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Villa-lobos: Uirapuru, Bacchianas Brasileiras No 4, Etc


Release Date: 02/25/2003 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9129   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Jan Wagner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Odense Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Villa-Lobos from Denmark? Skeptics may take some consolation in the fact that conductor Jan Wagner, despite the Germanic name, actually is Venezuelan by birth. Besides, there's no evidence that birth or ethnicity has anything at all to do with affinity for a specific musical idiom above and beyond education and experience: some of the worst Villa-Lobos performances have come from Brazil. Take a fine conductor and an excellent orchestra, add marvelous sonics, and the result will be what you have here: a first class production in all respects.

Wagner offers first the finest recording of Uirapurú since Stokowski's celebrated version on Everest. Like Stravinsky's Song of the Nightingale, which in certain respects the music
Read more strongly resembles, this is a tough piece to hold together. Wagner isn't as fleet as Stokowski, but he gets better playing and shapes the music every bit as persuasively. In Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4 Wagner adopts controversially slow tempos for the two inner movements and stints on the percussion at the climax of Coral (but then, Michael Tilson Thomas spuriously adds some!); but the final Danza never has been better done, with keen rhythms and perfect transparency of texture.

Wagner saves the best for last. The Emperor Jones, a ballet based on the Eugene O'Neill play, works perfectly well as a tone poem, and indeed hangs together in a shapelier manner than Uirapurú. Wagner rediscovered the unpublished score, and thanks to him we can now enjoy a hitherto unknown masterpiece lavishly written in the composer's exotic "jungle" idiom. If you enjoy "Dawn in a Tropical Forest", for example, you will love this urgent and impassioned score, which Wagner and his Odense forces play extremely well. A marvelous disc, then, and one that adds significantly to the composer's discography. Don't miss it.

--David Hurwitz
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Works on This Recording

1.
Uirapurù, W 133 by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Jan Wagner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Odense Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917; Brazil 
2.
Bachianas brasileiras no 4 for Orchestra by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Jan Wagner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Odense Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930-1936; Brazil 
3.
Emperor Jones by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Jan Wagner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Odense Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; Brazil 

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