Work: Preludes (5) for Guitar, W 419
About This Work
Written in 1940, in Rio de Janeiro for the famed guitarist Andrés Segovia, the Five Preludes contain the same fusion of Brazilian popular music and European classical traditions that marks so many of Heitor Villa-Lobos' guitar works. Perhaps
the only difference between these works and his much earlier guitar compositions, like the Suite populaire brésilienne of 1908 to 1912, is a slight darkening and mellowing of mood. All of this music betrays Villa-Lobos' formidable firsthand knowledge of the guitar, which he had been playing for some 40 years prior to the composition of the Preludes.
The Prelude No. 1 in E minor is restrained, mildly sad, and quite evocative of Brazilian music. The carnivals of Rio de Janeiro inspired the Prelude No. 2 in E major; it is more of a virtuoso exercise, full fast-paced arpeggios. The melancholic Prelude No. 3 in A minor seems to have been, like Villa-Lobos' extensive series of Bachianas brasileiras, something of an homage to Johann Sebastian Bach. The Prelude No. 4 in E minor, said by some to be Villa-Lobos' impression of Brazil's Indians, is the most serious-minded work of the set; it is dark and dramatic, and makes expressive use of the guitar's harmonics. Rio's social life, particularly among the youth of the city, was the inspiration for the final Prelude in D major, a graceful waltz in a moderately slow tempo.
-- Chris Morrison
Select a specific Performer or Label or browse recordings by Formats & Featured below