Saturday, November 27, 2010

IV Festival Villa-Lobos in Caracas

The Fourth Annual Festival Villa-Lobos in Caracas began last week, and continues with a concert on December 2nd, featuring two rarely-performed works: the Fourth Symphony, and the Secular Cantata Mandu Çarará.  In the first concert of the Festival, on November 21, the equally rare Choros #09 and Momoprecoce were programmed.  Isaac Karabtchevsky conducts the highly-regarded Sinfonica de la Juventud Venezolana "Simon Bolivar."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Feldkirch Festival 2011

The theme of the 2011 Feldkirch Festival, to be held in the Austrian town from May 25 to June 5, is the music of Brazil and Cuba, and a number of important Villa-Lobos pieces will be featured.  Two great Brazilian instrumentalists headline the show: pianist Cristina Ortiz and cellist Antonio Meneses.  It's especially nice to see the 4th Piano Concerto, which is rarely on concert programs, and also the cello & piano version of Bachianas Brasileiras #2.

Thanks to a tweet from MOMOtheShiba for the news on this.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Almeida Prado, 1943-2010

November 21st was a sad day for Brazilian music; Almeida Prado died in Sao Paulo, at the age of 67.   A student of Messiaen, Boulanger, Foss, and Ligeti, Almeida Prado loomed large in the vibrant classical music scene of 21st century Brazil.

Here is a fitting tribute: cellist Antonio Meneses plays Preambulum.

Concerto Grosso in Newton Center MA

On December 5th, the Charles River Wind Ensemble will be playing the amazing but rarely performed Concerto Grosso for Woodwind Quartet and Wind Orchestra.  Actually, this is the first time I've come across a performance in more than 15 years of maintaining the Villa-Lobos Concerts database.

Bruce Gelin from the Ensemble writes about this piece:
This work is a wonderful example of his mature style, and though it has no specific "nationalistic" or Brazilian references, it's immediately recognizable as pure Villa-Lobos. The virtuoso solo parts for clarinet, oboe, flute, and bassoon are complemented by a large wind organization, deployed with restraint and selectivity to produce subtle tone colors. Our rehearsals of this piece have had to deal with the typically poorly edited score, requiring a lot of back-and-forth to try to get a fully coherent rendition. But it's going to be a real treat, and a good playing of a rarely heard composition.
Good luck with this, Bruce, and with the rest of your programme, which includes so many interesting works!

By the way, there are two very good performances of the Concerto Grosso available on CD, from Naxos and Albany, and both are available at the Naxos Music Library.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Villa-Lobos's Funeral

Today is the 51st anniversary of the death of Villa-Lobos. Here is a fascinating video (without sound) of his funeral:

This is from "Velório do Maestro Villa-Lobos" on the UOL Website.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Emperor Jones

Villa-Lobos wrote his ballet score based on Eugene O'Neill's play The Emperor Jones for José Limón’s dance company in 1956.  The Fundación de Danza José Limón is in the process of evaluating entrants to a design competition for a new production to be directed by Clay Taliaferro.  The new version of The Emperor Jones will be presented in Culiacán, México in April/May 2011, and in New York in June.  This looks like it will be one of the major Villa-Lobos events of 2011.

Monday, November 8, 2010

OSESP European Tour 2010

The Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo (OSESP) is currently on tour in Europe, and are featuring Choros #06 in most of their concerts.  This is great exposure for one of Villa-Lobos's least known great orchestral works; here is a complete list of concerts with Choros #06.

You can follow the tour on Tumblr, and via Twitter.  Here's a snippet of Choros #06 from the Innsbruck concert that took place earlier today: