Introdução aos Choros (Introduction aux Choros)

Appleby Catalogue W number: 
W239
Year Composed: 

Category:

Villa-Lobos wrote the Introdução aos Choros (also known as the Introduction aux Choros) in 1929. The work was dedicated to Mindinha, and had its first performance in Rio de Janeiro, with the Leo Perschi conducting the Orquestra da Radio Nacional, and Menezes playing the guitar.

However, Luis Fernando Lopes believes this work (along with Choros 6, 9, 11, and 12) wasn't completed until the late 1930s or early 1940s.

In his notes to the work included in Villa-Lobos: Sua Obra (1972) (p. 210), the composer compares the Introdução aos Choros to a Symphonic Overture, containing a number of themes from the series. Specifically, he notes themes from Choros #03, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13 and 14. Interesting that themes from the last two Choros are included, since they're both lost. I've never seen an analysis of the piece that isolates the themes, but that would be useful. Now that we're getting new recordings of the Choros series, it will be much easier for someone to do this work, though the scores of some of the Choros are hard to find.

Villa-Lobos also designed the work so that immediately after the final bars of the Introdução aos Choros, the guitar soloist can begin the series, with the great Choros #01 (see the YouTube video below for a real-life example).

Instrumentation: 

Solo guitar, with a fairly large orchestra:

piccolo 2 flutes 2 oboes English horn
2 clarinets bass clarinet saxophone 2 bassoons
contrabassoon 4 horns tuba timpani
tam-tam xylophone celesta 2 harps
piano strings
Scores: 

Villa-Lobos, Heitor. Introduction aux choros = Introdução aos choros : ouverture. Paris: M. Eschig, 1987.

A study score is available from Di-Arezzo.

The autograph score (52 pp.) is in the Museu Villa-Lobos.

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

 

Recordings: 
Violao Sinfonico

 

The great Villa-Lobos scholar, musician, and head of the Museu Villalobos, Turibio Santos, is featured as guitar soloist in an interesting double-CD entitledViolão Sinfônico (recorded in 2006). It includes the Introdução aos Choros, Choros #01 (immediately following the Introdução), and the Guitar Concerto, along with works by Edino Krieger. Sílvio Barbato conducts the Orquestra Sinfônica do Rio de Janeiro.

Carlos Oramas is the guitarist in the first two works on this ASV CD which contains the first 7 Choros, following the Introduction. Adrian Leaper conductions the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra. It's unfortunate that this excellent CD, released in 2003, wasn't followed by further releases of the Choros series.

 

Timo Korhonen's 1989 Ondine recording of the work, included in his first volume of Complete Works for Guitar, was possibly the world premiere recording. He discusses the work in this interview: “Rally Driving and Villa-Lobos: Timo Korhonen talks to Colin Cooper”

"The Villa-Lobos world premiere recording in my collection is Introduction aux Choros, for orchestra and guitar, dating from 1929. After completing the Choros cycle, Villa-Lobos went on to compose an introduction to it along the lines of a traditional symphonic overture. This Introduction aux Choros is a kind of potpourri in which he draws on themes of previous choros compositions. The work generates a special tension by pitting the lyrical guitar against a large orchestra. The guitar is given several short solos sandwiched between longer orchestral passages. In the manuscript in 1929 the composer specified 'chitarra con microphone' It is difficult to understand why it has been performed so few times until today. The overture ends with the rising motive of the opening bar of Choros No. 1."

Performances: 

Here is a YouTube version of the end of the Introdução, complete with a peformance of Choros #01 immediately following the final bars (as envisaged by the composer). Stefan Marczyk plays the guitar, and Giovanni Grano conducts the Symphony Orchestra of Stettino, Poland.

As of August 2011, there is only a single concert with this work in the Villa-Lobos Concert database. It's a shame it's not performed more often, especially considering the paucity of fresh works for guitar and orchestra.

 

Category: 
Choros
Guitar Works
Concertos