Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Friday, August 24, 2012
Friday, August 10, 2012
Leah Arbelada Boyd - Truth & Justice for Dona Arminda, as well as for Dona Lucilia, and even Dona Lisa - "Leah Arbelada Boyd described the allegory on the life of Villa-Lobos which is embedded in Jorge Amado's Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, and discussed some of the circumstances surrounding it."
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Mstislav Rostropovich and cellists from the London Philharmonic Orchestra play the first movement of Bachianas Brasileiras #1. This is from the Prom from the Palace concert held in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, hosted by Her
Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Broadcast live on BBC Television, June 1st
Rostropovich recorded this movement with the Moscow Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kyrill Kondrashin, back in 1964.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
You can search the entire archive of castaways and their music choices on the DID website. It was great to see Villa-Lobos included in 22 programmes, chosen by such interesting castaways as Captain Jacques Cousteau, soprano Regina Resnik, and actors Richard Attenborough and Peter Ustinov. All of these chose Bachianas Brasileiras #5; it's not a surprise to see BB#5 chosen by 16 of these 22. Even guitarist Julian Bream chose BB#5, rather than one of the guitar works. Other interesting choices: James Mason picked guitar Prelude #3, while Goon Show writer Michael Bentine chose Uirapuru. Though less popular than other pieces - Elgar's Nimrod Variation was the choice of twice as many castaways, while Beethoven's 9the Symphony was the top pick - it's still a pretty impressive list.
The amazing presenters - only 4 in all those years! - often dig deep in their questions, and the musical choices say a lot about the guests. Lately I've been listening to a DID MP3 - about 25 minutes - on each leg of my bicycle commute, and I've really been enlightened and entertained. Check it out!
Here is the evocative theme of the show "The Sleepy Lagoon", written by Eric Coates in 1930.
The new disc includes one of the best symphonies, the 6th, which is subtitled "Montanhas do Brasil", or as presented here, "On the Outline of the Mountains of Brazil." The work, from 1944, has been recorded twice: by Carl St. Clair and the SWR Stuttgart Orchestra on cpo, and by Roberto Duarte and the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra on Marco Polo. The 7th Symphony is from 1945, and has only been recorded once before, in the cpo complete symphonies set.
It seems like a good idea to present these two symphonies on the first disc in the series. In the mid 1940s Villa-Lobos was producing very accessible music; this was the period of the Bachianas Brasileiras. 1945 especially is an important year for the composer, who that year completed BB#9, the String Trio, the 1st Piano Concerto, the 9th String Quartet and the Fantasia for Cello & Orchestra. Perhaps the excitement of his first trip to America in January and February of 1945 got his creative juices flowing, or maybe he had a bunch of music ready to publish after a relatively quite time in Brazil during the war years.
It's become a bit of a cliché to say that the symphonies don't include the best orchestral music of Villa-Lobos. Clearly none of the symphonies can approach the level of Bachianas Brasileiras #1, #7 or #9; Choros #08 or #11; tone poems like Uirapuru or Erosao; or the concertos for guitar or cello. But the judgements in standard works by Appleby, Peppercorn & Tarasti were based on just a few recordings or live performances, and a sketchy availability of scores. Things changed when cpo finished recording the complete series of symphonies in 2000, and we're beginning to see a very few symphonies show up in performance around the world.
The current state of Villa-Lobos symphonies on CD is tilted pretty firmly towards Carl St. Clair & the SWR Stuttgart Orchestra on cpo:
- Symphony 1: cpo only
- Symphony 2: cpo, plus an obscure 1944 LP with the composer conducting the Werner Janssen Orchestra in Los Angeles
- Symphony 3: cpo only
- Symphony 4: cpo; a 1958 recording from France that's included in Villa-Lobos par lui-même; & a Dorian disc with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, conducted by Enrique Arturo Diemecke
- Symphony 5: score is lost
- Symphony 6: cpo, and the Duarte recording on Marco Polo mentioned above
- Symphony 7: cpo only
- Symphony 8: cpo only
- Symphony 9: cpo only
- Symphony 10: cpo; Symphony Orchestra of Tenerife, with Victor Pablo Perez on Harmonia Mundi; Gisele Ben-Dor conducting the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra on Koch
- Symphony 11: cpo only
- Symphony 12: cpo only