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

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DijonAmérique Latine, chemins multiples

Amérique Latine, chemins multiples
Villa-Lobos, Brouwer, Iznaola, Ginastera, Gnattali
Pablo Marquez; Anja Lechner

KuhmoTierras de Fuegos

Ginastera, Kagel, Piazzolla, Salgan, Nisinman, Villa-Lobos, Golijov
Niamh McKenna; Mi-Sa Yang; Florin Szigeti; Vladimir Mendelssohn

BirminghamThe Jet Whistle

Villa-Lobos, Roussel, Jolivet, Ravel
Veronika Klirova; Oliver Janes; Colette Overdijk; Kirsty Lovie

LondonHymns to the Mother of God

Holst I., Howells, Tavener, Dale, Panufnik, Villa-Lobos
Dominic Ellis-Peckham; London Oriana Choir

New York CityKapustin, Villa-Lobos, Larsen, Liszt

Kapustin, Villa-Lobos, Larsen, Liszt
Misha Quint; Nora Lee Garcia; Theresa Bogard; Antonio Di Cristofano
Latest reviewsSee more...

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. 
***11
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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.
***11
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Prom 51: Passion and Brazilian flair from Alsop and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra

Marin Alsop and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra © BBC | Mark Allan
In true Olympian spirit, Marin Alsop and her São Paulo Symphony Orchestra dived head first into the drama of Brazilian music, with luxurious Rachmaninov and Gabriela Montero freely expressive in Grieg.
****1
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Epic Shostakovich 5 from Alsop and the São Paulo SO

Marin Alsop © Grant Leighton
Marin Alsop nods to her mentor in Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, challenges the Edinburgh Festival Chorus with Villa-Lobos' Chôros 10 and astonishes in a passionate enduring performance of Shostakovich's Fifth.
****1
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Biography

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