November 8, 2009


(Heitor Villa-Lobos - Composer and Poolshark)

Last week I posted a work by Morton Gould as an American ode to Latin American music. This week, I thought would take it the other way around and play a work composed by a Brazilian Composer and played for the first time to American audiences.

In 1940, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Commissioner General in Brazil co-sponsored a series of concerts featuring music by new Brazilian composers.

One of the better known was Heitor Villa-Lobos, a name that is pretty familiar to most audiences around the world. Villa-Lobos was a major force in 20th Century classical music. Subsequently, when RCA Victor decided to release a set of recordings from this concert series, they chose the music of Villa-Lobos as the most representative. That's not to say the music of Francisco Mignone, M. Camargo Guarnieri and Oscar Lorenzo Fernandez wasn't any good. It's just as Villa-Lobos had name recognition.

From the set recorded in 1940 and issued in 1941, I've included Bachiana Brasileira Number 1. Everyone is familiar with the Number 5 Bachiana, but not so much with the others. This one is scored for eight cellos and was composed in 1932. The piece is dedicated to the conductor Burle Marx, who is conductor on this recording. The group is The Brazilian Festival Orchestra (cellos). I am not sure, but I think this was reissued on lp in the early 1950s - but hasn't seen any CD reissue as far as I know.

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