The Choros 8 (1925) is what we think of as quintessential Villa-Lobos, exotic, full colour and superbly evocative insect, bird and forest sounds, all effectively conveyed by the Hong Kong Orchestra under Kenneth Schermerhorn. Villa-Lobos himself spoke of the Choros as ‘representing a new form of musical composition synthesizing different kinds of Brazilian Indian and folk-music, having as their principal elements rhythm and all kinds of typical folk melody that appear accidentally from time to time, always transformed by the personality of the composer’. Like No. 8, the Choros 9 (1929) calls for a huge orchestra, including Brazilian percussion instruments. There is an exuberance, exoticism and an abundance of musical ideas clamouring for attention. The recordings were made in the 1980s and are very good indeed.
This issue was first released on Marco Polo in 1985 (or perhaps on what was then called Hong Kong Records), but its sound is excellent, fully competitive with most discs today. Kenneth Schermerhorn draws fine playing from the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and…their grasp of the choro style is fully convincing.
A bang-up performance from Schermerhorn and the Hong Kong musicians. Their command of the idiom makes you swear you’re hearing a Brazilian band. Once available on the Marco Polo label, it shouldn’t be missed in this Naxos budget re-release.