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Noted BrazHian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos bolds adistinctive
position as an intemational artist, and in Gerard Bhague's compre-
bensive study (! truly criticai assessment of his creative output is
available for the first time. Villa-Lobos was a representative of the
most natural :.lnd direct expressions of Brazil's popular culture, con-
in search of the Brazilian Soul.
Alma Brasileira
was the subtitle he gave to the piano piece horos No. 5, and the
musical manifestations of that soul preoccupied him throughout his
life. Expanded from a prize-winning essay, the present study provides
a criticai appraisal of the significant aspects of his life as well as an in-
depth analysis of bis musicallanguage.
With ovcr fifty musical examples, a bibliography, anda discogra-
phy, this qook presents a thorough analysis of Villa-Lobos's composi-
tion, crafvsman.ship, and ideology that should appeal to musicologists,
students, and all who have 'an interest in Latin American cultural and
historical studies. Villa-Lobos once stated,
1 consider my works as
letters that I wrote to Posterity, without expecting any answer.
book pr.vides readings of a selected number of such
and in
the process attempts to give some answers regarding the uniqueness
of the '/D-usic of one of the most creative composers of the twenti(fth
Gt,.rard Bhague is Virgnia Murchison Regents Professor in Fine
Arts Music at the University cf Texas at Austin and editor of the
LatiTJ American Music Review, pub1ished by UT Press. In 1994 he
was lnducted into the Brazilian Academy of Music as a corresponding
member, one of only a handful to be so bonored.
Js SrE.aii.L PusuCAnoN
Oistributed for the Institute of Latin American Studies
the University of Texas Press, Austin
ISBN 0-292-70823-8
] 8029(1 71 I )
Write for a catalogue of books r
on Latin American studies.
University o f
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Austin, Texas 78713-7819
Prin1ed in U.S.A
Heitor Villa-Lobos:
The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
Special Publication
Institute of Latin American Studies
University of Texas at Austin
Heitor Villa-Lobos:
The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
Gerard Bhague
Institute of Latin American Studies
University o( Texas at Austin
Assobio a Jato (ex. 47) reprinted by permission of Sou !hem Music Publishing Co .. Inc.
e 1953. Copyrightrencwed.
Ali othcr musical cxamples rcprinted by permission o f Associatcd Music Publishcrs, Inc.
{BMl).lntemational copyriglu secured. All rights reserved.
Photos reprint.ed by pcrmission o f Museu Villa-Lobos.
Copyrighl. <D !994 by lhe Instituto o f Latin American Studies, Univcrsity o f Texas at
Ali rights rcscrved
Print.ed in thc United St.atcs of Amcrica
Requests for permission to reproduce material from this work should be sent to Permissions,
Institut.e o f Latin Amcrican Srudics, SRH 1.310, University ofTexas, Austin, Texas 78712.
Distributed for the Instirutc of Latin American Studies by the Univcrsity o f Texas Press,
9 The paper uscd in this publication mccts lhe minimum rcquiremerus of Amcrican
National Standard for Wonnation Scienccs-Permancnce of Paper for Printed Library
Materiais, ANSI Z39.48-1984.
Llbrary of Congress Cataloging-ln-t>ublicatlon Data
Bhague, Gerarei
Heitor Yilla-Lobos : Lhe scarch for Brazil's musical sou! I by Gerard Bhague.
p. em.- (ILAS special publication)
Discography: p .
.lncludes bibliographical refcrcnces (p. ) and index.
lSBN 0-292-70823-8 (paper)
1. Yilla-Lobos, Heitor. 2. Composers-Brazii-Biography.
I. Title. n. Scrics: Special publication (University ofTexas at Austin. Tnstirut.e o f Latin
American Studies)
MlA10.V76B44 1994
[B] 94-21638
50106C- 8
For Cecilia,
Sabina, and Dominique
Foreword by Vasco Mariz
1. Toward a Criticai Biography of Heitor Villa-Lobos
2. The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos
3. National Style versus Musical Nationalism:
Villa-Lobos's Eclecticism
Subject Index
lndcx of Compositions
l'/Joto secdon begins on p. 32
List of Musical Exa1uplcs
la. Parraps. Dana Indigena No. 1
I b. Konkukus. Dana Indgena No. 2
2. Virapuru. Bird song
3. Uirapuru. "Indian melody"
4. Amazonas (mm. 10- 13)
viii Heitor The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
5. Amazonas (mm. 50-54)
6. Amazonas (mm. 228-234)
7a. Branquinho
7b. "Do.rme, nen"
8. Polichinelo
9. Moreninho
10. Coboclinho
11. E. Nazareth. Tango "Arre/iodo"
12. Cobocllnho (melody)
13. Polichinelo
14. O Boisinho de Chumbo
15. A Baratinha de Papel
16. O Cavalinho de Pau
17. Noneto (saxophone melody)
18. Noneto
19. Choros No.1
20. From Roquette Pinto's Rondnia
21. Choros No. 3 (mm. 17- 24)
22. Choros No. 3 (mm. 36-45)
23. Choros No. 3 (mm. 71-74)
24. Choros No. 3 (mm. 128-132)
25. Choros No. 5 ("Alma Brasileira")
26. Choros No. 8 (mm. 1-8)
27. Choros No. 8 (mm. 430-434)
28. Choros No. 1 O ("Azulo da Mata")
29a. Clwros No. 10 (mm. 22-30)
29b. Choros No.10 (mm. 118-123)
30. Choros No. 10 (mm. 89-90)
31. Choros No. 10 (mm. 89-90)
32. Choros No. 10 (mm. 217-221)
33a and b. Rudepoema (mm. 269-274 and 279-286)
34. Cirandas: "Therezinha de Jesus"
35. Bachianas Brasileiros No. 1 (1st mt.)
36. Dacbionas Brasileiras No. 1 (2nd mt.)
37. Dachianas Brasileiras No. 1 (3rd mt.)
38. Bacbianos Brasileiras No. 5 (1st mt.)
39. Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 (2nd mt.)
40. String Quartet No. 6 (1st mt.)
41. String Quartet No. 6 (2nd mt.)
42. String Quartet No. 6 (3rd mt.)
43. String Quartet No. 6 (3rd mt.)
44. String Quartet No. 6 (4th mt.)
45. String Quartet No. 17 (1st mt.)
112- 113
127- 128
131- 132
46. String Trio (1st mt.) 134
47. Assobio o Jato 135
48. Etude No. 12 (for guitar) 140
49. Etude No. 4 (for guitar) 141
50. Prelude No. 1 (for guitar) 141
51. Prelude No. 5 (fOJ" guitar) 143
52. Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra (main theme, last mt.) 144
!leitor Villa-Lobos s undoubtedJy one of the twenteth century's fore-
most composers. This s easily proven by perusing a reccnt record
catalogue: thirty-five years after his death in 1959, Villa-Lobos is one of
the most frequently recorded modem composers. In European and
American music shops onc can find on average about fifty diffcrent
rccordings ofVilla-Lobos's music. In New York, throughout Europe, and
cvcn in Hong Kong, some of the very best orchestras, soloists, and
musical enscmbles have playcd and recorded his music. No fewer than
sixty-six books on Villa-Lobos in eight diffcrent languages have been
pu blished all ovcr the world. My own bography o f the composer, the first
cvcr written, has gane through elcven editions to date, including one
pirate edition in Russian, published in Leningrad in 1977. The most
voluminous book on Villa-Lobos, over five hundred pages, was, surpris-
lngly enough, published in Hclsinkl in the Finnish language. The
royalties pald to Villa-Lobos's heirs now exceed $100,000 a year, a sum
that would make the composer himself since he was always
onxious about how to make ends meet each month. Very few modem
rnusicians can such achicvcments.
All of this brings us to hail the appearancc o f Gcrard Bhague' s newest
hnok on the famous Brazilian composcr. Thls book is not a simple
luography, like so many others that have been published eJscwhere. Tt
uffers much more to the reader, since the author has a long-standing and
profound knowledge of Latin American music, and most specifically of
Hr;azilian music, musicology, and ethnomusicology. Bhague spent
lll Ubl of his youth and adolescence in Brazil and thcref.ore has acquired
.1 rirsthand knowledge of Brazilian affairs in general. Although he has
hccn living in the United States for many years, he has aJways kept in
dose touch with thc musicof Latin Americaand itsforemostmusicians.
a mattcr of fact, he is the author of a comprehensive book on the
music of contincnt (Music in Lalin AmerictJ: An Int.roduction,
PrcrHicc llnll, 1979), which hy now Js considcrcd a classic and has bccn
x Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Sou]
adopted in numerous universities as a standard text for courses on this
topic. Latin American musicians arealso gratcful to him for the balanced
and accurate cntries on Latin Amcrica written for the New Grove
Dictioi'ry of Music and Musicians (Stanley Sadie, cd., Macmillan,
The prescnt volume looks dccply into the sourccs of music in Brazil
and the philosophical roots of nationalism, which Bhague analyzes
thoroughly in the third chapter of thls book. His comments are most
clarifying, especially for those o f us who, as Latin Americans, are always
sensitive to this subject.
Although the story ofVilla-Lobos's early lHe bas notas yet been fully
revealed, with severa! dark spots still remaining to be unveiled, Bhague's
version of his biography is well condensed, highly informative, and
appropriately critical. Even more his insigbts into some of
the composer's main works, especially the excellent discussion of the
Choros. His sources are the bcst and the most rcliable. In my opinion,
Gerard Bbaguc is the author who has gane dccpcst into understanding
tbe great composcr, and r hope that someday he will decide to enlarge
this book even more in to a complete personal analysis of ali the main
compositions of the Brazilian musician. 1 welcome him to the Villa-
Lobos club of scholars!
-Vasco Mariz
Brazilian Academy of Music
Rio de Janeiro
"Fossem os compositores que possumos agora outros tantos
Vil[l]a-Lobos e a msica brasileira seria a maior do mundo, isso
que eu sei."
-Mrio de Andrade ( 1930)1
The centenary of the birth of Heitor Villa-Lobos, celebrated in 1987,
rcpresented the most immediate motivation for the present
ang. However, ever since my student yeru:s in the 1950s at
School of Music (now the School of Mustc of the Federal Uruverslty of
R ao de Janeiro) and the Brazilian Conservatory of Music, both in Rio de
neiro, I was both puzzled and attracted by the o.f
'l'hc reluctance of my piano classmates at that umc to mclude VIlla-
l.nbos's music in their repertory and the overalllack of
o( most teachers toward Brazilian piano music in general surpnsed me.
Aftcr a11 Vla-Lobos had been acknowledged, especially in Europe and
1 h c Uni;ed States, as the (oremost Brazilian composer of the time, but
1 h e professional music institutions in Rio tendcd .ta frown at
1hc " modem" music that he represented. My bnef acquamtance w1th
composcr in 1957 lcft a deep and lasting imprcssion on the
music student that I was, and his advice of the need to study the mustc
1 1\razil in toto has been, in retrospcct, the general orientation of my
fcssional life. Subsequently, my friendship with Arrni?da Villa-
1 .oh os h as sccond wife and the irst director of the Museum Villa-Lobos,
d involvcment in the 1970s in tbc activities ?f muscum
H' lnfnrccd thls early interest in the lHe and works of He1tor Villa-Lobos.
A'?t o graduate student in and at the
t luivcsity of Paris and Tulane Umverstty Orlcans) m .1960s,
tumlcnook a holistic study of thc various wnttcn and oral tradmons of
lh!lt lhan mwuc.ln dcalingwith the music of twcnticth-century nation-
or11poscrs, my mtcntion was first tO acquaint with and
popular mu!1acnl exprcssions of various Bmzih:tn rcg10ns and pcnnds,
xiv I fritor Vi/lu Lobo.\, 'l'llt' 'kard1 for llrazll's Mwm:nl Sou!
ancl then to analyze the composers' works from that basis. Thc
ethnomusicological foundation of the analyses appeared particularly
rclevant to me for discovering tbe nature of a national style of musicas
conceived by the Brazilian nationalists, especially Villa-Lobos. In addi-
tion, I was interested in developing an analytic approacb that could
encompass considerations of sociohi.storical contcxts and aesthetic
thcory of nationalism as viewed by the composers and revealed in their
works. Por this, tbe cthnomusicological empbasis on the cultural-
historical determinants of style seemed quite appropriate. Villa-Lobos's
centcnary represented, therefore, a good opportunity to reflect furtber on
the subject and to attempt to finalize some of my earlicr thoughts.
The present study is based on an unpublisbcd essay entitled "Heitor
Villa-Lobos: O 'indio de casaca' procura da alma brasileira," writtcn in
1987 to participa te in a contest of monographs sponsored by the Organi-
zation of American States and the Brazilian governmcnt. Wbile that
essay was awarded the first prize, the present volume is a much-
expanded and more comprehensive study. The Portuguese title of the
essay (literally "Heitor Villa-Lobos: The 'Dressed Indian [in Tails]' in
Scarch of theBrazilian Sou!") reflects multiple leveis of symbolism. On
the one hand, it alludes to onc of tbe myths and one of tbe rcalities of the
general perception of tbe composer's distinctivc position as a nationalist
artist wbo supposedly cultivated Indianism and "primitivism" in bis
music li. e., the primai roots ofBrazil) in arather delibcrateandsomewhat
illusory fashion lhence the "Indian in Tails' or "O ndio de casaca," as
one of the partici pants o f the "Weck of Modem Art" in 1922, Menotti del
Picchia, nicknamcd Villa-Lobos).
On the other hand, Villa-Lobos was a
truly spontaneous advocate and represcntative of the most natural and
direct exprcssions ofBrazil's popular culture, thus constantly "insearch
of the Brazilian Soul." "Alma Brasileira" is indeed thc subtitle he gave
to the piano picce Choros No. 5, and the musical manifestations of that
soul preoccupied him throughout his life.
Although ViUa-Lobos's lifc and works have bccn the subject of a
considerable amount of study and writing, a truly criticai assessment of
bis output remains to bc undertaken. The composer's lile and influence
on Brazilian musicalllie from the 1920s to the 1950s and his acsthetic
outlook in relation to the ideology o f modemism and nationalism in the
arts of the period dcscrve particular attcntion. The prescnt study is not
intcnded as a full biography but as a criticai appraisal of the significant
aspccts of his life. Thc wcll-known writer Mrio de Andrade warned in
1930 that "historical rcsearcbers will have to redo entirely the Villa-
Loban biography and coldly dot their i's" (Andrade 1930:144}. Indeed
Villa-Lobos was endowed witb such a strongly captivating pcrsonality
that h e frcquendy obfuscated his interlocutors and interviewers who, in
I 11 f mrl 111'1 11111
uhnut hlm, wcrc gcncrally un<lhlc (and 10 a fcw case
unwUhngl to scporatc myth from rcality. Villa Lobos secms to havc
tlclightcd m surrounding himsclf with an aura of mystery and fantasy
nnd willingly addcd to the perplexity of othcrs in their attcmpt to
urH.Icrstand him and his works. Although one cannot always rely on his
fcw oral and writtcn statcmcnts about himself or his works, some of
t h esc are rcproduccd here when appropriatc beca use of their obvious
Villa-Lobos's vividlrnagination is everywhere apparent, in
thc way he lcd his life as well as projcctcd bis artistic capacities. His
crcative thought and originality mixed witb a vigorous unabashed sense
of audacity served him well throughout his career. More and better than
nnyone else in Brazilian music, Villa-Lobos's personality, career, and
crcative output suggest certain idiosyncrasies of the Brazilian, particu-
l,uly caiioca, tempcrament as a whole, such as loftiness, boastfulness,
capnciousness or inconsistcncy, and flamboyance, on the one hand, and
tntuiliveness, spontancity, singularity, charm, and sopbistication, o.n
thc other. Ali are easily perceived attributes of bis music and hts
character, which, in thc last anaJysis, assurcd him of the success and
lnternational recognition that he enjoyed as well as the envy and
nccusations that hc suffered. Unconventionality also pervaded his life
ond much of his music and contributed in no small measure to bis
uniqueness and achicvements. It is therefore imperative to attempt to
understand bis pcrsonality in order to penetrate better bis world of
music. But rather than narrating his llie story in its entirety, this volume
rcexamines the most significant factors that shaped bis creative career.
Since musical nationalism together with the Brazilian modernist
movement o f the 1920s occupied Villa-Lobos throughout bis life, special
auention is given to thc actual national contcnts of some of his
known "nationalist" works, and particularly to the real extent of h1s
knowledge and use of "authentic" Brazilian folk and popular musical
components, a controvcrsial topic inBrazilian musical Concur-
rcntly, the analytical parts of this volume attempt to delineate the
spccific elements that support the definition of highly
language of the music of Villa-Lobos. That language 1s the result of bis
attempts to integra te national sources of music witb various contempo-
rary European tecbniques of composition.
Given the analytic emphasis of the prcscnt volume, the enormous
output of the composer is not studied systcmatically here. Rather, the
selection of works is mcant as a representa tive sample of the composcr's
styles at various times, especially the pcriod prior to 1922 and the
subsequcnt decadcs, cbaracterized by experimentalism, neoclassicism,
and neoromanticism within a nationalist aesthetic. Styles are not
deterrnined by techniques alone, but by pcrsonal choices and aesthetic
xvi Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
affinities frequently clictated by cultural-historical factors. Some of
Villa-Lobos's best-known works, the Choros and the Bacbianas
Brasileiras, forexarnple, are a case in pointin that thcy are meant for the
most varied media, exhibit littJe tecbnical unity, and yct wereconccived
as specific series expressing various aspects of Brazilian modem music.
On the other hand, the seventeen string q uartcts and the twelve sy m pho-
nies, to name but two traditional genres of composition, span a long
period o f ti me and reveal a varied tcchnical treatmen t. To consider Villa-
Lobos's compositions according to techniqucs or genres would have
been inadequate for thc proposcd focus of the present study.
In reexamining severa! aspects of Villa-Lobos's life and his crcative
processes and products, I have first attcmpted to assess the statc of
research on thesc subjects. I havc thereforc includcd an overall evalua-
tion of selected items of Brazilian and non-Brazilian literature that
reflcct the views on the importance and achicvcments of the composcr
at various pcriods of bis life and since his dcath in 1959. My critique of
the Villalobana on specific issucs reveals the positive features of previ-
ous research and points to inevitable lacunae. It also attempts to
demystify some of the old beliefs and statcments about the composer
and his works that do not appear to be supported by solid documentary
or analytical evidencc. In adclition, I especially try to vicw and interpret
the place of Villa-Lobos in the music of Brazil from a pcrspectivc of
Brazilian cultural ideology of the pcriod.
This v o lu me cannot pretend to represent the definitive study of Villa-
Lobos and his music. Bcfore such a study could bc contemplated, one
would nced more basic rcference tools, such as a thorough thematic
catalogue, but, despite the good third eclition 11989) of the catalogue of
the composer's works (published by the Museum Villa-Lobos), such
tools are lacking at present. This work attcmpts rather to provide a
comprehensive examination of Villa-Lobos, primarily as a nationalist
composer conscious of his mission in a modernizing artistic world. The
qualification o f this naonalism as an aesthetic constitutes the intcrpre-
tive dirnension of this study. In addition, a deeper cultural and aesthctic
understanding of Villa-Lobos's music and its relationship to Brazil's
musical mosaic of the twcntieth century constitutcs the ultimate
objective of this study.
Numerous colleagues and friends have bccn excellcnt intcrlocutors
ovcr the years andhavc helped me undcrstand many aspccts of the music
of Brazil and the placc of Villa-Lobos in it. Particularly important in this
process have been the late Luiz Heitor Correa de Azevedo, my mcntor
Cilbert Chase, Francisco Curt Lange, and the forcmost Villa-Lobos
biographer, Vasco Mariz. Sincc my studcnt days in Paris thc late
composer Cludio Santoro sparcd no cffort to sharc with me his dccp
knowledge of and expcrience in the music of Brazil. Arminda Villa-
Lobos, who spent the last twcnty-five years of her lifc as the director of
the Muscum Villa-Lobos (1960-1985), was always very gcnerous in
granting lengthy intcrviews, as she always dclighted in remembcring thc
glorious past of her husband and in making availablc ali sorts o f material
rclating to that past. One of the associatcs of the museum, thc late
Adhemar Nbrega, also sharcd with me bis sharp insights into the
pcrsonality and the music of Villa-Lobos. I have also benefited a great
dcal from enthusiastic conversations with the music critic Luiz Paulo
I torta and the composer Mar los Nobre, onc o f the most creativc person-
.alities in Brazilian composition since the 1960s. Jos Miguel Wisnik of
thc Univcrsity of So PauJo, whosc perceptive, crcative mind and
are impressivc, provided challcnging thoughts on the
sociopolitical position of Villa-Lobos. Composer Jamary Oliveira, pro-
fessor of theory and composition at thc Federal University of Bahia,
kandly read and commcnted on my earlicr cssay on Villa-Lobos, making
v'-'ry valuable suggestions. Robert Stevenson of UCLA graciously com-
mcntcd on my carlier draft, with exccllent suggeslions. My colleagues at
1 h c Univcrsity of Texas atAustin, Michacl Tusa and Elliott Antokoletz,
wcrc also kind cnough to read through the manuscript, providing very
valuablc assistancc. My friend and collcague Stephen Blum of the
l :r.aduatc Center of the City Univcrsity of New York was also most
lwlpful. To all of thcsc people, I express my heartfelt gratitude. I also
wi"h to acknowledge the assistance of Turibio Santos, the wcll-known
, las!-.lcal guitar artist and current clirector of thc Museum Villa-Lobos,
11ml nf his staff, cspccially Marcelo Rodolfo, as well as that of Mercedes
Pequeno, the indcfatigable and expcrt former head of the Music
and Sound Archivcs of the Brazilian National Library.
I would also likc to extcnd my thanks to the University of Texas's
lmHHlltC ofLatinAmcrican Studies, especially itsdirector, PetcrCleaves,
lumcr .1ssociate director, Crcg Urban, and its publ ications staff, particu-
J.uly V1rginia Hagerty and Carolyn Palaima, for their support in this
ndt,Jvur. Pinally, I express my special thanks to Elaine A. Law, senior
associate in the Department of Music of the University
ill ' I I'X:Is, for her nonpareil expertise in copyediting.
Heitor Villa-Lobos:
The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
Toward a Criticai Biography of
Heitor Villa-Lobos
Thc great philosopher of history Wilbelm Dilthey underscored the
!lpecial significance of biography and autobiography as a fundamental
dcment in understandlng the individual. This emphasis on the indi-
vidual is particularly relevant since there can hardly be one mcaning of
lifc, but a multiplicity of mcanings varying according to individuais'
pcrccptions, personal ideas, and values. As Dilthey exprcssed it: "The
rnursc of a historical personality's life ls a system of interactions in
which the individual receives stimuli from the historical world, is
mnulded by thcm and, thcn, in his tum, affects the historical world"
!I lillhcy 1961:90). The case of Heitor Villa-Lobos's life certainly con-
flrrns this notion of a receptive individual who substantially trans-
lw mcd the musical scene of his country during bis llietime. Somewhat
ui 11 mystic, he stated in a 1957 interview: "My musical work is the
tonscqucnce of predestination. If it is in large quantity, it is the fruit of
1111 txtcnsive, gencrous and warm land."
Besides predestination, he
1111nbutcd to himself the same qualitics as those of bis homeland, such
Wll!l his close personal idcntilication and interactions with it and its
Whlle Villa-Lobos never wrote an autobiography, herequested that
fricnd C. Paula Barros, a poet, painter, and musician, write his life
y (up Lo about 1948), in which task the author apparently relied on
1111 c.:omposer so heavily that the resulting product could be considered
un autobiography (Mariz 1989: 194). This work (Barros 1951)
i'fllll'lll!l partly flctional and is made up of simple-hearted vignettcs
w 11 t 11' 11 tn a typically grandiloq uent style which, despitelts stretch of tbe
ltlltHtll:ttion, rcvcals certain personal traits and stories of the composcr
tlt.uonly n confidant could know. In numcrous ways, this biography also
tcll,rl" thc proclivity of thecomposer toward thecJeationofa Jegendary
llt11u.uo11ntl himsclf. Many incongruous dctails ofthisstorylellingcould
h tnlly hnvc hccn by Paula l3arros.
H makcs for fascinating
ll ltliillg, in il s pottray:ll of thc composcr's sclf-imagc and his
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Sou]
desire to project himself asa sort of messiah ofBrazilian music endowed
with divine grace and, as such, destined to uncarth the musical richcs of
his country. Indeed the "romance" ofVilla-Lobos was meant to creatc a
superhcro whoseattributcs ofbrightness, energy, and productivity could
be equated with those of the country.
One of the most notorious examples ofVilla-Lobos's manipulation of
facts was for many years the confusion concerning bis birthdate of
which h c professed ignorance. As Lisa Peppcrcom-a
m_usicologist who lived in Brazil for many years and kncw the composer
fau-ly well-related in 1948, the date of bis birth oscillated bctween 188 J
and 189 l in various sources, from the 1940 Supplement of the Grove's
Dictionary and other European and American refcrcnce works to the
of Almeida's Histria da msica brasileira ( 1942) and
LUlzHe!tor deAzevedo's Relao das peras de autores brasileiros
{1938), toseveral ollicial identification documents {see Peppercom 1948:
153- 156). It was Vasco Mariz { 1949) who, while working on the first
edition o f bis book on Villa-Lobos, uncovered at Rio de Janciro's So Jos
Church thc baptism certificate of the composer's sister, Carmcn.3 An
annotation in it rcveals that he was baptizcd on the same occasion and
indicates 5 March 1887 as Villa-Lobos's birthdate. It is thereforc
Mariz's discovery that truly enabled us to celebratc the of
event in 1987.
. To Villa-Lobos as a creative artist and a human being, it
IS essential, therefore, to recxamine certain aspects of his life in order to
discover the system of intcractions that influenced and shaped his sense
of identity. In so doing, attcntion is given not only to his own written
statements but especially to thc tcstimonies of former associatcs and
friends, collected over the last twenty years.
Youth and Eacly Adulthood (to 1922)
The main circumstances ofVilla-Lobos's life that deserve considcration
are bis childhood in Rio de Janeiro and thc important role of his father
Ral, in his early music training, his attraction to and experience with
the chores {popular musicians in Rio at the turn of the twentieth
century), and his various trips to thc provinces. The next phases involve
his marriagc to Lucilia Guimares and latcr his life with Arminda
{"Mindinha") Neves d' Almeida, his meeting and subsequem friendship
with Rubinstein, his activities at the "Week of Modero Art" in So
Paulo, his first residency in Paris in the 1920s and thc rcsulting recogni-
ton of his talent, his involvement in music education and related
projects in the 1930s and I940s, and his international acclamation from
1944, the year of his first trip to the United Statcs. In general, this
Toward a Criticai Biography of Heitor Villa-Lobos 3
chronology is related in minute detail in the fairly voluminous Villa-
Lobos bibliography, but without the propcr interprctive account of
contextual determinants that contributed to the molding o! Villa-
Lobos's carcer.
The city of Rio de Janeiro at the turn of the twenticth century, when
Villa-Lobos was growing up, had seen the abolition of slavery 11888) and
the advent of the rcpublic {1889). It was not only the seat of the federal
govemmcnt, but the major cultural center for the social elite. As a result
of the cnd of slavcry, migration from therural areas increased substan-
tially, and the presence of foreigners became more evident. The 1890
census registered more than 520,000 inhabitants, with some30 percent
foreigners, but by 1920 the population had almost doubled. The first two
decades of the century also witncssed the expansion and modero plan-
ning ofthe city, wi th renewed attention to performing arts facilities. The
inauguration of the Teatro Municipal took place in 1909 and the
founding of the orchestra of the Sociedade de Concertos Sinfnicos do
Rio de Janeiro in 1912, as well as the establishrnent of other concert-
promoting associations. It was in Rio de Janeiro that the most typical
popular musical genres first dcveloped, including, among others, the
maxixe, the tango brasileiro, the choro, the samba, and the cver-prcsent
sentimentallovesongknown as modinha. Asan avid andastute listener,
Villa-Lobos availed himself of the developing and diversilied wban
musical scene.
Although raiscd in a "petit bourgcois" middle-class family and de-
spite bis avowedly deep admiration for his father, an employee of the
National Library and an arnateur musician, the young Villa-Lobos
rcjected very early some of the values and conventions of the period,
particularly formal schooling. The family of Ral Villa-Lobos was of
Spanish origin, while that ofNomia Villa-Lobos, thecomposer's mother,
was of Portuguesc ancestry, originating from the state of Rio de Janeiro.
As noted by Vasco Mariz { 1989:22) and the music criticHorta 11987:14),
thc sevcrc discipline irnposed by Ral Villa-Lobos on his son in his early
rnusic cducation, although resented at first, was later recognized as
hcncficial. "With him," said the composer in a 1957 interview, "I always
autcndcd rchearsals, conccrts and operas ... Ialso learncd how to play the
dartncl, and I was required to identify the genre, style, character and
magin of compositions, in addition to recognizing quickly the na me of a
nnt c, o f sounds or noises ... Watch out, when I didn't get it right."
It was
from his fathcr that Villa-Lobos also leamed the cello and developed a
pudilccuon for it. But although good classical music making was the
11111 m at thc Vi llo-Lobos home (especially chambcr music of the
IHhtccnth and ninctcenth ccnturies), it was the popular music of the
prtncl that capuvatcd thc young Villa-Lobos and cxerted a lasting
4 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
influence on him and his music. He attempted to learn thc guitar on his
own, away from home, as that instrument was the epitome of the
popular culturc of thc time and generally disavowed by classical music
Only after the premature death of his father in 1899 was he able to
submerge himself truly into the city's popular musical culture of thc
scrcnadcrs and chores. Thc music of the Iatter fascinated Villa-Lobos
then and for the rest of bis life. That music had a dancing repcrtory
primarily instrumental, with ensembles offlutes, clarinets, ophicleidcs,
trumpets, trombones, mandolins, guitars, and cavaquinhos lsmall four-
string guitars of Portuguesc originJ, virtuosic soloists and contrapuntal
rcnditions of schottischcs, waltzcs, quadrilles, mazurkas, and polkas. As
a choro-guitar playcr himself, there is no doubt that this firsthand
experience represented a true musical education and an aesthetic affin-
ity that remained strong throughout his adulthood. The impressions of
this youthful and vigorous experience wcre of such importancc that
Villa-Lobos gave his experiments in the 1920s with the various exprcs-
sions of the musics of Brazil the generic designation of Choros. Hc
complctcd a coursc ofhumani ties at the Rio Monastery of Saint Bencdict
(Mosteiro de So Bento). His mother was adamant that he study to bc a
