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Full-text articles from Brazil

From the online journal OPUS - REVISTA DA ASSOCIAÇÃO NACIONAL DE PESQUISA E PÓS-GRADUAÇÃO EM MÚSICA / ANPPOM, here are citations and English abstracts to articles about Villa-Lobos. Click on the title to read the full-text in Portuguese (PDF format):

From #12, December 2006:
Desconstruindo o ursozinho de algodão de Heitor Villa-Lobos
Marcos Mesquita

Abstract: The article situates the Próle do bebé n° 2 in the production of Villa-Lobos and in the broad context of the vanguard of the decade of 1920, pointing also to the problems of dating some of the composer’s works. Thereafter the author presents a detailed analysis of the piece “O ursozinho de algodão”, the eighth piece of the Próle 2. This article is a revised and enlarged version of a section from the author’s master thesis.
Keywords: Villa-Lobos. Prole do bebé n° 2. Analysis.

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At home with Heitor and Lucilia

David Appleby, in his biography Heitor Villa-Lobos: A Life 1887-1959 brings the story of Villa's life to the year of 1919, in a section entitled "Freedom to Compose."

"The year 1919 was important to the marriage of Villa-Lobos and Lucilia.  For the first time they were able to obtain their own living accomodations, separate from Lucilia's family, with whom they had lived since the marriage in 1913.  Located on the ground floor of a housing complex in the Tijuca district, it provided a place where he could compose with greater freedom from interruptions.  Villa-Lobos and Lucilia were to remain on Rua Didimo no. 10 until the dissolution of their marriage on May 28, 1936." - p 48.

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Navigating the Villa-sphere

It occurs to me that there's a lot of Villa-Lobos activity going on lately that originates here in sunny Red Deer, Alberta. So I thought I'd provide a quick overview of the mandate of each of my Villa-Lobos sites:

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International Villa-Lobos Conference: Paris, 2002

Here is the final program of the International Villa-Lobos Conference.

Now that the Conference is here, watch for updates to the program, and reports of activity during the conference at the Villa-Lobos Magazine.

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As Três Marias: Orion's Belt

The latest CD in Sonia Rubinsky's series of music for piano by Villa-Lobos, volume 6, contains a beautiful performance of a work from 1939: As Tres Marias.  These three brittle miniatures - none longer than two minutes - are character studies of three individual "types", with a surprisingly avante-garde purpose built in

Pictured to the right is the constellation Orion, taken from the Wikipedia article.  "The Three Marias" make up Orion's belt: they were originally named by Arabic astronomers:

"Alnitak ζ Ori is a star in the constellation Orion. It is the lowest of the prominent three stars [Other two:ε Ori (Alnilam), δ Ori (Mintaka)], which form a straight line, commonly known as the Orion Belt. The names Alnitak, Mintaka and Alnilam originate from Arabic."

The three star names become the three movements:

  1. Alnitak
  2. Alnilam
  3. Mintaka

The story behind the work is that the three girls named Mary who were inseparable in life were transformed into the three stars after their death. 

In Daniel Albright's introduction to John Cage's 1961 "Fragments of Silence" (in his book Modernism and Music: An Anthology of Sources), he talks about the first method Cage has for "...achieving a lapse of compositional control, a state of egolessness in music:"

 

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Villa-Lobos in Space

Did you know there's a minor planet (an asteroid) named after Villa-Lobos?  This information comes from the The Minor Planet Center (MPC,) which operates at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, under the auspices of Commission 20 of the International Astronomical Union (IAU.) 

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M. Camargo Guarnieri: A Portrait, by Ricardo Peres

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Ernesto Nazareth's Music: an Update, by Ricardo Peres

Ernesto Nazareth (1863-1934) made a living playing the piano in cafes, at parties and in waiting rooms of movie theatres. In general, his works depict those situations quite well, in particular the one referring to movie theatres. His popular choro "Odeon", for instance, was a piece he wrote in homage to his work place, Odeon Cinema, where he was employed for four years. As well, many musical ideas were inspired by images of films from those days, as the attentive listener who is acquainted with early 20th century films will probably agree. There are also those pieces which are related to aspects of his own daily life.

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Presença de Villa Lobos - essays by Harold Lewis

Between 1965 and 1981, the Museu Villa-Lobos in Rio de Janeiro, jointly with the Ministry of Education and Culture, published twelve volumes of essays, appreciations and reminiscences under the title 'Presença de Villa-Lobos'. The quality and interest of the contributions are variable; but for me, the best parts of the material are the texts by the composer himself, the perceptive analyses of aspects of his work by experts such as Eero Tarasti and Pierre Vidal, documentation about the composer's endeavours in musical education, and a wealth of recollections from artists and musicians who knew Villa-Lobos.

Some of the anecdotes that are told, for instance, by his widow, Mindinha, and by his close friends have appeared elsewhere in print; but since all the biographical material in the 'Presença' volumes is in Portuguese, the following examples, which I have translated and paraphrased, may help to give a flavour of the composer's personality for those not familiar with that language. Villa-Lobos could be fairly certain that the cultural elite who hosted him on his tours abroad - particularly in North America - understood not a word of Portuguese.

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Heitor Villa-Lobos - Constant Lambert

 


Peter Moran, of the Cheltenham Bach Choir, provides this informative essay on Villa-Lobos, along with a fascinating glimpse of Constant Lambert's connection to Brazil. 

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