1. N'esta rua, n'esta rua… 3:39
(In this Street, in this Street…)
2. Passa, passa, gaviâo 1:23
(Go, Go, Hawk)
Mario Ficarelli (1935)
3. Minimal Ciranda 3:09
4. Villa-Villa 6:08
5. Choros No. 5 -
Alma Brasileira 5:53
(Choros No. 5 - Brazilian Soul)
6. Improviso No. 2
(Homenagem a Villa-Lobos) 3:56
Almeida Prado (1943)
7. Noturnas Saudades do Rio Solimôes 6:28
(Nostalgic Nocturnes of the Amazon)
8. Ária Brasileira 2:28
(Bachianas Européias No. 1)
9. Plantio do Caboclo 7:56
10. Impressôes Seresteiras 7:00
11. Festa no Sertâo 5:26
(Hoedown in the Sagebrush)
12. Dança do Indio branco 4:23
(Dance of the White Indian)
Aurélio de la Vega (1925)
14. Homenagem 6:08
MUSIC OF TRIBUTE Vol. 3
José Eduardo Martins: piano
works by Villa-Lobos, Ficarelli, Mendes, and others
José Eduardo Martins performs Villa-Lobos masterpieces together with works written in homage to the Brazilian master.
The great Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos was perhaps the most colorful and prolific of twentieth-century musical creators. Now Labor Records and the Brazilian pianist José Eduardo Martins have released a Music of Tribute album dedicated to him and consisting of some of his own major works for piano and tributes to him by younger composers.
Villa-Lobos himself is represented by two of his Cirandas ("Round Dances"), a set of pieces which recreate, with authentic melodic and rhythmic content, themes taken from Brazilian nursery rhymes.Chôro No 5, subtitled Alma Brasileira or "Brazilian Soul," is one of the composer's best-known scores for piano and combines elements from the three traditions that formed modern Brazil: Indian, European and Afro-Brazilian. The four character pieces that make up the colorful and virtuosic Ciclo Brasileiro or "Brailizian Cycle" are Plantio do Caboclo, Impressões Seresteira, Festa no Sertão and Dança do India Branca; these titles are difficult to translate but their sense might be rendered as Pioneer or Settler's Song, Strolling Minstrels, Hoedown in the Sagebrush and Dance of the White Indian.
A number of years ago, Martins invited a number of composers to write works in homage to Villa-Lobos. Several fellow Brazilians – including Almeida Prado, Gilberto Mendes and Mario Ficarelli – were joined by the Cuban-American, Aurelio de La Vega, the Portuguese Jorge Peixinho, Wilhelm Zobl from Austria and others. Martins presented the premiere of these pieces, an earlier tribute by Villa-Lobos' younger contemporary, Camargo Guarnieri, and some of Villa-Lobos' own music as part of the celebrations in commemoration of the centennial of the composer's birth in 1987. This concert has now become the basis of the new Labor Records release.
Like Villa-Lobos' own works, these tributes cover a wide range of styles from minimalist to serial and post-serial. In effect, these tributes pick up where the master himself left off and this interaction of new and old – part confrontation, part reinterpretation – sets off the familiar sounds of these older, almost classical works, giving them an entirely fresh context. The old and the new are juxtaposed so that they illuminate each other and this is the fundamental idea behind the Labor series of tribute albums.
A striking range of responses to Villa-Lobos
Live performances generally fare best when they offer a variety of composers mingling like guests at a party with the performer serving as host. Recordings, by contrast, benefit most from focusing on a single composer, if only for the sake of cataloguing. A skilful mediation of those two approaches comes in this initial offering from Labor Records' projected Music of Tribute series.
During the Villa-Lobos centennial in 1987, the Brazilian pianist and scholar José Eduardo Martins (brother of João Carlos - see his recordings of Bach's keyboard works) invited 10 mainly Brazilian composers to contribute short pieces in his honour. Like Walt Whitman, Villa-Lobos was large and contained multitudes. In confronting his outsized legacy these composers' range of responses are as diverse as the subject himself. The most direct response comes in Camargo Guarnieri's "Improviso" No. 2, which predates the centennial project, having been written in 1960 soon after Villa-Lobos's death. Guarnieri (1907-93), a near-contemporary of Villa-Lobos and a fellow nationalist composer, takes the opening of Villa-Lobos's "Choros" No. 5, 'Alma Brasileira', as a point of departure. Guarnieri's student, Almeida Prado (b.1943), by contrast, uses Villa-Lobos's lyricism to more mystical ends. Rhythm becomes the focus for Gilberto Mendes's "Viva-Villa!", and Mario Ficarelli's "Minimal Ciranda," the latter pointing to the repetition-heavy Villa-Lobos as a proto-minimalist.
More modernist claims on the composer come from Europe, with Austrian composer Wilhelm Zobl's 'Aria Brasileira' ("Bachianas Europeias" No.1) and Portuguese composer Jorge Peixinho's "Villabarosa", both of whom seem to extend the nationalist modernism of Villa-Lobos's "Ciclo brasileiro," just as that cycle seems to extend Debussy and Ravel.
By sprinkling these pieces among a handful of pertinent Villa-Lobos works, Martins deftly sets up both the composer's initial statements and their echoes in a way that imposes a fluid structural coherence. It not only captures the subject, but gives him room to breathe.
-- Ken Smith / Gramophone (The Classical Music Magazine)
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