medica! doctor. He confided to Vasco Mariz that to please his mothcr h c
registered for a preparatory course for the entrance examination in thc
SchoolofMedicine. Buthecouldnot maintain any interestin theclasscll
and, in 1903, he left bis mother's house and went to livc with his aunt
Zlzinha (Leopoldina do Amaral). In his later tcenage ycars, hc carncd a
living by playing mainly thc ccllo. in the Teatro Recreio (a theatrc of
popular shows), in hotels, and the movie theatre Odeon, where he mct
and interacted with some of the most celebrated personalities o f
music of the time, such as Ernesto Nazareth, Eduardo das Neves, and
Anacleto de Medeiros.
These early years are, unfortunately, not well documented and tlw
eyewitnesses not always entirely reliable. For example, the intercslinH
but dubious tcstimony of the famous popular composcr Donga (Ernc.'ilO
Joaquim dos Santos, 1889-1974) refers in vague terms to the circum
stances of his acquaintancc with Villa-Lobos in a circle of chores, nnd
the quality of bis guitar playing, botb as soloist and as accompanist
"Villa-Lobos always played [the choros] well ... [He] always playc\1
difficult classics, things with a lot of technique. He was always 11
technician."s One cannot be sure whether the popular musician truly
identilied the composer at the time o{ their musical interaction as a pL''' '
amongchoresorwhether in time thefameofVilla-Lobos influcnccu lu"
re-creation oftheir common past. That Villa-Lobos was fascina teu hy ti H'
numerous piano picces (mostly tangos, polkas, and waltzcs) of
l'uward a Criticai Biography of Heitor Villa-Lobos 5
N11z11reth (1863-1934) was confirmed through his own testimony, but
tluu thcy were closc friends (Barros 1951 :29) and that, as a mattcr of fact,
NIIZ<lrcth can be considcrcd a choro (Mariz 1989:34) remain in doubt.
Lkcwise, the results ofVilla-Lobos's various trips over a span ofabout
vlght ycars (1905-1913) to the northern and northeastern states, the
Arn&zon, and central and southcrn Brazil have been the subject of
varymg interpretations.6 Some havc wantcd to make of thcsc a truly
'musical" discovery of tbe country at large. C. Paula Barros cal1s him the
humlc1ra musical" of the twentieth century.7 Luiz Heitor associates
hlm with the musical"discovery of Brazil" (Azevedo 1956: 249-272),
1nd su hscquent popular biographics repcat thc sameaHcgations I Giacomo
Silva 1974). Certainly, no special guiding thread in Villa-Lobos's
r ly li f c, such as schooling, or the influence of major figures in the arts
an hL idcntilied as having predisposed him to bis "Brazilian" interests.
til uwn cultural and artistic identification with Brazil and the projec-
Uun u( lus pcrsonality into things Brazilian secm to have devclopcd
111UIII.mcously. Hc ncver discusscd thc motivation bchind his trips, but
h emph:asrzed on several occasions his special yearningfor freedom, bis
lanulnc."s ror new discoveries, and h is scarch for bis own musical identity
11 1t lhuzilian.
VIII.& Lobos's first trip in 1905, financed in part through the sale of
IUitiC llrc books from his fathcr's Ubrary, took him to the states of
latllflln S:tnto, Bahia, and Pernambuco and lasted for about a year. He
m''" nu spccific plans for this and later trips, and what he tangibly
I'( rrcnt.:cu in firsthand exposure to thc folk music of thcse provinccs
n uuly hc hypothcsized; ultimatcly his music provides our best source
hypmhcscs" oncc a bcttcr understanding of how he reworked and
nt t)Hmcd his sources is gained. Vasco Mariz acknowledges that the
tnJlUI:Icr and collected music of the cantadores (poet-mus1cians,
rfm mcrs of cantoria, traditional vocal genres of improvised, often
poclry used in singing contests), the aboios (cattle-herding
ttKInl hcnlsmcn, music of the autos (folk plays) and dramatic dances,
ntl (rir hc desafios (ducl songs) (Mariz 1989:39). Paula Barros extended
t rct ''""' of this first trip to the states of Cear, Rio Grande do Norte,
ntl Muruuh:m wllhoul a shrcd of surviving evidence, and tried to
lhlnu tlw charactcristics of lhe folk music of t.bese areas in the most
Yi! nr.tlllll'r: "Wh:Ha huge surprlsc when, in the middle of theserLes
nlllllmd, wildcrncss) of nahia, Pernambuco, Cear, and Maranho,
llr I uho .. l fmmd rnclodlc cclls wiLh charactcristics of rhythmic ac-
\lllloratouml.rn cxtrcmcaffinilywith elemcntsof works ofBeethoven.
lu w.1 .. aMountk:d lo asccrtain that many modulations and
IIIH fllldmlics In thc nHmncr of Rach livc in thcsc faraway placcs. In
llrhlun tllpir:rl, fnr cxamplc, hc apprcci:ttcd modinhas (lovc songs)
( HcJtor Villa-Lobos: The Searcb for Brazil's Musical Soul
thot rcrnindcd him, unmistakably, of Chopin'slyric rnelodies" (Barros
1951:35). One could alrcady forecast in these extravagant remarks the
intcnt to justify the allcgcd similarities of certain aspccts of Brazilian
folk music to the music of Bach. Paula Barros positively stated: "Only
aftcr Villa-Lobos told us how he found these melodic elements in the
manner of Bach in the hinterlands, among herdsmen and cantadores, did
we then undcrstand well the suitability of the title of 'Bachianas
Brasileiras'" (ibid.:36). In spite of the composer's relatively young age in
1905-1906, it s almost inconceivable that he could have been so
indiscriminate as to approach bis musical "discovery" by way of such
unwarranted stylistic comparisons.
His second trip in 1906 to thc southern states lasted less than two
years. Vasco Mariz rcported that Villa-Lobos appriscd him of his disap-
pointment that "the purity and richness of !Southem folk material! were
far from reaching thc interest of bis investigations of the Northeast"
(Mariz 1977:40). The actual nature of thesc investigations is not eluci-
dated in the literature. From thc cvidence of Villa-Lobos's dislike of
formality and method, however, one can, with Luiz Heitor Corra de
Azevedo ( 1956:252), surrnise that these trips afforded the cornposer a
series of long-lasting and significant impressions and firsthand knowl-
edge of certain aspects of Luso-Brazilian and Afro-Brazilian traditional
music. s In the proccss, he undou btcdly learned dozcns of popular tunes
and songs that h e later rcmernbered and brought into play in many of his
works. If indced he truly collected more than a thousand thernes "of
value" (Mariz 1989:39), nowherc did herecord this collection systemati-
cally or publish it. That he assembled part of the collection in his Guia
Prtico for didactic purposes in 1932 is undeniable, but the original Guitl
Prtico consists of 137 folksong melodies, "arranged" and "adapted" by
the composer, mostly of commonly known repertories, especially of
children's round songs, and noto f the regional, "exotic" na tive material
that the accounts of the trips would seem to imply.9
His adventuresome sojoums, particularly in the Amazon region and
northern Brazil ( 1911 or 1912), have always been more or less romanti-
cized espccially in conjunction with the frequency and degree of the
composer's observation of tribal Indian and caboclo (mestizo of Indian
and white ancestry) music. The 1930 reaction of Mrio de Andrade to the
short biography writtcn by the Frcnch composcr/music critic Suzanne
Demarquez in the Revue Musicale (no. 10, 1929) is a case in point:
There we are told, for example, that our great musician, during the
period of 1909 to 1912, carricd out at last his much desired trip
through lands still inhablted by Indians, associatcd with sevcral
scientific missions, mainly German. Hc could thus live [experi-
Toward a Critcal Biography of Heitor Villa-Lobos
enceJ Amerindian life, observe cxtensively bis music colleagues
with sacrificial clubs ["tacape"J, attcnd witchcraft festivitles,
collect themes and penetra te intimatcly the psychology of these
people plus the environment of our land. (Andrade 1963:143)
Whether the "charming fantasy" of Demarquez is dircctly ascribable to
her readiness to pro mote Villa-Lobos and his music to Parisian audiences
of the 1920s orto hcr credulity at subjective storytclling cannot be easily
ascertaincd. Quite revealing, nevertheless, is the mention of the scien-
tific missions, so as to justify the seriousness of purpose of thcsc trips.
It is ali too clear, however, that Villa-Lobos's scientific-scholarly bent
was mythical, which does not diminish in the least his inhercnt power
of intuitivc absorption andhis personal bond with the natural bcau ty and
richness of Brazil and its people. His perception of and reaction to the
various cultural expressions of the areas he visitcd, as well as their
specific ecological qualities, served him well throughout his life in bis
total personal identification with them and in his ability to convlnce
others ofhis own destiny as the musical spokesman ofhisentirecountry.
H e expressed this thought once as follows: "As far as I tried to fashion my
cultwe, guided by my own instinct and apprcnticeshlp, I found out that
I could only reach a conclusion of conscious knowlcdge by rescarching,
by studying works that, at first sight, had nothing to do with music.
Thus, my first book was the map of Brazil, the Brazil that I trudged, city
by city, state by state, forest by forest, searching the soul of a land. Then
the charactcr of the people of this land. Then the natural wondcrs of this
This last trip to Manaus and the northem states supposedly lasted
more than twoyears. Villa-Lobos hadinitiated that tripas a musicianfor
an operetta company that was dissolvcd in the middlc of the tour (in
Recife according to some, in Manaus according to others). The Paraense
music historiao and folklorist Vicente Salles is said to possess ncw
written evidence confirming the appcarance of Villa-Lobos in perfor-
mance at Belm do Par in April 1912, and in Manaus for concert
cngagements on 23 June and 7 Scptember 1912 (Kiefer 1981:128).
Although he did visit the citics of Belm and Manaus, he apparcntly did
not participate, as stated in some sources, in the Cruls expedition to the
Amazon. Mariz rightly points to the likely fact that the visits to Belm
11nd Manaus wcre limited to the surroundings of the cities (Mariz
1989:40). It is therefore very unlikely that h e had firsthand expcricnce in
thc true Amazonian jungle.
lt is difficult to place chronologically thc often-mentioned trip to the
l!'land of Barbados whcre, according to Villa-Lobos's own account to
M<triz ( 1989:44), h c had gonc in the company of an English lady pianist
Heitor Vi/Ja-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Sou]
whom hc had met in Manaus and to whom h e was reportedly attracted.
They had dccidcd to try their luck in thc United States, but the Barbados
port of call proved to be fatal, since thcy lost ali of their money in
gambling. Some reports indicate that a fcw pcrforming jobs in the
Bridgctown bars and nigthclu bs allowed them to pay for their respective
travei expenscs, hers to the United Statcs, his back to Belm. Others
mention that h e had to be rcpatriated in a "statc of indigence" (Azevedo
1956:252). All agree, howcvcr, that it was in Barbados that Villa-Lobos
conceivcd thc idea of his work Danas Caractersticas Africanas,
originaliy for piano, completed during 1914-1915. Whether hc had the
opportunity to witness any folk dance music in Barbados that could h ave
given him the idea remains open. There is, howcver, little specifically
African and certainly nothing c lea.rly attribu tablc to Barbadian music in
these thrcc dances, which were allcgcdly inspired by themcs of the
Caripuna lndians of Mato Grosso.1
The next phase of Villa-Lobos's life began in 1912 when be met thc
pianist Luci! ia Guimares, who beca me his wife in 1913; thcy scparated
in 1936.
2 Mrs. Villa-Lobos ( 1886-1966) undoubtcdly dcvoted herself to
hcr husband's career selflessly and remained loyal to him throughout her
We. As a pianist, she premiered severa! Villa-Lobos piano pieccs during
the 1910s and 1920s, with special and significam participation in the
first public conccrts of his music in Rio in 1915 and during the "Week
of Modem Art" in So Paulo in 1922.
From a compositional point ofview, the period 1912.-1917 was oneof
intense activity and the maturation of his creative personality. By 1916
he bad alrcady accumulated some one hundred works, from his first
guitar pieces (such as the SuiLe Popular Brasileira, 1908-1912), numer-
ous chamber music pieces (including thc first four string quartets), the
first two symphonies, and tbe ballets Amazonas and Uirapuru, among
otl1ers. Thc first official conccrt cntircly dcdicated to his work occurrcd
on 13 November 1915 in the auditorium of thc ncwspaper Jornal do
Comrcio. At an earlier conccrt (30 J uly 1915 I of the Sociedade de
Concertos Sinfnicos, under thc dircction of Francisco Braga, the Sute
Caracterstica, forstringorchestra, had been premiered. But the Novem-
ber concert had special signilicance since it established Villa-Lobos at
oncc as a sort of "enfant terrible" of ncw Brazilian art music, thanks to
the strongly negative reactions of thc era's bcst known and rathcr
reactionary music critics of the city, arnong thcm Vicenzo Cemicchiaro
( 1858-1928) and thcfcarful Oscar Guanabarino (de Souza e Silva) ( 1851-
1937), thc latter for twenty ycars thc music critic of Jornal do Comrcio
anda fcrocious detractor o f Villa-Lobos and modem music in gencra1.
The Novcmber 1915 program included severa! chamber music and solo
pieces (the first Piano Trio, Op. 25, the second Sonata Fantasia, Op. 29,
Towaid a Criticai Biograpby of Heitor Villa-Lobos 9
for violin and piano, Berceuse and Capriccio, Op. 49 and Op. 50, for ccllo
and piano, and severa! songs, among others) writtcn bctween 1911 and
1915. Although still far from the truly modem idiom of his experments
of the late 1910s and 1920s, these works challenged the current state of
composition in Brazil and immcdiately revealed an iconoclast of the
great tradition.
Twoyears later, thesecondand third majorconccrts ofthe composcr's
works were organized, also prescnting solo and chamber music pieces.
In 1918, he at last bad the opportunity to reveaJ in concert severa! of his
orcbestral works, among them thc tone poems Naufrgio de Kle6nicos
and Amazonas I under the early title o f Mirmisj, the symphonic prcludc
of the opera Izaht and the last act of the samc opera. The next ycar saw
the composition and public performance of what was labeled a "tone
poem," A Guerra ("The War"). This was bis fust major commission to
celebrate the end of World War I and an homage to the Brazilian
representa tive to The Hague conference, Dr. Epitcio Pessoa, la ter a very
controversal president of the rcpublic (1922- 1926). The othcr two
themes, "Peace" and "Victory," were comrnissioned from the well-
known composer Francisco Braga ( 1868-1945) and one of his students
Joo Otaviano (Gonalves) ( 1892-1962). Also in 1919, the Buenos Aires
Asociacin Wagncriana organized a concert ofBrazilian chamber music
compositions and presented Villa-Lobos's String Quartet No. 2(1915),
which was well rcceivcd especially by the music critic of the newspaper
La Prensa. These premiercs rcpresent an important measurement of
Villa-Lobos's up and corning carccr because these concerts establishcd
him in a vcry short t ime as the controvcrsial, antiestablishment figure
par excellencc. Without this recognition, be would not have been invited
to participate in the "Wcck of Modem Art" in 1922.
As an eager and curious listcner and essentiaJly a self-taught com-
puser, Villa-Lobos assimilated spontaneously (and at times reluctantly)
a number of important influences from European music of the period.
Most students of his works prior to 1922-1923 recognize the strong
affinity of his music of the 1910s with some of the techniques of Frcnch
impressionism (with tbe exception of Luiz Heitor Corra de Azevedo,
1956:254). Villa-Lobos vcry likely first heard the music of Debussy
(reportedly the piece Cakewalk from the Cbildren's Cornersj during his
trip to northeast Brazil, specifically Bahia in 1907 or 1908. But it was
probably more from bis contact and friendship with the French com-
poserDarius Milhaud, who lived in Rio in 1917 and 1918, that helearncd
a bou t contem porary French m usic.
In his memoirs, Mi I haud (1949:82-
99) recounted the circumstances of his twenty-onc-month rcsidency in
Rio as the secrctary of Paul Claudcl, then French minis ter in Brazil, and
his admiration of and involvement with the popular musico{ the city,
lO Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
particularly the piano playing ofErnesto Nazareth (resulting in thc wclJ-
known suiteSaudades do Brasil). Healsomentioned therolcofthcgrcat
pianist Arthur Rubinstein, "one of the fust to make known in Europe
and the United States the music ofVilla-Lobos, that composer so famous
nowadays who, at that time, was forced to play the cello in a movie
thcatre in ordcr to have some means" 11949:92). During his first visit to
Rio in 1918, Rubinstcin met Villa-Lobos, whose music was a revelation
to him.l6 As described by Rubinstein himself, that mecting is quite
revealing of Villa-Lobos's strong sense of pride and perhaps lack of self-
confidence at that particular time. In a newspaper intcrview, Rubinstein
called Villa-Lobos an "eminent artist, in nothing inferior to the greatcst
modem composers of Europe. He has ali the characteristics of a musical
genius" (in Guimares et ai. 1972:46). From that time on, tbey remaincd
vcry good fricnds and thc great pianist promoted Villa-Lobos and his
music throughout the world. He was instrumental in obtaining the
backing of the brothers Guinle, rich Brazilian industrialists, to finance
Villa-Lobos's first trip to Paris, and la ter the patronage o f Carlos Guinle
provcd csscntial in obtaining thc intercst of the Parisian music publisher
Max Eschig to begin publishing most of the works of Villa-Lobos.
Rubinstein's friendship also inspired the composition of one of tbe most
monumental works of Villa-Lobos, the piano piece Rudepoema ( 1921-
The fourtecn recitais played by Rubinstein in Rio in 1918 gave Villa-
Lobos the opportunity to familiarize himself furthcr with the music of
Dcbussy. According to Luiz Heitor 11956:255), Villa-Lobos was com-
pletely unaware of Stravinsky's music before his first trip to Paris. That
h e heard the Sacre du Printemps in Paris is undeniable, since h e reportcd
tbe event to his riend, the poet Manuel Bandeira, as "the greatest
musical emotion" of hh life !Bandeira 1924). Lisa Peppercom ( 1972: 197)
seems to have erred in indicating that the 1917 Diaghilev Ballet presen-
tations in Rio revealed the music of Stravinsky to Villa-Lobos, since the
programs o f these presentations did not carry any work by Stravinsky (cf.
Kiefcr 1981 :21). It is probable, however, that Rubinstcin brought
Stravinsky to the attention of Villa-Lobos. Milhaud confirms in his
memoirs that in his visits to the French Legation in Rio, Rubinstein
"exccuted with mastery the most subtle scorcs such as 'L'Apres-Midi
d'un Faune' or 'Le Sacre du Printemps"' (Milhaud 1949:92). It is incon-
ceivable that Rubinstein or Milhaud himself would not bave mentioned
at least the beated reactions to the controversial music of Stravinsky in
the famous 1913 Champs Elyses Theatre prerniere of the Rite and
provided some justification and stylistic explanation for the contro-
vcrsy. By 1918, however, Villa-Lobos had written or was in thc proccss
of writing his own controvcrsial works that show innovativc cxpcri-
Toward a Critica] Biography of Heitor Villa-Lobos ll
ments in rhythmic and barmonic invcntion. In tbe article "Brsil"
written for La Revue Musicale, Milhaud ( 1920) gave an overview of the
state of musical composition in Brazil, pointing out the strong French
influence and the lack of attention to Brazilian folk music sources:
It is regrettable that ali the works of Brazilian composers, from the
symphonic or chamber music pieces of MM. Nepomuceno and
Oswald to the Impressionistic sonatas of M. Guerra or the orches-
tral works of Mr. Villa-Lobos (a young man of robust temperament,
fulJ of boldness) are a reflcction of the various phases encountered
in Europe from Brahms to Dcbussy, and that thenadonal element
is not expressed in a more lively and original manner. The influ-
ence of Brazilian folklore, so rich in rhythms and of a very peculiar
melodic Une, is felt only too rarcly in the works of the "carioca"
composers. When a popular theme or thc rhythm of a danceis used
in a musical work, this indigenous elemcnt is distorted because the
author sees it through the eyes of Wagner or Saint-Saens, if he is
sixty years old, or those of Dcbussy, if he is only thirty. IMilhaud
1920: 61)
Significantly, the French composer went on to namc the popular com-
poscrs Ernesto Nazareth ( the "genial Nazareth," h e wrote) and Marcelo
Tupinamb rather than any art-musiccomposer of the timeasrepresent-
ing the "glory and preciousncss of Brazilian Art." Wisnik suggests
pertinently that Milhaud's pcrception in 1920 of the problematics of
Brazilian music is guided by two considcrations that constitute impor-
tant factors for the aesthetics of "Les Six" in French composition,
namely, tbe anti-Debussyism advocated by Jean Cocteau and Erik Satie
and the crisis of tonality, solvcd by Milhaud through polytonal tech-
niques (Wisnik 1977:46).
The "Week of Modem Art" and the Parisian Experience
In Lheory, the adherence to twcntieth-century artistic ideologies and
corresponding modem techniques took shape in Brazil in the 1920s.
Crcative writers and pocts, anda fewvlsual artists, however, had already
cmbracedin theirown waysthemodernizingtrendsofthe 1910s. Mrio
de Andrade gave a significant historical account in a 1942lccture of the
hackground and subscqucnt dcvelopment of the modcmist movement
in the Brazilian arts. Hc saw thc Deccmber 1917 exhibit of the Cubist
puintcr Anita Malfatti ( 1896- 19641 as the true e g i ~ i n g of the "heroic
pcnod" of "modernismo" thal culmtnated in thc "festivity" of the So
Paulo Wcek of Modern An, li 18 Pebruary 1922-thc ycar of thc
12 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Seorch for Brazil'.'l Musical Soul
ccntcnary cclebration of theBrazilianindcpendence. JosMjguel Wisnik
wrotc the best study ( 1977) to date on the place and significante of music
around that event, stressing spccifically the underlying factors of the
"modcrnist" deology and the role of Vil la-Lobos in that wcek.
Primarily involving literary figures from So Paulo, especially Mrio
de Andrade, Oswald de Andrade, Guilherme de Almeida, Graa Aranha,
Ronald de Carvalho, ManuelBandeira, and CarlosDrummond de Andrade,
among others, the modcrnist movement first appeared as a literary affar,
but in reality il affccted ali of thc arts and caused Brazilian artists to
reconsider both their national past and their relations with Europe. The
organizers of the Week in thcir desire to promotc such reconsideration
in ali of the arts sought some of the better-known controversial figures
of the period. That meant Anita Maliatti in the visual arts and Villa-
Lobos in music. Villa-Lobos exprcssed to Vasco Mariz (1977:55) his
cnthusiasticreaction to the invitation from Graa Aranha and Ronald de
Carvalho to participatc as thc music representative. The ideas behind
the projccted event corrcsponded exactly with his own efforts o f atleast
the previous seven years, and he very likely saw a goldcn opportunity to
reveal furthcr his forward-lookingcreativeinclination. This calledfor an
unsystematic break with Europcan romantic tonality and a strong
determination to cffect the legitimization and freedom of national
music, ali theoretically conducive to the rcncwal of Brazil's musical
vocabulary. Indeed, as Wisnik mentioned (1977:64), the musical partici-
pation in the Week of Modem Art must bc considered from thc aspects
of (1) musicas a happcning; 121 music in the context of modemist ideas;
and (3) the musicallanguage in itself. The participation took the form of
three festivais presented at t he So Paulo Teatro MunicipaL Since Vil la-
Lobos believed that all of his previous works already reflected the
ideology of modernism, he had scveral of his chamber music works
pcrformcd. These included bis Sonata li for cello and piano (1916), bis
Second StringTrio (1916), as weU as the Danas Caractersticas A/ri canas
(in special arrangcment for an octet of Hve strings, flute, clarinet, and
piano), the Third String Quartct (1916), thc Third String Trio (1918),
severa! piano pieccs and solo songs, and the Quarteto Simblico lsub-
titlcd Impresses da Vida Mundanall1921), for flute, saxophone, ce-
lesta, harp, o r piano with female v o ices. Besides Lucilia Guimares Vi lia-
Lobos, the performcrs were the pianists Frutuoso Vianna (then unknown
as a composer), Ernni Braga (who also pcrformcd pieces by Satie and
Poulenc as part of a ~ t u r by Graa Aranha), and Guiomar Novaes (wbo
also included two pieces by Debussy and one each by the lesser known
French composers E. R. Blanchet and Vallon)Y Music contributed
substantially to the event in that the compositions that were prcsented,
primarily Villa-Lobos's, stimulaLcd a mostly nega tive rcaction from the
Toword o Critico} Biography of Heitor Villa-Lobos 13
public (according to a letter by Villa-Lobos, reproduced in Guimares et
al. 1972:73), and aroused polemical discussions in newspaper columns
bothfor and aganst modem music, thcreby bringingfurther attention to
Villa-Lobos as a local cause clebre. The polemic became particularly
fierce between the conservative critic Oscar Guanabarino and the writer
Menotti del Picchia, going beyond stylistic considerations to include
ideological and political questions. Musicalsogave the "popeofmodem-
ism," as Mrio de Andrade was called, the opportunity to write a few
years la ter (1928) his epochal Ensaio sbre a msica brasileira.
It is important to realize from a stylistic or musicallanguage point of
vicw that Villa-Lobos felt his compositions of the previous years lall,
incidentally, previously prcmiered) would stand on their own as suffi-
ciently representativc of t he modern trends or challenging the grcat
nineteenth-century tradition. As accuratcly pointed out by Wisnik, thc
"conditions in which !these works] were performed were less conducive
to !careful]listening than to the festivity of artistic polemics" 11977:72).
According to the composer himself, his Quarteto simblico, whcre "I
obtained a perfect performance, with projection of lights and a stage
sccnery adequatc for supplying a strange atmosphere, mystic woods,
{antastic shadows, ali symbolizing my work as I imagined it" (Guimares
et al. 1972:73), reprcsented one of the most novel, scandalous works
presented during the Wcck. That novelty referred espccially to the
unusual tone-color combination for a quartet (fiute, saxophone, celesta,
and barp or piano) and the rather static character of the harmony. By
1922, Villa-Lobos had repeatedly proclajmed tbe national basis of bis
music and had therefore affirmed one of the fundamental principies of
the Brazilian modernist credo: the establishment of a strongly national
creative consciousness. During the Week, the poet Ronald de Carvalho
11922) recognized that
the music of Vlla-Lobos is onc of the most pcrfect cxpressions of
our culture. In it quivers the flame of our race, what is most
beautiful and original in the Brazilian race. It does not reprcscnt a
partia! state of our psyche. It is not the Portuguese, African or
Tndigcnous tcmperament, or the simple symbiosis of thesc ethnic
quantities that we perceive in it. What it shows us is a new entity,
the special character of a people that begins to define itself reely,
in a cosmic milieu worthy of the gods of the heroes.
This is indecd the bcginning of the construction of Vi lia-Lobos as a sort
of mythical charactcr whose music appcarcd, at the time, as the potcn-
tt;tl sourcc of the synthcsis of a ncw country anda new "cntity." The
novclty of this music respondcd to a scarch for a ncw cultural idcntity
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Tbe Search for Brazil's Musical Sou]
and frcc<.lom in line with thc 1922 celebration of Brazil's political
mdcpendence that bad, for numerous contemporary artists, no counter-
part in the cultural expression of the country, and was still vcry
subordinate to Europcan (especially French and Italian) standards. The
various literary figures of the modernist movement perceivcd Villa-
Lobos as thc natural and most direct spokesrnan of a Brazil of cultural
contrasts reflected, they sensed, in various components of his music. In
Wisnik's words, "The fascination manifested in the text of the writers
(of the periodj seems to derive from [the fact] that Villa-Lobos embodies
an expectation, a latency: his music puts in to effect concrete, palpable
and realized images of the ideology of a country imagined as potential"
(Wisnik 1977: 170). At the same time, be sces him quite justifiably as a
destroyer of a "certain style of exoticism" and deems it understandable
that 'rvilla-Lobos's creative genius corresponded to the strong necessi-
tics of the moment in which surfaced what could be carefully examined
in the context of the dccade of the 20s, seemingly reconciling with it thc
projcct of a new art with the optimistic perspective of a new flourishing
country" (Wisnik 1977:1 71). ln his lecture "A emoo esttica na arte
moderna" ("The Aesthetic Emotion in Modern Art"), presented on the
first day of the Week's events, Graa Aranha statcd tbat Villa-Lobos was
an "artist of remarkablc scope, of an exceptional tempcrament" and his
"extravagantmusic willshock those whoreact drivcn by theforce of the
past ... What interests us is the transfiguration ofourselves through the
magic of sound which the art of the divine musician will exprcss"
(Aranha 1972:267). Villa-Lobos's modernism in the works presented
during the Wcek was sti 11 pale in comparison to bis la ter achievements.
But he had the grcat advamagc of being unique. No other Brazilian
composer of the pcriod could possibly have fulfilled thc expectation of
a potentially new art as Villa-Lobos did. There was no one with whom
to compare him. Thus, he appearcd as the most logical figure, symbol-
izing a new era of indcpendence and self-cxpression in the music of
Many of thereactions to the music ofVilla-Lobosexprcssed duringthe
festivais of the Week of Modem Art weresummed up in a true manifesto
of musical nationalism, subscquently formulatcd by Mrio de Andrade
in hisEnsaio sbre a msica brasileira. In it we finda further and well-
articulatcd definition of a strongly idcological position whosc basic
principies can be summarized as follows.
First, the mere utilization of folk musicas an cxotic clement must be
rejected, in favor of a " natural and necessary cxpression of a nationality"
(Andrade 1962: 14). While recognizing the great quality of Villa-Lobos,
Andrade consistently denounced the "pseudo-Indian music" in some of
his early works as an undesirablc elcment of that cxoticism. The
Toward a Critica] Biography of Heitor Villa-Lobos 15
composer who seeks international fame through the exotic elements of
national art that already exists in the consciousness of the people (ibid.:
16). Thus, in order to reach that authcnticity, the work of art must
cstablish a close rclationship with the national social and political
realities and the artist must engage in rigorous investigations of popular
art, sucb as the art of folk drarnatic dances, Afro-Brazilian ritual music
and dance (candombl), and dozens of othcrs. He also wamed against
European opinion that tended to "falsify the Brazilian entity" by recog-
nizing almost exclusivcly the exoticism of Brazilian culture. As was the
case with all modemists (particularly the anthropophagic manifesto of
Oswald de Andrade), Andrade advocated the recognition of Brazilian
culture and its music in toto regardless of its appeal to and validation by
foreigners. The strong appeal to musical independcnce was also made
