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#2213690 - 01/12/14 10:09 PM The Music of Heitor Villa-Lobos
Dwscamel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/22/13
Posts: 466
I can't get enough of the melodic, extravagant, romantic themes from the set of Bachianas Brasileiras:

Those last two minutes absolutely kill me every time! to die for.

Villa-Lobos' piano music is also interesting; here's a piece he composed for Arthur Rubinstein. It's very Prokofiev-like in its shock factor and adventurous rhythms -- definitely a departure from the romantic sound:

(Bonus: it's apparantly difficult enough to cause Hamelin to make strange Lang Lang-like faces.)

I'd love to hear your experiences with Villa-Lobos' music, whether at the piano or elsewhere.

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#2213798 - 01/13/14 03:10 AM Re: The Music of Heitor Villa-Lobos [Re: Dwscamel]
dannylux Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/06
Posts: 1819
Loc: Connecticut
My favorite Villa-Lobos piece is Valsa da Dor (1932, Rio), played by Arnaldo Cohen:

Breathtakingly beautiful.

My Recordings

"Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only what you are expecting to give — which is everything. What you will receive in return varies. But it really has no connection with what you give. You give because you love and cannot help giving." Katharine Hepburn

#2214685 - 01/14/14 04:05 PM Re: The Music of Heitor Villa-Lobos [Re: dannylux]
worov Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/13/08
Posts: 114
Loc: Paris
One of my favourite composers. And certainly one of the original personalitites in the 20th century.

I love his piano music. You might be interested in Sonia Rubinsky's recording of the complete piano works of Villa-Lobos (Naxos). It is short of a revelation. The whole set is wonderful stuff.

Indeed, some of Villa-Lobos piano works are Prokofiev-like, I see what you mean and I agree with you.

If like this style, you may be interested in (if you don't know them yet) the suites "A prole do beb". It was written for Artur Rubinstein. (I didn't know Rudepoema was dedicated to Rubinstein. Thanks for the information).

There are two "A prole do beb" suites for piano. A prole do beb no.1 was published in 1920 and premiered by Rubinstein in 1922. A prole do beb no.2 was poublished and performed in 1927. It is very advanced and wonderful music.

I also adore his Poema Singelo (some kind of a waltz with a brazilian flavour). You can listen to it here :

I strongly recommend the cirandinhas and the cirandas. These are based on brazilian folk tunes.

The cirandas are very showy and virtuosic. However they sound more difficult than they really are.

The cirandinhas are much more easy. This is intermediate stuff. Very tuneful, very easy to play and superb musilc.

If you like the cirandinhas, you may like the Guia Pratic. It's a method Villa-Lobos wrote for children. The pieces are based on nursery rhymes. Villa-Lobos tranforms these into superlative pieces of music.

Finally, I also suggest you investigate his chamber music (don't forget Villa-Lobos was a cellist). His violin sonatas are wonderful, so are his works for cello and piano. And his set of string quartets is among the greatest of the 20th century.

My favourite performers are Nelson Freire, Cristina Ortiz, Arnaldo Cohen, Alfred Heller, Alma Petcherskya and Dbora Halsz.

#2214692 - 01/14/14 04:30 PM Re: The Music of Heitor Villa-Lobos [Re: Dwscamel]
Tim Adrianson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1056
Dwscamel, Off the top of my head, I can't think of another major composer whose extensive contributions to solo piano music are as thoroughly neglected. The only others in the same category, at least here in America, are Medtner and Faure. I especially like the Suite Floral and the Ciclo Brasileiro, and the Prole do Bebe No 2 -- the considerably more challenging cousin to the one well-known Villa-Lobos composition, Prole do Bebe No 1 (in particular, Polichinelle). But there is so much more -- all the character pieces, the Guia Practico, the huge Roedepoema -- prolific is an understatement!

#2214694 - 01/14/14 04:34 PM Re: The Music of Heitor Villa-Lobos [Re: Tim Adrianson]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5107
....and don't forget his five piano concertos, all highly colorful and virtuosic.

What a pity they're hardly ever played. In fact, I've never heard them played in concert. But at least there's a complete recording, by Cristina Ortiz.

#2214702 - 01/14/14 04:44 PM Re: The Music of Heitor Villa-Lobos [Re: Dwscamel]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5107
I hope everyone knows this haunting music:


#2214817 - 01/14/14 08:40 PM Re: The Music of Heitor Villa-Lobos [Re: bennevis]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3897
Loc: Rockford, IL
Back in the mid-eighties, I happened to live in WGBH land and listened to "Morning Pro Musica" almost every day. Robert J. Lurtsema went on some kind of Villa Lobos kick, and it seemed like he played it all! grin Loved it.

Last year, I was reading through some of my anthologies, and ran across this one, which I've been working on in a slow-burn kind of way, bucket-list style grin :

I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

#2214993 - 01/15/14 07:06 AM Re: The Music of Heitor Villa-Lobos [Re: Dwscamel]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7838
Back in 1978, DGG released a wonderful LP of Villa-Lobos piano music played by Roberto Szidon (with help from Richard Metzler on one 4-hand piece). It included a great and overwhelming performance of Rudepoema which I think is still the best I've ever heard, as well as various other delights. I pretty much wore out the grooves on that recording.

Later, in 1983, when Musical Heritage Society licensed a 2-LP recording of Szidon playing the Cirandas and the Cirandinhas from a Brazilian company, I snapped it up. And I wasn't disappointed - more wonderful music and colorful, idiomatic playing.

Also back in the LP era, I came across some Villa-Lobos wind music that I loved. It was on a Nonesuch disc that I bought for Ibert's Concertino da Camera for Saxophone, as well as the Glazounov sax concerto. But the B side, oddly enough, had nothing to do with saxophones, and was Villa-Lobos' Quintette en Forme de Choros for woodwind quintet and his Bachianas Brasilieras no. 6, for flute and bassoon. Fascinating, highly enjoyable stuff.

But there have been naysayers, of course. A famous bit of snark from Stravinsky: "Why is it that whenever I hear a piece of music I don't like, it's always by Villa Lobos?"

Edited by wr (01/15/14 07:11 AM)

#2215066 - 01/15/14 09:32 AM Re: The Music of Heitor Villa-Lobos [Re: wr]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3572
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: wr

But there have been naysayers, of course. A famous bit of snark from Stravinsky: "Why is it that whenever I hear a piece of music I don't like, it's always by Villa Lobos?"

That's more than a little ironic given how many times comments like that have been uttered about Stravinsky's music...

#2215130 - 01/15/14 11:20 AM Re: The Music of Heitor Villa-Lobos [Re: Dwscamel]
Polyphonist Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7598
Loc: New York City
Of a piece Stravinsky composed in memory of Debussy, a critic once wrote, "If my memories of a friend were as painful as Stravinsky's of Debussy seem to be, I would try to forget him." grin


#2215299 - 01/15/14 04:48 PM Re: The Music of Heitor Villa-Lobos [Re: Dwscamel]
Dwscamel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/22/13
Posts: 466
Wow, the warm reception for Villa-Lobos' music is incredible smile.

There are many excellent suggestions in this thread -- even the Glazunov sax concerto slipped in somehow!

I would indeed rather hear Villa-Lobos than most of Stravinsky (and I'd rather hear freight trucks pass by than Debussy).

I didn't realize he wrote some concerti. I'm listening to the aria from Bachiana....no.5, and I plan on hearing Valsa da Dor, Singelo, and O Polichinelo next. There's lots to explore!


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