International Record Review
, September 2014
VILLA-LOBOS, H.: Guitar Manuscripts (The) - Masterpieces and Lost Works, Vol. 1 (Bissoli) 8.573115
VILLA-LOBOS, H.: Guitar Manuscripts (The) - Masterpieces and Lost Works, Vol. 2 (Bissoli) 8.573116
Aficionados will fall on some titles with glee; curious but more objective listeners will find the whole enterprise delightfully listenable. Even guitar-phobes should be patient—a substantial orchestral rarity awaits on Volume 2.
Sensibly mixing familiar and unfamiliar, Volume 1 opens with the Concerto of 1951–55…[and the] performance here is neat and well recorded.
Greater contrivance attends Volume 2: the opening Dime perché (‘Tell Me Why’)…has been coaxed on board with no authority save for allegedly guitarish figurations in the original piano part and by partial transposition into a more guitar-friendly key! Editorial excess or not, the piece is gently delightful. The Ensemble Musagète performance is technically irreproachable if arguably strait-laced.
Next, more familiar territory. Villa-Lobos’s Choros series spanned the 1920s, generally increasing in scale from No. 1 through to the now lost No. 14.
The Minas Gerais orchestra, here and in the Introduçâo, is technically astonishing: Villa-Lobos’s vertiginous violin parts and wild woodwind writing hold no terrors for this internationally manned ensemble, founded in 2008.
Bissoli’s editorial enterprise is beyond praise. As a player, he presents his findings with reverence, on a cushion of delectable harmonies—technically most accomplished, but avoiding entirely the more raucous elements of Villa-Lobos’s beloved Rio street music. Marna Villa-Lobos may well have approved the scoundrel-free approach, but less ‘respectable’ performances of the better-known items make for far more exciting listening. But make no mistake: at these budget prices, both discs should be snapped up without hesitation. © 2014 International Record Review