pointedly: "The current criterlon of Brazilian Music must not be
philosophical butsocial. It must be a criterion ofstrugglc"(ibid.: 19), and
"The currcnt historical criterion of Brazilian Music is that of a musical
manifestation which, being made by a Brazilian or a nationalized
individual, reflects the musical characteristics of our race. Where are
thcse characteristics? In popular music" (ibid.: 20).
Because of bis own firsthand knowledgc of those characteristics (sec
Bhague 1982:23-24) and bis conviction that most musicians at thc time
had little insight in to the folk and popular music of their country, he
provided dctailed explanations on rhythmic, melodic, polyphonic (har-
monic), instrumentational, and formal characteristics, with incidental
but telling rcmarks on Villa-Lobos's music. In the second part of bis
Ensaio, he also produced a sort of anthology of popular melodies,
organized undcr thc headings "Msica socializada" (socialized, collec-
tlve music) and "Msica individual/' a significant document from the
pcrspective of both a "nationalist" and an ethnomusicologist. As the
thcorist of the nationalist movcment, however, Mrio de Andrade
.1voided a rigid dogmatism as his numerous statements corroborate,
~ u h as "the artist must be neither exclusionist nor unilateral" (ibid.:
'.2.7), and "the Brazilian currcnt state of affairs must apply itsclf persis-
tcntly to nationalizing our [collectivc] manifestations, which can and is
hcing donc without xenophobia or impcrialism" (ibid.: 20).
Finally, pcrhaps the most crucial principies of Andrade's ideology for
musical nationalism as an aesthetic system compriscd not only the
;ldvocacy of proper utilization (i. e., without intention of "exoticism"J of
authentic folk and popular musical sources, but also the natural assimi-
lalion of thcse sourccs. Thus, the created works rcsult from the free
mvcntion of the composer, endowed with the chnractcr and quality of
national music, in a sort of unconscious nalionalism. The analysis of
16 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search foi Biazil's Musical Sou]
Villa-Lobos's aesthetic credo and its applications in severa! of his works
will revcal his fundamental affinity with these principies. Andrade
himself recognizcd later ( 1941) that after thc "wild expcrience of the
Wcck of Modem Art of So Paulo, Villa-Lobos abandoned consciously
and systcmatically his Frenchified intemationalism to become the
initiator and maximum figure of the nationalist phase in which wc find
ourselves" (Andrade 1965:32). On the other hand, Villa-Lobos himself
declared to Menotti del Picchia in a 1956 intcrview that it was not the
Week of 1922 that launched him, since "I was revolutionary before" (in
Gazeta de So Paulo, 14August 1956). Whethcr or not that Wcck hada
direct and Jasting influence on Villa-Lobos's futurc creative dcvclop-
ment is conjecturai, but it undoubtedly served as a self-confurnation of
his earlier successful nationalist experimcnts and reinforced his own
aesthetic position of national self-assertion, as thc great majority of his
output from 1922 to 1930 bears witness. In addition, that Weck defi-
nitely consecrated hlm as the Brazilian composer of the period.
Villa-Lobos left for Europc on 30 June 1923, subsidized financially for
a year by severa! frcnds from Rio (cspecially the Guinle brothers) and So
Paulo anda small subvcntion from the government. His intention was
not to learn but to show what h c had done. Upon his arrival, h e allegedly
declared, "If you like [what I have done] I will stay, if not I will rcturn to
my country" (Barros 1951 :48). With thc promotion of Rubinstein and
V era Janacpulos I 1896-1955), a famous Brazilian singer and teacher of
voice anda longtime resident of Paris, Villa-Lobos became wcU known
and met during this and his second trip to Paris ( 1927) some of thc most
celebrated musicians of the time: Roussel, Dukas, Schmitt, Honcgger,
d'Indy, Ravcl, de Falia, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Casella, Varcse, Segovia,
Toms Tern, and Joaqun Nin.
The most famous Parisian music
critics at the time, Henry Prunieres, Paul Le Plem, and Tristan Klingsor,
and thc composer Plorent Schmitt extendcd their full support to his
music, first prcsented in the 1923-1924 recitais by Janacpulos, the
Brazilian soprano Elsie Houston, the violinist Yvonne Astruc, and the
pianists Joo de Souza Lima, Tern, and Rubinstein. Among these, the
two most important conccrts, because thc prograrns wcre entirely
dedicated to Villa-Lobos's works, took place on 9 April and 30 May 1924.
Mariz (1977:64) stated that the 30 May event was his first conccrt in
Paris, but the painter Di Cavalcanti, prcsent at the 9 April event at the
Salle des Agriculteurs, described it as dedicated cxclusively to the
composer's works (two songs, the SuiLe for Voice and Violin, and the
woodwind Trio) and involving V era Janacpulos, among othcr perform-
ers {see Presena de Villa-Lobos, vol. 8, 1973, p. 76; see also Kiefer
It is strangc, however, that this April concert is not
mentioncd gcncrally in thc litcrature, not cvcn in Guimares ct ai.
Toward a Critica] Biography of Heitor Villa-Lobos 17
( 1972), which attempted to give a detailed listing of ali major and minor
concerts and recitais in which Villa-Lobos's music was performcd. The
premiere of the SuiLe for Voice and Violin, completed in Paris in 1923,
is indicated as having takcn place in Rio on 17 September 1925 in thc
sccond edition of the official catalogue of Villa-Lobos's works (Museu
Villa-Lobos 1972: 144). There can be no doubt, however, that the 9 April
concert did occur, for, in addition to Di Cavalcanti's mentioned testi-
mony, the catalogue (Museu Villa-Lobos 1972:93) refers to the premiere
of the woodwind Trio (for oboe, clarinet, and bassoon), written in Rio in
1921, at the April Paris event. The participation of Rubinstein and
Janacpulos, the Parisian Modero Society of Wind Instruments, and of
the Mixed Chorus of Paris assured the major significance of the 30 May
concert, under the auspices of thc Brazilian Embassy. The program
consisted of the Quatuor for flutc, saxophone, celesta, harp, and fcmale
choros, the Prole do Beb No. 1 for piano, the Epigramas Ir6nicos e
Sentimentais for voice and piano, Penses d'Enfant for voice, flute,
clarinct, and cello, and the Noneto written in 1923 bcfore bis departure
from Rio. Public reaction to this music was mixcd, but the press tended
to extol thc qualities ofVilla-Lobos, whose production was qualified in
the newspapcr Libert (23 June 1924), for example, as o f "a very advanccd
modernism" and Villa-Lobos himself characterized as "of a strongly
nttractive personality" (in Guimares et al. 1972:101 ).
In a financially precarious situation, Villa-Lobos retumed to Brazil
hcfore the end of 1924. His first residency in Paris had proved vcry
hcneficial, however, from thc pcrspcctive of the dissemination of his
work and the expansion of his reputation. From the viewpoint of the
dcvelopmcnt of his creativc activity, his first Parisian expericnce un-
doubtedly servcd to reinforce and to confirm the suitability at the
mtcrnationallevel of his previous acsthetic tcndcncy. Kiefer ( 1981:103)
dccmed untenable the idea that his sojourns in F rance contributed to the
intensification of "the composer's preoccupations of national self-
IISScrtion," on the grounds that the Noneto was written before his
dcparture (1923) and the majority of the Choros wcrc composed in Brazil
(cspccially No. 5 "Alma Brasileira," and No. 10 "Rasga o Corao"), as
wcrc such works as Na Bahia Tem, Trs Poemas and the
Cirandas, ali in 1926. While it is accurate that Villa-Lobos was
an Brazil between the end of 1924 and carly 1927, the exact date and place
of completion of a specific work can bardly bcar substantial significance
an relalion to the composcr's ovcrall creative direction. About two-
thsrds of lhe almost 130 works composed between 1922 and 1930
rcspond indccd to thc nationalist agenda of Villa-Lobos, but also repre-
tll'lll thc most experimental, innovative stylistic phasc of his n:ttionalist
txprcssion. Thc fact that h c not only staycd in Paris for more than a ycar
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brozil's Musical Soul
but retumed in 1927 for three more years implies a positive response to
the general acceptance of bis work by tbe intemational community
concentratedin the Paris of the 1920s. They liked wbat he had dane and
hc was further stimulated by it. As Manuel Bandeira wrote in I 924 upon
thereturn of Villa-Lobos, "If tbe Paris artistic aunospbere does not affect
thc essence of bis art, it influences it, on the otber band, witb incalcu-
lablc benefits in moral and social effects" lreproduced in Mariz 1989:67).
One can only speculate on the potential subsequent dcvelopment of
Villa-Lobos's style without his Parisian expericnce. On the one hand, it
is inconceivable tbat bis pcrsonal exposwe to tbe highly innovative,
modernistic experirnents in composition lfrom the Frencb Les Six, tbe
early primitivism and later ncoclassicism of Stravinsky to the bold
sound experirnents of sirens and Ondes Martenot by Varse, among
otbcrs) would have had no effect on his thinking, if only to convince him
further of his frecdom to cxperimcnt. Givcn that prevailing freedom of
cxpression, on tbe other hand, it is very probable that the French
rccognition of his talent as a Brazilian, nationalist, but quite up-to-datc
bad a profound influcnce on bis own sense of prcdestination,
whtch he later referred to in the aforementioned 1956 interview. More-
over, it is also plausible that his subsequent daring scries of Bachianas
Brasileiras owed something to the Parisian neoclassicism of thc period,
howevcr one may perceive the scries analytically.
After a number of conccrts in So Paulo and Rio in 1925, Villa-Lobos
conducted three orcbestral festivais in Buenos Aires. At that time, he
appcared both as a com poser anda conductor. Particularly signilicant for
tbe 15 November 1926 gala prcscntation at Rio's Teatro Lrico was tbe
first performance in Rio of bis Choros No. 3 and the prcmiere of Choros
No. 1 O, with a chorai grou p of almost two hundred voiccs. 22 Tbc success
of Choros No. 10 was, according to tbe Jornal do Comrcio reviewer
and tbc concert was repeated on 24 Novcmber, this
at the Teatro Municipal.
In 1927, Villa-Lobos returned to Paris, accompanied by bis wife,
Lucilia, for furthcr presentation o f h is composi tions and furtber negotia-
tion witb his publisher, Max Eschig. Once more, Rubinstein had inter-
ceded in his favor wiLh Carlos Guinle, who not only had subsidized the
first Eschig publications of Villa-Lobos's pieces, but also had lent the
Villa-Lobos couplc his apartment on the Place Saint Michel, which
became a weekly gathering place for numerous South Amcrican and
European artists. At the end of that year, two important concert events
brought tbe most dcfinitive rccognition yet of the Brazilian composer.
On 24 October and 5 Decembcr at tbe Salle Gavcau, some of bis most
important works were prcsentcd to tbe Parisian audience by some of the
most remarkable pcrformers of the time: Rubinstein, Janacpulos,
Toward o Critica] Biography of Heitor VilJa-Lobos 19
Toms Tern, Souza Lima, Aline van Barentzen, Elsie Houston, the
Colonne Orchestra and several of its members as soloists, and tbe chorus
of l'Art Choral Villa-Lobos conducted the orchestral and chorai pieces.
On tbe 24 October concert, Rubinstcin premiercd the piano tow de
force, Rudepoema 11921-1926), which was dedicated to him. Also
premiered at that concert were tbe Choros No. 411926) for three French
borns and one trombone, the Choros No. 8(1925) for orchestra, and five
of the Serestas ll923-1925)ln the voice and orchestra version. The
Fiench composcr and music critic, Florent Schmitt 11870-1958), wbo
remained a good friend of Villa-Lobos to the end of his life, wrote the
following oft-quoted comments, first published in the Paris Matinal,
which have been reproduced in most studies on Villa-Lobos's life and
Tbe musical event of the weekwas undoubtedly the session
dedicated, at the Salle Gaveau, to the works of Heitor Villa-Lobos,
the extraordinary musician with whom Brazil gratifics us at
piesent. How far are we in the presence of this three-fourth god
with incandescent eyes and teeth of crocodile, from those timid
and clumsy ersatz, through whom we wcre heretafore constrained
to judge the richness and variety of a sumptuous folklore among
us. (In Azevedo 1956:262; Kiefer 1981:139)
At the 5 Deccmbcr conccrt, also at the Salle Gaveau, pianist Aline van
Barentzen performed the world prerniere of the sute Prole do Beb No.
2 ( 1921 ), anothcr mastcrpiccc of twcnticth-ccntury piano literaturc. The
program also comprised Choros No. 3 and No. 10, the Noneto, and Trs
Poemas Indigenas for voice and orchestra. The well-known musicolo-
gist and music critic Henry Prunieres 11886-1942) reviewed the conccrt
in tbe Revue Musicale in the following tcrms:
1t is the first time in
Europe that onc hcars works coming from Latin America that bring witb
them the wondcrs of virgin forests, of great plains, of an exuberant
nature, profuse in dazzling fruits, flowers, and birds ... One may have
anotber conception of the art of music, but onc could not remain
indifferent to works of such power and onc m ust recognize witb Florent
Schmitt that thc truly creative afflatus ('souffle') has passed/1 IPrunieres
1928:258-259). The latter reference was to the Scbmitt article men-
tioned above. Another article in Le Monde Musical of 31 Dcccmbcr
1927, signed by the critic L. Chevalier, indicatcs the impressions made
on the Parisian audicncc:
Mr. Heitor Vi lia-Lobos is a pure Brazilian from Rio de Taneiro. He
dedicatcs himsclf at prescnt to the composition of an important
20 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
production on the folklorc of his country, that will be callcd The
Soul of Brazil ... You have undcrstood that Mr. Villa-Lobos is a
racial [ethnic) composer. "The soul of Brazil" posscsses him
entirely ... But this soul is frequently savage, harsh, tumultuous,
sometimes incoherent. It releases itself more through cries and
noises rather than through music as we normally conccive it. Thus
one should not be surprised if Mr. Villa-Lobos, in his characteristic
works, comes up to "bruitisme" [systematic exploration of
noiselike sounds], witness this startling Nonetto or this Choros
No. 1 O, where thc percussive battery becomes the csscntial stock
of the orchestra and is resplendent with indigcnous instrurnents of
the most unexpected cffcct. (In Guimares et al. 1972:142)
Comments of this sort should lcave no doubt about the innovative
aspects o f V illa-Lobos' s m usic perceived by the French and reflecting the
fact that, despite thc innuendos of uncivilized and ncohercnt character
at times attributed to hlm and his art, hcultimately stood both asan odd
and illustrious personality.
In the mlddle of 1929 Villa-Lobos went to Brazil for a short perlod to
organize and conduct concerts in Rio andSo Paulo. On his way back to
Paris in October of that year, he stopped over in Barcelona for conccrt
presentations. His next major public appearances in Paris again took
placeat theSalleGaveau on 3Apriland 7 May 1930.
Bythat time, Villa-
Lobos's name was well established internationally. Thc major solo
virtuosi included severa! of his pieccs in their repertoires, and some of
the most recognlzed critics and figures of contemporary musc fre-
quently paid homage to him, hls music, and his country.
His conduct-
ing activities took hirn to Brussels, Liege, Vienna, Bcrlin, Amsterdam,
and London, in addition to severa! French provincial ccnters. Diaghilev
is said to have expressed intcrcst in having the Ciiandas and the first
sute of Prole do Beb choreographed (Mariz 1977:67), but his death in
August 1929 prevcnted the realization of such a project. By 1930, Villa-
Lobos had thus attained a preeminence in Paris unequal ed by any othcr
Latin American composer. This acclaim resulted essentially from the
frcshness of bis crcation, grounded in the (olk and popular rnusic of
Brazil, radically new for most European listeners, together with dccid-
edly up-to-date and modernistic technical procedures. At that time he
seemed to have come to the end of his search for an identity as a
composcr, with the strongly persuasive confirmation of his European
acceptance and success. In many ways, he was associated with thc
Parisian avant-garde, primarily through the serics of the Choros and the
piano pieces A Prole do Beb No. 2 and Rudepoema. Dumesnil himself
declared on the occasion ofVilla-Lobos's retum to Paris in 1952: '
Toward a Criticai Biograpby of Heitor Villa-Lobos 21
is Heitor Villa-Lobos back! The musical rcnovation of Paris would lack
a great dcal if h e did not brlng us through lus prescnce some testimony
of his prolific pcrsonality" (Le Monde, 31 March 1953).
The "Estado Novo" and tbe Campaignfor Music Education(l930-1945)
Villa-Lobos left Paris at the end of May 1930 for concert engagements in
So Paulo, with the intcntion of returnlng as soon as was feasible. A
series of unpredictable events influenced the course of hls activities
profoundly during the next tento fifteen years. The Revolution of 1930
that brought Getlio Vargas to the presidcncy on 3 November had some
negative effects on thc concert life of both So Paulo and Rio de Janeiro
during that year, which discouraged Villa-Lobos. Moreover, while in So
Paulo, he reacted to the precarious state of music in the public schools
by presentlng to the Secretariat of Education of the State of So Paulo a
music education plan that he had had the opportunity to discuss with
So Paulo presidential candidate Jlio Prestes, who had indicated lnter-
est and promised eventual support. Prestes, however, never reachcd the
presidency. But, on the eve of Villa-Lobos's intended return to Europe,
the new temporary governar of So Paulo state, Joo Alberto (Lins de
Barros), hirnself an amateur musician, invited the composer to expound
further on his campaign for music education.
The outcome of this
discussion was tbe official support of thls project by the new govcrn-
ment. Villa-Lobos subscquently dedicated many ycars of personal com-
mitment to it, for which he has been both extolled as the patriarch of
music education and the supporter of a dictatorship whose
ldeology of,nationalistic fervor was often rclated to the various concur-
rent European fascist regimes.
The first step of this program, initiated in carly 1931, took the form
of extcnsive concert tours in some fifty-four citics and towns in the
interior of So Paulo, with the pianists Luclia Villa-Lobos, Antonieta
Rudge, Guiomar Novaes, and Souza Lima, the singer Nair Duarte
Nunes, and the Belgian violinist Maurice Raskin.
In a later report of
Y thcse activities, Villa-Lobos explained his intention forthese tours: "to
proclaim thc power ofBrazilian anistie will, and toregiment soldiers and
workers of nationalart-of thisart which lnowJ flutters dispersed in the
unmensity of our territory, to mold a strong group, and to unleash a
mighty voice-ablc to echo in all corners of Brazil-a shout-a
thunderburst, formidable, unisonous and frightcning: BrazilianArLisLic
lndependence'' (1937:371, emphasis by Villa-Lobqs, as translated in
Vassberg 1975). From this report, wc also learn that thc composer
attributed thc frequently poor concert attendance to people's predilec-
tion for soccer, which motivated him to declare rather tactlessly:
22 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Searcb for Brazil's Musical Soul
"Soccer has sidetracked human intelligence from the head to the fect."!
The responses were oftcn violent, since it is obvious that Villa-Lobos
displayed little respect for and understanding of the paulista rural people j
and their cultural values. The mere idea of bringing "civilized music" to
these people in a strongly condescending fashion could hardly be ac-
cepted without some acrimony. There was the typical case of the \
imposition of artistic and cultural values of the dominating social class,
in a sharply stratilied society, as symbolically representative of the
national identity.
While the great majority of national pieces presented in theseartistic
excursions were by Villa-Lobos, the programs also included some picces
by D. Scarlatti, J. S. Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Debussy,
and Prokofiev jcf. Guimares et al. 1972: 175-183). It was, however, in
the large cities of So Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Recife that Villa-Lobos's
educational impact would bc felt. On 31 May 1931, he organized in So
Paulo the first of his "Civic Exhortations," as thc mammoth chorai
concentrations were called. For this, herallied a chorus of some twelve
thousand voices, made up of workers, soldiers, students, and teachers.
In so doing. he publicly demonstrated at least the psychologicalifnot the
musical efficacy of bis medi um of massive civic education. "Orpheonic
singing" !canto orfenico) is the term that he constantly utilized,
originating in the French "orphon" tradition of the nineteenth century
and quitewidePreag in France in the early twentieth century, designat-
ing generically any a capella chorai performance. Although Orpheonic
singing had beco known in Brazil since about 1912, it assumed an
unprecedented dynamic importance under Villa-Lobos's project. He
rightfully saw in that tradi tion not only the possibility o f truly educating
the masses in music in general and in Brazilian music of the day in
particular, but also and perhaps foremost the adequate and efficient tool
for inculcating a strong sentiment of patriotism and national identity.
He wrote: "The socializing power of collective singing teaches the
individual to forfcit at the necessary momcnt the egoistic idea of
excessive individuality, integrating him into the community ... The
'canto orfenico' integrates the individual in to the social heritage of the
fatherland j'PLria')" (Villa-Lobos 1940: 10).
A few years later, Villa-Lobos again reinforced his carlier views as
follows: "The teaching and practice of 'canto orfcnico' in the schools
must prevail as a logical solution [to the problem of musical education
of childhoodl not only to the formation of a musical consciousness, but
alsoas afactor ofcivic pridcand collective social discipline" (Villa-Lobos
1946:507). H e also explaincd in dctail the instructional program of chorai
singing teachers as he idcalized and implementcd it, which comprised
Toward a Critica] Biography of Heitor Villa-Lobos 23
the manossolfa or hand-signals system for conductors to indica te pitch,
rhythm, and dynamic levei, thereby avoiding the a priori learning of
notation reading and eliminating the numerous individual copies of the
music that would otherwise be needed. Hls pragmatic sense also induced
him to design a rclativcly easy process of melodic construction, called
"melody of the mountains" because one of bis first works, Melodia da
Montanha 11938), had a melody that rcsulted from the millimetered
graphic rendition of the contour of the mountain range known as Serra
da Piedade (Minas Gerais). The application o f this process was supposed
to facilita te the creation of melodies by students who rnight thus develop
ataste for musical composition. As Kater put it, however, the "impor-
tance of this procedure conceived by Villa-Lobos resides in its utilization
as 'document' of an environmental state susceptible to decodilication,
albeit partially, and as a strategy of inventive and efficlent artistic
stimulation, applied to the didactic work of musical composition"
IKater1984: 104).
Villa-Lobos had articulated some of his idcas long before the advent
ofthe Vargas regime in 1930, which turned intothetotalitariandictator-
ship known as "Estado Novo" (New State) from 1937 to 1945. A writer-
interviewer for the Rio newspaper Flha da Noite 13 November 1925)
reportedsomeofVilla-Lobos's comments to the effect that he lamentcd
the lack of adoption among Latin people of "the admirable custom of
singing in choirs," as commonly found in Germany and France. He
already advocated the nccd to develop such a chorai tradition in Brazil.
"lnstead o f fill ing up c h ildren' s heads," h e is reported to h ave said, "wi th
the famous hymns sung in schools, of frolicsomc muslc and text,
without the slightest understan4ing frequcntly even of the teachers, it
is necessary to tcach the young to sing our songs collected among the
people"jcf. Klefcr 1981:143). Thus, it is important to remember that his
plan for instituting Orpheonic singing in Brazilian schools actually carne
from him and was not an assignment of the new regime. The latter's
ideology undoubtedly boosted and likely influenced bis artistic and
patriotic idealism toward a strong nationalistic orientation, but whether
Villa-Lobos sharcd the "Estado Novo" sociopolitical ideology has been
a matter of great debate. That he was initially more concerned with his
own career, while uneducated and unintcrcsted politically, can hardly bc
questioned. But these arguments togethcr with the fact that hc had
indeed, by at least 1925, expresscd his own idealism in the devclopmcnt
of the musical pcrsonality of Brazil do not negate the fact that Villa-
Lobos's music and civic cducational program inteqtionally became an
instrument of the state nationalist ideology. Although the latter was
inspired by thc European totalitarian regimes of the time, it had quite a
24 HeiLor V mo-Lobos: The Search for Brozil's Musical Soul
diffcrent th.rust and very idiosyncratic componcnts. Just as Vargas's
ultimate goal was for Brazil to realize its potential as a world power,
Villa-Lobos'saim entailcd the exaltationofhiscountry through music.zs
In the processo f achieving sue h goals, however, a balanced view of the
regional necds of the country and of the true naturc of the many cultural
exprcssions of Brazil was eschewcd in favor of the strongly centralized
and unilateral concept o f nationalism formulated by thc dominantsocial
group. Villa-Lobos wrote (1940:7-9) that music fulfills its highest func-
tion only when it serves to further the progress of the nation and that the
indoctrination of young people through patriotic songs should en tail the
devclopment of a spirit of brasilidade (the essence of being Brazilian)
powcrful enough to prcdict that future gencrations would "put the
sacred symbol of thc Fatherland ('Ptria'! above ali human interests." In
the same essay, he furthcr revealed the prosclytizing nature that he
attributed to bis cducational project, by comparing it to the si.xteenth-
century Jesuit missionarics' use of musicas a tool for conversion of the
early Indian tribcs. One could easily construe this sort of catechetical
rnission, this "rebirth of collective singing'' as the composer rcferred to
it, aiming at the awakening of "racial energics" and thc strengthening of
civic pride, as a typical case of megalomaniac behavior, racist and
socially lofty attitudes, and open advocacy of thc obliteration of indi-
vidualism. As a theonst-preacher, Villa-Lobos also sinned through his
spontaneous enthusiasm, speaking and writing precipitately, guidcd
only by his intuitivcgoals. Although oneshould beaccountablefor one's
own words, to assign the full implications of Villa-Lobos's words to
heartfclt beliefs would bc tantamount to accepting the most colossal
:,clf-contradiction. H c was nei ther a racist no r a hypocri te, neither a Nazi
nora communist sympathizer. He was unmistakably the most uncon-
ditional if at times paradoxical advocate of artistic achievement in his
country, understandingthat the extraordinary r t i s t i capacity of Brazil
could not be realized under thc prevailing social and cducational condi-
tions unless someuncommon efforts could be mounted. His charismatic
qualities and self-conviction of predestination induced him to assume
the inescapablerole of artistic rcdeemer, regardless o f the circumstances
of the moment.
With his goals sct, Villa-Lobos as a smart opportunist
would not allow bis frustrations over the prevailing situation on the
Brazilian music education scene to inhibit the fulfillmcn t of bis rnission.
In 1931 while in Rio de Janeiro for concert presentations, Vil la-Lobos
met the Secrctary of Education, Ansio Teixeira, who charged him with
the organization and direction of the SEMA (Superintendncia de
Educao Musical e Artstica, Supcrintendency of Musical and Anistie
Education) of City Hall of the Federal District. From 1932 to 1941 he
headed that agcncy, which, in the composer's words, "plans, orients,
Towazd a Criticai Biog,raphy of Heitor Villa-Lobos 25
cultivates and develops the study of music in the clementary schools,
sccondary education and other departments of the municipality where
its influencc is always beneficiai and wbich has had results"
(Villa-Lobos 193 7:4). Prcsident Vargas signed in to law in 1932 a bill that
made it a requirement for schools in Rio to teach Orpheonic singing.
That same year, Villa-Lobos ereated the "Curso de Pedagogia de Msica
e Canto Orfenico" (Course of Music Pedagogy and Orpheonic Singing)
and the "Orfco dos Professores do Distrito Federal" (Orpheon of
Teachers of the Federal District).ln the period 1933-1941, some three
thousand teachers received the basic training offered in this course,
whose popularity eventually required the establishment of a permanent
institution for teacher training.
In 1942, the govemmem created the Conservatrio Nacional de
Canto Orfenico, under the aegis of the Ministry of Education and
Health and the directorship of By the time of his retire-
ment as director in 195 7, the conservatory had had national impact.
Villa-Lobos's achicvcmcnts in this particular function wererecognized
in 1967 when the conservatory beca me thelnstituto Villa-Lobos. Through
SEMA he wrotc and first published his six-volume Guia Prtico for
teachers of Orpheonic singing. This guide included ali types of material,
with special attention to Brazilian folksongs in simplc harmonizations,
thus constituting a true anthology of children's songs, national civic
hymns, and patriotic songs, among others. As the head of SEMA, Villa-
Lobos also undertook to educa te schoolchildren in the pro per singing of
the national anthem and went as far as prohibiting the performance of
the anthcm until all of thc rhythmic and intonation crrors had bcen
corrected. This prohibition created a controversy that lasted for some
five years, but Villa-Lobos's revision of the anthem became by govern-
mental decree (31 July 1942) the officially recognized correct version.
The public exhortations initiated in So Paulo became more frcquent
and larger. The Vargas regime openly supported these manifestations of
patriotism and nationalism. In 1932 in Rio eighteen thousand voices
were gathered. Chorai spcctacles of incrediblc dimension becamc the
norm on important national holidays, such as Indcpendence Day, Day of
the Republic, and Flag Day. Performances generally took place in large
soccer stadiums (such as that of Vasco da Gama), involving thirty
thousand voices and one thousand band musicians in 1935; and up to
forty thousand voiccs in 1940 and 1943. Villa-Lobos conductedfrom the
top of a fifty-foot platform and is said to have used on special occasions
Brazilian flags rather than ordinary batons! Various.photographs illus-
trating his report on SEMA activities ( 1937) also reveal the careful
staging o f the spectacles, sue h as the spclling of
BRASIL" on thc socccr
ficld by hundrcds o f singing children .
Togcthcr wi th these populist and
26 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Searcb for Brazil's Musical Soul
propagandist public ralHes, Villa-Lobos promoted other comprehensive
popular projects, such as the youth concerts begun in 1932 at the Teatro
Municipal and first conducted by the Brazilian pianist-conductor-com-
