony series on Naxos. The newly edited scores are probably a factor, since so many Villa-Lobos scores have been plagued with many many inaccuracies. But I'm completely convinced by Martino, OSESP and Antunes (plus Karabtchevsky in the Symphonies); this music is in their blood.