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Composer: Villa-Lobos, Heitor (1887-1959)

February 2019
Evening performance
Matinee performance
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LiverpoolThe Lark Ascending

The Lark Ascending
Vaughan Williams, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák, Grieg, Stravinsky, D'Rivera, Villa-Lobos, Piazzolla
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Holly Mathieson; Pacho Flores

GlasgowChamber Series: The Phoenix Trio

Beethoven, Françaix, Villa-Lobos, Devienne, Ibert
Chamber Ensemble from the RSNO

MálagaOrquesta Filarmónica de Málaga

Orquesta Filarmónica de Málaga
Dukas, Piazzolla, Villa-Lobos, Sarasate, Vaughan Williams, Respighi
Orquesta Filarmónica de Málaga; José María Moreno; Pacho Flores

MadridBernstein, Orbón, Villa-Lobos

Bernstein, Orbón, Villa-Lobos
Bernstein, Orbón, Villa-Lobos
Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid; José Ramón Encinar; Coro de la Comunidad de Madrid; Noelia Rodiles

Los AngelesPiatigorsky International Cello Festival

Poulenc, Franck, Debussy, Milhaud, Fauré, Paganini, Crockett, Villa-Lobos, Bach
Narek Hakhnazaryan; Jean-Guihen Queyras; Camille Thomas; Sakura Cello Ensemble
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Renée Fleming in recital at the Concertgebouw

Renée Fleming © Andrew Eccles | Decca
In a highly versatile recital, soprano Renée Fleming was at her best in unaffected songs and operetta.
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New year celebrations at Sage Gateshead

Jess Gillam © Kaupo Kikkas
A joyful evening of Franco-Brazilian dance music with Royal Northern Sinfonia and Jess Gillam as part of Sage Gateshead's New Year New Music 2019 festival.
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Cello Octet resounds at the Hagia Eirene

Cello4Berlin and Çellistanbul © Ersin Durmus
Berlin Philharmonic cellists combine with Turkish counterparts for a dazzling performance in Istanbul.
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Strong rhythms and jealousy at Turku Castle

© Turku Philharmonic
Latin American and Spanish music at the medieval Turku Castle in the heart of the former capital of Finland. A perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. 
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Dudamel and the Bolívars: a “socks-on” kind of ensemble

Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela © Chris Lee
Maestro Gustavo Dudamel and the musicians of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra are undoubtedly the most prominent ambassadors for Venezuelan orchestral music today, and they hit the stage on Friday for their second night at Carnegie Hall’s opening weekend.
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Heitor Villa-Lobos remains Brazil's most famous composer of classical music. His style is unique, born of an anarchic attitude to authority and a fascination with the landscape of his country with its vast rain-forested interior fused with very strong "straight" classical technical ability.

The works most often heard today are the Bachianas Brasileiras ("Brazilian Bach pieces"), a series of compositions for a variety of instruments and voices which depict Brazilian live in extraordinary vividness, drawing on an improbable combination of Brazilian street music, folk tunes from many influences and the composer's particular love of Bach. A particularly graphic piece is "O Trenzinho do Caipir ("The little train of the Caipir") the Toccata from Bachiana Brasileira no.2, which depicts the progress of a small steam train making its way into the distance through the Amazon forests.

Villa-Lobos was a fine guitarist and friend of Andres Segovia and wrote many compositions for Segovia. His pieces display a unique understanding of the guitar and ability to turn its peculiarities to musical advantage. If you read the music of his Etude no. 1, its series of harmonies makes no sense whatsoever in terms of chord progression or any standard theory. Played on the guitar, however, it's a repeated right hand pattern with the left hand being a simple hand shape moving chromatically downwards one fret at a time combined with drone strings: it's both easy to play and sounds unique and exciting. His guitar concerto is also one of the best in the repertoire at overcoming the unique difficulty of achieving balance between guitar and orchestra.

David Karlin
12th December 2008