Bachianas Brasileiras #2

Appleby Catalogue W number: 
Year Composed: 


There are four movements, orchestrations of earlier works for cello & piano and solo piano:
Movement Original orchestration Added title
O Canto do Capadocio cello & piano Prelude
O Canto da Nossa Terra cello & piano Aria
Lembrança do Sertão piano solo Dansa
O trenzinho do Caipira cello & piano Toccata

Go to YouTube for a video of a performance of the cello & piano version of the last movement by cellist David Chew and pianist Miriam Braga.

The final movement depicts a train in the backwoods. It's always been a popular piece; it's become a kind of national song.  I remember reading that Walt Disney considered this piece for a segment of Fantasia - it would have been great.  I'll track down that reference and add it here. [Here it is!]

"As to Villa-Lobos, he is well worth a trip to Rio to see. In fact, he is becoming a sort of national monument, visited by every newcomer. Walt Disney, during his South American journey, looked up Villa-Lobos for some music for his second Fantasia. He listened to records of Villa-Lobos and picked up a Bachiana Brasileira, one of the five suites Villa-Lobos wrote to express the spirit of Bach through the medium of Brazilian folk song. Disney thought the music would be very good for an animated adventure of a choo-choo train." - Nicolas Slonimsky, "Heitor Villa-Lobos: A Visit", Musical America, Oct. 10, 1941

Michael Round discusses the term "Capadocio" from the first movement.  He says it " not a 'Countryman' but a Teddy-boy or layabout..."  (Tempo, New Series, No. 169, 50th Anniversary 1939-1989 (Jun., 1989), p. 39).  I've read the Wikipedia article on Teddy-boys,  and I'm not sure I really understand what they are, but I get Round's point that this movement should have a bit of an edge to it.  This is a very illuminating article, by the way.  Anyone involved in a performance of any Bachianas should read it carefully.

Thesis: Heller, Alfred. 1974. A conductor's guide to Villa-Lobos's Bachianas brasileiras, numbers two, three, and eight. Document (DM)--Indiana University.

Thesis: Elementos Necessários à Representação Descritiva de Partituras: um estudo com as Bachianas Brasileiras n.1, 2 e 4 


The work is for "chamber orchestra", but with a large percussion component. flute oboe clarinet tenor saxophone contrabassoon bassoon 2 trumpets horn timpani chocalhos reco-reco triangle cymbals ganza pandeiro bombo matraca celesta piano strings There's a version of this piece for cello & piano (W568).  Also a version of the 3rd movement Lembrança do Sertão for solo piano.


Clinton Nieweg regularly updates a master-list of information about the Bachianas Brasileiras. It's available at (the latest version is from January 2013). Bachianas Brasileiras No. 2 Full Score. By Hector Villa-Lobos. (score). Study Score. 88 pages. Published by Associated. (50076880)See more info... Villa-Lobos arranged the third movement of BB#2 for piano. It's included in this new book from Brazil:

Villa-Lobos, Heitor, Antônio Carlos Neves Campos, Marcos Roque, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Heitor Villa-Lobos, and Heitor Villa-Lobos. 2009. O piano e as bachianas. Rio de Janeiro: Irmãos Vitale.


The version for cello & piano (W568):

And an arrangement for saxophone quintet:

Recordings of the piano version of the 3rd movement Lembrança do Sertão are here


Here's a complete list of performances of BB#2 from the HVL Concert Calendar database (more than 100 as of September 2010).

Chamber Music
Bachianas Brasileiras
Orchestral Works