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Villa-Lobos: Choral Works / Creed, SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart

Villa-lobos / Swr Vokalensemble Stuttgart / Creed
Release Date: 02/22/2011 
Label:  Hänssler Classic   Catalog #: 93268  
Composer:  Heitor Villa-LobosJohann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Marcus Creed
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Southwest German Radio Vocal Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews


A nice surprise: A German chorus singing music with a marked Brazilian tinge led by a Brit. This is a collection of short works for chorus that Villa-Lobos wrote from 1918 to 1958--in other words, throughout his career. Some are for men only, one is for women, most are mixed. Each is fascinating. The only well-known work is the Bachianas brasileiras No. 9 for voices (later arranged and familiar for string orchestra); the counterpoint is intricate and difficult, and the final moments, in which the higher voices rise chromatically, is superbly done and almost unimaginably strange. And aside from this and a setting of a Bach prelude and fugue (No. 8, from WTC Bk. 1), the works are mostly homophonic,
Read more but their rhythmic subtleties and eccentricities keep the ear poised and at the ready.

The first piece (Cor dulce, cor amabile) in places could pass for Renaissance polyphony, but the flavor of the imitative, descending lines is clearly more modern while the form is not; the second, José, for men only, is steeped in folk music with a beat; As Costureiras (The Seamstresses), for women only, is just a lovely song that has a backdrop of quick, fast singing by one choir with embroidery on top--the group's pianissimo singing is remarkable. A brief Ave Maria from 1918 is peaceful and borrows from previous eras, closing with an Amen that would not be out of place in 11th-century chant. But the odd, exotic essence remains.

Dance rhythms are prominent, as in Chôros No. 3 and Preces sem palavras (Prayers without words), in which the chorus is called upon to hum and make hissing sounds as well as the usual "la-la-la" syllables. It is in works like these that you wonder if the strong beats would be more emphasized coming from people steeped in the tradition--that is, South Americans; but nothing else can be faulted on this disc. Yes, there may be a more "native" way of singing this music, but I suspect none more accurate. Villa-Lobos is crazy about long diminuendos from full choir and truly troublesome sudden changes of dynamics, but the SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart has been impeccably trained and led by Marcus Creed. This CD doesn't remind me of anything: it's fresh, appealing, and a sheer delight.

--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Cor dulce, cor amabile by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Marcus Creed
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Southwest German Radio Vocal Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952; Brazil 
2. José by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Marcus Creed
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Southwest German Radio Vocal Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; Brazil 
3. As Costureiras by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Marcus Creed
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Southwest German Radio Vocal Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; Brazil 
4. Bachianas brasileiras no 9 for Chorus by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Marcus Creed
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Southwest German Radio Vocal Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; Brazil 
5. Chôros no 3 for Male Chorus and Winds by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Marcus Creed
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Southwest German Radio Vocal Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; Paris, France 
6. Préces sem palavras by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Marcus Creed
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Southwest German Radio Vocal Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952; Brazil 
7. Lendas (2) Amerindias em Nheengatu by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Marcus Creed
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Southwest German Radio Vocal Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952; Brazil 
8. Ave Maria (1918) by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Marcus Creed
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Southwest German Radio Vocal Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918; Brazil 
9. Bazzum by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Marcus Creed
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Southwest German Radio Vocal Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Brazil 
10. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude and Fugue no 8 in E flat minor, BWV 853 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Marcus Creed
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Southwest German Radio Vocal Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722; Cöthen, Germany 
Notes: Arranger: Villa-Lobos. 
11. No Bahia Tem by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Marcus Creed
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Southwest German Radio Vocal Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; Brazil 
12. Bendita sabedoria, W 543 by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Marcus Creed
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Southwest German Radio Vocal Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1958; Brazil 

Sound Samples

Cor dulce, cor amabile
Jose
As Costureiras
Bachianas brasileiras No. 9 (version for chorus): I. Prelude: Vagaroso e mistico
Bachianas brasileiras No. 9 (version for chorus): II. Fugue: Poco apressado
Choros No. 3, "Picapau" (version for a capella)
Preces sem palavras
Duas lendas amerindias em nheengatu: I. O Lurupari e o Menino
Duas lendas amerindias em nheengatu: II. O lurupari e o Cacador
Ave Maria (version for 4 part choir)
Bazzum
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude and Fugue No. 8 in E flat minor / D sharp minor, BWV 853 (arr. H. Villa-Lobos for choir): Prelude
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude and Fugue No. 8 in E flat minor / D sharp minor, BWV 853 (arr. H. Villa-Lobos for choir): Fugue
Na Bahia tem (version for male chorus)
Bendita sabedoria: I. Sapientia foris praedicat
Bendita sabedoria: II. Vas pretiosum
Bendita sabedoria: III. Principium sapientiae
Bendita sabedoria: IV. Vir sapiens
Bendita sabedoria: V. Beatus homo
Bendita sabedoria: VI. Dexteram tuam

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