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Villa-lobos: Symphony No 2, New York Skyline Melody


Release Date: 03/27/2007 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 999785   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Carl St. Clair
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 54 Mins. 

CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Brazilian writers on Villa-Lobos tend to minimize the value of his symphonies for little reason beyond the fact that for the most part they are not nationalistic in outward intent. But in truth they sound just like everything else he wrote for orchestra: lush, exotic, busy in texture, melodically lavish, and perhaps a bit formally amorphous. Still, if you like Villa-Lobos' sound, then you will like his symphonies. It's really that simple. And if you've enjoyed the other issues in this excellent series, then you'll certainly enjoy this one just as much.

The Second Symphony, for some reason subtitled "Ascension", is 50 minutes of gorgeous texture, with an unusually definable shape (at least in its inner movements). The
Read more opening, with its splashing fountains of harp and chirping woodwinds, tells us exactly who the composer must be. Even for Villa-Lobos this work is unusually generous in melody, and not just the obviously Brazilian kind. The second movement, a sort of scherzo, features a memorable slow waltz--decorated by rapid figurations in the winds and strings--that may well stay with you long after the symphony ends. The work does have a bit of a "finale problem", to the extent that the ending seems a bit unmotivated--but really, so does Brahms' First.

New York Skyline Melody is just what the title implies: a shy three minutes of a tune created by taking an outline of the skyline in question and transcribing its shape as notes on music paper. Villa-Lobos designed his entire Sixth Symphony in such a fashion, and the result is about what you might expect: a curiosity. The performances, as with other issues in this series, are excellent, the strings really doing themselves proud in what are some very difficult parts. German radio engineers remain among the best in the business, and the only remaining question is why we had to wait so long for this 1998 recording (of the symphony) to see the light of day.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 2 "Ascençao" by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Carl St. Clair
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917; Brazil 
Venue:  Town Hall, Sindelfingen, Germany 
Length: 51 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Notes: Town Hall, Sindelfingen, Germany (02/16/1998 - 02/19/1998) 
2.
New York Skyline Melody, W 408 by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Carl St. Clair
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; Brazil 
Venue:  Town Hall, Sindelfingen, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Notes: Town Hall, Sindelfingen, Germany (04/17/2000 - 04/18/2000) 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 2, "Ascencao": I. Allegro non troppo
Symphony No. 2, "Ascencao": II. Allegro non troppo
Symphony No. 2, "Ascencao": III. Allegro non troppo
Symphony No. 2, "Ascencao": IV. Allegro non troppo
New York Sky Line Melody (version for orchestra)

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