poser Walter Burle-Marx (b. 1902), and thc choral concerts conducted by
Villa-Lobos for the working class of Rio de Janeiro (Mariz 1989:1 O 1; also
in Presena de Villa-Lobos, vol. 6, 1971, p. 117).
Ultimately, Villa-Lobos's music education project elicited numerous
highly favorable responses both inside and outside the country. tange
(1935:189-196) called it the work of a "creative pedagogue," assigningto
thc Spanish word creador both tbe adjective and noun senses concur-
rently, since be inferred that the project bad been successful not beca use
Villa-Lobos had cbanged into a pedagoguc but because of bis creative
ability as a composer and as the result of a "ballucination, a correct
vision of the mission of a creative musician" (p. 195). Slonimsky
(1945:24, 109) painted an enthusiastlc picture of SEMA activities both
for their musical significance and educational and civic interest. While
some in Brazil decried Villa-Lobos's canto or[enicoas a kind of delusion
of grandeur, most people considcred the program successful, not only
beca use of the creation o f SEMA by the govcrn ment, which represcnted
the first nationwide system of music education, but also because the
initiation of a canto orfenico tradition in Brazil rcsulted from this
program. Such a tradition has survived vigorously, probably beca use of
the stro_ng1y patriotic basis of the program that allowed it to transcend
sociopolitical and gencrational boundaries.32
Villa-Lobos's work in music education enhanced bis reputation as a
composer, cspecially in Brazil whcre his own compositions had not had
as much exposure and rccognition as in Europc. This was the period of
his carccr when hc went from the status of free-lance to "official"
composcr, with ali the potential contention and stigma attached to the
This changc of status does not secm, however, to have affected
his creative work as a composcr. He continued to be prolilic and free to
innovate, albeitin quite a different manner,less avant-garde than in the
1920s. During the period from 1930 to 1945, Villa-Lobos began in earnest
his orchestra conducting venturcs. Commenting on his performances
witb the So Paulo Symphonic Society in 1930, Mrio de Andrade in his
customary unique style wrote: "What distinguishes Villa-Lobos as a
conductor is bis same personality as a composer ... Violent, irregular,
very ricb, almost bewildering even in the variety of his acccnts, some-
times wild, sometimes Brazilian-like sentimental, sometimes childish
and extremely delicate ... It is obvious that a temperament like this
cannot yicld a carvcr. Of all the artists I know Villa-Lobos is the most
unfitto makecrochct"(Andrade 1963: 147). In hisreview ofVilla-Lobos's
last concert in So Paulo in 1930, Andrade went further in his criticism,
Toward a Critica] Biograpby of Heitor Villa-Lobos
stating "Villa-Lobos is not a good conductor" (p. 162), with the allow-
ance "at lcast for our orchestras" which, in his opinion, needed conduc-
tors 'with patience and "diplomatc ability," two qualities decidcdly
absent in Villa-Lobos. Andradc's suggcstion that "even if he were
starving, Villa-Lobos should not rema in in_ _field" (p. _164)
had no cffect since h e not only conducted m R10 the Brazilian prenueres
ofBeethoven's Missa Solemnis and of Bach's B-minor Mass, in 1933 and
1935 respectivcly butalso three symphonic concerts at the Buenos Aires
Teatro Coln 11935), among others. On the occasion of his official
participation in the 1936 Music f.ducation Congress in Prague, he
conducted several of his works lincluding the apparent European pre-
miere o f UirapUiu, as reported in the Deutsche Allgemeine of
2.3 May 1936) for a Berlin radio station. This _wa:' the m which
be separated from his wife.34He thcn began b1slife w1thAnmnda Neves
d'Almcida, who not only devotcd herself to hlm for the ncxt twenty-
three years but continued to work assiduously until her death (1985) to
further promote his works in her capacity as director of the Museum
Villa-Lobos, creatcd by government decree in 1960 and at present under
the direction of the guitarist Turibio Santos lb. 1943).
International Acclamation (1945-1959)
Frorn the time of bis first trip to tbe United States, Villa-Lobos's career
took an upward turn at the intcmationallevel. In November 1944, he
was in Los Angeles to conduct the Janssen Symphony O_rchestra, u?on
invitation of its director Werner Janssen.
The programmcluded Villa-
Lobos's Second Symphony, Rudepoema (orcbestral version) and Cboros
No. 6. After organizing a conccrt of some of his chamber music works at
the New York Museum of Modem Art, he conducted the Boston
Syrnphony Orchestra, in February 1945, in a program of his works
(Bacbianas Brasileiras No. 7, Cboros No. 12, and
Koussevitsky, the Boston Symphony music director and champ1on of
American music, included Villa-Lobos's Choros No. 8 and No. 9 and
Rudepoema in his concerts of the time. Stokowski him in early
1945 to conduct t he New York City Symphony at C1ty Center, prcsent-
ing, besidcs Bacbianas Brasileiras No. 7, the North debut_ of
Uirapuru. Before his return to Brazil, t he New York commuruty
sponsored a luncheon for Villa-Lobos at the Waldorf Astona, a_ttended by
the most important personalities of the period, such as Ander-
son, Stokowski, Toscanini, Arrau, Copland, Szell,
Cole Porter Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, F10rello La Cuardta, and
Nelson lsee Mariz 1977:73). American musicians and
cnces thcrcaftcr held Villa-Lobos and hs music in high rcgard. Dunng
28 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Seazch for Brazil's Musical Soul
bis second visit to New York, in I 947-primarily to work on his comedy
("musical adventurc" as he callcd it) Magdalena, with the librettists
Forrest and Wright (prcmiered in LosAngeles in 1948)-he prernicred his
Bacbianas Brasileiras No. 3 with pianist Jos Vieira Brandoand the CBS
Symphony Orchestra.
6 CBS broadcast the concert on 2 March 194 7 over
its 120 affiliated stations. Villa-Lobos's next trip to New York in mid-
1948 took place under very dilierent circumstances: he was admitted to
Memorial Hospital for the remova! of a cancerous bladder tumor.
Although he rcgained most of his energy after the surgcry, to the grcat
surprise of most people around him, the remaining cleven years of his life
were markcd by a gradual deterioration in bis health.
Villa-Lobos conducted in Romc, Lisbon, and Paris in August 194 7. In
early 1948 be spent a few months in Paris, where he continued to be
welcome and fclt at home. Aftcr a series of tours beginning in 1949,
throughout Europe, the Unitcd States, and Israci,37 be madc Paris his
European headquarters for the last seven ycars of his We, taking up
rcsidenceat thc Bedford Hotel, ncar the Madelcine (see Peppercorn 1985:
237, 239).38The favorablereception of his 1949 conccrt presentations in
Paris was repeated in 1951 and especially in 1955, whcn hisSalleGaveau
concerts merited excellcnt reviews from Ren Dumesnil and Marc
Pincherle in Le Monde and Nouvelles Littraires, respectively (Mariz
1989:85). From Paris, he undertook numerous appearances throughout
the world, responding especially to American engagements. His Sym-
pbony No. 11, commissioned for thc seventy-fifth binhday of the Boston
Symphony Orchestra (1956) and dedicated to Nathalie and Sergc
Kousscvitsky, was prcmiered by that orchestra on 2 March 1956 undcr
bis direction, to critical acclaim. In 1952, at the Paris Thtre des
Champs Elyses with the National Orchestra and the Choir of the
Radiodiffusion Frana.ise, he presentcd the four sutes Descobrimento
do Brasill1937), prcmiering the fourth suite. Also in that theatrc and
with thesame orchestra and the band of the Radiodiffusion Franaisc, he
debuted his early Symphony No. 4I"A Vitria" 1919) in 1955. Othcr
symphonics wcre premicrcd in the 1950s outside Brazil: No. 8( 1955) and
9( 1952?) by the Philadelphia Orchestra, No. 10 in Paris (1957), and No.
12 in Washington, D.C. (1958).39 This international recognition culmi-
nated in the frequently cited New York Times editorial of4March 1957,
the eve of his seventieth birthday, that read in part: "Heitor Villa-Lobos,
one of thc most famous com posers and one o f the most rcmarkable men
in themusical worldofourtime, will beseventy ycarsold tomorrow. His
energy and enthusiasm are always the same and his creativc power
continues in all intensity" !Mariz 1989:86). Ncw York mayor Robcrt
Wagner cited him for "distinguished and cxccptional servicc," and
dcscribed him as a "talented intcrprcter of music; inspired teachcr who
Toward a Criticai Biography o/ Heitor ViDa-Lobos 29
led the movement to make the folk music of Brazil an important social
force in the livcs of heryouth
creative genius whosc fresh and vigorous
imagination has re-creatcd the native music of the Brazilian people in
new forms." In Brazil, 1957 was declared "Villa-Lobos Year" by the
Ministry of Education and Culture.
During the last two years of his life, Villa-Lobos continued to be
active, working on the music for the Metro Goldwyn Mayer film, Green
Mansions, whose score h e retitled Flores ta do Amazonas (1958 ), since
his contract prohibited him from using the original title. Hissacred work
Bendita Sabedoria, for mixcd choros, was premiered inDecembcr 1958
at New York University, to which the work was dedicated, on the
occasion of his award of the title Doctor Honoris Causa by that institu-
tion.40 After his participation as an adjudicator in the Casals Interna-
tional Cello Competition in Mexico City in January 1959, he traveled to
Europe and New York for aserics of concerts, but by the time h e retumcd
to Rio de Janeiro in July for the fifticth anniversary celebration of the
Teatro Municipal, his statc of health had worsened progressivcly. He
died on 17 November 1959.
The conccpt of genius in music has been said to bc the heritage of the
nineteenth century and to have ended with the death of Igor Stravinsky
11971) in the twcntieth ccntury. In the Kantian sense of genius, that is,
the establishment of new laws governing the work of art, Villa-Lobos's
creativelifc wasindeed that ofagenius. Althougha truly criticalanalysis
of bis enormous production has yet to be undertaken, his music as a
whole represents a unique achievement within the panorama of twcn-
tieth-century music in general and Latin American music of his genera-
tion in particular. Villa-Lobos found no uscful tradition in the art music
of his own country, and consequently was forced to fashion his own laws
within more or lcss consistent aesthetic principies.
Villa-Lobos's rclationship and association with other Latin American
countries and musicians deservc considcration since Latin American
critics and musicians generally accorded him highly sympathetic re-
sponsesand support, at times even closely identifying with the composer's
success as a mattcr of Latin American pride. The erninent Cuban writer
Alcjo Carpentier fully realized Villa-Lobos's uniquencss when he wrote
that the composer "is a natural force that bursts into the artistic
panorama of a continent withoul anything announcing its arrival, since
thc works written in his country in the previous dccadcs did not serve
him as antccedents" (Carpenticr 1977:8).
lndeed, despite the rclative
anistie and cultural isolation of Brazil from Hispanic America and the
fact that Villa-Lobos's carecr abroad unfolded csscntially in Europe first
and the United States later, hc developed good rapport with severa!
lnstitutions and pcrsonalilies in Argentina, Uruguny, Chile, Venezuela,
30 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Searcb for Brazil's Musical Soul
Cuba, and Mexico. Following the first performance by Rubinstein in
Buenos Aires (1922} of A Prole do Beb, the newspapcr La Epoca referred
to Villa-Lobos as "one of the most considerable personalities, not only
of America, but of the music of today's [world]" (in Guimares et ai,
The fust concerts that Villa-Lobos conducted in South Arncrica
(outside of Brazil} were in Buenos Aires (1925-1926} at the invitation of
the Asociacin Wagneriana. He returncd to Argentina subsequently on
numerous occasions for conccrts with the Orqucsta del Teatro Coln,
the Sinfnica del Estado, tbe Orquestal, the Orqucsta Sinfnica de
Crdoba, and the Filarmnica de la Asociacin del Profcsorado. He also
conducted the Orqucsta Sinfnica dcl SODRE in Montcvideo and tbe
Orquesta Sinfnica de Chile in Santiago (1944). During bis participation
in the 1957 Latin American Music Festival in Caracas, Venezuela, he
conducted the Orqucsta Sinfnica de Venezuela. In Mcxico City and
Havana, Cuba, he was rnuch applauded for bis concerts with the
Orquesta Sinfnica Nacional and the:Pilarmnica de la Habana, rcspec-
tivcly. lf, however, thc a wareness o f his rnusic in Latin Arncrica resulted
indircctly from bis Europcan and Nortb American recognition, his
particular success story bccarnea model of inspiration for many younger
composers anda perfect illustration of what it meant in bis own time to
be a Latin American composer and to be recognized as such. On the
occasion of the opening ccrcmony of the Latin Amcrican Music Festival
in Montcvideo (195 7}, dedicatcd to Villa-Lobos, the famous Argentine
composer Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) is reported to havc stated that
Villa-Lobos was ooe o the grcatcst musicians of the hcmisphere "not
only for thc originality and the grcatness ofhis message, but also because
he represcnts in a total manncr the lands where we tive" (in Muricy
It is not coincidental that Alejo Carpentier, who had the most
profound understanding of thc historical developrncnt of music in Cuba
and Latin America as a whole, singled out ViU a-Lobos as the "archetype
in genius and figure of thc great LatioAmercan composer" (Carpcntier
1977: 18)andreferred tohim as one "ofours." Evcn thc fearful andsevere
Argeotine composcrJuan Carlos Paz, who had no personal affinity with
the musical nationalist currents, recognized in ViJla-Lobos not only the
qualities of "spiritual ambassador of Brazil in various countries of
America and E.urope" but, most important, "the only reprcsentative
figure produced heretoforc by Latin American music of national ten-
dcncy" (Paz 1955:227-228 }. Other Latin American cornposers and schol-
ars have given attention to the works ofVilla-Lobos. For example, Juao
A. Orrcgo-Salas wrote a rernarkable article on Villa-Lobos's composi-
tional credo and techniques, and thc Argcntine Eduardo Storni in 1988
Toward a Critica] Biography of Heitor Villa-Lobos 31
published a very pcrsonal and penetrating appreciation of Villa-Lobos's
life aod works. Pcrhaps the personality traits mentioned in the lntroduc-
tion to this volume, in addition to the variegated character of bis music,
now exuberant, vigorous, and lush, now manifestly sentimental and
unassurning, provided the basis for many Latin American musicians'
and listeners' own identilication. This identity certainly represented
oneof the mostfundamentalaspects ofVilla-Lobos's contribution to the
musical culture of the continent.
ViJJa-Lobos in 1932(So Paulo)
Villa-Lobos with composcr
Edgard Varcsc (Paris, 1927)
Villa-Lobos with composer
Florent Schmitt (Paris,
Villa-Lobos in 1940 (Rio de Janeiro)
Villa-Lobos playing
cuica {friction drum)
(Rio de Janeiro, 1940s)
U ,;._.z"" M .:.. "'..._..,c,
_<..) ,z.....r-G
~ ; . . . . , ( ~
( ~ ,.,
Villa-Lobos organizing a chorai concentration (Rio de Janeiro, 1942)
With singer Marian Anderson and manager Leiser (New York, 1945)
Villa-Lobos at thc BBC
studios (London, 1950sl
Villa Lobos with hb wifc. ArtniiHia, Amlrs rigllll,
Villa-Lobos conducting musicians of the Rome Radio Orchcstra (19491
Villa-Lobosconductingthc LosAngclcs Philh:nmon1c Orchcstra ( 1953)
Rehearsing the
Orchestra (1955)
In the 1950s, with his
legenda.ry cigar
Vil la-Lobos rccciving thc djploma for "exceptional scrvices" from Abe
Stark, Chnirman of thc Board of thc City of Ncw York (Ncw York, 19571
With actors Audrey
Hepburn and Mel Ferrer,
stars of the film Green
Mansions, with music
by Villa-Lobos (Los
Angeles, 19581
With actor Anthony
Perkins, also starring in
Green Mansions (Los
Angclcs, 1958)
Villa-:Lobos, a few months bcforc his death (New
York, 1959)
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos
"The chie/ problem presented by the sbeer pbenomenon o! aes-
thetic force, in wbatever form and inresult o{ wbatever skill it may
come, is bow to place it within the other modes o! social activity,
bow LO incorporate it into tbe texture of a particular pattern o!
li/e." -Clifford Ceertz (1976:1475)
Villa-Lobos's place in the musical scene of the first hall of the twcntieth
century is universally acknowledged as that of a strongly nationalist
composer, qual ifiedas tbe "Rabelais of modem music"(IrvingSchwerk)
beca use h c "turnedout music in tropical abundance"(Machlis 1977:576).
The conceivable meaning of the term nationalist as applied to Villa-
Lobos, bowever, requircs elucidation. Although predominant, Villa-
Lobos's nationalism was multiaceted and nonexclusive, since his na-
tionalist conccrns and treatmcnt tended to bc integrated with his
numerous stylistic experirncnts, resulting in a complex and varied
mu.sicallanguagc. In his book entitlcd Villa-Lobos- Uma interpretao
11961), criticAndrade Muricy ( 1895-1984), a personal fricnd and cham-
pion of Villa-Lobos, asks pertinently: "An interpretation o f Villa-Lobos?
Of the Villa-Lobos of Uirapuru or of Eroso? Or of thc Choros No. 4, or
of the Trio and thc Quinteto for wind instruments? Two Villa-Lobos?
Nether more nor less tban the always surprising ubiquity of the artist,
especially of the great artist, which is the prcscnt case" (p. 65). Indeed
there must be various interpretations to be able to assess comprehcn-
sively the enormous output of thc composer whose compositional
activites spanncd almost six decadcs of intense work. Unfortunately,
Muricy himsclf does not provi de a model for such an approach, since his
book is made up of engaging but dis)ointed vignettes. What he does
provide is a perceptive profile of the composcr's personality, stating:
"Personality apparently simplc, in reality facctcd in a surprising man-
ncr, multiplc, in the Pythagorean sense of thc tcrm. Villa-Lobos is one
nnd is legion ... The man, as thc artist, is, in Villa-Lobos, powcrfully
Heitor VilJa-Lobos: The Searchfor Brazil's MUSJcal Soul
instinctive, sometimes but instinctive in syncopatedrhythm,
capable of outbursts of wlld vtolcnce, aslhavc sccn in very fcw men and
at once, of intoxicating lyricism. His work confirms this emotlona
(i bid.:80J. Indeed, the numerous contrasting moods of many
of works bcspeak a sensitive and emotional character expresscd in
vancd ways throughout bis crcative life and resulting in a certain
stylistic cclccticism.l
In a lecturc delivered at the Museurn Villa-Lobos in 1970 Adhemar
Nbrega, a fri.cnd of b.oth Heitor and Arminda Villa-Lobos, pre-
sentcd a classiflcauon (attnbnted to Villa-Lobos himself who would
have formulated lt and dictated it to Nbrega around 1947) of the
composer's works into five groupings.
Thc basic critcria refer to the
relative presence or abscnce of folk-music elcments or influence. To
Group I , "with folk intcrvcntion," for cxarnple, correspond
such w?rks as the first two symphonies (1916, 1917), the ballct O
Papagmo do Moleque ( 1932), the four piano pieces that make up the
Ciclo Brasileiro (1936), as well as severa! solo songs of thc 1910s. To
Group 2, "with some direct folk intervention," belongsuch piano picccs
asth.cProledo Beb No. 1(1918), LendadoCaboclo(l920),andchamber
mus1c works as the Trio for woodwind (1921) and the Sexteto Mfstico
(1917). The Choros are listed under Group 3, "with transfigurcd folk
rn!luence," Group 4, "with transfigured folk influence pcrmeated
wtth the musical atmosphere of Bach," includes the Bachianas the
Vidapura (1919), and the guitar preludcs. Finally,
5, m total control of universalism" (pp. 20-25), are listcd the
SlXth and sevcnth symphonies (1944, 1945 ), the first piano concerto
( 1945), and several chamber music works of the l940s.
. Although Nbrega bascd this classification on personal testimony of
Villa-Lobos and reacted to it somewhat critically but sympathetically,
one cannot but wonder why he waited almost two decades to reveal it
publicly and, whcn h e did so, why it was in the context of bis lecture on
"The Transfiguration of Popular Expression in the Production of Villa-
Lobos." The importance ofVilla-Lobos's identification with thcfolk and
music expressions o f Braz i! can never be minimized, but thcsole
cnteno:" of or. abscnce of folk-music influence (admittedly
dctermmed vcry subJeCttvely) and the constant dichotomy of national-
ism and "intcrnationalism/universalism" lcad to oversimplification of
thc rather formidable classification problems prcsented by Villa-Lobos's
ocuvre. So many cxccptions could bc cited in many of the idcntifietl
groups that in the end this classilication appears uselcss. Mariz found it
difficult to divide the composer's output in to clearly dcfined periods and
opted for a study by genrc using a chronological approach. Villa-Lobos's
own "classsification" pays no attcntion to chronology and considcrs
Tbe Musical Language of Villa-Lobos 45
genre only surreptitiously. There is, howe.ver, a chronological develop-
ment, albeit nota unilinear evolutionary one. Here, I shall attempt to
follow both generic and chronological approaches, integrating them
whenever feasible soas to enable me to dclineate thc charactcristics of
a given compositional period. The specific works selccted for a more
detailed examination encapsulate the general compositional ideas and
technical traits that define a particular period of creative activity.
Mariz rightly points ont that Villa-Lobos's last twelve years reveal a
decline in both the quantity and quality of his production ( 1989:97),
which hc attributcs to the natural decrease of vitality but also to the
consequences of bis 1948 cancer operation. At the same time, Mariz
reminds the readcr of the numerous trips that Villa-Lobos undertook to
further promote bis own works and those of hls fellow composers from
Brazil, thereby reducing the amount of time he could dedicate to
composition. As I have observed clsewherc, howevcr, there are in the
1950s undoubtedly many convcntional, banal pieccs, but also some of
unquestionable merit and originality (Bhague 1979:281 ).
Works to 1922: The Definition of a Sty1e
Villa-Lobos would have probably dcveloped quite a dillerent artistic
personality had heregularly attcnded classes at the Instituto Nacional de
Msica, the stronghold in Rio de Janeiro of the great Westcm European
musical tradition and, at the same time, the most conserva tive center of
music learning. There, his ideological formation as a potential composer
could have followed only the most traditional paths, and any involve-
ment with, or sHghtest attention to, the urban popular music scene
would have beco strictly prohibited. The official music circlcs in Rio de
Janeiro during Villa-Lobos's formative ycars favored late romantic mu-
sic, particularly the music of Saint-Saens, whovisited Rio in 1899. Even
the music of Debussy, which around 1910 representcd the most revolu-
tionary trend for Brazilian audienccs, had grcat difficulty being acceptecl
The ItaHan VincenzoCcmicchiaro (1858- 1928), a regular residcnt ofRio
since about 1880, who published in Milan 11926) a very intercsting and
imponant history of music in Brazil, rcfcrred to contemporary French
impressionist musicas an "absurd and dctestablc art" ( 1926:437). In his
review of music composition in Brazil in the 191 Os, h e singled out Villa-
Lobos's first two symphonies as being in "Debussyan style, preoccupied
with crazy enharmonic negotiations, in which one searches for an idea
without ever finding it" andas revealing nothing elsc but "thc immod-
erate dcsire of musical scandal" (1926:575). Despite such reactions on
thc part of the oldcr gcneration of professional musicians, French music
from Csar Franck to Dcbussy and Ravcl dominated the local scene,
46 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
together with the operas of Puccini and Wagner, which Villa-Lobos is
said to have studied on his own very assiduously around 1912.3 At the
same time, he also began the study of the influential Cours de Compo-
sition Musicale of Vincent d'Indy. For a young composer in Brazil in
search of new ideas and sonorities, the French impressionist style
provided the most natural model, and Villa-Lobos followed it.
postromantic music also left a strong mark on some of bis early works.
Although Villa-Lobos told the Arnerican music critic Olin Downes that
he had played in the orchestra for the production of Strauss's Salom in
Rio, an advanced score from both harmonic abd tonal viewpoints, it is
unlikely that the young Villa-Lobos became acquainted in this manner
with the truly contcmporary repertoire.5
The nationalist composer most in evidcnce in Brazil at the beginning
of the twentieth century wasAlberto Nepomuccno (1864-1920), whose
works of nationalexprcssion-such as the third string quartet !"Brasileiro"
1891 ), the orchestral Sute Brasileira (1897), the piano piece Galhofeira
(1894}, and severa! songs in the vernacular-were well known but only
extrinsically nationalist. Although Nepomuceno supported modem
music and championcd the cause of thc Brazilian composer !sce Bhague
1971 ), hc could not have been a model for thc young Villa-Lobos, who
sought, perhaps unconsciously at first, a much dccper penetration of the
Brazilian musical rcalities.
O f some fifty-two works li.e., titles, without counting the individual
pieces within each titlc) written by Villa-Lobos between 1901 and 1922,
thefollowingappear as thc most distinctive in determiningthe composer's
initial language:
Suite Popular Brasileira (1908-1912), guitar
Sonata-Fantasia No. 2(1914), vl., pf.
Danas Caracterfsticas Africanas (1914-1915), pf.
Trio No. 2(1915), vl., vc., pf.
Quarteto de Cordas No. 3(1916), string quartet
Myremis (1916), orchestra
Sinfonia No. 1 ( 1916)
Sulte FJoral(l916-1918), pf. lthree pieces)
Quarteto de Cordas No. 4(1917)
Sexteto Mistico (1917), fl. sax, hp., celesta, guitar
Uirapuru ( 19171, ballet-tone poem, orchestra
Amazonas (1917), ballet-tone pocm, orchestra
Sinfonia No. 2 (1917)
Trio No. 3(1918), vi., vc., pf.
A Prole do Beb No. 1 (1918), pf. leight pieces)
Canes Tpicas Brasileiras (1919- 1935), voice and pf. (13 songs)
TbeMusical Language o/ Villa-Lobos
Sinfonia No. 3 and Sinfonia No. 4(1919)
Camaval das Crianas I 1919-1920), pf. (eight pieces)
Sinfonia No. 5 (1920)
Historietas I 1920), voice and pf. (six songs) lversion for voicc and
A Lenda do Caboclo ( 1920), pf.
Trio (1921 ), oh., cl., bn.
ChOios No. 1(1921), guitar
Quatuor (Quarteto Simblico) (1921), fl., sax., hp., celesta, female
Epigramas Irnicos e Sentimentais (1921-1923),(eightsongs) (version
for voice and orchestra)
A Prole do Beb No. 2 ( 1921), pf. (nine pieces)
A Fiandeira (1921), pf.
With the exception of thelast piece, "Chorinho," of the SuitePopular
Brasileira, it is clear that only after about 1910 do Villa-Lobos's works
begin to show a glirnpse of originality, despite the strong postromantic
and French impressionist presence, particularly in the harmonies and
tone coloring.6 The Sonata-Fantasia No. 2 and the Trio No. 2 in
particular exhibit the major ingrcdicnts of the Frcnch stylc, such as
whole-tone scales, altered chord formations, abundant ninth-, eleventh-
and thirteenth-chord progressions in typical parallel motion, unresolved
dissonances, pentatonic and moda! melodies, and atonal melodic pas-
sages together with arabesque-like figurations. The Third String Quar-
tet, nicknamed "Quarteto das Pipocas" ("Popcom Quartet") because of
the constant and unorthodox pizzicato treatment in the "scherzo"
movement, also shows a predominantly French style, but at the same
time a more secure handling of the polyphonic texture of the four
instroments and a clcarcr experiment with polyrhythms, quarta! har-
mony, and atonality.1 This quartet and the second piecc, "Uma
Camponesa Cantadeira," of the Suite Floral, together with the Trio No.
2, the Sonata-Fantasia No. 2, and the piano pieccs A Fiandeira, Valsa
Mistica, and Rodante lthe last two from the album Simples Coletnea)
were some of the pieces performed at the Week of Modem Art, thereby
reiterating that the styleassociated with Europe, specifically the French
impresslonist style, was still considered in 1922 the "modem" musical
language par excellence, rather than the "national" musical style as
such. The more "nationalizing'' works Uirapuru, Amazonas, the Canes
Tpicas Brasileiras, Carnaval das Crianas, A Lenla do Caboclo, the
Trio for woodwind, and the two collcctions of A Prole do Beb would
ccrtainly have been more appropriate for a strictly nationalist manifesta,
if such had bccn thc goal of the Weck.
48 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
The Danas Caracterfsticas Africanas, in an octet transcription, were
performed during the first music festival of the Week. Originally written
for piano (orchestratcd in 1916), these three dances-Farraps !Dance of
the Young People-Indigenous Dance No. I), Kanl<ukus !Dance of tbe Old
People-Indigenous Dance No. 2), and Kankikis (Dance of the Children-
Indigenous Dance No. 3)-are stylistically more heterogeneous and
complex. Theactual subtitle of these pieces, "Danas dos Indios Mestios
do Brasil: FarrapsKankuks-Kankikis (African words)" (according to
the explanatory note in Villa-Lobos's work catalogue [Museu Villa-
Lobos 1972:213)1 confuses understanding of the composer's intent. The
dances are said to have been conccived whileinBarbadosand inspired by
the Caripuna Indians of Mato Grosso, supposedly mestizos of male
Indian and female Black ancestry. In both cthnographic and musical
terms, it appears impossible to reconcile the "African" emphasis of the
title and the "Indian Mestizo" of the subtitle. As Souza Lima 11969:20)
observed, the almost exclusive intention was "to carry out a pianistic
pastime, without the preoccupation of transporting us ... to the heart of
the African jungle." At most, the African elemcnt of these pieces could
be found in some equiheptatonic type of scalar formations, derived from
the tuningofAfrican xylophones (Museu Villa-Lobos 1972:213), butnot
utilized in any systernatic fashion. It is possible indccd that Villa-Lobos
had sccn or read about such xylophones with equiheptatonic tuning
beforc composing these dances. Mariz 11989: 133) found the melodic
ideas of Farraps "flowing, " in contrast to a "vigorous and uniform
rhythm," which exprcss "efficiently the nostalgia and inquietude of the
Black race."
In fact, there is, in my judgment, no evidence of actual Caripuna
original melodic material; rather, there are syncopated mclodic frag.
ments reiterating the typical syncopation of the sixteenth, eighth, and
sixteenth notes (see ex. la) that could be related to the Brazilian accent
of this dance. In Kankukus, the same syncopated rhythmic pattem (ex.
Ih) prevails thronghout mosto f the piece. This dance also presents in the
ccntral"Piu Mossa" section onc of the trademark effects ofVillaLobos's
piano writing-namely, the altcrnating motion of repeated tones be-
tween thc hands- which often reappears in subsequent works (e.g., the
famous Polichinelo [exs. 8 and 13J and Dana do Indio Branco).
The third dance, Kanl<ikis, hints at some of the latcr idcntifying
featurcs of Villa-Lobos's music, particularly the altered chord forma-
dons, the highly dissonant combinations, and the rhythmic invention.
The latter is made up of numerous formulae of dotted rhythms, synco-
pated pattcrns through specilic acccntuations within regular groupings,
cross-rhythmic cffects (especially quarter-note triplets against regular
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos 49
Example la. Farrap6s. Dana Indgena No. 1
Allegro giocoso


