This month sees the release of the third and final volume of Andrea Bissoli’s exploration and restoration of recently discovered or newly revived guitar manuscripts by Heitor Villa-Lobos.
“Villa-Lobos once said: “Brazil is a heart-shaped country and all Brazilians feel its vibrant rhythm”. You can feel that rhythm alive in all of his works. Amerindian dances, old tunes from the Continent, primitive African rites: Brazil’s different souls find their way into Villa-Lobos’ music. Each volume in this three-CD series provides a whole view of his artistic production, thus shedding light on the lesser known sides of it.
Villa-Lobos learned to play the piano only in his mid-twenties, so up to then he based himself solely on the guitar. That is why the guitar transcriptions I made of Dime perché and Tarantela fit the instrument so well: they were composed guitar in hand! These two pieces open the second and third CDs of the series respectively, while the first volume features Motivos Gregos, my own reconstruction of a lost work for female choir, flute and guitar. All of these are world première recordings, along with the instrumentation I prepared of fourteen folk songs from the Guia prático collection.”
The genesis of Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Études goes back to his first meeting with Andrés Segovia, at which the legendary guitarist asked for one étude and the composer ended up writing twelve. Andrea Bissoli returns to the original 1928 manuscript, restoring elements lost in later publication and reliving the magic of those times on an instrument almost identical to Segovia’s. The Tarantela was probably also written guitar in hand. For his ‘folk ensemble’ instrumentation of the brightly coloured songs of the Guia prático, Bissoli has sought out traces of the guitar in the original and chosen a selection of pieces tailor-made for his instrument. The exciting story of O papagaio do moleque (The Little Boy’s Kite) concludes this third and final volume of the series.
Listen to an extract from Étude No. 7
About the Artists
Andrea Bissoli studied guitar with Laura Mondiello, Paul Galbraith, Oscar Ghiglia and Alirio Díaz. He has won awards at several guitar competitions in his native Italy, including the Premio Città di Parma, Premio Nazionale delle Arti, Città di Voghera, Città di Arezzo, A.GI. MUS. and Rocco Peruggini. In 2006 he formed the guitar duo Phèdre Adroit with Federica Artuso. Their repertoire includes an all-Villa-Lobos programme of unpublished transcriptions for two guitars made by Andrea Bissoli.
Fabio Mechetti was born in São Paulo and has been artistic director and principal conductor of the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra since its formation in 2008. He has also been music director and principal conductor of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra since 1999. He was formerly the Conductor of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra and the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, where he is now Conductor Emeritus.
The Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra was created in 2008 for the promotion of orchestral music in the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais and elsewhere, both nationally and internationally. With ninety musicians from all over Brazil, Europe, Asia and the Americas, the orchestra has won recognition, particularly through the 2012 Carlos Gomes Award for best Brazilian orchestra, and its selection in 2010 as the best classical music ensemble of the year by the São Paulo Art Critics Association.
This is the first of three volumes including rare and recently discovered works by Heitor Villa-Lobos. Guitarist Andrea Bissoli’s researches have revealed new sources for lost manuscripts, and these recordings of the Valsa, the Motivos Gregos and Canção do poeta do século XVIII represent the revival of music thought to have vanished forever. These works are joined by transcriptions which include one of Villa-Lobos’ best loved melodies, the Ária from BachianasBrasileiras No 5, as well as the Concerto he wrote for the legendary Segovia.
“This is a valuable release and belongs in the collection of any who likes Villa-Lobos.” – American Record Guide
Listen to an extract from Guitar Concerto: I. Allegro preciso
Heitor Villa-Lobos’s mother dismissed the guitar as “an instrument played by scoundrels”, but his earliest surviving work, Dime perché, comes from a time when he was composing almost exclusively on this instrument. By completing his unfinished Valsa Concerto No. 2, Andrea Bissoli brings to life the subject of a notorious anecdote between Segovia and Miguel Llobet, and the Sexteto místico echoes Brazilian street band sounds, anticipating Villa-Lobos’s “new form” of the mystical Choros. The intimate serenade Canção do Amor is from his soundtrack for the film Green Mansions.
“The performances are uniformly captivating and the recording quality is excellent… Conductor Mechetti evidently knows and loves these scores, finding much variety and nuance.” – Fanfare
Andrea Bissoli plays Choros No. 1
Listen to an extract from Introduction to the Choros
Releases to date in the new Naxos Villa-Lobos symphony cycle
“This is one spectacular and fascinating CD. Villa-Lobos’s music, deeply rooted in the Brazilian tradition, is so full of imagination that one is stunned by the succession of musical ideas. Conducted by Isaac Karabtchevsky, the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra gives us an idiomatic and thrilling reading of the three works.” – Pizzicato ★★★★★
“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]’s 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