Thursday, November 26, 2009

Villa Lobos – Uma canção de amor

Here's another homage to Villa-Lobos, by the Escola de Dança Petite Danse. Featured music includes “Cair da Tarde”, “Evocação”, “Miudinho”, “Cubanita”, “Remeiro do São Francisco”, “Bachianas Brasileiras nº 5”, A maré encheu, “O Canto do Uirapuru” and “Trenzinho do Caipira.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Homenaje a Heitor Villa-Lobos in Madrid

This "Homenaje a Heitor Villa-Lobos" includes new works for oboe, guitar and cello written in honour of the composer by Félix Sierra (b. 1947) and Jorge de Carlos (b. 1954). Both are professors at the Royal Conservatoire of Madrid.

These works will be played by the Trío Cordvent (Vicente Fernández Martínez, oboe; Jesús Saiz Huedo, guitar; and Juan Enrique Sainz Jiménez, cello). There's more about the event here.

Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol

I haven't seen Glauber Rocha's 1964 film Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (called Black God, White Devil in the U.S.), but I recently came across the original trailer on YouTube:

I didn't realize how important the Villa-Lobos score was to this film - it's clear from the trailer that Rocha has an ear for the effective use of orchestral music in telling a story.

Susan Schild highlights this in her review of the film at
The outstanding sound track alternates Bach with Villa-Lobos, whose Fifth Bachiana contributes to one of the film's most striking moments: the love scene of Corisco and Rosa, choreographed and rhythmical, an unexpected outpouring of guileless poetry against a desolate backdrop marked by poverty and violence.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Villa in Concert

This concert in the Viva Villa! series includes songs from the Guia Pratico. I would imagine that the concert might include songs Villa-Lobos that conducted in one of his mass-choir Canto Orfeonica concerts, like the one pictured in the poster: at the Campo do Fluminense in Rio de Janeiro in 1932.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Editorial in O Globo

This moving editorial in the November 18, 2009 edition of O Globo is the culmination of months of Villa-Lobos's increasing profile in Brazil. There's a lot of love for Villa in that country!

Here is the Google English translation. "You do not need any special talent, no specific knowledge, to hear the "Little Train of the Caipira" and get in touch with the deep Brazil."

New Villa-Lobos Book

The new book Villa-Lobos: Processos composicionais, by Paulo de Tarso Salles
(CMU-ECA/USP) includes musical analysis of the Choros, Bachianas, Amazonas, Uirapuru, and the guitar and piano music.

The book's references to Stravinksy, Bartok, Schoenberg, and Webern should be helpful in placing Villa-Lobos within the mainstream of 20th century music, rather than the Amazonian back-waters in which his reputation has been mired for much of the time since his death 50 years ago.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

O Martírio dos Insetos

The publication of a new Villa-Lobos score is an exciting event. O Martírio dos Insetos, written in 1925 for violin and orchestra, has been edited and adapted by violin & piano by Ricardo Averbach.

This is a piece I've never heard. There is a 2006 Brazilian CD Impressões Brasileiras, by violinist Daniel Guedes and pianist Flavio Augusto, with the violin & piano version.

You can buy the score from or

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Villa walks through the city

Tributes to Villa-Lobos on the 50th Anniversary of his death have come from visual as well as musical artists. One example is the Tribute to Villa-Lobos at the UN. And there are some great new caricatures of Villa-Lobos (here and here), who has been the subject of as many clever but good-natured caricatures as any famous composer I know of.

This project by artist Manu Maltez looks really cool. Maltez drew the cover of Projeto B's new CD A Viagem de Villa-Lobos. That image of a driven composer is only part of a sixty-page book of a an imagined trip by Villa-Lobos through Rio de Janeiro. Maltez's blog includes a number of arresting images from this project. They're a bit of a challenge coming after the jolly caricatures of a kindly and self-possessed celebrity.

Here's a bit of Google-translated commentary from Maltez's blog:
Presence is what is the person after it has gone. I wanted to draw this atmosphere. Carve smoke. One of the things I like most about this art thing is that we can suggest both without having to confirm anything.

Guess who's charuto?

Rio was Villa's city, and it's the city of Maltez.
I took the guy to walk through my city just to see what was left.

The big day in Brazil

Today is the 50th anniversary of the death of Villa-Lobos: November 17, 1959. Villa-Lobos lovers are celebrating his music with special concerts, conferences, and exhibitions around the world: in Rio, Sao Paulo, New York, Luxembourg, and Paris. But in Brazil the date is being especially remembered, and not just in the classical music press. The newspaper page above, featuring a great Villa-Lobos caricature by Baptistao, is from yesterday's O Estado de Sao Paulo (November 16, 2009). And below is a page from today's edition (November 17, 2009) of O Globo in Rio de Janeiro:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Villa-Lobos: Legends & Facts

A new article in Bravo! by Paulo Nadal presents Lendas e Fatos (Legends and Facts) about Villa-Lobos. I learned lots about Villa-Lobos from this; even in Google's Translation. Some fun facts:
  • Villa was involved in a tribute to the famous Brazilian aviator Santos Dumont in 1903. This was during his two-year stint with the choroes group Cavaquinho de Ouro, led by Quincas Laranjeira.
  • Villa's first gig as a conductor was in 1908, at the Theatro Santa Celina in Paranaguá PR. During this period (and this is where I might be missing something in the translation), Villa was on the run from the (choros-persecuting?) police.
  • Villa-Lobos learned about the music and culture of the Amazonian Indians from the files of anthropologist Edgar Roquette-Pinto and his brother Raul Bormann, who was part of the famous Cândido Rondon Expedition. Rondon was part of the famous River of Doubt trip with Teddy Roosevelt.
The amazing picture above is by Marcos Garupi.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Siberian Virtuosi at the Concurso Nacional Villa-Lobos

The Concurso Nacional Villa-Lobos started in 1979, under the patronage of Mindinha, and has continued on and off since then. The ninth competition begins in Vitória ES on November 12, 2009, with a concert by the Russian Chamber Orchestra "Siberian Virtuosi", that features Bachianas Brasileiras #9.

