The Birth of Brazilian Contemporary Music
Composer, maestro and cellist Heitor Villa-Lobos (Rio de Janeiro, 1887-1959) is internationally known as Brazil’s most important composer. Ethnomusicologist Gerard Béhague described Villa-Lobos as “the single most significant creative figure in 20th-century Brazilian art music.” He was a contemporary of other stellar Brazilian artists, including Eduardo das Neves, Ernesto Nazareth, Anacleto de Medeiros and Catulo da Paixão Cearense. Choros and serestas were two musical genres among others where Villa-Lobos had significant influence with some of his contemporaries. His classical guitar training played a prominent role in his compositions, especially in choros. In addition to those chorões (the name given to choro players), another influence in Villa-Lobos’ life was his association with writers Mário and Oswald de Andrade during the 1922 Modern Art Week in São Paulo. Perhaps the combination of all those influences made Villa-Lobos known as the father of modern brazilian contemporary music. He bridged Brazilian folkloric with European classical styles and made them more popular. He took Brazilian music to world audiences like no other Brazilian composer had done before. He also played a major influence in future composers that would become known after the middle of the 20th century, namely Antonio Carlos Jobim.
In this 2013 Latin Grammy nominated album, Um Olhar Sobre Villa-Lobos, Mario Adnet expands his focus on Villa-Lobos music. You may revisit some of his previous releases that focused on Tom Jobim, Moacir Santos, Baden Powell by looking at his discography here in MúsicaBrasileira.org. Previously in 2000, Mario presented us with Villa-Lobos Coração Popular. This time, Mario says he decided to revisit Villa-Lobos’ music as it pertains to its influence in Tom Jobim’s music. The repertoire choice was obvious for Mario, and as he says it himself in his life his choices have always been intuitive, emotional and amorous. He conceptualized the project, arranged, directed and was behind the orchestrations from start to finish.
Um Olhar Sobre Vila-Lobos once again surrounds Mario with the best Brazilian instrumentalists, including Teco Cardoso (flutes), Jorge Helder (bass), Armando Marçal (percussion), Marcos Nimrichter (piano), Jurim Moreira (drums), Marcelo Martins (tenor sax), Yamandú Costa (acoustic guitar) and vocalists Edu Lobo, Milton Nascimento, Mônica Salmaso, Muiza Adnet and Paula Santoro. One of the things that Mario said about this album was his “desire to take Villa-Lobos out of the erudite and give his compositions popular tones.” Even if you did not count the superb guests, performances and repertoire, you would still rest assured that Mario’s proposition was completely satisfied. His arrangements not only gave popular tones to Villa-Lobos’ music, but it also stayed truthful to the original music. Furthermore, VIlla-Lobos’ influence in Tom Jobim‘s music is so obvious in several instances in the album. Listen to “Dança (Martelo)” or “Realejo” or “Abril” and you can hear how Tom Jobim would be inspired to write “O Tempo e o Vento,” “Passarim” and other compositions. Aside from influences, I must also point out Edu Lobo‘s performance of “Trenzinho do Caipira.” His voice is so soothing and connected to that melody. It’s a perfect rendition. Also the choice of the seldom recorded “Canção de Cristal” with Paula Santoro is another highlight in Um Olhar Sobre Villa-Lobos.
As with previous Mario Adnet’s releases where the focus was on music by Tom Jobim, Moacir Santos and Baden Powell, this album adds another milestone in Mario’s career. The care and delivery of Villa-Lobos’ sumptuous music gets a well-deserved and shining collection in Um Olhar Sobre Villa-Lobos.
If you can understand Portuguese, I highly recommend you hear Mario Adnet’s own words about this album in this video below.
Um Olhar Sobre Villa-Lobos
Borandá BA 0020 (2012)
All music by Heltor Villa-Lobos.
- A Menina das Nuvens (Valsa)
- Dança (Martelo) (from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, II Movement – poetry by Manuel Bandeira) – w/ Mônica Salmaso
- Realejo (Seresta No. 12 – poetry by Álvaro Moreyra) – w/ Muiza Adnet & Mario Adnet
- Caboclinha (A Prole do Bebê Nos. 1 & 3)
- Trenzinho do Caipira (Toccata Bachianas Brasileiras No. 2, IV Movement – poetry by Ferreira Gullar) – w/ Edu Lobo
- Ondulando (Estudo op. 31)
- Tristorosa (poetry by Cacaso) – w/ Paula Santoro & Mario Adnet
- Abril ((Seresta No. 9 – poetry by Ribeiro Couto) – w/ Muiza Adnet
- Aria (Cantilena) (Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, I Movement – poetry by Ruth Valadares Correa) – w/ Milton Nascimento
- Mazurka Choro (from Suíte Popular Brasileira) – w/ Yamandú Costa
- Canção de Cristal (poetry by Murilo Araújo) – w/ Paula Santoro
- Improviso Nº7 (Melodia)
- Caicó (Aria Cantiga from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4, III Movement – on a popular Brazilian Northeastern theme) – w/ Mônica Salmaso & Edu Lobo
- Estrela É Lua Nova