Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Song of the Uirapuru

I love listening to the Cambaxirra (mentioned in the second part of Bachianas Brasileiras #5). So I thought I'd post the song of the Uirapuru:

Uirapuru (Cyphorhinus arada VE-km67 19940712 S1 ATC) by Dean Frey

There are so many Creative Commons-licensed bird songs on the web now.  This one is by Allen T. Chartier, recorded in Venezuela, 12-07-1994, found at this great website. Here's a lovely picture of the "Musical Wren" ("Uirapuru" is the Portuguese name, based on the Tupi "wirapu 'ru").

This picture, in the public domain, is from the Catalogue of the birds in the British Museum. Volume 6, by John Gerrard Keulemans (1842–1912), and comes from the Wikipedia article.

And here, for comparison, is the first part of Villa-Lobos's ballet Uirapuru. This recording is by the OSMSP, conducted by Rodrigo de Carvalho.

Uirapuru, by Villa-Lobos (clip) by Dean Frey

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Villa-Lobos the conductor

It's not often one reads about Villa-Lobos the conductor, except when he's conducting his own works. This report from Rio in the November 15, 1935 issue of the Paris music magazine Menestrel shows the range of Villa the conductor. It's not a surprise to see the music of his friend Florent Schmitt, and you can hear the influence of others in Villa's music from the 1930s: especially Ravel, and (obviously) Bach.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wow! James Ellroy likes Villa-Lobos!

Novelist James Ellroy was a big hit at FLIP 2011, the international literary festival in Paraty, a small city in Rio de Janeiro state. It seems, from this recent story on the Globo website, that Ellroy spoke a fair amount about music. He's a big fan of Beethoven, but he also, according to the video on the site, likes Villa-Lobos. The article: "James Ellroy diz admirar Heitor Villa-Lobos na Flip", or "James Ellroy expresses admiration for Villa-Lobos at FLIP."

This reminds me a bit of the Royal Couple's recent visit to The Calgary Stampede, where everyone was really pleased that the Prince & Princess wore the white Stetson hats they were given. Not that we're at all insecure in the New World.

"Listen," says Ellroy, "I'm in Brazil; I'm your guest. I'm going to say some good shit about your country."

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mandu Çarará

The Bierce Library at the University of Akron in Ohio holds the collections of Walter Burle Marx, the composer, conductor and close friend of Villa-Lobos. Thanks to librarian David Procházka for this scan of the first page of the score.

You can watch an excellent performance of this rare "secular cantata" at YouTube. Roberto Tibiriçá conducts the Sinfónica de la Juventud Venezolana "Simón Bolívar", the Sistema Nacional de Coros Sinfonicos (Zulia, Tachira, Merida y Metropolitano), and the Niños Cantores del Nucleo Los Teques, in a concert from Caracas from last January 30th.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Alberto Ginastera's Tribute to Villa-Lobos

One of Alberto Ginastera's best known piano works is his Preludios Americanos, op. 12, written in 1944. Included in the 12 characteristic pieces are homages to some composers he admired: Aaron Copland, Roberto Garcia Morillo, Juan Jose Castro, and Heitor Villa-Lobos.

You can listen to No. 11. Homenaje a Heitor Villa-Lobos, played by Fernando Viani, here at