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John J. Puccio
Classical Candor, January 2015

This first of three volumes brings together not only some of [Villa-Lobos’s] more-familiar pieces but thanks to the research of Italian guitarist Andrea Bissoli includes several of the composer’s rare and newly discovered works. The album is mostly a treat.

Taking no chances, Bissoli begins the program with a fairly well-known piece, Villa-Lobos’s Guitar Concerto…Villa-Lobos’s music is easy on the ear, and Bissoli handles it with care. His guitar craftsmanship is sweet and flowing, yet virtuosic when necessary.

After that we find a whole series of short pieces, some of them with vocal accompaniment, some of them transcriptions of piano music for guitar, and yet others more recently unearthed in world-premiere recordings.

The sound of the guitar and orchestra is quite good…It’s very clean, very clear, dynamic, and open. © 2015 Classical Candor Read complete review

Michael Round
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

Kenneth Keaton
American Record Guide, May 2014

A fascinating release—Bissoli and colleagues present ten unfamiliar works for guitar, along with fine performances of the concerto and the Bachianas Brasileiras 5 Aria, all in very good to excellent performances.

This is a valuable release and belongs in the collection of any who likes Villa-Lobos. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, January 2014

There is great variety to be heard here. A common element is classical guitarist Andrea Bissoli, who sounds perfectly well in the role of soloist. He has a great feel for the music and a touch that fits right in.

There are some forgotten solo guitar works, there are all kinds of things here…and they are both well done and extremely worth your while if you love Villa-Lobos like me, or even if you aren’t sure. This is music to enjoy for a small Naxos price. © 2014 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review, January 2014

Very little on this Naxos CD will be at all familiar to listeners, although the Guitar Concerto, which has been recorded by others and gets particularly skillful handling here, may be known to some…However, several other works here get world première recordings: Cirandas No. 14, Valsa and Motivos Gregos—the last of these being an interesting choral work that is well sung by the Schola San Rocco ChorusThe composer’s unique blend of cosmopolitanism with Brazilian folk music appears again and again on this recording…for listeners with a modicum of familiarity with the composer, this CD and the two volumes yet to come will be pleasantly revelatory. © 2014 Read complete review

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