Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mid Europe International Wind Music Festival

The Banda Sinfônica de Cubatão has been invited to Austria this summer, for the 2010 Mid Europe International Wind Music Festival.  This is cool, because it will be a chance to bring Brazilian symphonic band music to a wider audience.

Villa-Lobos wrote some amazing works for band.  I'm especially impressed with the late (1959) work Concerto Grosso for Woodwind Quartet & Wind Orchestra, which really deserves to be better known.  There are two excellent recordings of this work, on Naxos & Albany.  You can listen to both at The Naxos Music Library.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mosaicos videos

In a special from the Brazilian TV program Mosaicos, available on YouTube in 6 parts, you can watch a who's-who of great Villa-Lobos performers: Turíbio Santos, Gilberto Tinetti, Roberto Duarte, Quinteto Villa-Lobos, Paulo Pedrassoli, Eduardo Monteiro, amongst many more.  This special includes some archival video of some great performers of the past that I haven't seen before. I'm looking forward to watching these!

Watch the remaining parts here.

Yerma at SouthBank

From July 1989, a programme from the European premiere of Yerma.  The performance received high marks from a reviewer who knows his Villa-Lobos: Guy Rickards (Tempo, September 1989, pp. 42-43.)  Odaline de la Martinez has recorded one of the best CDs of Villa-Lobos's chamber music for Lorelt.  It's high time for her to bring Yerma to the recording studio!

Thanks to Harold Lewis for this.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Canção Carioca: Song from Rio

Steve Griggs is one of a number of jazz masters who is contributing to a really interesting musical re-appraisal of Villa-Lobos in the 21st Century.  The Steve Griggs Ensemble's Brazilian Serenade was a very successful part of the Ano Villa-Lobos celebrations of last November, and the new project is timed to celebrate Villa's birthday in March.

Besides Villa's Suite floral, Ciclo Brasileiro, Brinquedo da Roda, and Bachianas Brasileiras, Canção Carioca includes music by Ernesto Nazareth, Darius Milhaud, Horace Silver, and Tom Jobim.  Go to the Steve Griggs website for more on this exciting project.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cyro Baptista Vira Loucos Tour

Percussionist and composer Cyro Baptista was born in Brazil, but moved in 1980 to the U.S.  In 1997 he worked with Michael Tilson Thomas in Miami, on the very successful New World Symphony CD of Villa-Lobos music, and the same year he released his album of music based on Villa-Lobos themes: Vira Loucos.

In the years since then, Baptista has been a busy musician, working with people like John Zorn, Yo-Yo Ma, Herbie Hancock, Daniel Barenboim, and Wynton Marsalis.  His latest project is Banquet of the Spirits, which is especially recommended.   My favourite track is Macunaima, which refers to the wildest side of the Brazilian experience.

Luckily for us, Cyro Baptista will be returning to his Vira Loucos material in an upcoming U.S. tour.  Eleonora Alberto, Baptista's manager, tells me that a number of dates are confirmed, but that additional ones may still be added:

October 13: Zankel Hall, NYC
October 15: Richmond VA
October 17: Warm Springs VA
October 26: Austin TX

Contact Eleonora if you'd like to book another date, or for more information on the tour.

Visit Cyro Baptista's website, his Vira Loucos page, and his Banquet of the Spirits Myspace page.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Villa-Lobos en dix ouevres

The excellent Villa-Lobos section of the France Musique website includes a list of 10 characteristic works (or groups of works) that best represent the composer.  Here is the list, which also includes suggested recordings:
  1. Amazonas (for orchestra)
  2. Rudepoema (for piano)
  3. Prole do Bebe (both suites)
  4. Momoprecoce
  5. The Choros series (includes an interview with conductor John Neshling)
  6. Etudes for guitar
  7. Guitar concerto
  8. The Bachianas Brasileiras series
  9. O Descobrimento do Brasil
  10. The 12 Symphonies
This is an admirable list, but my own is a bit different:
  1. Uirapuru
  2. Rudepoema for piano
  3. Prole do Bebe suites
  4. The Choros: Villa-Lobos's greatest music
  5. Nonetto: a chamber work that stands with the best of the Choros series
  6. Guitar Preludes
  7. The String Quartet series
  8. Bachianas Brasileiras
  9. Missa Sao Sebastiao (though the late choral work Bendita Sabedoria could have taken its place)
  10. Forest of the Amazon
Let me know what you think of these lists; feel free to include your own list in the comments below.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Villa-Lobos in Brussels

Villa-Lobos prepares a Belgian orchestra for a concert celebrating Brazil's National Day, September 1958 (AP Photo).

Villa-Lobos at the Martha Argerich Project

From the Martha Argerich Project website, two performances of Villa-Lobos pieces are available for streaming online:
  • Valsa da Dor by Mirabela Dina, from a 2006 performance, and 
  • Choros #05 by Eduardo Huber, from a 2008 performance.
I'm looking forward to exploring this site some more.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ave Maria

This is a lovely performance of the 1938 version of the Ave Maria from the Wicker Park Choral Singers in Chicago, last Christmas. Go to Geert Cuypers' excellent Ave Maria website for more information. He's done an amazing job of tracking down all the different versions that Villa-Lobos may have written (perhaps as many as26!)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Villa-Lobos on Cultura FM - February 2010

Every month I post highlights from the upcoming schedule of Cultura FM from Sao Paulo. Since you can listen live to this station on the Internet, it's a great way to hear Brazilian classical music.

February 4:
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS - Carnaval de Pierrot (completado por Amaral Vieira). Sonia Rubinsky (piano)./ Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART - Quinteto para piano e sopros K. 452. Murray Perahia (piano). Membros da Orquestra de Camera Inglesa ./ Giacomo ROSSINI - Sonata a quattro n°1 em sol maior. I Musici./ Piotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY - Lembranças de um lugar querido, op. 42. Nobuko Imai (viola). Roland Pöntinen (piano). / SCHULZ-EVLER - Arabescos sobre "O Danúbio Azul". Piers Lane (piano)./ Peter KIESEWETTER - Tango Pathetique. Martha Argerich (piano). Gidon Kremer (violino). Mischa Maisky (violoncelo)