Works of Villa-Lobos
Choros

 

#1 

No. 1 for guitar (1920) - Max Eschig

 

No. 2 for flute & clarinet (1924) - Max Eschig

Eero Tarasti brings up the possibility of the influence of Edgard Varese, a close friend of Villa-Lobos' during his stay in Paris.  Other European influences that come up in Tarasti's analysis (p. 91-95 of his Heitor Villa-Lobos, 1995) are Debussy and Stravinsky. 
 

#2

#3

No. 3 for male chorus & wind instruments (1925) - Max Eschig

Guess Who?Subtitled "Pica-Pau" [woodpecker]. 

Listen to the song of the Pica-pau-de-topete-vermelho (Dryocopus lineatus). 1 This bird sounds more than a bit like Woody! 

"Dedicated to the sonorous atmospher of the primitive music of the aborigines of the states of Matto Grosso and Goias." - HVL 

Oswald de AndradeVilla-Lobos also dedicated the work to Oswald de Andrade (1890-1954) - one of Brazil's greatest writers - and his wife, painter Tarsila do Amaral (1897-1973.) 

One of the themes is borrowed from an Indian song melody, a drinking song of the Parecis Indians.  As Villa-Lobos scholar Gerard Behague points out, this is a rare case of Villa-Lobos using an actual Indian song in one of his pieces. 

Instrumentation: 

  • Male chorus (2 tenor, baritone, bass)
  • clarinet
  • alto saxophone
  • trombone
  • bassoon
  • 3 French horns
 

No. 4 for 3 horns & trombone (1926) - Max Eschig

A work that definitely enriches the world's literature for 3 horns and trombone... 
 

#4

#5

No. 5 for piano (1925) "Alma Brasileira" - Max Eschig

 Dedicated to Villa-Lobos' benefactor Arnaldo Guinle. 

No. 6 for orchestra (1926) - Max Eschig

Orchestration:
piccolo
2 flutes
2 oboes
English horn
clarinet
bass clarinet
2 bassoons
contrabassoon
4 horns
3 trumpets
4 trombones
tuba
timpani
tam-tam
saxophone
xylophone
bells
cymbals
bass drum
celesta
2 harps
strings
tartaruga
camisao grande
cuica
reco-reco
tambu
tambi
tamborim
roncador
chocalhos
tamborim de samba
 

#6

#7

No. 7 for winds, violin & cello (1924) - Max Eschig

Orchestration: 
 
flute oboe cello clarinet
alto saxophone bassoon tam-tam violin
 

No. 8 for large orchestra & 2 pianos (1925) 

Orchestration:
piccolo
2 flutes
2 oboes
English horn
4 clarinets
bass clarinet
saxophone
2 bassoons
contrabassoon
4 horns
4 trumpets
3 trombones
tuba
timpani
tam-tam
xylophone
triangle
bombo
cymbals
tambor de campo
caixa
chocalhos de metal
caracaxa
nuita
matraca
celesta
2 harps
strings
 

#8 

#9 

No. 9 for orchestra (1929) - Max Eschig 

Piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, eng horn, 3 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns,
4 trumpets, 4 trombones, tuba, timpani, tam-tam, bombo, tambor, tambor surdo, camisao (large and small), pio, triangle, reco, tartaruga, cax, cho (metal and wood), xylophone, vibraphone, celesta, 2 harps and strings

Dedicated to Arminda Noves d'Almeida in 1936 Premiere: Rio de Janeiro, Orchestra of the Teatro Municipal; Villa- Lobos, cond; 7/15/1942
 

 

No. 10 for chorus & orchestra (1925) "Rasga o Coraçao" - Max Eschig

Villa-Lobos' greatest work?
The subtitle, which means "Rend my heart," comes from a modinha by Catulo da Paixao Cearense (1866-1946).  Villa-Lobos quotes a schottische by Anacleto de Medeiros (1866-1907).  The quotation caused quite a stir: a plagiarism suite was brought against Villa-Lobos, though it was ultimately dropped.  There is another Parecis Indian song used in this Choros (see #3 above) - a "hammock" lullabye.
Orchestration: 
piccolo
2 flutes
2 oboes
2 clarinets
saxophone
2 bassoons
contrabassoon
3 horns
2 trumpets
2 trombones
2 timpani
tam-tam
tambourine
tambor
caxambu
2 puitas
surdo drums
reco-reco (large & small)
chocalhos de metal e de madeira
piano
harp
strings
   
 

#10

#11

No. 11 for piano & orchestra (1928) - Max Eschig

Orchestration: 
 
piccolo 3 flutes 2 oboes English horn
2 clarinets bass clarinet sop. saxophone alt. saxophone
requinta 2 bassoons contrabassoon 4 horns
4 trumpets 4 trombones tuba timpani
tam-tam reco-reco chocalhos xylophone
bells tambor bombo cymbals
tambourine celesta 2 harps strings
piano

A new recording of the Choros no. 11 has just been released by Ondine - ODE 916-2.  Pianist Ralf Gothoni (piano) and the Finnish RSO conducted by Sakari Oramo have received rave reviews (here's one from the rec.music.classical.recordings newsgroup by Harold Lewis.)  Until now the standard recording came from the famous May 1958 sessions in Paris, with the composer conducting the Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française. 

 

 

No. 12 for orchestra (1929) - Max Eschig

Orchestration:
2 piccolos
3 flutes
3 oboes
English horn
3 clarinets
bass clarinet
2 saxophones
3 bassoons
contrabassoon
8 horns
4 trumpets
4 trombones
tuba
timpani
tam-tam
cymbals
cuica
bombo
xylophone
tambor
celesta
2 harps
piano
strings
 

#12

#13

No. 13 for 2 orchestras & band (1929)- Score Lost

 

No. 14 for orchestra, band & chorus (1928) - Score Lost 

 

#14

[bis]

Choros bis, for violin & cello (1928)

 
 

Introduction aux Choros for orchestra & guitar (1929) - Max Eschig

Instrumentation: 
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
   
A potpourri of themes from the series, written after the series was complete. 
 

Intro

1 The bird-song is from the marvellous site Songs of Brazilian Birds, on the Ministério do Meio Ambiente, dos Recursos Hídricos e da Amazônia Legal website. There are two bird-song pages on the site - the English one linked above, and one in Portuguese. The Portuguese version might actually be of more interest to English-speaking Villa-Lobos lovers, since the Portuguese names of the birds were used so often by Villa-Lobos: besides the Araponga-de-barbelas, there are the Pica-pau, the Papagaio, the Surucua, and the Uirapuru - all the subjects of music by Villa-Lobos. Look for a feature coming soon to the Heitor Villa-Lobos Website: Birdsong in the Music of Villa-Lobos. [return to the text]

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