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ClassicsOnline Home » VILLA-LOBOS, H.: Guitar Quartets (Brazilian Guitar Quartet)
New arrangements of Villa's music, beautifully played
The music of Villa-Lobos has always attracted arrangers, including the composer himself. Villa adapted his own works in a multitude of formats; his first thoughts about musical ideas were rarely his last. There is so much interesting music to adapt beyond the usual Aria from Bachianas Brasileiras #5 (which is out there in so many versions, including harmonica, saxophone, and percussion) and the Little Train movement from BB #2 (a favourite of marching bands and even reggae groups).
The Brazilian Guitar Quartet included an arrangement of the entire Bachianas Brasileiras #1 in a previous CD "Essencia do Brasil" which I thought worked out very well. The new BGQ Plays Villa-Lobos CD includes a wide selection of music originally written for piano and chamber ensemble, arranged by Tadeu do Amaral for four guitars. The music is selected and presented to show off Villa's music and the group's musicianship to best advantage. There is a variety of infectious rhythms, some sweet and sad melodies, moments of modernist angularity, and transcendent beauty from one of Villa's greatest chamber works.
While Villa-Lobos often composed for the piano, and he wrote a host of amazing, idiomatic pieces for the instrument, his native instrument was the guitar. His nickname as a member of a choroes group was "classical guitar". His few pieces for guitar loom so large in the music for guitar, and he often imitates the guitar in his piano works and even his orchestral music. When he wrote music for harp (besides his 1953 Harp Concerto, he wrote some very important chamber works with harp, especially in the 1920s) he was often thinking of the guitar: "I played the harp from my experience with the guitar", he once said. I mention the harp because the four guitars of the BGQ often evoke this instrument in Amaral's Villa-Lobos arrangements.
It's interesting, then, to listen to the BCG version of the early modernist piano work Suite Floral, written under the influence of Debussy, Faure, and Ravel. The sound of the guitars evokes the sound-world of Parisian chamber music with harp as much as it does the piano music of the impressionist masters. This is definitely transatlantic music, though, since Brazilian rhythms are an important part of the work.
Another piece on this disc which stands out is Amaral's adaptation of the Twelfth String Quartet, one of Villa's greatest chamber works, a piece of great subtlety and power. This disc is very highly recommended!more....
BGQ Strikes Again!
Brazilian Guitar Quartet plays Villa-Lobos (DELOS)
Heitor Villa-Lobos was a prolific composer of orchestral and chamber music, opera and film scores. His music was a unique blend of modern European classical music, Brazilian folk song, and African and Native American dance rhythms, as can be seen in the breadth of repertoire presented in this collection. Beginning with “Suite Floral”, a Debussy-esque piece for piano, it includes “The Cirandas”, based on children’s folksong and circle dance, “Dancas Caracteristicas Africanas”, orchestrated African folk dances, and his 5th and 12th quartets for strings. The success of this European/New World mixture made Villa-Lobos one of the most influential composers in Latin America.
The Brazilian Guitar Quartet is the perfect match for the complex music of this composer. Their use of two 8 string guitars to augment the standard 6 string models gives them an extended tonal range that helps make their arrangements of even Villa-Lobos’ orchestral music sound less constricted than the adaptations done by other guitar quartets. Add to this their exquisite taste and flawless technique and it's small wonder why they’ve become one of the foremost groups of their kind in the world.
Interesting and challenging music, expertly recorded and performed by world class virtuosos. Highly recommended, 10 out of 10.
Oscar O. Veteranomore....
By Kenneth Keaton
American Record Guide
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VILLA-LOBOS, H.: Guitar Quartets (Brazilian Guitar...