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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » V » Villa-Lobos, Heitor

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Heitor Villa-Lobos (3/05/1887 - 11/17/1959)

Villa-Lobos came to occupy a leading position in the musical life of his native Brazil, a country the varying musical traditions of which he absorbed as a young man during extensive and adventurous travel throughout the region. After a period in Paris he returned home in 1930, eventually winning official recognition and making a significant contribution to Brazilian music education.

Stage Works

Works by Villa-Lobos for the theatre range from the early opera Izath and a later work based on Lorca’s Yerma to a number of ballets, including a work based on Eugene O’Neill’s Emperor Jones.

Orchestral and Choral Music

In a prolific if uneven career as a composer, Villa-Lobos wrote a series of works under the title Bachianas brasileiras, a cycle of nine works that combine a debt to Bach and the Baroque with the spirit of Brazil. His earlier Chôros (14 in total), the title derived from the street music of Rio de Janeiro, vary in scoring from works for a single instrument to compositions for chorus and orchestra. He also wrote symphonic poems, along with concert versions of film scores such as Descobrimento do Brasil (‘Discovery of Brazil’).

Chamber Music

Chamber music by Villa-Lobos includes some of the Bachianas brasileiras, a number of string quartets and piano trios, and works that make full use of his own instrument, the cello.

Guitar Music



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