Heitor Villa-Lobos was born in Rio de Janeiro. His father, Raul, was a wealthy, educated man of Spanish extraction, a librarian, an amateur astronomer and musician. In Villa-Lobos's early childhood, Brazil underwent a period of social revolution and modernisation, abolishing slavery in 1888 and overthrowing the Empire of Brazil in 1889. The changes in Brazil were reflected in its musical life: previously European music had been the dominant influence, and the courses at the Conservatório de Música were grounded in traditional counterpoint and harmony. Villa-Lobos underwent very little of this formal training…
A lot has been said about Anna Moffo's early vocal decline and mismanaged carreer but let's not forget what a lovely singer she was in her prime. This recital from the early 1970's let us hear "late Moffo" though she was not yet 40. There is a slight hoarseness and unsteadiness in the voice that was not present in earlier recordings but it is still by any means a beautiful instrument used with skill. This recital also reminds us what a verstatile artist she was - she sings arias from the italian bel canto and verismo repertoire, french lyric and also german operettas and she passes from one to the other with considerable naturalness, ease and charm..
HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1887, has, by virtue of both his immense output and colourful and accessible musical language, become the most celebrated Brazilian composer of all time. His work not only richly typifies the diverse and kaleidoscopic Brazilian scene but also, in its abundance, originality, and vitality, provided the key which unlocked Brazilian art music once and for all from the shackles of European late-Romanticism..
Heitor Villa-Lobos' two numbered cello concerti come from the opposite ends of his output; the first Grande Concerto dates from 1915 and the second from 1953. In between there is another concertante work, the Fantasia for cello and orchestra, which is contemporaneous with the Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 for soprano and eight cellos that remains Villa-Lobos' most popular work. In this MD&G issue, Heitor Villa-Lobos: Concertos for Violoncello and Orchestra, cellist Ulrich Schmid is heard with the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie under conductor Dominique Roggen in the numbered concertos only, although there easily would have been enough room on the 42-minute-long disc to accommodate the Fantasia as well.
The recordings by the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra of works by Villa-Lobos, Camargo Guarnieri and other Brazilian composers have demonstrated the variety of their national music and the multi-faceted nature of Brazilian dance. Alexandre Levy’s Samba and Alberto Nepomuceno’s Batuque are early examples of a Brazilian art music which draws heavily on the dance rhythms of popular music.