I'" li
" li ..
co grnria


u ti,
. .
" 11
" ,, 11

- IM

li .h

rall .... ...... rit

I l

sixteentb-note groupings in a 2/4 meter), all associated with Rio's
popular music rathcr than Indian or mestizo folk mnsic as such.
Although these dances are made "characteristic" only through Villa-
Lobos's intuition, the African elements of these pieces are admittedly
very limited. The very rich Afra.Brazilian traditional musical expres-
sions of Northeast and SouthCentral Brazil, upon which Villa-Lobos
relied in later works, were either less familiar to him at that time or
deemed inappropriate. The dances are not as characteristic of the
dcfinite molding of his personality as a composer as are the two ballet
tone poems Uirapuru and Amazonas. Kiefer's opinion that Uirapuru
"would suffice to consccrate the name of VillaLobos" (1981:46), is only
partly supported by analytical evidence.
"lrapuru") is the common name in the Brazilian Amazon of small,
colorful birds, whose magnificent singing originated the legend that
Heitor Villo-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Sou]
Example lb. Kankukus. Dana Indgena No. 2
11 r---.
:::=-----... ..-----..

"r rall.
. lo. lo.
. .

1\ r


. h1
poco rnll
1- L1 :
theirsongisa never-endingvariation and that they bringluck towhoever
can own thcm. For his ballet, Villa-Lobos created his own legendary
story of the Enchanted Bird, which Indian worshippers consider the King
of Love. As the legendary story reads las reproduced in the Associated
Music Publishers score, 1948):
[The bird'sj nightly song lured the Indians into the woods in search
of the enchanting singer. In such a search a gay group of young
natives come upon an anc.ient and ugly Indian seated in tbe forest
playing upon his nose-flute ... Suspecting the invasion of their
forest by this unsigbtly old man, the natives beat him mercilessly
and drive him out. Continued search for the elusive Uirapur by
The Musical Language o( Villa-Lobos 51
the natives is witnessed by all the members of the nocturnal
animal and insect kingdoms ... A beautiful maiden appears-also
lured by the sweet song of Uirapur. Armed with bow and arrow
she catches up with the Enchanted Bird piercing its heart, where-
upon the singing Bird is immediately transformed into a handsome
youth. The Happy Huntress who has thoroughly captivated the
handsome youth, followed by the amazed natives, is about to leave
the forest when they are halted by the shrill unpleasant notes of a
distant nose-flute. Suspecting the arrival of the ugly Indian ... the
natives hide in the dense woods. The unsuspecting youth boldly
confronts the ugly Indian who slays him with a perfectly placed
arrow. As the Indian maidens tenderly carry the body to a nearby
fountain, it is suddenly transformed into a beautiful Bird which
flies, its sweet song diminishing, in to the silence of the forest.
This ballet story certainly bas all of the ingredients of similar ballets of
the l910s, such as the Russian fairytale adaptation for Stravinsky's
L'Oiseau deFeu, particularly in the mixture ofromantic, fantastic, and
primitivistic elements, confirming once more the prodigious intuition
of Villa-Lobos. The work was dedicated to Serge Lifar in 1934 and
premiered as a ballet at the Buenos Aires Teatro Coln in 1935, in a gala
production on the occasion of an official visit by Getlio Vargas to
Argentina. This occasion was obviously considered appropriate for the
presentation of a work that glorified, however subjectively, the beauties
and traditlons of the country, in a decidedly modernist style for the
period. Thc tonc pocm proves to be the ideal genre for Villa-Lobos, who
revealed throughout his production a strong preference for extramusical
associations or programmatic concepts that helped him in designing the
formal structure of his works. In effect, the maio episodes of the simple
story of Uirapuro dictate the structure of the work with specilic written
indications of such episodes, such as the bird song !ex. 2), on five tones,
extended to seven diatonic tones, and la ter developed rhythmically, the
piercing of the Uirapuru by the arrow of the Indian huntress jp. 45 of
score), the transformation of the bird in to a handsome Indian youth lp.
47), andsoon. Theold, ugly!ndian's melody jex.3), presentedby theflute
jp. 6) and late-r assigned to the soprano saxophone jp. 20),9 of vcry
improvisatory character, appears more akin in its wandering dircction
and resulting improvisatory character to Debussy's faunlike melody or
that of the exotic birds of Ravel rather than a native Amazonian Indian
tune. When the ugly Indian reappears at the end of.the ballet, bis nose-
flute melody, now played by the violinofone la violin equipped with a
metal belllike that of a brass instrument, invented by the composer to
produce an eerie, voicelike sound), becomes much shorter, but the
52 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
Example 2. Uirapuru. Bird song
Vc. ass
rhythmlc contrast between long-held notes and fast figurations remains,
most likely, the Indian trait imagined or remembered by the composer.
The descriptive elements are quite effective and supported by a well-
balanced orchestration, which includes a percussion section with typi-
cally Brazilian (but not lndian) instruments (cco, or coconut shell,
tamborim, or small hand drum, surdo, or low drum, and reco-reco, or
The Musical Language of VillaLobos
Example 3. Uirapuru. "Indian melodyn

r.. ..-./:\_

L--3 !.....--= ---=

,.... r.
RMvtat Btllibdum

t i stringondo
f roL ff rapido
giro). Thc rnarch section of the first part reveals original sonorities
rcsulting from the alternation of heavily acccntcd chords betwecn the
lower strings and the upper strings reinforced by the trombones. Thc
harps, celcsta, and piano parts add considcrably to this still clcarly
lmpressionist-likcorchestration, with use of glissandi as punctuation or
bridge passagcs and, more gencrally, the
No specific timbre effects, howcver, seem to 1m1tate the
sounds of the jungle, as some people have assumcd. The pnmltJVtstlc
cffccts, such as thc furtive littlc chromatic motives assigned to wood-
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
wnds or the piano's high register, the glissandapplied to trombones and
French homs, the percussive use of strings, are basically the same
techniques developed concurrently in Europe to express primtivism,
here e crawling things" of the forest. Harmonically and structurally,
the ptcccannounces Villa-Lobos's future practices that beco me stylistic
determinants especially of the 1920s. These include profuse ostinati,
pedal points (sometmes functioning almost as true drones, a primitiv-
istic association}, extensive chromaticism and occasional atonal pas-
sages (e.g., mm. 16-18} (whose atonality, however, is mnimizcd by the
pedal points, similar to the early Stravinsky}, togethcr with abundant
cross-rhythmic and polyrhythmic texturcs and the frequently continu-
ous melodic invention rather than thematic dcvelopment. to rn general
tcrms, Uirapuru stands very wcll on its own as a substantial and
attractive composition, symptomatic of the struggle of a talcntcd com-
poscrstill depcndcnt on and hlghly competent within theFrench models
of hls time, but foretclling some of the factors of his eventual self-
identity.11 Itshighly improbable, however, thatthenameofVilla-Lobos
would have been securcly affixed in the annals of twcntieth-century
music through this work alone.
Amazonas, based on the previous tone poem Myremis (or Mirmis},
represcnts a giant step forward in Villa-Lobos's acquisiton of a more
definite composer personality. For Mrio de Andrade, thls work was a
"monument" ( 1963: 160}, most likely becausehe saw it as the flrst major
expression of a new Brazilian nationalist music symbolism, presented in
the most daring stylistic manner that Villa-Lobos had ever attempted.
The Myremis story by Ral Villa-Lobos was based on a Grcck myth, but
the transfer to Amazonian Indians for the new ballet in no way intimi-
dated the composer. This especially pleased Andrade, although he
recognized that the reworking of the old se ore was so drastic as to create
a brand new thcme (1963:155). The explanatory notes for Amazonas,
rcproduced in Villa-Lobos's official catalogue (Museu Villa-Lobos
1972:186-187}, read in partas follows:
Almost all melodlc material of this work was based on indigenous
themcs of the Amazon collccted by the author. The harmonic and
rhythmic atmosphcrc and the atmosphere created by the timbres
respond to an original principie of instrumentation form, imitated
from the cffects and suggestions felt by Villa-Lobos wbcn he
travelled, for a long time, through the Amazon valley. The forests,
rivcrs, waterfalls, birds, fish and wild animals, the native forestcrs,
the caboclos (mestizos) and the legends of the Maraj Island, ali
influenced psychologically in the making of this work. Its principal
melodic motives are those that reprcscnt the themcs of thc invoca-
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos 55
tion, of the surprlse of the mirage, the tracklng and gallop of the
legendary monsters of the Amazon River, of the seduction, the
voluptuousness and sensuality of the Indlan Priestess, of the hcroic
song of the Indan warriors and of thc prccipice.
Ral Villa-Lobos's script contains ali thc elements to justify the auda-
cious experiments in harmonic, rhythmic, and timbral treatment of the
work. Although Amazonas premiered twelve years later at the Salle
Gaveau in Paris, performcd by the Orchestre des Concerts Poulet on 30
May 1929 (together with the rcvised version of Varese's Amriques}, it
sounded new to Monde Musical reviewer Adolphe Piriou, who found it
"evidently remate from our European traditions," but revealing "a rich
musical temperament, poetic and dreamy, and, at the same time, violent
and barbarous" (in Guimares et ai. 1972:162}. In addition to all sorts of
associations wth the mysteriousand savageAmazon, the non-Europcan
elements of the score most likely refcr to thc primitivistic melodic ideas
(from ali evidence not actually borrowcd lndian material, but made up
of a few pitchcs and of small intervallic and short-range contours lsee ex.
4}, to the unusual rhythmic combinations, to a decidedly modem
(essentially atonal) but unrestrictcd harmonic language, and especially
to the tone-color effects and the orchestration (120 musicians wcre
needed for the premiere}.
The first theme(ex. 4}, initially ofunsuspectcd potential development
and unification and quite unusual in thls pcriod ofVilla-Lobos, forms the
basis, with its descending and asccndlng seconds, of numerous subsc-
quent thernatic statcments throughout the work. Among the most
remarkable orchestral featurcs are thc requlred performance o f arpeggiated
figures between the bridge and the stringholder, at the beginning of the
section "Dana ao encantamento das florestas" ("Dance to the Enchant-
ment of the Forests," section 9 in the piano score, pp. 8- 9) for sccond
violins, half of the violas and cellos, and thc double bass section
(resulting in unpredictable sounds for each instrument involved}, and
the overall complexity of the percussion section. The powerful sugges-
tion of tcrrifying crcatures in the "March of thc Monsters" passage
(scctions 1 6-20} is conveycd through rhythms and effective orchcstral
manipulation. This is thc passage that made Andrade proclaim: "It is a
whole orchestraadvancing, crawling heavily, breaking branches, knock-
ing down trces and knocking down tonalitics and trcatises of composi-
tion. Thcrc could not be anything more musically victorlous, and the
French horn is responsible for rcsounding the song ofvictory ... (musical
victory, that is)" ( 1963: 157}. Spccial instrumental "colors contribute to
the richness of sonoritics of this work: in addition to the violinofone or
a bowed cithara (citara de arco), the use of both sarrusophonc (a
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
traditionally French preference) and contrabassoon in rare doubling of
parts, the viola d'amore, the small E-f1at clarinet, anda fairly numerous
but mostly regular percussion scction (without special Brazilian instru-
In his oftcn cited study ofVilla-Lobos's harmonic contribution, Oscar
Lorenzo Fernndez (1946) providcd numerous illustrations of bitonal,
polytonal, and atonal harmonic practices in works written mostly after
1919. In a general statement, he wrote: "The first harmonic imprcssion
resulting from the analysis ofVilla-Lobos's works, from 1913, is one of
great tonal insta bllity, predicting a spirit eager for renovation and rich in
sensibility, making one foresee his tendency toward bitonality and la ter
polytonality, having reached atonality on some occasions" (1946:285).
This tonal instability is nowhere better expresscd, before 1919, than in
Amazonas whcre, together with the familiar whole-tone scales, altered
chords, pedal points, and parallel progressions, we find bitonal and
polytonal passages (ex. 5) and nonfunctional sound aggregates, in c! uding
a few tone clustcrs (ex. 6), forecasting the harmonies of some of the
Choios and piano pieces of the 1920s. The polyrhythmic complexity of
the last section (" Allegro molto," scction 28} results from the superim-
position over long pedais of three leveis of rhythmic activity, including
groupings of scven sixteenth-notc figurations distributed among strings
and woodwind.
Since Amazonas derives very little from Indian sources, it hardly
deserves the subtitle "Bailado Indigena Brasileira (sic)/Poeme Indien
Brsilien" given in the piano score (1932) published by Max F.schig. It
remains rathcr the symbolic monument that Mrio de Andrade noticed.
The need for a nationalist aesthetic ideology was served by this monu-
ment announcing the potential emancipation of thc art music of Brazil
from its traditional dependence on Europe. Although as strangc and
fascinating to most urban Brazilians of the time as it was to Europeans,
the work stressed the originality of native Brazilian culture in a sort of
aesthetic idealization of Amazonian Indianism. The monument that
Villa-Lobos constructed wholly was made up of the most tangible
ingredients of nature, the "grcen and yellow" (Brazil's national colors)
contents of that luxuriant tropical nature, so aptly symbolized by that
great "green ocean," as the Amazon forest has often bccn called. Andrade
undcrstood this better than anyoneat thc time of the So Paulopremicrc
( 1930) of Amazonas, stating:
these sonorous forces are profoundly "naturc," and the little they
take from the Amerindian musical aesthetics is not sufficient to
place [the workJ within [the catcgory] of indigcnous music. It is
more than this. Or less, if you want. It is not Brazilian cithcr: it's
The Musical Language of VillaLobos 57
Example 4. Amazonas (piano version) (mm. 10-13)
,. I 1 I 1 uJ
) " r r 1-r r I "I I I 'I I I "I l I 1 I I I '
J R.! -,; t J -

58 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Mus1cal Sou!
Example S. Amazonas (piano version) (mm. 50-54)
A prece da jovem mdnt
nature. They appear like voiccs, sounds, noiscs, thuds, whirring
sounds, symbols coming out of metcorological phenomcna, of
gcological accidents and irrational bcings. It is the rowdy impu-
dcnce of the virgin land that Villa-Lobos reprcsents, better in this
than any other work ... I know notlng in music, not evcn the
barbarous "Rite of Spring" of Stravinsky ... I that is so, r don't say
"primary," but so expressive of the green and earth-colored laws of
nature as the music, or at least certain picces of music, of Villa-
Villa-Lobos was nota vcry accomplished pianist, yct his contribution
to twentieth-century piano literature is remarkable and has been ac-
knowlcdged in the 1970s and 1980s by a number of Amcrican and
European pianists. Thc piano pieces of this period that define in varying
degrces his nationalist tcndency were thc two scries of A Prole do Beb,
Carnaval das Crianas, andLenda do Caboclo. The collection of A Prole
do Beb No. 1-which caught the attention of Rubinstein, who pre-
micred four of thc eight pieccs in Rio in 1922 and took it around the
world-rcvcals, together with thc second series, anothcr facet of the
composcr as creator of a significant portion of his national musical
aesthetics and quite confidcnt in rclation to his technical craft. Villa-
Lobos found in thc musical world of childrcn not on ly a spcciaJ fascina-
Tbe Musical Language o f Villa-Lobos
Example 6. Amazonas (piano version) mm. 228-234
, I)




1\..b R
( -
ff-=- ::;:;;--
I hl'-1

tion of fresh expression and creative fantasy, but also an extremely rich
source of songs and tunes familiar to allBrazilians. 1912, had
written severa! piano pieces inspired by the life and of
but it was with the Prole do Beb sutes that he excelled m estabhshmg
himsclf as a substantial, modem, and idiosyncratic com pose r andas_
emphatic translator of the Brazilian In effect, thc fchct-
tous integration of a high-level moderrusuc mustcallanguage and the
purity of childrcn's folk tunes lucidlY_ re-crcatcd _causes the
intcllectual admiration and the most p01gnant emQUOnal response. Th1s
is Villa-Lobos at his most sophisticated level, both in compositional
conceptualization and in sinccrcly nationalist manifestation. .
Thc first collcction dcals with thc subjectively complex "dcscnp-
60 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Searcb for Brazil's Musical Soul
tion" of Brazilian children dolls, each with its special character, whose
attributes lincluding ethnic) are left to the imagination of the listencrs,
as children fantasize in their interactive playing. Tbe eight pieces are
entitled: Branquinha IA Boneca de Loua) ("Little White" the Porcelain
Doll), Moreninha IA Boneca dcMassa)I"LittleBrunette" the Papcr Doll),
Caboclinha IA Boneca de Barro) ("Little Cabocla" the Clay DoU),
Mulatinha IA Boneca de Borrachali"Little Mulatto" the Rubber Doll),
Negrinha IA Boneca de Pau) I"Littlc Black" t he Woodcn Doll), A
Pobrezinha IA Boneca de Trapo) ("Little Poor One" thc Rag DoU), O
Polichinelo I"Punch"), andA Bruxa IA Boneca de Pano) ("The Witch"
the Cloth DoU). All prescnt a different mood and character expressed by
an array of musical mcans. Villa-Lobos quotes authentic children's
tunes lround dances, lullabies) on vcry fcw occasions, such as the tune
"Dorme, nen" in Branquinha (cxs. 7aand 7b)and "Ciranda, cirandinha"
in Polichinelo (ex. 8). But bis own melodic ideas remain very closely
associated with Brazilian children's lore.
Whole-tone scales,
pentatonicism, and harmonic parallclism are still in evidence, particu-
larly in the first !exs. 7a and 7b) and second (ex. 9) pieccs.
Caboclinha introduces one of thc typical rhythmic pattems of Villa-
Lobos, inherited from carioca popular music: the syncopated pattem
obtained exclusively through accentuation of the first, fourth, and
seventh notes of the eight sixteenth-note pulsations (ex. 10) finds its
counterpart in numerous tangos of the popular composer Ernesto
Example 7a. Branquinha
J 1\ Tres nnlm el gai (
.11 f'. !
! ,_
Com dJicaJI.'Zn

p >- -
> J J

\ t\
Example 7b. "Dorme, nen"
v v v v v
- -

=: l ...

Tbe Musical Language of Villa-Lobos 61
Example 8. Polichinelo



r I I I I
11 I I
l l
I . I . I .
t) , ,,. l .
1. I i

" J
r _j

11 J
. I I
I .
J .

I "i

- t)
I r--
11 I I
. I I
11 l j '
r r r r-
f\ I I I I


- ..

" J
_j I


r f
I I r r

I .
I . I .
I .
I .
Nazareth (ex. 11), and recurs in other works of Villa-Lobos (e.g., in the
ostinato figure of the first piece of the second Prole do Beb [see ex. 15]
and the Noneto). The syncopation is one of the most equent
accompanimcntal figures of the Brazilian polka, the maxixe, and the
choro (2/4
J (cf. Bhague 1979: 188). The syncopatcd
62 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Seorch for Brazil's Musical Soul
Example 9. Moreninha (two-piano version)
- thJ MI" " I-11F---I
if bmawln11du

.. p-r ..
melody of Caboclinha furtber epitomizes the basic pattems of mucb
popular dartce music: the so-called habanera pattern (2/4 .r.--1 n ),
extended to form wbat is a ubiquitous figure in Latin America and
the Carjbbean, called tresillo by the Cubans (2/4 .r-)_n or
J ), and followed by one of its numerous variants (ex. 12).
The same rhythmic treatment appears later in the wcll-known piece
Lenda do Caboclo.
Thea ttraction o f tbe black keys o f the piano (rein.forcing the pen tatonic
melodic structure) became a familiar device wilh the irnpressionist
The Musical Langoage of Villa-Lobos 63
Example 10. Caboclinho
(Uu peu mod ...

r r
r r
r f
mf sun.vement li
Example 11. E. Nazareth. Tango "Arreliado"
Example 12. Coboclinho (melody)
> >
[ !-F F 1 F
composers. Whether Villa-Lobos emulated them is impossible to deter-
mine, but perhaps as the result of bis interest in bitonal and polytonal
textures he began to explore various possibilites of alternation of black
and white keys already in the "Camponesa Cantadeira" of the Sute
Floral (1916-1918).
Here the beginning of Negrinha presents a fast
alternation of the hands entirely on the black keys, but it is the very
famous Polichinelo that introduces the rnost pyrotechnic display of
black- and white-key alternations (ex. 13), in a toccata, bravura style,
with its pounding, mostly bitonal, chords whose very fast successions at
times result in clusterlike effects. L
One sbould stress bere that despite
the fact that American composer Henry Cowell is justifiably recognized
as the "tone-cluster" composer becausehe was thefirst one in the 1910s
to use it systematically in some o f bis piano and orchestral pieces, Villa-
Lobos was among the first twentieth-century composers to devise
cluster aggregates as an integraJ part of his harmonic vocabulary. In
Polichinelo, the very dense and complex barmony resulting in cluster
sonoritiescontrasts drasticallywith thevcrytonaland diatonic cbildren's
round tune quoted in cxample 8. Tbe octaves of the measure, reacbed
througb glissandi in contrary motion beginning on the middle C, thus
covering the whole keyboard, are said to bave been piled up by Ru binstein
for bctter virtuoso display.
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Seaich for Brazil's Musical Soul
Example 13. Polichinelo

" J
. L #i

!. d J .J s
!Jb.J s bJ bl
1 r I I s

The nine pieces of the Prole do Beb No. 2 deal witb toy animais, from
A Baratinha dePapel("The Little to theLobozinhode Vidro
("Tbe Little Glass Wolf"), and represent one of tbe more mature works
of tbe 1920s, a sort of "Nine Transcendental F.tudes," in tbe words of
Souza Lima (1969:55). They are, to be sure, very demanding and challeng-
ing from a performance viewpoint, certainly more so than tbe first set,
which already demandcd an accomplisbed pianist. F.ach of the toy
animal pieces involves specific technical and interpretative problems,
but the setas a whole is not strictly made up of tudes as such, in the
sense that they are not devoted individually to a given set of instrumen-
tal problems. Their technical difficulty, however, does justify tbe quali-
fication of "transcendental." For example, the piece O Boisinho de
Chumbo ("Thc Little Lead or Tin Ox"), no. 6 in the series, calls for fast
scale passages in diffcrcnt intervals (fourths, sixth, sevenths, ninths,
etc.), both chromatic and diatonic glissando figurations (mm. 40-47),
large intervallic skips (up to ascending ninths and descending sixths) in
octavcs I mm. 17- 19), performance in the extreme ranges o f the keyboard,
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos 65
rbytbmic involution with accentuations of difficult negotiation (mm. 5-
IO), and up to three simultaneous dynamic planes (m. 50). The overall
massive sound quality of the piece clearly relates to the depictive
evocation of the ox, with heavy figurations, thick chordal blocks, and the
utilization of the whole gamut of piano registers, as the final" grandiose"
section shows (ex. 14).
While themost violent and directatonalityprevails in thenine pieces,
with a harmonic vocabulary considerably richer than any previous work
and virtually devoid here of French accent, the thematic ideas are quite
tonal. Indeed, the melodic invcntion continues to be associated with
children 's tunes (se e, e.g., ex. 16 J w hlch, together with specilic rhythrnic
pattems, maintain the Brazilian atmosphere of these pieces. Some
folksong melodies are quoted, with a few alterations. The second part of
the first piece, A Baratinha de Papel, uses the tune "Fui no Toror." The
ostinato pattern of this piccc stresses through its accentuation the
typical accompanimental figure of popular dance music, mentioned
earlier (ex. 15). This pattern alsoreveals one of the ingenious treatments
of the alternation of the white and black keys, resulting in the different
use of the keys for each four group of sixteenth-notes, that is, tbe first,
third, and fourthnotes on white keys, the second note on a black key, for
the first group, witb a different placement for the second group: second
and third notes on white keys, first and fourth on black keys.lS Below
this ostinato, the maio theme (mm. 5-10 of ex. 15) through its contour
and rhythm also emphasizes the national character of the piece.
The folk tune "Anquinhas" appears in the second part of O Gatinho
de Papelo, while in O Cavalinho de Pau the composer uses the tune
"Garibaldi foi Missa," treating it in contrasting ways to accompany the
various changes of character o f the piece. The other folk tune borrowing
isfound in the piece O Ursinho de Algodo, where the tune "Carneirinho,
Cameiro" appears in the last section.
As another, but different, illustration ofhighly original piano writing,
special mention should be made of O Passarinho de Pano ("The Little
ClothBird"), no. 7. Remarkabledescriptiveeffectsofbirdsongs, warblings,
and twitterings are conveyed by a multitude of trills, tremolos, fast runs
of five-, seven-, nine-, elcvcn-, fourteen- and eighteen-note groupings,
appoggiaturas, and other ornaments in unique combinations and truly
tropical colors. Aftcr thls, one should ponder Souza Lima's assertion that
the Prole do Beb No. 2 does not exhibit "the slightest pictorial
intention" (1969:55).
The compositional maturity of this collcction primarily from
its strongly original style made up of a considerably enlarged and freer
harmonic practice, of a su btle and good integration ofnational elements,
anda much bettcr formal balance primarily achieved by juxtaposition of
66 Heitor Villo-Lobos: The Search for Brozil's Musical Sou]
Example 14. O Boisinho de Chumbo

R'"'- -'
.... - ------ .
-- - - ------
a tempo
__ _
H '
The Mw;icol Languoge of Villo-Lobos 67
Example 15. A Baratinha de Papel
v v v v v v v v v v v
v v v v v v v v v v v v

parts. Most important, this set begins to define the strongly expressivc
and uniquc pcrsonality of Villa-Lobos as a scasoned composcr. One
cannot avoid spcculation as to whatreactions would have ensued had he
dccided to present these picces at the Weck of Modem Art and had
convinced Guio mar Novais to premiere thcm!
Another pianocomposition, A Lenda do Caboclo("TheLcgcnd of the
Caboclo," 1920), alsorcprcscntsan cxccllcnt rcflcclion of thc comp<>scr's
68 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Sou]
Exam ple 16. O Cavalinho de Pau
1\ i
j ,,.
"I 1 'I ~ 'I
,fJ;, !Jja l ~ ; . . ...
A '"
~ ~ :lt. ~ ~ ~
~ =- ~ ~ ..
L!f'l,i. . ~
- "l:
- I-
-.r . ~
achievements at that time. The national inspiration of the piano piece
is subtle and imparted primarily through the modal melodic and har-
monic writing and the rhythmic structure of its theme and accompani-
ment (hesitant and wavering through syncopations and tresillo), all
associations with thc quict endurance of the caboclo (peasant) fe and
with an attemptcd cxpression of that world view .t7 This piece is a clcar
annow1cement of Choros No. 5 (Alma Brasileira, "Brazilian Sou1").
Finally, thc works up to 1922 also include Villa-Lobos's first five
symphonies (out of a total of twelve), written within a short four-ycar
period (1916-1920}. They are somewhat uncven works still undcr thc
rather strongyokc ofFrench postromantic and impressionist music. The
symphony was pcrhaps not the most appropriate gcnre forVilla-Lobos's
The Musical Language o/ Villa-Lobos 69
concept of composition, since it does not lend itself easily to effective
prograrnmatic content (despite the prominent successful examples of
the nineteenth century) and to a style primarily based on continuous
ratherthan thcmatic development. These first symphonies, all program-
matic !No. 1 O Imprevisto ["The Unexpected"], No. 2 Asceno ["As-
ccnsion'l No. 3 A Guerra ["War"l, No. 4 A Vitria ["Victory"J, and No.
5 A Paz ["Peacc"L whose manuscript was lost), show a predictable
outcome in their systematic adherence to the Franck-d'Indy cyccal
method of melodic treatment. Enyart ( 1984:479) assigns folk q ualities to
the melodies of these symphonies, attributing an Indian origin to those
that display "a repetitive intervallic relationship," a Portuguese influ-
ence to those witb "ccrtain ambiguous tonal characteristics," and,
predictably, an Afro-Brazilian rerniniscence to ccrtain rhythrnic fea-
tures, such as "syncopations, ties
hemiolas, sesquialteras, and poly-
rhythms lsic)." His own analysis of such melodies does not, however,
truly show any such qualities, and the attempt to relate the above-
mentioncd factors to Indlan, Portuguese, and Afro-Brazilian musical
traditions bespeaks once more a naive oversimplification and misrepre-
sentation of both Villa-Lobos's and Brazilian traditional music forms in
general. As a matter of fact, these early symphonies have little if any
relationship to thc traditional musical expressions of the country at
The Woiks of the 1920s: A Period of Experimentation
A few months beforc his departure for France 11923), Villa-Lobos com-
pleted the Noneto, one o f his most characteristic nationalistic works up
to that point l"one of the most extraordinary pieces of chamber music
e ver written," in the words o f Wrigh t [1992:40 IJ, which bel ped estabsh
hisreputation in Paris. The work had its premiere there at one o f the first
important Villa-Lobos concerts, on 30 May 1924. Subtitled "Impresso
rpida de todo o Brasil" ("Rapid Impression of Ali Brazil"J, the Noneto,
for flute, oboe, clarinet, alto saxophone, bassoon, harp, piano, mixed
choros, and percussion, was explained as a "new forro of composition
that expresses Brazil's sonorous atmosphcre and most originalrhythms"
!Museu Villa-Lobos 1972:225).
Rather than a new form of composition,
it appears as a new synthetic manner of national musical expression,
based on the most immediately recognizable and appealing qualities of
Brazilian popular music. The other great Brazilian nationalist composcr,
Francisco Mignonc ( 1897 -1986), considcred it the "best and most genu-
inely Brazilian of aU the works of Villa-Lobos" (in Presena de Villa-
Lobos, vol. 3, 1969). In truth, the Noneto is more choro, in the sense of
the popular music gcnrc, than many of the 1920s works bearingthat ti tlc,
70 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Searcb for Brazil's Musical Sou]
since it could be interpretcd as a comprehensive anthology of the most
common as well as the most original rhythms of urban popular music of
the time lsee table 1 for an illustration of such rhythms).
At the same time, the popular" atmosphere" is conveyed through the
masterfully rendered rhapsodic and improvisational character of mclo-
dics and rhythms. The first saxophone utterance (ex. 17, mm. l-4) is a
case in point, with changes of unusual meters 17/4,8/4, 7 /8) necessary to
accommodate the flowing nature o f the phrasing. Even thc treatment of
the voices, as just another timbre, is improvisatory, serving as punctua-
tion here and therc, as any other instrumental colar would, with
predorninantly instrumental tcchniques, such as glissandi and muting,
at times blendcd with the singing woodwinds, and at others (espccially
in the final section) totally fused within the thickening pulsating
percussion section. The very sclcction of and special atten tion to certain
instruments, such as the saxophone, the flute, and tbe harp lhere taking
the place of the guitar and cavaquinho), point to the popular choro
enscmble, as well as to impressionistic reminiscence. Moreover, the
admirable tour de force of the richly contrapuntal writing-essentially
involving various imitations of fragmented rhythmic motives by the
woodwinds, supported by eitber counterrhythmic or strumminglike
figures in the harp and the piano-reminds one of some of the musically
happicst moments of popular choro composers and performers of the
caliber of Pixinguinha (1898- 1973), Donga 11889-1974), and Benedito
Lacerda 11903-1958). Some of the typically Brazilian percussion instru-
mcnts used in the Noneto, such as chocalhos (wooden and metal rattles)
and reco-reco (giro) were common in one of the famous bands of
Pixinguinha, Os Oito Batutas jfirst organized in Rio in 1919), while
prato de loua (dishware rubbed with a knife or any metal h Jade or coinL
cco lcoconut shell), caxambu llarge singlc-headed drum), cufca or pufta
(&iction drum), and tamborim lhand drurn) participated in both urban
and rural popular ensembles. Addcd to the more traditional types of
European orchestral percussion instrumcnts, the Noneto's percussion
section is large but treated with the same special care as the other
sections. For example, thereco-reco is the solerhythmic support (ex. l8,
rchcarsal no. 24, p. 35 of Max Eschig score) to the oboe and saxophone
lines, and is marked "solo" with meticulous dynamic markings (p, sf,
and crescendo on the glissando).
The success of this work can be attributed not only to Villa-Lobos's
powcrful evocation of national musical expression, but to the impres-
sive richness of bis compositionalrcsources, besides tbcamazing subtle-
t iesof his &eeandseemingly spontaneous rhythrnic manipulation. First,
although a cbamber music work, the timbres are treated orchcstrally in
uniquc color discoveries, wi t h the crucial assistancc of the percussion
and thc voices, at times strongly rem iniscent of su bseq uent largc chorai-
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos 71
Table 1. Some of the Rhythmic Figures Related to Popular Music in
Villa-Lobos's Noneto
(1) "'Habauer" hgun FJ n
(present in Brnzllian
sambil, choro)
(2) "Afro Amcrlcan" .J .J .J
(3eh) p2art.d 13 : :- :
r ea'""' nos. an bJ..U b:bbJ b4:Jd btJ,J I bU:/
(4) Various rhytlunk combinations
with cross-rhythms mvolvmg
pmno, luup, ceies ta, and woodwind
Cf. rchearsal no. 2
(5) Syncopated figure by
accentuation. Glro and rattlc.
Rehearsal no. 6
(6) Duple and tn plt comblncd.
Cf. piano parl, rehearsa I no. 13
rrrrr rrF
.n=n jfij
ifz if:r. if:r. ifz
F F f
(7) Ex,mplc of syncopallon obtninoo lhrough meludk means only
symphonic works. The virtuoso instrumental writing, already apparcnt
in the Quatuor or Quarteto Simblico 11921) and the woodwind Trio,
takes on new dimcnsions here, announcing in numerous ways t be most
demanding passagcs o f some o f the Choros. Thc subsequent frequent use
of thc harp and piano in both harmonic and rhythmic ostinato is madc
dcfinitc hcrc, whilc his continuous mclodic invcntion is cnnsidcr<1 hl y
72 Heitor ViJla-Lobos: The Seaxch for Brazil's Musical Soul
Example 17. Noneto (saxophone melody)
A Fl bU c I J
ijos j
JJ j J. - J ).
expanded, without depriving the work of balanced structure. Noneto
actually lasts a little over fourteen minutes with an easily perceived
juxtaposition of sections, rather than sectionaJ form with the implied
thernatic reiteration.l9 Finaliy, the harmonic language here already
belongs to the most "advanced" chromatic dissonances, quarta! and
quintal formations of the late l920s, retaining, at times, some faint
echoes of the early parallel progressions and cadential practices.
For all ofits nationalist character, Noneto still owes a great deaJ to the
influence of Debussy and, for that reason, appeared at the time as the
prototype of amodemist work, accordingto the precepts of modernismo,
that is, blending national elements with modem techniques of compo-
Tbe Choros
Sixteen works, bearing the title of Choros, written between 1920 and
1929, are generally considered the most significant con tribution ofVilla-
Lobos not only to the music of Brazil, but to twen tieth-century music in
Such considerations derive from the fact that, with these
works, the composer established his reputation at the international
levei. But, most important, he defined in a categorical manner his
aesthetic position, and thus became the most erninent spokesman o{
musical nationaJism in Brazil, and, henceforth, the unequivocaJ repre-
sentative of Brazilian music at large. Concurrently, the Choros reflect
some of the most daring compositional experiments to that point in
Brazil and, as a whole, are the best achievements in relation to the
ideology of modernismo- that is, the glorification of thc country in
general through a total assimilation of its most nationalizing musical
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos
Example 18. Noneto
Tres Lent (a l)

