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Villa-Lobos: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 / Karabtchevsky, Sao Paulo Symphony


Release Date: 11/10/2017 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8573829  
Composer:  Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Isaac Karabtchevsky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Heitor Villa-Lobos’s first two symphonies take the European tradition head-on, absorbing French models prevalent in Brazil in the early twentieth century. The confident swagger of the First Symphony is characteristic of Villa-Lobos’s ‘Brazilianness,’ while the cyclical Second Symphony filters myriad influences including the music of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Debussy and Puccini. Its slow movement heralds the affecting melodic content that would later become the trademark of the Bachianas Brasileiras. This is the sixth and final volume of an acclaimed complete edition of Villa-Lobos’s symphonies in which ‘Karabtchevsky leads the way.’ (Gramophone). Heitor Villa-Lobos’s first two symphonies take the European tradition head-on, absorbing French models prevalent in Brazil in the early twentieth century. The confident swagger of the First Symphony is characteristic of Villa-Lobos’s ‘Brazilianness,’ while the cyclical Second Symphony filters myriad influences including the music of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Debussy and Puccini. Its slow movement heralds the affecting melodic content that would later become the trademark of the Bachianas Brasileiras. This is the sixth and final volume of an acclaimed complete edition of Villa-Lobos’s symphonies in which ‘Karabtchevsky leads the way.’ (Gramophone). Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1, Op. 112 "O imprevisto" by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Isaac Karabtchevsky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916; Brazil 
2.
Symphony no 2 "Ascençao" by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Conductor:  Isaac Karabtchevsky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917; Brazil 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Sounds of youth with echoes of maturity November 19, 2017 By Dean Frey See All My Reviews "The Villa-Lobos Symphonies series from Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP) under Isaac Karabtchevsky comes to a triumphant conclusion with this disc of the composer's first two symphonies. Though Villa-Lobos was a little bit of a late bloomer - his earliest works aren't especially accomplished by the standards set by Mendelssohn or Schubert - there's an interesting situation keeping this release from being anti-climactic. The 2nd Symphony, ostensibly written in the late teens of the 20th century, had to wait until 1944 for its premiere, and the composer seems to have used more than a bit of his best juju in polishing up this piece for its performance. It thus seems to be far in advance of the 1st symphony, and more importantly, the 3rd and even the 4th, as good as that work is. Though it's true that the 2nd Symphony is based on the principles of composition espoused by Vincent d'Indy and there are many French and Russian-sounding bits, one keeps hearing passages that sound like nothing as much as the Bachianas Brasilieras. And that's all to the good, I think. By the way, there are a few other works from this period where something similar happened. Villa-Lobos wrote "1917" on the score of the marvellous orchestral work Uirapuru, but it wasn't premiered until 1935. Like the 2nd Symphony, it has a suspiciously nationalistic, Bachianas Brasileiras sound, which isn't surprising considering that the composer conducted the premiere in front of President Vargas. And the score of the Sexteto Mistico (one of my favourite chamber works), written in 1917, was lost. Villa-Lobos re-wrote it from memory, but obviously slipped in music in the modernist style he had mastered in Paris in the mid-1920s. With his 1st Symphony Villa-Lobos was still learning to write music for orchestra, but it's still a more than creditable effort. It has a very fine performance here, partly because of the Sao Paulo musicians, who are very much in a groove with their conductor Isaac Karabtchevsky; and partly because of the carefully revised score which fixes many mistakes and excrescences, and in which Karabtchevsky himself played a major role. This performance makes an even better case for the symphony than the very good CPO recording from Stuttgart conducted by Carl St. Clair. There are two last things to praise. The Naxos design team has done a great job with this whole series. They've broken out of the bland Naxos cover tradition with striking black and white photographs. This last disc is one of the best; it features Beach at Nightfall, Rio de Janeiro, 1940, by Thomaz Farkas, the great Hungarian photographer who moved to Brazil as a child. Secondly, Fábio Zanon, who is currently Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, provides another absolutely first-class essay for the liner notes, with strong analysis and new insights. Put together, the Naxos Symphonies notes represent a major contribution to Villa-Lobos scholarship." Report Abuse
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