Amazonas (Orchestra)

Appleby Catalogue W number: 
Year Composed: 


400pxara_macaoThe ballet Amazonas was written in Rio in 1917, (possibly a re-working of the earlier - now lost - score Myremis) but didn't receive its premiere until 1929 in Paris.  It's a work of real power and focus - one of the young composer's greatest early works.

" almost avant-gardist work in relation to its time, a work comparable to Varèse's Ameriques." - Tarasti, p. 295 

In 1932 Villa-Lobos "transcribed" Amazonas for piano.  There are similar orchestral and piano versions of Rudepoema, though that work was an "orchestration" of an original work for piano.

See my post on the special instruments of Amazonas at The Villa-Lobos Magazine. You can listen to the recording by the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, conducted by Enrique Arturo Diemecke at Mbaraka.

The work was based on a story told by Raul Villa-Lobos, the composer's father.  

[pictured at right: two Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao); picture by Matthew Romack at the Wikimedia Commons.]


Orchestra: 4(2flpic).3(1cor ang).4(1clpic, 1clB).3(1cbn) - 1 sarrusophone - 4(ou 8).4.3.1 - 3perc, 1timb, 1cel, 1pno, 2hp - 1 cythara do arco (ou 1 violinophone), 1viole d'amour - crd

A note on the autograph score indicates that '4 or 8 horns' might be used.

This is one of the first scores to be published in the Villa-Lobos Digital project of the Academia Brasileira da Música.


Transcribed for piano


Villa-Lobos, Heitor. 1929. Amazonas: poème symphonique pour grand orchestre. Paris: M. Eschig.


Premiere: 30.05.1929, Paris, Salle Gaveau, Orchestre des Concerts Poulet, Gaston Poulet (dir)

There are seven performances of Amazonas in the Villa-Lobos Concerts database as of Sept. 2011.

Orchestral Works