" M. _.-

.h J J

_./ T


m/ ./
_Fj Jjjj gl!ss.h
., .,
$ >
.. _,
_Fj _FFFj ft _O<_
- ..,
.., ., ..,
74 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
sources, within a perfectly synchronous, modem style of composition.
Those factors combine to make the Choros, at once, the most mature
artistic expression of Villa-Lobos and of Brazil and its people.
Although they were nspired by Villa-Lobos' s personal experience and
identilication with the choro and the chores, primarily an aspect of
urban popular expressive culture, these works transcend the urban
boundaries of the popular choro and rely, in their vague programmatic
contents, on all aspects of Brazilian musics as understood by the
composer. In a mimeographed work called Technical, Aesthetic, and
Psychological Study, Villa-Lobos made the following comments:
The Choros fwere] built according to a new special technique based
on the musical manifestations of thc Brazilian natives, as well as
on the psychological impressions brought about by certan popular
characters, extremely original and quite remarkable. Choros No. 1
was deliberately written as if it were an instinctive product of the
ingenuous imagination of these popular musical characters
serve simply as a point of departure and broaden itself gradually
later, in its form/ technique, structure, and genre. (Museu Villa-
Lobos 1972: 198)
Further, several of the scores published by the French Editions Max
Eschig carry the following explanation:
The Choros reprcsents a new forro of musical composition in
which are synthesized thc dilierent modalities of Brazilian music,
Indian and popular, having as principal elements rhythm and any
typical melody of popular character that appears hcre and there
accidentally, always transformed accordng to the author
S person-
ality. The harmonic procedures are also almost a complete styliza-
tion of the original. The word Serenade can give an approximate
idea of the meanng of Choros.
Villa-Lobos never explained the specilic elements of this new technique
and form of composition, but what is clear from such comments is the
generic sense applied to choro as the nonexclusive source of national
expression/ and the implication of the subjective renterpretation (
chological imprcssions"J of that national musical expression by the
composer. As will be argued later, however, Rio de Janeiro's urban
popular music of the time constitutes the fountainhead of Villa-Lobos's
most conv incing and enticing nationalist style and aesthetics. Intended
for quite different media, from solo guitar (No. 1), solo piano (No. 5),
duos (No. 2, Dos Choros Bis), and various other chamber music group-
The Musical Language o/ Villo-Lobos 75
ings (Nos. 3, 4
71, to large orchestra (6
8, 9
10, 12), two orchestras and
band (13), orchestra with chorus (3, 10, 14), and orchestra with soloists
( 11, Introduo), these works cannot possibly be expected to present any
sort of stylistic unity. Their thematic unity resides in the very personal
task taken to heart by the composer to communicate in a uniquely
pictorial character the tropical! y fertile and exotic nature o f the music of
bis country.
The unusual chronology of the Choros proves, once more
the spon-
taneity and auspicious intuition of the composer. 21 It is well known that
the numbering of the works and dates of composition do not always
rnatch. Only circumstantial considerations can help explain thatincon-
sistency. According to Nbrega, who had personal insight nto the
matter as a result of bis familiarity with the composer's procedural
idiosyncrasies, it was probably the prevalence of Villa-Lobos's a poste-
riori desire to stagger the works according to their instrumentation and
increasing complexity of form and expression that dictated the lack of
correspondence between the actual number of a given work and its date
of composition (1975:25). With the exception of Nos. 5 and 7, such a
staggering appears more or less realizcd. In his comprehcnsive study of
the Choros, the Brazilian musicologist Jos Maria Neves (1977:26)
concurred with this explanation.
As a popular expression, the nineteenth-century choros were essen-
tially popular ensembles first appearing in Rio around 1870-1880 and
involving amateur muscians whose music-making's sad and plantive
character justified the names choro (i.e.
tear) and choro (tearful). The
instrumental makeup of these early groups involved mostly flute for the
melody, and guitar and cavaquinho for harmony and rhythrn. The
mulatto virtuoso flutist Joaquim Antonio da Silva Callado (1848-1880)
is said to havc organized one of the first groups. His own compositions,
waltzes, polkas, and quadrilles reveal the subtle nationalization of
European dances of the time (see Bhague 1966). To the original en-
sembles were added/ by the early 1890s, band instruments as well as
other strngs (such as the mandolin) that participated in the ensemble in
either a solo or countermelody function, depending on the ability of
specfic performers. Improvisational variation and at times more or less
elabora te counterpoint characterized much of the performance practice.
In time/ the term choro began to denote all dance forms, waltzes,
mazurkas, polkas
schottisches, tangos, havaneiras,lundus, andma.xixes,
on the one hand, and sentimental songs of the modinha type, for
serenades, on the other.
Eventually in the 191 ~ and la ter, choro
became the designation of a specilic "carioca" dance genre with a similar
rhythmic structure (cspecially syncopated binary figures) to that of the
76 Heitor Villa-Lobos: Tlte Search for Brazil's Musical Sou/
Although not a choro himself, the popular pianist (pianeiro)-com-
poser, Ernesto Nazaretb, wbo so impressed Darius Milhaud, gave the
defini te national configuration to the ma.xixeand choro in bis numerous
piano picces (Bbague 1966; Diniz 1963). Villa-Lobos commented on
Nazareth with great admiration: "[He] is the true incarnation of the
Brazilian musical soul: be transmits in his admirable, spontaneous
temperament, tbe vivid emotions of a given people whose character he
presents typically in bis music" (in Neves 1977:20). Undoubtedly, it is
the richness of this tradition and its musically uncompelling but vigor-
ously inventive quality that attracted Villa-Lobos in the first place. The
fact that he dedicated Choros No. 1, for guitar, to Nazareth is not
coincidental. "The principal theme," according to his Technical, Aes-
thetic, and Psycbological Study, "the harmonies and modulations,
although of pure creation, are molded in rhythmic frequencies and
melodic cellular fragments of popular singers and players of guitar and
piano, like Stiro Bilhar, Ernesto Nazareth, and others" [Museu Villa-
Lobos 1972: 198). This piece
in fact, is tbe only Choros that
follows rather closely the urban popular model, as revealed by the
profuse syncopations (tresillo, sixteentb-eigbth-sixteentll pattern in
duple meter, and variants), the anacrusis of the beginning theme (ex. 19),
the very tonally functional modulations, and the repetitive rondo struc-
ture. It is not too whimsical to venture the opinion that the idca of the
monumental series of Choros carne to the composer in the mid-1920s,
as he was working on the larger works
since there is such a profound
difference in compositional concept and a considerable time intervaJ
between Choros No. 1 and the others.
Despite tbe stylistic uniqueness of each of the works, one could
venture the generalization that numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, and partially 9 and
12, do exhibit some aspectS
however sty lized, of the popular choro o f the
beginning of the century, while numbers 3, 6, 8, and 10 evoke in part
Indian or primitivistic music, however authentic or idealized. In some
both evocations appcar. Numbers 3, 5, 8, and 10 will serve to illustrate
here Villa-Lobos's varied approaches to technique and aesthetics.
Accordingto Villa-Lobos
Choros No. 3, subtitled "Pica-Pau" ("Wood-
pecker") is "dedicated ta the sonorous atmosphere of the primitive
musico f the aborgines of tbe states of Matto Grosso and Gois" (Museu
Villa-Lobos 1972: 199). For tbis, beresorts to a rather rare direct borrow-
ing of Indian song melody, specilically the theme Nozani-Na Oreku, a
drinking song of the Parecis Indians collected by the BraziHan scientist
Roquette Pinto, and not the result of his own exposure to or possible
collccting of that music. The transcription of this song !phonogram no.
14,597 of the National Museum ofRio de Janeiro) published in Roqucttc
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos 77
ExampJe 19. Choros No. 1
; i

; r J, ,
t;h m f? rfl
Pinto'sRondna (1912), a portion of which isreproduced in example20,
was the source used by Villa-Lobos.23
Villa-Lobos's treatment of Indian material was not much different
from bis treatment of any other material. His Indianist orientation was
sui generis in that h e either utilized that material verbatim/ harmonized
and adapted to a particular harmonic atmosphere, or recreated the
Indian-like melodic and rhythmic characteristics of the material in bis
own writing. A frequent techniquc consists of various combinations of
differentiated motivicand timbrallayers whose interactionsresult in an
abstract chromatic style similar to Stravinsky. Choros No. 3 for male
chorus (two tenor parts, baritone/ and bass) and seven wind instruments
lclarinet, alto sax, bassoon
three Frcncb borns, anda trombone) is a short
piece (slightly over four minuteS
performance time) that appears almost
as a preparatory exerci se to Choros No. 10, particularly in the timbristic
effects o f the c h oral writing. The first part of the Indian songis presented
in successive and extended imitations by tbe second tenors, first tenors,
baritones, and basses, each time with the doubling of the vocalline by
different instruments. A countermclody, appearing at measure 17 in the
first tenors
attempts to imita te lndian music in the tetratonic structure
of its motive, its repeated tones, its short range/ and its heavy accentua-
tion ( the melodic-sequence and thc syncopations do not appear Indian at
all, however) (ex. 21).
Particularly significam in this first partis the attempted evocation of
Indian performance practicc, especially the onomatopoeic effects result-
mgfrom the repctition o f singlc syllablcs (ku -, U -
la -l), tbe emphasis
78 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Sou]
Example 20. From Roquette Pinto's Rondnia


nl tU



. .... 1e No
. nl
j J I I :P 't
.... . a I'C .
11 ku


j - 1
n1 nu I e . rn . hnn han o lo . ni
on the percussive consonants Kand T, the vocalglissandiand porta menu
on dissonant harmonies (perhaps to convey herc the lack of precise
intonation), and most of the regular rhythmic pulses of the middlc and
penultimatc (# 14) sections. Section 5 introduces another typical trai to f
Villa-Lobos, namely, thc rhythmic and timbral interplay on syJiabic
onomatopoeias, here initiated from the words pica-pau (woodpeckcr)
and pau-Brasil (brazilwood). Both words have, of course, nationalist
associations: thc first evoking, once more, the beautiful Brazilian fauno
and Indian culture, the second, the national tree of Brazil that gavc
name to thc country. Birds, Indians, nature (trcc, forest), all are, as wc
have seen, constantly invoked. Thc consonant sounds of P and K (as n
CA) effectively imitate the pcckings of the bird, and still retain some
sonorous connection to the earlicr Indlan sy llablcs. The pica-pau ostinal<>
in parallel harmonies and syncopatcd pattern cnds up supporting an
extended mclodic tine, made up of some of thc clements of the Indtan
song, with enlarged range and durational values (ex. 22). The contras!
establishcd between this long, flowing line and the rcgularly pulsatinA
accompanimental ostinato is further developcd in the second scction o(
Choros No. 10, and becomes onc of Villa-Lobos's tradcmarks.
Thepica-pau theme undergocs a drasticrhythmic transformation 111
section 1 J (ex. 23) whcn thesyllablespi-ca-pau-pi-po-pa-pi andKe-pi-Cfl
pau begin to interact in rhythmic patterns and harmonics (with addctl
sixth) strongly rcminisccnt of urban popular music.24 Villa-Lobos ex
plained that the syllablcs "Papi-pau, Papi-pau Brasil are based on general
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos
Example 21. Choros No. 3 (mm. 17-24}
"Tenoa l

- 2
_ ...
,;; __
ku - - ..

I= - ,___
r I
6 4

,.._ .. - - -- - - !#,
11 I -



.1. f- ... I<
" '

ku .. ... ..


t tO, IA-- --



.. 111. ... IQ, u

.. 16 Ll-16

IA, t.-lll
u .

I lcl, ,.

k\. l.o 10 !<> ...
\..l n\I D p:tl.l , I lo.
..... m m .... I


. . cr_


lo IA
dmractcristics of the music of Black people born in Brazil or Brazilian
mcRlizos ('mamelucos,' of Indian and white dcsccnt)" (Museu Villa-
l.ohos 1972: 199). Here, the only possiblereferencc to lookforis precisely
1 h urban chorcographic character of the transformed theme of cxamplc
2J. Strangcly, the vocal bass part (mm. 4,6,8, on p. 9 of theEschig score)
C1llriCS thc words "Par Makumba eh!" which nevertheless sound
African. As is well known, thc word macun1ba, of probable Kimbundo
80 Heitor Villo-Lobos: Tbe Search for Brazil's Musical Sou]
Example 22. Choros No. 3 (mm. 36-45)

. -I.
Ph J j

lo' lo' y
,. po ,.
.,. ..

p;lU. p1 po
pi - '{Jrz
/t-i "
- i...
!""-! T

' lu,

p! Pi a
pl -
r . c-..
origin, designates gencrically the Aro-Brazilian acculturated religions,
particularly in Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais. Whether there was a
specific intention on the part of the composer to zefer to the predomi-
nantly Black cultural world cannot be definitcly detcrmined.
The very ending of Choros No. 3 lends itself to polentially opposite
interpretations. One could see these last five measures, appearing
almost as an afterthought (on thc "Papi-pau Brasil" syllablcs) as a rather
The Musical Language of ViiJa-Lobos
Example 23. Choros No. 3 (mm. 71-74}
Mail'i movido d oo>
TJtllOijSI 111.{ j fl_j
I I i 1'\
l'nu plp pa - pl. K pl ca pao
. pl,
Tenors II mf


1\ I

y y

pl. Kll - p; e> pao - pl
i: ''
b J
l'>nu. pi- p pa pl.

r r -.r
l'io1u. p<i, pt,
I I i
pi ca pilO pl.

i ...

K6 pi - co pa<J P'
bombastic, nationalistic peroration, as does Nbrega, also fi_nds
them "a superfluous appendix" 11975:42). The harmomc progress10n,
bascd primarily on the pentatonic mclody in fiist tenor partI C- E flat, F,
c, B flat ar E flat F, G, B flat, C) !ex. 24), from a C minar to thc tonal
center of E flat major, in its initial darkness and tempo expzesses
a sort of solernn, sacred invocation to the land. Chromattc altered
further contribute to the obscurity of the nonfunctional modal harmomc
progression. On the other hand, the fact that the word set
within a moda) (pentatonic) rathcr than on a strong _dommant-
tonic resolution evades any sense of a triumphant and re)mcmg
tcr. Moreover the final tonic chord, approached through glissando
techniques of the first section of "Indian" singing, not held
very long in spite of the fermata, on a "vuzfzfzf ... " nonsensical"text/'
can only be intcrpreted as an ironic intention on the part of the
The poet Manuel Bandeira, close friend ofVilla-Lobos, thlS ending
"preposterous" and ctid not believe it was meant as an trame statemcnt.
Jcstingly, he wrote: "lt seerns to me that Villa needed thcrc a free word
that endcd in l. He put Brazil. I think it would have been better to put
barrillbarrell" (in Nbrega 1975:42). Nevertheless, it is importam to
rcmember that the work was dedicated to TarsHa and Oswald de
Andrade, who epitomized better than anyone clse thc anthropophug1c
82 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Seazch foz Brazil's Musical Soul
modernistic philosophy. Andrade begins bis anthropophagic manifesto
b_y ':Tupi [Brazilian Indian tribe] or not Tupi, that is the ques-
tion, that lS, whether or not Brazilian contemporary culture should
seek its identity in the prima! roots oflndian groups. It seems to me that
in this final chord, Villa-Lobos answcrs propitiously: "Tupi!"-but a
"Tupi de casaca," that is, dressed up.
That Villa-Lobos wrote his Choros No. 5 for piano, and called it "Alma
Brasileira," is in itsclf a significant clue, for he considered Ernesto
Nazareth's music the very esscnce of that soul. Although dedicated to
his bencfactor, Arnaldo Guinle, this work pays homage to the great
taJent of such composer-performers as Nazareth, and earlier in the
history of popular music, Callado and Francisca (Chiquinha) Gonzaga
(seeBhague 1966:92-163). Neves 11977:47-48) providesa very pertinent
comparativeanalysis of the ma in elements of the popular choro and their
coun_terparts in Villa-Lobos's work. These elements include thc pre-
dommance o f melody, frequcnt mclodic construction on the chordal
structure of the accompaniment, and rhythmic function of chords with
the fundamental on the downbeat, the other pitches in syncopated
patterns. Onc also finds a freq uen t use of melodic bass tines (as in typical
guitar accompaniments), a rhythrnic synchronization between melodic
tines and chordal accompaniments, strongly functional modulations
and at times symmetrical tonal curves, anda frequent structure in three-
and five-part forrns.
Although Villa-Lobos followed the popular model more closely in the
first Choros for guitar, Choros No. 5 represents the bcst portrayal of the
distinctive serenading aspect of the popular choro style. Tbe strong
lyricism andexpressiveness of this piece could berelated to themodinha
that sentimentallove song gcnre that embodies so much of the
ian musical soul," and has bcen so influential in the melodic develop-
ment of many other genres of popular music.25 During tbe pcriod of the
second empire in Brazi1(1840s to 1880s), the character of thc modinha
experienced some influence from thc early nineteenth-century Italian
opera aria, such as melodic embellishments, common use of melodic
sequence, and rather slow harmonic rhythm. The popular composers of
modinhas ended up identifying the arialike, cantabile lyricism as a
"national" element, which explains in part the suongly romanticnature
of much Brazilian popular music. The guitar became thc standard
accompanyinginstrument of the popular modinha, hcnceoftheserenadcr-
choro. Villa-Lobos very effectivcly explored this association with the
guitar in the accompanimental ostinato of the first section o f Choros No.
5, which shows guitarlike parallelism in sixth-chord progrcssions anda
swaying quality in its rhythm (ex. 25). Particularly effcctive in this
The Musical Language of Vil/a-Lobos
Example 24. Choros No. 3 (mm. 128-132}

r-0 "
r.. crrsc
pi- po.
I>A - pl- pjo
" I

I o.._
rA pl- po

.(":\ crrsc
pl.- J>'o.
ri - pl- p;lu

ml' Ir.. Crc$C.
l' - pi- po.
P - pa- po
r '
... _

111 vu .d tf
fi- I f r.'l
vu d


rhythmic pattern is the rendition of the popular performance
that does not conforrn to the rigidity o f a common time measure. Villa-
Lobos accurately conveys the sense of rubato by means of refined
syncopations, with ties carried into the second_ an.d fourth bcats ?f t?e
pattem. This accompaniment is supposed s1gnify (dolenc1a,
according to the score indicationJ. The mam theme m us contour and
rhythmic vagueness, distinctivc from the accompaniment in
a delibera te lack of synchronismJ, is a model of impassioned express10n,
doubly cffective beca use of the subtlety and simplicity o f musical means
at work: clear layers, simplc harmonic implications, strongly tonal
structures of thc melody, melodic sequence and gravity, and isometric
mclody, to name a few.
Heitor Villo-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Sou]
Example 25. Choros No. 5 ("Alma Brasileira")
Mndf' (J_5.:J
Villa-Lobos was perfectly cognizant of the qualities of this Brazilian
musical embodiment when hc said: "What is most interesting in tbis
Choros are the rhythmic and meloclic cadcnces, irregular within a
quadruple meter, giving the disguised impression of rubato or of a
delayed melodic execution, which is precisely the most
of the serenadcrs" (Museu Villa-Lobos 1972:200). The
rbythmtc figures are those already identified with the Noneto and
Choros No. 1. The contrasting middle section (the composer herc again
showsa prefercncefor anAA'BA form) illustrates the rcpertory of dances
of the chores. Here it is a "modera te march," with a variant (beginning
at measure 46) of the original mclody, with cliffercnt harmorues.u
It is ilifficult bclieve that Choros No. 8 was complcted thesame year
( No. 5, smce they are quite differcnt in expression and construc-
tton. Vi_lia-Lobos explained: "This Choros brings another technical and
in its structure. It can be considercd the Choros of
dance (Museu Vtlla-Lobos 1972:201). Written for largc orchcstra, in-
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos HS
cluding two pianos predominantly but clifferently intcgrated in the
the workradiates a prodigious sense of energy.
This is a
result of the composer's intention to convey the liveHness of the
cariocas in their carnival cclebration and merrymaking, without aban-
doning the evocation of "the picturesque, barbarous, and religious
dances of the Inclians from the South American contincnt" (ibid.). This
is the work that receivcd so much attention after his Parisian first public
performance ( 1927) and was reviewed by Florent Schmitt. Although
carnival music was notas organized in the first quarter of the century as
it became la ter, especially since the l950s, and thc first "samba-schools"
were not officially establisbed until 1928, strcct music required fairly
large bands and percussion. Thus, Villa-Lobos's orchestra hcrc demands
a fairly largc percussion section (eigbt pcrfomers): in addition to the
traditional instruments, typical Brazilian percussion includcsreco-reco,
puita, chocalho, caracax (a large shaken rattle), matraca la kind of
noisemaker), and caraxs (two wooden boards used as scrapers" some of
whlch were not, to my knowledge, associated with carnival dance
music. Withouta doubt, this is one of the most complex and bestrealizcd
works in the Brazilian orchestral repertoire. In a true sense, Choros No.
8 could be vicwed as thc modemist version of the many Brazilian
orchestral sutes that preccdcd and succeeded it. That version is botb
nearer to and farthcr from the popular sources. The most typical
rhythmic pattems o f urban popular dance, very familiar to the composer,
{ill tbe many sections of the work, in numerous unorthodox structurcs
and timbral combinations, such as the very opening with a catacax solo
supporting the en trances of thc solo contrabassoon, saxophone, bassoon,
clarinet, trombone, and flute (ex. 26, cf. ex. 18).
In effect, thc most crucial quality of thls work results from the highly
pcrsonal and cffective trcatment of an inordinately Large number of
thematic idcas, based on cboro, children's folksong, and othcr popular
meloclic types, in an unsurpassed interaction between rhythms and
timbres. These thematic ideas are, for thc most part, rhythmically
related to each other, whlch consolidates the scnse offormal unity o f the
work. Ncves's excellent detailed analysis 11977:56-63) provides evi-
dence of thc coherence in the formal developmcnt of the work, evidcncc
not always scen by other commcntators (cf. Kiefer 1981: 112). Thc
imposing finale (beginning at no. 48, p. l09 of score) contains the sort of
outpouring and power of expression that most cxcited the first Parisian
listeners. Rhythm is the primary factor of that excitemcnt, and particu-
larly the incessantly hypnotic ostinati combincd in dense cross-rhyth-
rnic textures. In these, thc two pianos add considcrable strcngth to the
batuque- or samba- like type of dance frcquently uscd in final movc-
mcntsof Brazilian suitcs. This final section also contninsanothcrtypical
86 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
Example 26. Choros No. 8 (mm. 1-8)
cJ ul
,.. Ob

C. Bn.
Sol o L. 1 ... .. . l .. _b. I. .
l::::::::::j c::;;;;- c::=- 3
F. nn.

Solo;oulhffl fffi Fffi
.fffi .fffi _fffi FfTI fffi FTi9 Fffi fffi _ffTI

> = p . ifif p .lff

,;,>= ,.., . ffifp . v -p ffif P V r/r:- ,_ p . ifif ,,. '
imp_rint of the composer: a long, lyrical melodic Jine (in the violins) in
obv10us contrast to the commotion of the rest of the ensemble (ex. 27).
This concluding part cnds with what the composer himself r eferred to as
"a curious effect of extension of a fortssimo chord always expanding, in
winds! as an,;rttirmation_ that thc spirit of dance will rema in eternally
the uruvcrse Villa-Lobos 1972:202). Tbis effect essentially
mvolves the presentatwn of an altered cleventh chord (E major) in thrce
successive phases, the first bringing in the strings, woodwinds, and first
piano (doubled by harp); the second, brass and second piano (doubled by
celesta)i and the third, strings, woodwinds, and first piano-a rather
unorthodox conclusion, indced, to which, as true for the whole work,
one cannot remain indifferent.
The Musical Language o{ Villa-Lobos
Example 26, cont.




= 3
--- . .


:----.... :
5 -----::-..
--...._ I
.... r::::--
. .

r;- --....
-".mj"'R..._. -. q p.,
S<>lo .A.
I -::-
Ffi9 Fffl Ffi9
fffi ffii fFfl FFfl fffi fffi
.f.5 fffi fffi
> '
ff,; :p vif :P ff v,/f ... ffffP if
vmf p ffv p ff ff?tif' 'P 'if p ff if
Choros No. 10, subtitled Rasga o Corao ("Rend Heart"),
generally acknowledged as one of the best examples of Villa-Lobos.s
mature nationalist style, is also one of the most celebrated . of hts
orchestral pieces. Some considcr it his masterpiece, Wltb the
Bachianas Brasileiras No. S. Written for a large orchestra (wtth a good
rcprescntation of Brazilian folk or popular perc_ussi?n ins_truments) and
mixed choros, the work owes its popularity to 1ts as
symphonic tour de force and to its but
contcnts within some o f the most progresstvccomposmonal techmqucs
of thc pcriod. The subtitle comes from the ti de of a modinha by_ thc poct
Catulo da Paixo Cearense (1866- 1946}, adapted to thc mustc of thc
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Tbe Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
Example 27. Choros No. 8 (mm. 430-434)


: ..---"' -.
r ,.- -- .

__, l




... .. .. ,. "' J ' y fJ7
! I!
,.. ..

'! I"

,. , .. .
'4 ... ;I

'f r

. ..
- - - - 11 . >
- -
-...----, -
. -
- -
- - -
- --

11! q,: ;I'! J_

----.:;--..,._-..:;_ ,... "'
- ,...:..:.;--,. --- .........
1.---' '---J'
"<!! '! !
;I '<I".
t !
- - - -
- - - - v.

. .
> -
> -


piano schottische Y Ma by the composer and band leader Anacleto de
Medeiros (1866-1907), portions of which Villa-Lobos quotcd in the
sccond part of his work.
As opposed to Choros No. 8, howcver, the
ovcrall concern here is not related spccifically to urban
popular mus1c but to folk and traditiona1 music associated with the
country at large. Given thc importance of this work, Villa-Lobos's own
description is worth quoting in its cntirety:
The Musical Language of Villo-Lobos
Example 27, cont.

. ,.-
" .
.... I

'f! I'!

