Thursday, September 29, 2011
Here is a bit of the 1st Villa-Lobos Piano Trio by the Austria-based Villa-Lobos Trio (along with some beautiful Piazzolla and Zequinha de Abreu's great "Tico Tico no fuba"). The Villa-Lobos Trio was recently nominated for a Latin Grammy for their 2010 Oehms Classics CD.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
A new book about the great modernist landscape architect and designer Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994) shows his versatility and originality. Roberto and his musician brother Walter were friends of Villa-Lobos. One of Roberto Burle Marx's Villa-Lobos legacies is the garden he designed in 1986 for the Museu Villa-Lobos.
Roberto Burle Marx also collaborated with the composer: in 1959 (the year of Villa's death) he worked on stage and costume designs for the ballet Zuimaluti, with music by Villa-Lobos, and a libretto by Mario de Andrade. I haven't been able to track down any references to this work other than the Burle Marx designs. Zuimaluti isn't included in the latest version of Villa-Lobos: Sua Obra. Have any Villa-Lobos scholars out there heard of any surviving music from this project?
Burle Marx is an amazing artist; you can see many of his designs in this preview of the new book.
Friday, September 16, 2011
My good friend Alfred Heller says all sorts of great things about Villa-Lobos in this short interview on Veja TV, including this: "Villa-Lobos is the most important composer since Beethoven."
Alfred Heller knew Villa-Lobos well during the last few years of the composer's life, when he acted as his assistant in New York in the late 1950s. Alfred's conducting and piano playing on a wide range of CDs has enriched the Villa-Lobos discography. Read his excellent article "The One-World Style of Villa-Lobos".
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Two Villa-Lobos discs have been nominated for Latin Grammy awards. The excellent Delos CD from the Brazilian Guitar Quartet [pictured above] includes a wide variety of piano and chamber works arranged for four guitars by group member Tadeu do Amaral. You can listen to Track 14 from the disc at Soundcloud: it's one of Villa-Lobos's Cirandas, A procura de uma agulha (Hunting for a Needle).
The other disc is from the young Austrian ensemble the Villa-Lobos Trio: pianist Rosângela Antunes, violinist Florian Wilscher, and cellist Katrin Schickedanz. This fine Oehms Classics CD includes Villa-Lobos's early (1911) First Piano Trio, along with an arrangement by J. Bragato of Piazzolla's Las Cuatros Estaciones Portenas, and an interesting work by Lucio Bruno-Videla called Yumba Verwandlung. You can listen to the first movement of the Villa-Lobos Piano Trio at the VLT website.
Good luck to both groups!
Monday, September 12, 2011
In 2009 TV Cultura showed the documentary "A Arte de Villa-Lobos" on Programa Mosaicos. It's so nice to have the entire show, in 6 parts, on YouTube. There are lots of great bits in this first section: Anna Stella Schic playing the 2nd Piano Concerto in a 1979 concert, and an endorsement from Aaron Copland, who didn't often say nice things about Villa-Lobos:
"A passionate type of man. I don't know how he ever managed to get to sleep at night. He seemed to be so very much alive all the time: very spontaneous, easily combustible, you know, just very lively in the head. So it was fun to be with him."
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Portrait of Heitor Villa-Lobos in Rio by medicitv
This excerpt from a longer documentary on Villa-Lobos at Medici.TV includes one of the greatest of Villa-Lobos stories: the meeting in Rio between the young composer and the pianist Arthur Rubinstein.
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
Yesterday (September 1) was the 125th anniversary of the birth of Tarsila do Amaral. Born the year before Villa-Lobos, the great Brazilian painter was a friend of the composer's, and a participant with Villa-Lobos in the festivities during the Semana de Arte Moderna in Sao Paulo in 1923. Many of Tarsila's paintings show up on Villa-Lobos CDs. The painting above (Carnaval em Madureira, 1924), for example, is on the BIS set of the Complete Choros and Bachianas Brasileiras.