Villa-Lobos par lui-même (EMI Classics)


This 6-CD set is indispensible for the Villa-Lobos lover.  Though controversial in part as to performance quality, and universally loathed for its thin sound, it's great to have such a treasure-trove of works conducted and overseen by the composer himself.

Villa-Lobos par lui-meme, on LPThe notes to this set, by Pierre Vidal, bring back the nostalgic, late-50s Parisian setting of these happy recording sessions:

"Visiting Villa-Lobos at the Hotel Bedford in Paris in May 1958, we found ourselves in the presence of a man of typically Brazilian cordiality who knew at once how to set his companions at ease."

Speaking of nostalgia, I've seen the original 10-LP set for sale on eBay (here is the original listing).  I don't normally collect LPs, though I have bought some to fill in Villa-Lobos repertoire that isn't currently available on CD.  I'm thinking, though, that it would have been nice to have that set [pictured to the left].  So I'm doing without that last bit of 1950s feel, but I don't miss the cracks, scratches and pops.

One mustn't forget the transcendant experience of hearing Victoria de los Angeles singing Bachianas Brasileiras #5.

Date Recorded: 
Saturday, November 30, 1957
EMI Classics

Heitor Villa-Lobos conducting L'Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Francaise, with his supporting cast:

Fernand Dufrene, flute, and Maurice Cliquennois, clarinet
Jacques Neilz, violin, and Henri Bronschwak, cello
Manoel Braune, Aline van Berentzen, Magda Tagliaferro and Felicia Blumental, piano
Rene Plessier, bassoon, and Fernando Dufrene, flute
Victoria de los Angeles, soprano



Back cover:


Bachianas Brasileiras
Chamber Music
Choral Music

Read my very old review, one of the first things I added to the Villa-Lobos Website back in the mid-90s.

Here are reviews from the new Gramophone Archive site:

  • Lionel Salter's very positive and illuminating January 1963 review of Choros #10,  Invocação em defesa da pátria, and Descobrimento do Brasil
  • L.S.'s review of 4 Bachianas Brasileiras (#1, #2, #5, #9) from this set in September 1988.  Salter's love of Villa-Lobos is evident, and his critical acumen is obvious.
  • There are so many ways that record companies presented the Paris material before the VL par lui-même CD set: this September 1958 review (again by L.S.) makes reference to an HMV recording of BB#2, #5, #6, and #9. In these in-depth reviews, Salter continues his 4-5 decade critical master-class on Villa-Lobos.

Guy Rickards' review is in Tempo, New Series, No. 186 (Sep., 1993), pp. 48-49

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