, ...
. -
1-., T r
l =

! "! !
--;[ . J
. ... - .. --
- r

't :
1<1 '! ?.
-J_ ...
The variety of birds, rich in number and type, existing in the whole
of Brazil, espccial1y those that Uve in woods and forests and those
that sing at dawn and dusk in the infinite Northeastem sertes,
served for some of the motives of Choros No. 10. The first theme,
found in the third measure at the beginning of this work, presentcd
by the flutc, and later, in thc first measure of letter (A) by the
clarinct, alrcady rcprescnts a transformcd mclodic ccll of a charac-
Heitor V ma-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Sou]
tcristic song of a rare bird of thc Brazilian forests, known in some
places as Azulo da mata. At letter {B), 3/2 meter, and the [first}
two measures of letter {CJ, Plus anim, the piccolos and clarinets
(sic), begin a picturesque atmosphere of birds flock-'
mg, serves as a superior pedal, undulatin& in melodic
embelhshments ("embroideries") of minor seconds combined in
minar the two instruments [piccolds, clarinets), for
a progress10n of eight bitonal chords which depict the
expos1t10n _of one of thc principal themes of Inca character by
augmen tauon.
There follow new themes of various characters which will be
uscd Iater in the course of the work. In the second measure of
lcttcr {F) appears the first cell of the main phrase of th is Choros
which is a mcl?dy made up of (a combination ofl a primitive
anda of Indians, which always reap-
pears wah vanants m 1ts motives. At letter {H), in common time,
there can bc seen a march rhythmic cadence, with accents stress-
ing the part of fourth beat of each measure, appearing
for a short penod and diSappcaring in a pianissimo. At Ietter (I)
Lent, 3/2 and immediately 4/4, after some contrapuntal
there stands out a chromatic theme, in the manncr of the ham- '
mock chants that the Parecis Indians perform in quarter tone, in
Mato Grosso. Fr?m the number ( l) to the number {3), another
atmosphere of brrds flocking, no longer from the forests but from
the of serto. From number (3) to {4),
there 1S somethmg like a bridge or a preparation to reach the
of the last of this Choros. An attractive and piquant
m the low of the bassoon (number 5), propels itself
deciSIVely and obstmately, influencing ali of the instrumental
elcments of the orchcstration, especially the complex chorai
polyphony of the human voices which mesh in the general devel-
?pment until the end of this Choros. The mixed chorus that adapts
1tself to the structure of this work is placed at the samc level of
value and distinction as that of the orchestral architecture. The
text is of and vocalises, without any literary
sense or coordinauon of tdeas, scrving only as onomatopoeic
effccts, to form a phonetic atmosphcre characteristic of the lan-
guage of the aborigines. However, when the crescendo of the voices
its the_rc appears incidentally and in a third layer,
blending w1th the mtncate web of a tight counterpoint in full
stretto, a lyrical and sentimental melody in the manncr of the
urban modinha, extracted from a popular song, with text of the
serenader-poct Catulo Cearense, entitled Rasga o In the
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos
last five measurcs, in the final coda of Choros .. 10, choros
and orchestra project themselves in a great fort1sstmo, wtth
reappearance of the harmonic theme of eight bitonal m the
samc layout of its lirst exposition at lettcr IBJ. (Museu Villa-Lobos
This description not only further in di cates the close of the
composer with the natural of his and Its nat1ve people,
but it additionally provdes thc cvtdeoce of hiS clear conceptual under-
standing of the intended expression and _of the of work.
is clear that the first section, emphaucally tmparung
impressions of the sonorous richness of the land, through the buds
songs and indigenous melodies, functions as a long prclude to the chorai
part. The call ofthe "Azulo da mata" bird !ex. 28) and the
second bird call, together with the eight 29a), that fust
section an cxotic impressionistic character, which 1s_underlined further
by pentatonic motives, dissonant, parallcl harmomcs, and orchcstra-
tion.31 .
The "Inca" character attributed by the composer to the tetratomc
theme outlined by thcse chords is somewhat
the result of the European romantic concept that pnrruuve melody
belonged to "gapped" scales and exhibited narrow ranges. At
any Inca association here would seem out of c?ntext. The Parec1s
"hammock" chant is truly the lullaby !or
already used by the composer in bis Canes Tfp1cas
note 241 coUectcd by Roquctte-Pinto. Here, the chromatic mouve 1s
transfor:Oed by means of rhythrnic diminution I ex. _30) and
through incessant repetitions in various forms, great 1mportance m
first section. The first part of thc principal phrase of the work
at letter !Fllex. 31) is said also t? be of origin, but tts
tetratonic nature, nothing allows 1t to be tdentified as such. Th1s
undergoes various rhythmic at presentauon
throughout the rcmainder of thts first secuon. A particular passage of
"contemporary" orchestration occursat number 121 for cleven
The strings divided into ten parts t effec_ts on
ldoublebasses, cellos, first stand of v10lins) m the
supported by pedal points, syncopated pattcrns, and fast figurauons and
Example 28. Choros No. 10 ("Azulo da Mata")
92 Heitor Vlla-Lobos: Tbe Search for Brazil's Musical Sou]
Example 29a. Choros No. 10 (mm. 22-30)
l 'oc:./C
, l i i-J-'l i
f U::!H

ti .- #'!
I E- n =

'1- 19< Bn
> .
:- :-
-1-- -I. _



- H-
-- :.Jt ._


- - -
... --- -
---- ---
- - - -
------ ---- ---- ----- -- - -

e e


Vl.l r-n..-

l-fl. .

.ff.f7) y

-t .
c r r


: b:r
JJ[ -r
lfw H [
r. r

rcpeatcd tones, while the French horn repeats the dcscending chromatic
motive and piccolo and oboe dialogue in the presentation of further bird
calls; ali birds from thc middle of the serto, vcry worthy of Messiacn's
exotic ornitho-timbristic .rendition (see ex. 29b).
The piquant solo bassoon four-note theme opening the last chorai
section of the work gradually affects the whole orchestra and the chorus.
This section is conceived as a tremendous crescendo of prirnitivistic
magnitude. The two main thernes now become melodic and .rhythrnic
ostinatos of such redundancy and vigor that they soon attain a levei of
bewitchment, rcferred to by thc first French listeners as bruitisme. The
strongonomatopoeic effects that Villa-Lobos mentioned in his study are
produced the complex combination of nonsensical syllablcs, echoing
the phonet1c sounds of the " language of the aborigines." Sue h syllables
The Musical Language of Vi&-Lobos
Example 29a, cont.
!:!'-- --- ------- -

c. r.
t 0!:""
f fi-'*'

r = l r
- ' i)



---- ---


. I I

V c.

create an impressivcly complex counterpoint and enhance thc obsess_ive
primitivistic character of the section !ex. 32). The syllables are hrst
prescnted with constant shifting to different vowel sounds (e.g.,
Ka-ma-ra-ja, J-k-t K-m-r-j, Ji-ki-ti Ki-mi-ri-ji, etc.) in success10n.
The composer then simultancously combines various syllable sounds to
create an unusually complcx vocal texture:
Reb. no. 14 +1
Sop. J- ki- ri-
Alto Ta- ya- p
Tenor Ja- ka- t
Bar. T- k- r
Bass t,
t- m- r- t, J- ki- ri-
ka- ma- ra- j, Ta- ya- p
ka- ma- ra- j, Ja- ka- t
ki- rn- r- j, T- k- r
t, t - re
t- m- r-t
ka- ma- ra- j
ka- ma- ra- j
ki- m- r- j
Kai ,
Heit or Villa-Lobos: Tbe Search for Brazil's Musical Sou/
Example 29a, cont.
., t..:=:r

_1\ .


"" - '1Iff
I .,..,.H
,., (9
r!f1 r=
PP -=::::: ff.ff
-> t...=J
I I>"S
f.ff PP -=::: .f.fff
ff.f :::::=:.- PP -=::::: .f.f.ff

(&) - -- ---- - - -
I tfJ';. -=::::: Jff<

- - ;;,.
--- - -- -- --- --- ---- -- - -----------

: h
!fJZ >p dim.
1.. I I

1 .. "'
. >

With thc support of this frenzied background, the first phrasc of Rasga
o appears, sung in succession and alternation by the sopranos,
the bantones and basses, and the altos. Although one can certainly
sympathize with the composer's attempt to bring about a synthcsis of
Brazilian musical expressions in the Choros, which justifies the inser-
tion of the modinha melody, the nature of the latter appears musically
incompatible with the overall character of the work. As a modinha,
Rasga o Corao should follow the same performance practice charac-
teristics to which Villa-Lobos himself referred in relation to Choros No.
5. Vagueness, rubato, and the impression of "dclaycd melodic exccu-
are considcred propcr and most typical o( scrcnading music, of
wh1ch the modinha is apart. Hcre, however, thcse quaHties are obvl-
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos
Example 29b. Choros No. 10 (mm. 118-123)

ously impossible to reconcile within the "Indian-like" ?f
strongly rhythmic ostinati. The result is an almost rhythrruc
rendition and phrasing of the music ofAnacleto de Medeuos. One_coul?,
therefore reach the conclusion that the insertion of that modinha lS
anachronistic, a result of Villa-Lobos's dcsire t? integra te the
urban musical cxprcssions reprcsented by the modinha w1th those _o f thc
serto and thc Amazonian forcst.
He himsclf apparently wrotc tn the
program notes for thc work's prcmicre: "From that momcnl [lhe appcar-
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Seorch for Brazil's Musical Soul
Exarnple 29b, cont.
ancc of the Rasga o Corao phrase], the Brazilian heart becomes one
with the Brazilian land." The fact that Villa-Lobos felt the need to
expand the durational values of the original melody is significant in this
attempted integration. From a harmonic and orchestrational viewpoint,
Choros No. 10 solidifies a number of characteristic practices of the
composer. Polytonality and tone clusters becomc more prominent.
Cross-rhythmic groupings and multi pie syncopations create po.lyrhyth-
rnic passages of relatively great complcxity. Thc orchcstral trcatmcnt of
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos
Example 29b, cont.
Example 30. Choros No. 10 (mm. 89- 90)
O. solo

98 Heitor Vi11a-Lobos: Tbe Searcb for Btazil's Musical Soul
Example 31. Clwros No. 10 (mm. 89-90)
"-. --.J .__ 3 .....J
L_J__J -
Example 32. Choros No. 10 (mm. 217-221}

,J ,J

Pull.b h

i;;; :;;=;
.... ;;;

"' I
fi' - qfi
if'> if'> > t/!1. >
Pf/ Hp

!fi -- >
if< - lf >
; j
,,.. ,.. ,..
"" -

Alt ....
- -
" po ;.
on ."' .
U.--- n fi b JII r. .. IH.
... ..

t!t. 10. .
r , .. ... r.

, .... . ... _.:: _ ll.u
if:-- --,. pp
111 , .. .,
' ' ..
... .,
"' "'
h - tii " - In. Tri - r8 1 .. h N - u .
... .... ...,rilld
_<f'> ,,., .


Db . !;

Jz > f J, .
The Musical Lavguage of Villa-Lobos 99
Example 32, cont.
(\ -
h h h h h h h h h
. .

7 h r-1 >



(/h t/!1. --
lfh /(/>-


a...- .... .... .... '17 ....
... ...

. im -
..... ... ...
. "'-
... ... u. .. ... .. . l p po b mJ u "D r f"" ..

i ..... -
u--- u-'
P UIIN.RI p ... . ... 'b f'O !:. ..
... 1\1 - -..-u b. ltl t - 1\), .. ... u - to, N u: 10,. mr
... mf tf i! Tf W t-i.!*lf ...
n u kl mt ,.. T4 U

f::- .r..
. ,.,.

i/i -

fulfilling a particularly important rhythmic function, through
repetition and in cross-relation to the orchestra, is more evident here
than in the Noneto or Choros No. 3. Sois the practice of the fragmenta-
tion of thematic material lmitated in extreme instrumental ranges.
Pinally, one encounters here numerous instances of instrumental
dou blings in several octaves, special effects as glissandi of harmonics in
divided strings and systematic double stops, and the frequent division of
harmonies between different instrumental producing disso-
nant or polytonal clashes, concurrently with frequent neutral timbres
rcsulting from unique color blendings.
Many in Brazil bclicvc that had Villa-Lobos stoppcd composing in
100 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Sou]
J 930, h e would still occupy a distinguisbcd position in tbe music of his
country. There can be no doubtabout such a speculation for, in addition
to his works prior to 1922, with tbe compositions of tbc 1920s, particu-
larly the Choros, chamber m usic works such as the Quinteto (em Forma
de Choros) (1928), the great piano works Rudepoema (1921-1926), and
the Cirandas (1926), and the song cycle of Serestas (1925-1926), Villa-
Lobos bad reacbed bis full maturity as a creative individual by the time
he retumed to Brazil in 1930. Within this development, the Choros bear
a special significance in their testimony of a daring, experimental
composer who assimilated in a genuinely natural and uniq ue manner the
idiosyncrasies of Brazilian musical expressions, synthesizing them sub-
jectively in that monumental and varied series, so that bis namc beca me
synonymous witb that of Brazil.
Tbe Piano Works: Rudcpoema and Cirandas
Of tbe major piano works composcd in the 1920s, Rudepoema (literally,
"Rough Poem") and the series of the Cirandas occupy a special place,
together witb Prole do Beb No. 2, since tbey reprcsent some of tbe
composer's main contributions to piano literature of tbe period.
Rudepoema (1921-1926) was dedicatcd to Arthur Rubinstein and was
proposed as a portrait of the pianist. Rubinstcin premiercd tbe work at
the Paris Salle Caveau in 1927. The dcdication reads as follows:
My dear friend, I don't know if I have succeeded in assirnilating
your soul witb this "Rudepocma," but I swear, with all my beart,
that I have tbe impression of having recorded your temperamcnt in
my mind and that I transcribed it to paper mechanically, as an
intimate Kodak. Conscqucntly, if I should succeed, you will be the
true author of thls work.
The technical and aesthetic complexity of this work arises from tbe
phenomenal variety of rnoods, probably the result of Villa-Lobos's
perception of Rubinstein's personality. Through lengthy, dissonant, and
loud ostinatos, tbe work creates at times a prirnitivistic atmosphere. But
thc ovcrall character is decidcdly experimental, especially in the tteat-
ment of rhythm and timbre. The sonorous rnagnificcnce is such tbat
Rudepoema may besaid to have bccn "orchestrated" for the piano.
daring experiments with timbres find one o{ their happiest exarnples
here. A rather dense texture, including combinations of melodic mo-
tives, virtuosic figuration, repeated fourth-based chords, and numerous
pedal points, contributes to thc coloristic character of the work. Spccial
Tbe Musical Language oi Villa- Lobos
Example 33a and b. Rudepoema
a) mm. 269-74 "'
f! ,
1'_ _ __ _ ___ _ __ _
" . .
8'1'- - - -- - ---- -
l' ress lhe kcy wlthotil
I r J
l"f r I J
r r I J


-- --- ---------- --- -------- -----'
-- ---------- --
b) mm. 279-86
'Y" 11 1
y nl
"'Y " I
y_ I"

sfz,_ ifz"'
if.fz ,.
" n
-- -- --------- ---
----------- --- --
(A1WIIys mninhrin lht D sharp
-- -------

- - -- --
UO- ----- -
--- ------ - -
kcys dOIVII)


- -
-- -
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Sou]
timbral effects glissandos applied to any intcrval and complex
chordal_structurcs (wnh two- or three-octavc jumps), grace notes, and
harmorucs. us_e of harmonics is worth mentioning, as Wustrated in
33, m wh1ch the unstruck sustained tone (D#I vibrates sympa-
thetically when the lower fifth (G#I is struck. The tone clusters in
together wi tb the harmonics crea te a unique timbre.
Despue Its heterogeneity of moods, Rudepoema relies on thematic
and rhythmic relationshiJ?s for unification. Severa! themes appear
thc seven sect10ns of the work, each theme serving as a
umfymgelcment: The material does not have thelyrical quality
commonly ass_ocJated wtth Villa-Lobos's music; rather, narrow-range,
?ften chromat1c, and shon motives prevail. They tend to be character-
tzed by their rhythmic figuration, and some are reminiscent of popular
or_ tunes. in devising rhythmic unity
Wlthm each secuon and dtverstty between sections is praiseworthy.
Indeed, as the main structural factor of
Of QUite are_ the sixteen pieccs of Cirandas ( 1926).
Overtly nanonalistJC, each ptcce ts built on a traditional children's folk
tune (cirandas are actually childrcn's round dances, similar to "ring-
around-a-rosy") whose treatment varies from simple reproduction (as in
"X, x, passarinho") or slight alteration (as in "Therezinha de J esus"l to
substantial modification (as in "A procura de uma agulha"). Kiefer saw
the of the in the Cirandas as revealing a
romanttc posture (remmding h1m of Robert Schumann's Kinderszenenl
hut also as an attempt _t? overcome obstacles betwcen elite European
and that o_f Brazilian popular social strata (Kiefer 1981: 104). This
optruon echoes Vllla-Lobos's own belief that one of the functions of the
composer was to serve as the intermediary between the music of the
people and that social elite (cf. Machado 1987:92-96). Regardless
?f the apphcat10n of such a belicf, this cycle is considcred by many
m Brazil of t_he composcr's best piano achievemcnts, probably
beca use of tts tdtomattc character, its coloristic richncss and its national
spontaneity. The appeal of the Cirandas rests not on the alluring
treatme:"t of the but also on the composer's original
rhythm1c, harmomc, techmcal procedures. "Therezinha de Jesus,"
for e:xample, has a uniformly syncopatcd accompanimcnt throughout
quite in its popular flavor (ex. 34). "X
x, passarinho"
effects and graceful impressionist harmonization, cnhanced
by mdo1_ent double-dotted figures that accent the appoggiatura chords.
Souza Ltma (1969:68) felt that thcse pieces could be considered as lhe
//Pictures at an Exhibition," presumably because of lhcir
evocataon of characteristic national sccnes.
Tbe Musical Language of Villa-Lobos
Example 34. Cirandas: "Therezinha de Jesus"
modera to
Selected Chamber Music Works
The Trio (1921), for oboe, clarinet, and bassoon, in three
(Anim, Languissant, Vi/), stresses rhythrnic combinations and
cate ostinatos, even with a melodic writing predominantly rhythma_cal/
thereby conferring on it a folklike dancing character.
At tbe samc ttme
that he explores, in onc of his most crcative extremely
effective polyrhythmic textures and undoubtcdly some of the
most effectively idiomatic writing to that date for the
Villa-Lobos instinctively refers subliminally to the
language that he makes totally bis own. This pnmarily
expresscd through rhapsodylike rhythmic treatment/ rem1Dlscent of the
music of the popular chores, especially in numerous passages a
typical contrast is est2.blished between sy:"cop_ated m one
instrument supported by rapid regular pulsatlons m another
tal part. In addition, this work reveals a great deal of atonal and
a developmental process groundcd on continuous invention and
Inaddition, the maio chamber music worksofthe 1920s ofnauonalist
character besides the Choros for small ensembles and the Noneto,
includc the Quatuor(1928), forflute, oboe, clarinet, and and e
Quinteto (em Forma de Choros) ( 1928), for flute, oboe, clarmet,
or French horn and bassoon, each exhibiting a different melodic and
rhythmic but both with an vitality. The
quartet is monothematic and reveals a metnc unifonruty (unusual for
Villa-Lobos) in cach of its thrcc movemen ts !Allegro N_on Lento,
Allegro Molto Vivace). The composer seems to dclight here m poly-
phonic wriling, even in canonic in the first and
third movements. The melodic wntmg IS predomman tly chromauc, and
lfeitor Villa-Lobos: The Searcbfor Brazil's Musical Soul
thc formal balance reaches a levei of perfection rarely found in Villa-
Lobos's works. Also remarkable is the attention accorded to intricate
counterpoint and to atonality.
. The short quintet (in one movement subdivided into small scctions)
relatcd to the popular character of the choros, especially in thc
rmprov1satory nature of the melodic invention, reinforced by a rather
free (reflected by numerous meter changes). The
farmliar Braztlian syncopated pattems found in the NoneLo are fre-
quently applied to the main thematic ideas. The deliberate tonal free-
d_om to thc work an additional aura ofspontaneity, s characteris-
uc of V1lla-Lobos's music of this period. The contrapuntal treatment of
some passages (such as the Tres lent section) is likewise associated with
the popular choro performance practiccs.
The Works of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s
Many analysts ofVilla-Lobos's works have been inclined to consider the
Choros and othcr compositions of the 1920s as the pivotal works of his
entiie production. Others (e.g., Nbrega 1975:24) have seen that decade
of activities _as the affirmation of his maturity as a composer,
placmg 1t as the thud of four chronological divisions. Whatever thc
individual merits of and rationale for a given approach, the 1920s
undoubtedly stand at the c.ore of the determination of the composer's
credo! which is further interpreted in the last part of this
study. Phllosophlcally, hence most of the written
..Lafter 1930 have been seen essent1ally as the continued growth of that
h . d . al
cr '. Wlt occas1on improvement in the composer's
and manifestation but, in general, with lcss daring
experrment and mnovation.
Regardless of E.rogress- or
'li in strictly technical terms, numcrous works of tEC post-1930
penod have the same vitality and efficiency as many prcvious works.
What seems to have influenced the general assessment of this later
is the undeniable overabundance that inevitably resulted in many
frequently the consequence of commissions. Within
thts output, howcver, numerous works deserve as much recognition as
some of Villa-Lobos's earlier ones, not only for their intrinsic albeit
distinct,.qualities but also for the crucial testimony they prescnt
a total vtew of the composer's legacy. Among these works are bcsidcs
the Bachianas, the symphony No. 6 ( 1944), of a total of twclve: numer-
ous string quartets, !'los. 5 I 1931 ), 6 ( 1938), and 11 ( 1947), of
a totaJ.of seventeen, the ptano pteces Ciclo Brasileiro ( 1936), New York
Sky I 1939), Chopin (1949), the four sutes of o
Descobnmenlo do Brasil (1937) for orchestra, Mandu arar ( 1940) for
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos 105
orchestra and mixcd and childrcn choruses, and Eroso I 1950) for
orchestra. Among the major concertos of this period stands the Piano
Concerto No. 2 ( 1948). His most frequentl y performed chorai wor k o f the
period is the austcre Missa So Sebastio I 193 71- Among chamber music
pieces, besides the string quartets, Assobio a Jato I 1950), for flute and
cello, is very symptomatic of the neoromantic bent of the composer, but
always associated with various aspects of Brazilian popular music.
Finally, the preludes and tudes for guitar solo have become an integral
part of the classical repertory of the twenticth century, especially since
the 1960s.
The Bachianas Brasileiras
The nine composions bearing the title Bachianas Brasileiras, written
from 1930 to 1945 ( the years o f the Vargas regime) are, together with the
Choros, the best known and most significant works of Villa-Lobos. The
fust movement, Aria (Cantilena), of Bachianas No. 5 is internationally
the most popular, hence most commercially successful, piece of any
work by a Latin American art-music composer. The popularity of that
piece is attested to by the numerous available transcriptions and arrange-
ments: for v o ice and gui tar, voice and piano, viola or cello, and piano, by
the composer himself, and for other media (organ, band, etc.) by other
transcribers. In bis study of May 1947, the composer explained;
Bachianas Brasileiras- ti de of a type of musical composition
created from 1930 to 1945 to pay homage to the great genius of
Johann Sebastian Bach. Tbe Bachianas Brasileiras, numberingnine
sutes, are inspired by the musical atmosphere of Bach, considered
[by the author] as a universal folkloric source, rich and profound,
with all popular sound materiais from ali countries, (a source)
intermcdiary between all peoples. [For Villa-Lobos], the music of
Bach comes from the astral infinite to infiltrate itself in the earth
as folk music. (Museu Villa-Lobos 1972: 187)
According to his biographers, Villa-Lobos's fascination with the
music o f Bach goes back to his childhood when his aunt Zizinha used to
play for him thc Well-Tempered Clavier, several pieccs ofwhichhe later
transcribed for various media, particularly in the 1930s, but as early as
1910. This fascination obviously transformcd itself into a sort of mystic
conception of Bach's music as a universal "folk" source and language,
accessible to all humankind. One could easily take issue with such a
view, on thc basis of its visionary supposition and even its ethnoccntric
bias, but that would be out of placc and for an understand-
Heitor Vj)]a-Lobos: Tbe Search for Brazil's Musical Sou/
the composer's aim. Intuitivcly, Villa-Lobos perceivcd clear
bctwecn certain contrapuntal textures and rhythmic procc-
m Bach and those of certain aspects of Brazilian folk and popular
The Bac?ianas were not intended, however, as stylizcd rendi-
of the mustc o f Bach. but as an attempt to adapt to Brazilian music,
wtth great freedom, ccrtam baroque harmonic and contrapuntal proce-
durcs. Only such a daring personality as Villa-Lobos could have under-
sue h a task. In fact, by nationalizing sue h a holy European artistic
h e have aspi:ed. to the universality of that heritage by
attemptmg to assunilate the of Bach's music. Such an aim may
preposterous or cven msane but, in fact, his intuition had a
?eflmtely realistic. basis. Severa! genres of Brazilian folk and popular
mustc exhibit in their improvisatory nature a notablc
m.clo.dlc mdependence, with themes frequently involving repcatcd and
or broken-chord figurations, and with strongly functional har-
momc support. In addition, numerous danceandfolksong gcnres partake
?f the typical rhythmic scnsc o f Bach's fast movements, especlally in bis
mstrumental works, based on a recurring pulsation (often in sixteenth- notation) and cross-rhythmic and syncopated layouts.
N obrega I 1971: 13- 15) giVes severa! illustrations (some artificiall y con-
to extent) of this sound-structure kinship, and calls
spectal attent10n to the flute Jine of the Badinerie section of Bach's
Overture No. 2 in B Minor IBWV 1 067), which, h e rightly claims, could
very .well to the popular composer Pixinguinha's repertory of
?bonnhos, m tts (repeated toncs, descending shapc), its pulsat-
mg rhythm, and the dlsplacement of the phrasing accentuation in the
last measures of the passage.
The individual works were written for the following performing
No. 1(1930), for eight cellos, or an "orchcstra of cellos"
No. 211930), for orchestra
No. 3 (1938), for piano and orchestra
No. 4(1930), for piano; orchestrated in 1941
No. 5 ( 1938-1945), for voice and orchestra of cellos
No. 6(1938), for flute and bassoon
No. 7 (1942), for orchestra
No. 8 (1944), for orchestra
No. 9 (1945), for string orchestra or voices
They are ali formally conceived as sutes in the baroque sense of a
sequence ofdance movements, either in two !Nos. 5, 6, and 9), threc(No.
11, or four movements (Nos. 2, 3, 4, 7, and 8). With the exceptions of the
second movement of No. 6, the ou ter movcments of No. 8, and those of
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos
No. 9 cach movement has dual titles, one formalistic la Bach, such as
"fantasia," "toccata,
11 11
' h " b 1 d " " dlnha
11 11
other nationahsuc, sue as em o a a, . mo , . '
"desafio" and "choro." The popular Bachianas No. 2 1s frequently

0 Trenzinho do Caipira," ("The Little Train of the 'Caipira,"'
or "backwoodsman," referringto the peasants of the o f So Paulo
and neighboring states), the actual title of the move-
men t, which depicts realistically tbe gradual and slowmg o f the
locomotive with whistle sounds and stcamy blowrng at the end (on an
A mino r chord with added fourth and sevcnth), ali dominated by a.banal
villagc-band type of melody, which, however, does not reflect m my
opinion any of the features of caipira folk music. Each movem.ent tends
to favor the ABA form, with A more developed than B. Some ep1sodes are
added to cither section for the sake of dlversity, but the three-part form
is basically maintained. As opposed to the Choros, the harmony
tends to bc more tonal, with progressions showing chord
with addcd fourths, sixths, and sevenths, and frequent use of
tones and anticipations. Thus, the occurrence of dissonances less
frequent than in the Choros. Thc national elements of the
tends to be conveyed primarily by rbythmic structures, then by certarn
melodic types and treatment, and by timbral associations.
Bachianas Nos. 1, 2, 4, and 5 are the best known of the cycle.
Number 1 typifies the unique stylistic of this intention of
forging a link between tbe two musical trad_iuons. The mcasures of
the introduction, also entitled Embolada, dlsclose thc aspect.of
the style by means of livcly rcpcatcd rhythmic pattems, w1th specJal
emphasis on thc off-bcats 12/4 r r r :; r r r I
r u :; r r r I
. As a musical composiuonat process,
the embolada appears as individual pieccs or in various lsuch as
the cco) and folksongs (as in the desafio) in northeast Brazil. Its melody
tends to be declamatory in rather fast durational values and re.peated
notes and short intervals. Villa-Lobos makes the most of such trruts, not
only in tberhythmicaccompaniment at the beginning, butin numerous
subsequent rhythmic ostinati (see, e.g., first cellos' at N.o. 7 of
Associated Music Publishers score, and second cellos octave hgures,
from No. 9 to No. 11). The main theme also e ofthe
most prcfcrrcd melodic types, a large, dynam1c a
chordal fashion (as many of Bach's melodics) and ending ma descendlng
scalar manner (ex. 35). The melodic range of a ninth is indeed
Bachian as well as bel-canto-likc. But cspecially significant iothe thard
dcscend,ing phrase (mm. 16-20) is theapplication to the typical sequcnce
in largc intcrvals of one of thosc choro-like hcsitant and nonchalant
Heitor Villa Lobos: The Searcb for Brazil's Musical Sou]
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos
Example 35. Bachianas Brasileiras No. 1 (1st mt.)
Example 35, cont.
. A A
ft -
~ I.
- I
. A

. b .. ,.,. ..... . b.


.. . ....
'*-*- e ~
110 Heitor ViJla-Lobos: The Seaich for Brazil's Musical Sou I
rhythmic figures, reminiscent of the first ostinato of Choros No. 5.
Through such rhythmic means as the unprcdictable placement of thc
triplets and the delayed cadenccs, Villa-Lobos infuses this theme with u
remarkably improvisational character.
Orrego-Salas points to the essentially vocal quality of most of Villa
Lobos's melodies, with the marked tcndency to develop rhythmically
ratber independently from theaccompaniments. These, he says, "are thc
varying elemcnts while the mclodic line is extended by repetition to
different tonal planes, although almost always joined together by pro
gressions whose harmonic formulas are sufficiently known and tradl-
tional" ( 1966: 16).
Different tonal planes clearly imply melodic se
quence, a procedure profuscly utilized in the Bacbianas. The sccond
movement of No. 1, a Prelude-Modinba, illustrates noticeably thc
desccnding sequential progression of a lyrical tine, much like many of
Vivaldi's slow movements, which exerted considerable influence on
Bach's arias and adagios (ex. 36).
2 The lyricism of that tine and thc
resulting overall romantic character of the movement closely corre-
spond to the modinha effusivc expression, as it relates to that of Italian
opera aria.
Some people have wanted to see in the Bachianas a rcflection of a
"return-to-Bach" movemcnt, resulting in a neoclassic orientation, very
fashionable in the 1930s and 1940s.
Neoclassicism postulated, how-
ever, a forrnalistic and objective disposition that would appear diamctri-
cally opposed to Villa-Lobos's personality. Orrcgo-Salas sees thegenera1
conceptual difference between the Bacbianas and the Choros as very
slight, and emphasizes their sirnilarities on the grounds of the strong
presence of vemacular clements, the variety of performing media, and
the fusion of both Europcan and Brazi lian I foi kloreJ aesthetics ( 1966:2 7).
This does not explain, however, the differen t stylistic approaches o f both
sets toward achieving that fusion. Whether the Bacbianas represent a
neoclassic trend rather than musical nationalism is only a matter of
sclcctive cmphasis. Neoclassic elemcn ts are most evidcn t in the texture.
Consonant chordal structurcs predominate in almost every measure of
Bacbianas No. 1, with frcquent appearance of melodic line doublings in
consonant intervals.
In effect, in the Bachianas Villa-Lobos makes frequent use of circle-
of-fifths progressions where the seventh of one chord resolves to the
third of the next and so on, a common procedure in Bach, Rameau,
Vivaldi, and other eighteenth-century composers. In addition to thc
prcpondcrance of consonanccs is thc generally concurrcnt clcar texture.
The use of fuguc or fugato sections as a formal principie might be
considered as a neo-classic fcature, but irnitative techniques are also
typical of severa! Brazilian popular musicgenres, although obviously not
with the hierarchical and structural ordering of Europcan fuga! imita
The Musical Lauguage o{ Villa-Lobos
Example 36. Bochianos Brasileiras No. 1(2nd mt.)
11 tempo
tion. Os tina to figures and longpedal tones that define tonal construction
in Bach's music are also frequently found in the Bacbianas. To be sure,
there are instanccs in which texture and form appear to detract from the
more purely nationalist (especially rhythmic) The last m?ve-
ment, Fuga-Conversa, of Bachianas No. 1 provtdcs a good example. the
subjcct, with its repeated notes, syncopations, and angular contour,
a well-defined vernacular esssence (ex. 37)-in the manner o f the
Stiro Bilhar, said Villa-Lobos (Museu 1972:.1881-:-but 1ts
nationalist impact is minimized by the lffilt3UVC tCXturc, In Splte of
composcr's that this fuga "dcscribcs a typc o f convcr:-lnllon
I 12.
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Searcb for Brazil's Musical Sou}
Examplc 37. Bachianas Brasileiras No. 1 (3rd mt.)
Un poco umm.nt?
. . . . '"\ . . . .
- -


. .,.., .L


. " . >
I M.,. .l


''"" LL .r---..
. _;.
;.. ;.. ;.. ;.. ;..
_;. ;. ;.. r.
between four 'chores' whose instrumcnts dispute thc thematic advan-
tage, in successive questions and answers, in a dynamic crescendo"
(ibid.J. Neoclassicism presumed fully developed counterpoint and po-
lyphony and a fuller adherence to the concept of autonomous abstract
music, both characteristics rather antithetical to Villa-Lobos's artistic
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos
Example 37, cont.
11 _l
11 _I r----.
lot.1 I.