The Competition has categories for Piano, Voice, & Guitar. [PDF on - free registration required]

Monday, November 9, 2009

More about John Neschling's Música Mundana

This interview by John Neschling by João Luiz Sampaio, following the recent publication of Neschling's book Música Mundana, includes some fascinating insights into the classical music world in Brazil and around the world.  Neschling mentions in the interview that he'll be going to Paris to accept the Diapason d'Or for his Complete Villa-Lobos Choros CDs, and that he would like someday to follow up this recording (with his former orchestra, the Osesp) with a complete series of Choros with l'Orchestre National de France. 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Homenaje a Villa-Lobos in Mexico

It's hard to keep track of the many major Villa-Lobos projects taking place this week around the world. Here's one from Mexico: Homenaje a Villa-Lobos at the Casa do Brasil, which takes place from November 13-20.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sonia Rubinsky wins Latin Grammy

At last night's Latin Grammy awards ceremony, Sonia Rubinsky won a well-deserved award for Best Classical Recording for the 8th and last volume of her Complete Villa-Lobos Piano Music recordings for Naxos.

Here were the other nominated recordings:

Bach: Cello Suites
Andrés Díaz; Alan Bise, producer [Azica Records]

Cavaleiro Neukomm Criador da Música de Câmara no Brasil
Ricardo Kanji & Rosana Lanzelotte; Anna Carolina Gomes, producer [Biscoito Fino]

Concierto De Aniversario
Ricardo Morales & The Pacifica Quartett; Luis Enrique Juliá, producer [ProArte Musical]

Thursday, November 5, 2009

John Neschling's Música Mundana

The Brazilian conductor John Neschling's new book Música Mundana is sure to make a stir when it's released next week. His dismissal from the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo (Osesp) in January was highly controversial - I blogged about this story here and here. It will be interesting to see the response to this release.

Thanks once again to Carlos at the Audições Brasileiras blog for this information.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Le Week-end Villa-Lobos

"Le Week-end Villa-Lobos" is project of Radio France: three concerts in mid-December 2009 which feature the music of Villa-Lobos.

Le Week-end begins on Friday, Dec. 12, with a concert of the Orchestre National de France. Featured works include the first suite of the Descobrimento do Brasil and the second Cello Concerto with the great Brazilian cellist Antonio Meneses.

The second concert, on Saturday, Dec. 13, again features Meneses, this time with another stand-out Brazilian instrumentalist: pianist Cristina Ortiz. Finally, on Sunday, Dec. 14, the mini-festival ends with a concert by the Percussions de l'Orchestre National de France.

Villa-Lobos had a special feeling for the city of Paris. He lived there for long periods in the 1920s and the 1950s. He did some of his best conducting, and certainly his best recording, in the Radio France studios. I'm hoping that Radio France Musique eventually broadcasts all three of these concerts. If they do, I'll post the information here, and I'll be listening on my great Radio France iPhone app.

Latin American Cultural Week '09 in NYC

The 2009 version of NYC's Latin American Cultural Week includes two important all Villa-Lobos concerts. On November 8th, soprano Stela Brandao and pianist Max Lifchitz will perform the complete cycle of Modinhas & Canções. Then, on Nov. 10th, the Heitor Villa-Lobos Celebration II event will include some rarely performed chamber works:
  • Sextuor mystique (Sexteto mistico)
  • Quatuor symbolique (Quarteto simbolico)
  • Suite for Voice and Violin
  • Poêma da criança e sua mamâ
Performers continue to programme the tried-and-true works, but 2009, the Ano Villa-Lobos, has brought lots of more adventurous choices. The Quatuor symbolique, for example, is one of Villa's greatest chamber works, from his most creative modernist period. It's one thing to put together the odd combination of instruments - harp, celesta, flute, and saxophone - but probably another to add a good group of female voices. But it's all most worthwhile in the end. Perhaps after the significant new concert activity in 2009 (more than 100 concerts are listed in the Villa-Lobos Concerts database for November 2009 alone) we'll see some of Villa's unknown works show up more often in live performance and in good modern recordings.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Simpósio Internacional Heitor Villa-Lobos

While Cariocas will be busy all November at the 47th Festival Villa-Lobos, Paulistas will have their chance to delve into Villa's life and music at the International Villa-Lobos Symposium organized by the Music Department of the University of Sao Paulo, the Instituto de Estudos Brasileiros, and the USP Orchestra.  The event takes place from November 16-21.  Here is the program for the Symposium.

For more information go to the Symposium website.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tribute to Villa-Lobos at the UN

The Tribute to Villa-Lobos at the United Nations in New York continues until Nov. 6. Here's a video explaining the project:

Curator Alcinda Saphita walks through some of the works of art from the exhibition in this video.