“The objective [of this project] was to consider the references and annotations made by Villa-Lobos, as well as the recordings already made by different orchestras, in an effort to reveal the composer’s original intentions by examining all the available material. As if this were not enough, as well as the enormous task of recording the symphonies and performing them in concerts, the project also intended to embrace other works that had rarely, and sometimes never, been performed – works that were lying in wait to be recovered.”
Villa-Lobos was responsible for developing a classical language for Brazilian music and remains its foremost nationalist composer. Symphony No.12, his last, was completed on his 70th birthday and shows no lessening of his powers, marrying symphonic craftsmanship with explosive energy, harmonic richness, and rhythmic vitality; a fitting summation of his symphonic canon. Uirapuru is one of his most original works, couched in a modernism that teems with colour and that creates a specifically Brazilian sound world, whilst Mandu-Çarará is a notably inventive, lush, and exciting but little-known secular cantata, using a text in the indigenous Nheengatu language.
This disc is the fourth volume in our survey of Villa-Lobos’ symphonies.
Listen to an extract from Symphony No. 12: III. Scherzo
The Brazilian conductor Isaac Karabtchevsky directed the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra (OSB) from 1969 to 1994; more recently, he was appointed director of the Heliopolis Symphony in 2011, an orchestra composed of young musicians, most of them from disadvantaged communities in São Paulo, with whom he has developed educational and social projects. He has also served as music director of La Fenice, Venice (1995-2001), artistic director of the Tonkünstler, Vienna (1988-1994), the Porto Alegre Symphony Orchestra (2003-2010) and the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, France (2004-2009). Since 2004 he has been artistic director of the Petrobras Symphony Orchestra of Rio de Janeiro.
The São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP) gave its first concert in 1954, since when it has released more than 60 recordings and has become an inseparable part of São Paulo and Brazilian culture. Since 2008 the orchestra has toured widely throughout the São Paulo region, promoting concerts, workshops and courses in music appreciation for over 250,000 people. In 2012 the American Marin Alsop took the post of principal conductor, becoming musical director in 2013. To mark its 60th anniversary year in 2014, OSESP gave the Latin-American première of a co-commissioned Saxophone Concerto by John Adams.
Under its director Naomi Munakata, the OSESP Choir's repertoire includes the great works of the choral-symphonic repertoire; it also performs a cappella in concerts at the Sala São Paulo and across the state in repertoire drawn from various periods, with an emphasis on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and works by Brazilian composers. In 2009 the OSESP Choir made its first recording, Canções do Brasil (Songs of Brazil), and in 2013 it recorded choral works by the Brazilian composer Aylton Escobar.
Directed by Teruo Yoshida, the OSESP Children’s Choir is composed of boys and girls aged between eight and fifteen, most of whom have no previous musical training. They are taught solfège, musical perception and vocal technique, as well as having the opportunity to perform major works from the choral-symphonic repertoire with the OSESP.
“This superb new Naxos recording has the advantage of the full-blooded performance by Brazil’s magnificent orchestra, the São Paulo Symphony conducted by Isaac Karabtchevsky… throughout we have [Villa-Lobos’] vivid orchestral colors, and the result is a fascinating and rather exotic orchestral tapestry.” – ClassicalCDReview.com
“Isaac Karabtchevsky and the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra… relish every note of this music and these discs are landmarks in the recorded history of Brazil’s best-known composer.” – International Record Review