L. . . . _.1_


lln I

;L. =: > . >
- ----
. r
The Puccini-like melodic lyricism found in the Bacbianas and nu-
merous other works, especially solo songs, guitar chamber
music works, stands out in opposition to the charactenstlcally
mic short motivic melodic invcntion. The composer's
and,identity with the romantic expression of the modznha,
sively influcnced by Ttalianate popular lyricism, account for th1s part1cu
114 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
lar m.clodic orientation. Cantabile melodies of the modinha type abound
in his works, but none as emotionally expressive and powerfully cngag
ing as the famous soprano line of the Aria-Cantilena oi Bachianas No.
5, the deservedly best known andmost popular work ofVilla-Lobos. This
"chanting" Line, which the composer referred to as a "languid, lyric and
neo-Classic melody" (Museu Villa-Lobos 1972:191), is performed as a
vocalisc on the "a" vowel. The improvisatory charactcr of this long, wide
phrase (17 mm., ex. 38) is creatcd by its contour, which stresses its never-
ending quality (see fig. A on p. 119 for a graphic reprcsentation of this
contour) by means of pitch, harmonic, and rhythmic factors causing
unpredictability and surprise. In this respect, the beginning and ending
pitches of the various periods of the phrase are worth considering. The
following pitches form the sequence of the melodic rcfercntial points:
C A - G - D - F# - Bb - A/
G - F/ E A - C# - G - D - F - E - D - C - A
Some of thc ending pitches function concurrcntly as temporary tonics
and anticipated dorninants of the next tonal area, for cxample, thc pitch
A (in measure 5) announces thc temporary d minar feeling of mcasure 7.
Tbis is established by the melodic outlining of the dominant seventh
built on the A. Similarly, the pitch D of measure 7 functions as thc
dominant of g minar reached at mcasure 8. Thc brief pause of the melody
on A and F (respectively, at mm. 9 and 11) and a mclodic sequence in
between ( m. I O) add to the cffect of unpredictability o f melodic dircction.
The impression of almost free meter is produced not only by the
asymmetrical periodicity (hence the frequent meter changes) but also by
the irregular musical punctuation and the delayed or anticipated ca-
dences. Theasymmetry isclear in thegraphicreprescntation. Takingthe
sixteenth note as the basic pulse, the various succcssivc vocal periods
reveal the following arder of pulsating units: 52, 34, 23, 15, 24,32, 35, 9,
16, 16, 16, 10. Therhythmicstructurcofthemelodycontrastslongdura-
tional values of the bcginning and ending pitches of the periods (hence
crcating a static character), and shorter values applied mostly to interval-
lic skips in frequent syncopated patterns within the periods (crcating a
dynamic quality). Although sequential treatment is common (see mm.
8-11 and 15-18), its eflcct tends to be "destroycd by thc diversity of tbe
syncopated rhythms used in each c a s e ~ [Orrego-Salas 1966:21).
An element of surprisc appcars between mcasures 13 and 14: every-
thing lcads onc to expcct the final resolution of the chant al that point
(perfect cadence, allargando), but the sudden appearance of C sharp (a
baroquc practice of the "Picardie" tbird! I signals the rencwal of the
melodic flight, effccted through the no-lcss-uncxpcctcd dimnishcd fifth
Tbe Musical Language of Villa-Lobos
Example 38. Bachionas Brasileiras No. 5 (1st mt.)
r.U -
Vc. I
Vc:. 4
- i
, PP
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brozil's Musical Sou[
The Musical Language of VilJa-Lobos
Example 38, cont.
Example 38, cont.
,.-------.. ,...-
/ ......

........ -.....
I....- -
n nnn n
. ... .

1'- .. ==--

.,; .. , ...


... .



,. ..



.. ...
,.. .-

....... .....
- =-- dua.
.... .....
. ..,
11 ,.
I ..
. r
-. :::.....




"' I

. ...
-. .,
.. . ,. Y
" r

Example 38, cont.
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Searcb for Brazil's Musical Sou!
-====-- !"
(C#-G). The c#-g is actually the diminished fifth comained within thc A
dominam chord that creates the forward motion to D. Even the final
cadence(rnm. 19-W) isremarkablein swprisingdetails: the tonic "a" in
the vocalline is reachcd too fast to make a truly final impact; therefore,
the first cellos take over the melody to bring it to a close (at m. 20). This
sense of improvisation, recalling the popular serenaders, is also en-
hanced by thc avoidance of full resolutions and of clear harmonic
definitions. The expressive Brazilian quality of this Cantilena is also
underlined by thc treatmen to f the cello ensemble accompaniment. The
pizzicati in contrary motion of cellos li and N in the first two measurcs
and the descending progression of the bass line (cellos ill) suggest an
amplified version of the picked style of guitar performance known in
Brazil as ponteio. The doubling o f the soprano linc ("the human v o ice as
anothertimbre," in thecomposer'swords)by celloslan octave belowthe
voice adds substantial volume and coloristic depth. Particularly effcc-
tive on the retum of the melody at the end of the movcment is thc
soprano humming, which creates with the doubling of cellos I a timbral
ambiguity resulting from the felicitous blending of both, so that the
soprano and the cello voices become one.
Thcsecond movemcnt, Danza (Martelo), which wasadded much la ter
{1945 ), is another brilliant and virtuoso piece, with the poetry of Manuel
Bandeira exalting the songs of various birds of the Northeast: Irer (trcc-
duck type), Cambaxirra (house wren),/uritf (quail-dove type), Patativa
(seedeater type), Bem-te-vi (tyrant-flycatcher type), and Sabi (thrush or
mockingbird). Bandeira apparently wrote the poem for thc VUla-Lobos's
piece after the complction of thc lattcr. Martelo is part of lhe northeast-
em folk-song ducl tradition, gencrica))y known as desafio and cantoria.
Tbe Musical Language of Villa-Lobos
Figure A. Melodic Contour of the Cantilena (Bacbianas Brasileiras
N o . ~ ~ - - - - - - - r - - - - - - - ~ r - - - ~ - - - - - -

b - ~

4 t
4 t
b ~ ~ +

..... cell o molodic resolutlon -
120 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
The rhythm of the vocallinc, however, appears to follow that of the
embolada las in the first movement of Bachianas No. 1) to which Villa-
Lobos referred in his notes for this work. H e a1so compared the os tina to
of the first four measures, with repeated tones in fast tempo figurations,
to the strokes o f a hammer (martelo), implying that h e may not have had
the folk-song poetic typc in mind This assumption is later confirmed
when h e described the vocalline as in the "genre of popular' emboladas'
of the Northcastem 'sertes"' (Museu Villa-Lobos 1972:191 ). I!! fact, the
rhythm o f the vocal melody-anacrusis and repeated tones in regular and
fast pulsations-is fairly common in emboladas, as is the difficulty of
textual diction, given tbe fast tempo (ex. 39).
Villa-Lobos teUs us that the main "melody is fonned of cells, themes,
and phrascs inspired and taken from tbe songs of birds from the North-
east" (ibid.). As opposed to the Cantilena, the voice is therefore treated
Example 39. Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 (2nd mt.)

=r= ! tt

;._ ,. ;._ ;,_;,. . ;.._
1 ..... -
- -

'H{f:> p ulf5= p

1' 111,1:;:::-


- -
I __

I \.
'P 'ni .J!;:-
doi -.1

t . n . .
A 111 .-::::;
I "' m"JIIlt., ti<t ,.. uho do Su- IJo du Ca - rj

tWI .... -d.t '41 -

.. _

-- .____;...._

"': _
p m.f.= p 1ll.f:::::: 1'
lllf -


5 '


p lll.f=- p
l i/'--'=
m .JfY_
<li! "'"""'
J -;
TbeMusical Language of Villa-Lobos
Example 39, cont.

IIII"U bem!
,,e M1
1\ I h

t r
i '!'
, ..

r. ri
AI uis. - ..
:t MJ b.J .J J
., ;_ _f
r I 1 J r

- . -.!

4!. .,;

" .

, .. l()t .o t
.... loi .. W l lJ - dOI
...... . VI f.

'!' 'f
I . --
Heitor Vi lia-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Sou}
a with virtuoso irnitations of various kinds of b.ird calls
requumg performance {Nos. 7 to 9: with descending seventh
and ascendingsiXth, and Nos. lO to 1 2). Hereagain, Villa-Lobos treats the
of. cellos for example, Ccllos I providlng at
the pulsatmg as if they were the viola (folk
guttar of ftve double strmgs) of the cantador (the desafio singer) and
Cellos TI and (at the piu mossa" section No. 7} taking the
dance.rhythm m consecutJve four-pitch chords performcd in strumming
general statcment that the attempted "union between
Baroque forms and vcrnacular Brazilian rhythrns is not
to allow us to state that the Bachianas are
substantialiy from any other work o f Villa-Lobos" { 1966:27) is
somewhat mJsleading for severa! reasons. Villa-Lobos's intention in
works pay h omage to the great genius of Bacb, and througb
1t to to assrmilate thc vitality and universality of his music. Villa-
s very pers?nal and somcwbat convoluted view of Bach and his
h1m a widc margin of conception in the Bachianas,
which, m the composcr's words, were "inspired by the musical atmo-
sphcre of Bacb." Evocation of that atrnosphere takes on a multitude of
and goes beyond a mere union of baroque forms
Brazihan rhythms. Even if the composer bad wanted and been able
to a ?'uly .Bachian, elaborate countcrpoint, and had been
more hteralm biS reliance on traditional Baroque forms, the results
probably have been closcly similar. That is beca use thcre is more
m the Brasileiras than vernacular rhythms. And yet, while
the nat10nal elements contribute substantially to the cxprcssive con-
ts o f these wor ks-w hich, in this respect, are indeed n ot s ubstan tially
?ifferent from any other work- they doso in uniq ue ways not dupllcated
m any other work. Ultimately, it would appear that Villa-Lobos has in
bee? more successful witb the Bachanas than with any other
m re_achmg tbat levei universality and acceptance he sought. If the
of Bach belped m that process, more credit to Villa-Lobos's
The String Quartets and Olher Chamber Music Works
J?uring the period undcr consideration, Villa-Lobos renewed his atten-
uon to cham ber music, cspecially to tbc string q uartet medi um in which
he .had not been engaged since 1917. Considering the severity of the
quartet as a geme and its traditionalleaning toward communicat-
mg abstract .musical thought, it is curious that Villa-Lobos gave it so
much attenuon throu.ghout his life. His total output of scventecn string
quartcts spans the penod 1915- 195 7 and cxemplifics severa I of h is major
The MusiCtJl Language of Villa-Lobos
compositional characteristics and experiments.
minds us that Villa-Lobos, essentially self-taught, was cntJ
cized in some circles for lacking academic knowledge of techniques of
composition, especially of theintricacies of formal structural
principies. He may indeed bave felt challenged by cnucs to prove
himself as a composcr of "pure" form, of stylistic processes involving
original but solid tonal contructions, and of imitative But
beyond this immcdiateresponse, it is likely that h e found m the mumate
medium of the string quartet the motivation and challenge for the
exprcssion of the whole gamut of bis artistic thought. although
quartets do not have a priori any programmatic assocta.uon, arem
fact similar, in style and aesthctic intention, to ali of bis maJor concur-
rent works in other genres.
Seven quartets (No. 5 [1931] to No. 11 (1947]).wer: written thc
1930sand 1940s. TheremainingsixquartctsoccuplCd Vllla-Lobos m the
1950s. Quartcts Nos. 5, 6, and 11 mark a in
stylistic trcatment of national sources and an mcreasmg level of sophis-
tication in exprcssivencss. Subtitled "No. 1 of the
Quartet No. 5 initiates the composer's plan to expenment w1th thc
incorporation ofBrazilian popular musical elements {popular children's
tunes, according to tbe composer) in a of stringquartets. Howcver,
Villa-Lobos probably did not feel very conhdent of that
plan, since the subsequent q uartets do not follow this Th.e
thematic ideas of the first movement of Quartet No. 5 lllustrate peru-
nently the composer's frequently quotedstatcmen.t to the effect tha_t
melodies are as authentically folk as chose emanatmg from the Brazthan
people. Indeed, in overall shape (especially tones, sequential
treatment and descending tendency), tonal drrecuon, rhythm, and
formal sevcral themes are akin to Luso-Brazilian folk mclo-
dies.47 Others as in thc Lento middle section of this fust movement, are
rernirliscent the lyric effusion of modinha songs. In addition, most
themes are supported by rhythmic and harmonic ostinatos, and the
formal dcsign is strictly sectional. . . . . . .
Quartet No. 6 cnjoys special appeal for Brazilian listeners, smce 1t JS
considered the most nationalist of Villa-Lobos's string quartets, al-
though the composer abandonedhis original plan of desigrtating it. as the
second of a scries of "popular quartets." Yet, severa! melodic and
rhythmic elcments can easily be related to certain of
popular music, such as the syncopated patterns of rst secuon of e
" Poco anirnato" first movcment, and the rhythmtc contrast resulung
from thesixtecnth-notc pulsations and the triplet figures of the first and
middlc sections of thc movement. Villa-Lobos himself refers to "subt lc
rcferenccs to rhythmic charactcristics of thc sertes of thc Brazilan
nonhcast" in thas mnvcmcntjMuscu Villa Lobos 1972:230). lhe cnn
l24 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Searcbfor Brazil's Musical Soul
tour of the main theme of the middle section s rcminiscent of numcrous
folk-song mclodies in its conjunct motion and diatonic structure. A
characteristic Villa-Loban trait here is the contrasting trcatment of that
theme, first in imitations in ascending fifth rclationships among thc four
instruments, then in a strictly homophonic version, with typical quartal
harmonic aggregates !ex. 40).
Example 40. String Quartet No. 6 (1st mt.)
,.. _
Vn, I
pp Jim
.; ... 7) 71
pp lm.
V o.

. ..
-- p

. 11- f' __t__ F:' et
- # i ,O.

_ r


' 11 '
Tbe Musical Language of Villa-Lobos
Example 40, cont.

r; 1"-

f} 11!{
;.. # -
" ,._
. - r-.
I -


Fbr t
rif J
e. .

. /f.
111}' -

-; fi

.. . r-------- -
_L_._..- mf

.- r- -<F

" r::t
...., .
. ...-- 1


-=t::=- . I
I # .. -

rJ -
126 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
The second movement, Allegretto, containsaremarkable illustration
of some o f the most successful mclodic and rhythrnic inventions of the
composer. The cello theme, of a vocal, strongly lyricaC and serenading
quality, is supported by parallel triadic harmonics in subtle syncopated
pattcms subsequently transformed in quarter-note triplets. The estab-
lished contrast is unmistakably cboro-like (ex. 41). Similarly, the
deeply expressive character (" almost tragic sadness," in the words of thc
composer) of the third movement (Andante, quasi adagioJ is effected
through the use of muted strings, chromatic parallel harmonies (of
guitarlike progrcssions), staticaccompanimental figures (repeated tones
and regular sixteenth-note patterns), anda theme made up of repeated
tones followed by chromatic and arpcggiated strains, all with an impres-
sive simplicity (ex. 42). The rcsulting expressivc imagery leaves much to
the listener's imagination.
The theme of the middle section (Lento) is oncc more treated poly-
phonically, with imitative expositions by the viola, second violin, first
violin, and ccllo. The eminently romantic character of this theme
creates once more an immediate association among Brazilian listeners
with the popular serenading musical tradition. With the return of the
first section, the theme of example 42 is expanded upon by thefirst violin
in expressive developmental designs (ex. 43), supported by mostly
seventb chords with colorful alterations. It is worth noting that the
syncopated accompanimental figures of the viola and cello at the end o f
the movement are strongly reminiscent of numcrous piano pieces by
Nazareth (e.g., the tango NnJ, in the sixteenth-eighth-sixteenth-note
pattems applied to parallel chromatic descending triads.
The last movement (Allegro vivace) is one of the most celebratcd
pieces of Villa-Lobos, not only because of its extraordinary rhythrnic
drive and energy effected through "restless polyrhythms," in thc
composer's view, but also for its dever contrapuntal treatment and
formal balance (despi te an abrupt ending). Two contrasting themes (ex.
44) are constantly negotiated betwccn the instrumcnts, in the manner of
the chores' improvisatory practices, resulting in a sort ofmoto perpetuo.
The first episode of the central section evokes a caipira accordion
(Estrella 1970:5 7).
The eleventh quartet, premicred in l953 and dedicated to Arminda
Villa-Lobos, summarizes to a great extent the further development of thc
composer in this particular medium. Whilehe transccnds somewhat thc
nationalist elements of the earlier quartcts, the thematic ideas become
simpler (some sections are even athematic, sue h as the first scction of thc
Scberzo movcment in Quartct No. li), the harmonies more dissonant,
the tonal relationships freer, the dynamic contrasts more cmphatic, and
Tbe Musical Language of Villa-Lobos
Example 41. String Quartet No. 6 (2nd mt.)
Vn. I
1\ li PIU
Vn 2
~ .
pl ...
V a.
V c.
f------ mf
.. .
" a li
. . ....--
- p.
# .
" ~ H
1\ ~ l!
- ......
.11 ,..
~ :
I -.:r
- I

~ :
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Seorch for Brozil's Musical Soul
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos 129
Example 41, cont.
Example 42. String Quartet No. 6 (3rd mt.)
Tempo wlonno:
" H f- r.. ,._ r-
r- lf r- ! r- t r- ,._ ..
Vu l
A r.-.
.. .. .;. .:. ."\ _;.,;_
- - pp
,_ .
. .
. f- ,_
A r.-.
.____!!__ '
1\ 11 *
.. .


l 3 3
3 3
= . :--

V c.

.__,_::c;;;;r _;;;
- 3
C:L --

r.r= I
Jl ,.
r: ;;
" 11 M
v I

-w 1
1\ li
tl I
I -
--.> -
I l!b9

.....-.. ;----..
...t,_ be_-
- ---
130 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Searcb for Brazil's Musical Soul
Example 43. String Quartet No. 6 (3rd mt.)
/) r"\ _/"}_
r- , Frf-Y-""1'.-
Vn 1 A

::::::- -==
Vtt 2
p sft---
'P ifz.:::.

V o.
sft p sft

P- f
V c.
sfz p
if. 'P liJZ
,..--..._ ..

r r= 'E


ifz ff-=:.
6, h.

the virtuosic writing more frequent. It is, however, in the slow move-
ment !Adagio) that thc modinha atmosphere remains, as the composer
continues to find his poetic, expressive inspiration in that popular song
The last stringquartet, No. 1711957), whicb Villa-Lobos never heard
in performance, is a notablc cxception to thc general bellcf that his late
works merely recapitulate earlier achievements. In effcct, the work
revcals a clear orientation toward an austere simplicity. As opposed to
his carlier natural expansiveness, Villa-Lobos cultivates hcre a rather
terse and abstract stylc characterized by prevailing short, motiflike
melodic phrases, frequent isomctric patterns, fairly widc mclodicranges,
alternation of chromatic and diatonic passages, emphasis upon sonority
and timbre, espccially through thc use of unison passagcs bctwcen pairs
The Musical Language of ViJla-Lobos 131
Example 44. String Quartet No. 6 (4th mt.)
Allcgm vivocc
. -
. 1\
Vtr. 1 I-n..

p1z:z. 5noro
11 11
Vn. 2

_lJ .-

V a.
V c.

sim ..
. ;,. ;. ,;. (t ;. ..

11 a
lllCO 3
I "!' ": "!'
: .

of instruments, a structural simplilication that discards developmental
and imitative techniques, and frequent tonal ambiguity resulting from
numerous chord altcrations and some unorthodox progressions. The
beginning of thc first movement illustrates some of these styllstic
features !ex. 45). Typical are the wide range of the melodic Line, the
contrary motion between the fust violln and cello Une, the alterations,
and the unexpected clash in tbe first measure of the altered ninth chord
distributed through almost four octaves.
Among othcr chamber music works of the period, the string Trio
11945) and Assobio a fato 11950) reveal additional facets of Villa-
Lobos. Commissioncd by the Coolidgc Foundation, the Trio for violin,
viola, and ccllo cncapsulates some of thc most striking compositional
idiosyncrasics of Villa-Lobos. Indccd, thc profusc spontancity of thc
132 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Seazch for Bzazil's Musical Soul
Example 44, cont.
(}. a #r ;. r r f r ,; #t



---.J I I
l-I- -t-
-J J
I -
- ft' -
. >I .








work resembles that of the woodwind Trio of 1921, but with more
thematic unity, a deeper involvement with contrapuntal techniques and
neotonal harmonies, anda more conscious effort toward formal balance
through cyclical treatment. Although we finda certain continuity with
previous stylistic practices, the rhythmic and to a lesser extent thc
melodic materiais show lcss direct affinity with folk or popular sources.
The principal thcmc of thc first Allegro, for example, in its extreme
chromaticism and angular contour, has an atonal character (ex. 46).
Most accompanimental rhythmic pattems avoid a direct association
with popular dance music (see, for example, thecharacterist.icrhythm of
the beginning of the fourth movement). The distinct Villa-Loban stylis-
tic brand of this Trio is still due to the expressive melodic inventlon,
particularly of the Andante and Scherzo movemcnts, thc virtuosity of
The Musical Language of Vlla-Lobos 133
Example 45. String Quartet No. 17 (1st mt.)
Allcgru nun ITuppo

Vn 1
r f

I _j
I< f'
t- .,,.__
1 ..... -
v f
V a.
V c.
, .

the rhythmic combinations, such as thc typical cross-rhythrns in con-
trary motion at the bcginning of thc Scherzo, and the expressive timbral
Assobio a [ato I"The Jct Whistle"), for flute and cello, brings in a
spiritedhumor associated with popular dance music. But "humor is here
only one aspect of the creative vitality, that takes pleasurein its exercise,
in this case unprctcntious andsimplc, but greatly efficacious, as musical
expression, because, with littlc substance, it delights the listener"
(Frana 1976:89). The first movement is based on the street waltz !valsa-
choro) popularized by the choro performing groups and transformed in to
a serenading genre. Villa-Lobos makcs thc most of the extemporaneous
character of the theme, by extcnding the melodic line that ends up
without clear direction, in an apparent caricature of an instrumentalist
searching for the next thematic idea (ex. 47). When the flute takes over
the theme, it cxpands it into simple variations, in accordance with the
most typical choro melodic improvisatory practices.
The title is justilied at theend of the piece whcn thc flutist, in an cvcr-
increasing and virtually uncontrollablc agitation, moves from very fast
scale passages toan imitation of whistlingsounds in ascendingglissandi.
The score indicates that the "only way to achieve the effect which the
composer wishes ... is to blow into thc cmbouchure fff as if one were
warming up thc instrumcnt on a cold day. The first blast should be
fingered as a low D, the second E, and so on through A," a touch of
alluring modernity without abandoning the chccrful kind-heartcdncss
of the popular music tradition of the chores.
134 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
Example 46. String Trio (1st mt.)
r- 0 n

,.. r-.11.:"":'\
Vs. Hf(:
V c.

wif '-.__::./

, ./
H?-f,.-- C
t jiOt '
- -

J . . ... ..



'C_). I
Tbe Main Guitar Pieces
Villa-Lobos's lifclongaffinity with theguitar began during his carly ycars
as a choro, and his very first works ( were composed for the
guitar, most of thcm short pieces whose manuscripts are lost.
9 The
SuitePopular Brasileira ( 1908-1912), in five sections, "Mazurka-choro,"
"Schottisch-choro,""Valsa-choro," "Gavota-choro," and "Chorinho,"so
is historically significant, for it reflects the young composcr's awarcness
of the nationalization of Europcan salon music of thc late ninctccnth
century, an important source ofBrazilian urban popular music. Not until
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos 135
Example 47. Assobio o Jato
Alli.'l;fll non tmppo .J.Qif)
rl ;l. c:;:;r !Li&

1920, however, did Villa-Lobos retum to the solo guitar, when he
initiated the series of the Choros witb his homage to Ernesto Nazareth.
Choros No. 1 has in fact become a piece of popular music, as various
arrangements rccorded by popular musicians reveal. It was not, bow-
ever, un til la ter that Villa-Lobos contribu tcd his most substantial works
to the guitar literature of the twenticth ccntury. .
His first cncountcr in Paris with Andrs Segovia and their subseq uent
friendship motivatcd the composer to write his famous Etudes and the
Guitar Concerto, both dcdicalcd to Segovia.. Villa-Lobos rccountcd his
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Tbe Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
first mceting with Segovia in Paris in the following terms:
I met Segovia in 1923 or 24, I don't remember well, at the home of
Olga Moraes Sarmento Nobre. A whole nobility was thcre. I saw a
young man with profusc long hair, surrounded by women. I found
him conceited, pretcntious, although likeable. Thc Portuguese
guitarist Costa asked Segovia if he knew Villa-Lobos, without
revealing that I was there. Segovia said that Llobet, Miguel Llobet,
the Spanish guitarist, had talked about me and had shown him
some works [of mine]. Segovia said that he found my works anti-
gultar-like and that I had used resources that werc not [idiomaticl
of the instrument. Costa said: "Ali right, Segovia, Villa-Lobos is
hcrc. " I carne close gradually and said: "Why do you find my works
anti-guitar-likc?" Somewhat surprised, as he couldn't have guessed
that I was prcscnt, Segovia explained that, for instance, the little
finger of the right hand is not used in classic guitar. I asked: "ah! it
isn't used? Then watch, just watch!" Segovia tricd to rcbut but I
moved forward and demanded: "Give me your guitar, give it to
me!" Scgovia does not lend his guitar to anyonc and rcsisted. But
in vain. I sat down, playcd and put an end to this mattcr. Latcr
Segovia carne and asked me whcrc I had learned. I told hirn I was
nota guitarist but kncw all of the technique of Carulli, Sor,
Aguado, Carcassi etc. Scgovia prctended [indifferencej, put thc
guitar away and walked out. The next day he carne to my house
with Tomas Tern. I told him that I couldn't meet with him I
rcally couldn't since I had to go out to dinner and would return
later. He left but returned !ater. We then took turns on the guitar
until four o'clock in thc morning. He commissioned an ctude for
guitar and, the friendship that began between us was so great that
instead of one I made twclvc: "Twclve Etudes for guitar." (As
transcribed in Santos 1975: 11 )
Segovia told bis version of their first encounter (specifying the year
1924) as follows:
Of aU the guests that cvcning, the one who made thc grcatcst
impression when he entcrcd the room was Heitor Villa-Lobos.
Dcspite his shortness of stature, he was well proportioned and his
bearing was virile. His vigorous head, crowncd with a wild forest of
unruly hair, was crcct and his forehead, whcrc Providence had
sown a profusion of musical seeds that werc to ripcn latcr imo a
splendid harvest, was broad and noble. His eye was lit with a
tropical spark that becamc fia me as he joincd m thc convcrsation
about him ....
The Musical Language of VilJa-Lobos 137
I had heard scarcely any of bis works at that time but his na me
was familiar to me. Paris had taken him to its heart and bis fame
was spreading to other countries.
When I had finishcd playing, Villa-Lobos carne to me and said in
a confidential tone, "l too play the guitar ... " "Wonderful!" I
answered. "Then you must bc ablc to compose directly for the
instrument." Holding out bis hand, he asked me to let him take
the guitar. He then sat down, put the guitar across his knecs and
held it firmly to his chest as though he was afraid it would try to
get away from him. He looked sternly at the fingers of his left hand
as though imposing obedience on small children; bis eyes then
shiftcd to the fingers of the right hand, as though to warn them of
punishment if they hit the wrong string, and when I least expcctcd
it he attackcd a chord with such force that I let out a cry, thinking
the guitar had cracked. He burst out laughing and with childlike
glce said to me, "Wait, wait ... " I waited, restraining with diffi-
culty my first impulse, which was to save my poor instrumcnt
from such vehement and frightening enthusiasm.
He made severa! attempts to begin playing but thcn gave up. For
lack of daily practice, something which the guitar is less ready
than any othcr instrument to forgive, his fingcrs had grown
clumsy. Dcspite his inability to continue, however, the few bars
that he did play were enough to reveal, first, that this stumbling
performer was a grcat musician, for the chords which he managed
to bring out wcrc full of intriguing dissonanccs, the melodic
fragments original, the rhythms ncw and incisive and even the
fingering ingenious; and sccond, that he was a true lover of the
guitar. In the warmth of that feeling a firm friendship sprang up
between us. Today the world of music rccognizes that the contri-
bution of his genius to the guitar rcpcrtory has been a blessing both
for the instrument and for me.(Segovia 1958:23)
The series of the twelve tudcs was completed in 1929 and published by
Max Eschig in 1953. Scgovia himself wrote the preface to this first
Here are 12 Etudcs, written with love for thc guitar, by the brHliant
Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. Thcse works contain
concurrcntly formulas of remarkable efficiency for the technical
devclopmcnt of both hands and "unselfish" mpsical beautics,
without pcdagogical purpose, permancnt aesthctic valucs of
concert music. In the history of instrumcnts, fcw are the mastcrs
who have succccdcd in uniting both vrtucs in ther Etudcs. Thc
namcs of Scarlattl anti Chopin come to mind at oncc Roth fulfllcd
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Tbe Search for Brazil's Musical Sou)
their ddactic purposes without any shadow of dullness or mo-
notony, and if the dedicated pianist observes with gratitude the
flexibility, vigor, and indcpcndence that thcsc works impart to his
finger, the artist that reads thcm or listens to them admires the
noblcness, the genius, the gracefulness, and the poetic emotion
that cmanate generously from them. Villa-Lobos presented to the
history of the guitar the gift of the fruits of his talent, as vigorous
and delightful as those of Scarlatti and Chopin. I did not want (in
this edition] to alter any of the fingerings that Villa-Lobos himself
indicated for the performance of his works. He knows the guitar
perfectly wcll and if he chose a given string or fingering to undcr-
score spccial phrases, we owc strict obedience to his will, evcn at
the price of compclling us to greater efforts of a technical nature.
I do not want to conclude this brief note without thanking
publicly the illustrious Maestro for the honor that he conferred on
me in dcdicating these Etudes to me. !Segovia in Eschig 1953)
Segovla himself prcmiered Etudes Nos. 1, 7, and 8 in 1947, but not
until 1963 was the scrics presented in its entirety by Turibio Santos.
Sincc thcn, these pieces have entered the Iepcrtory of all professional
guitarists, not only because of the technical prowess required by the
works but also because of the diverse and exquisite treatment of thc
instrument's timbral and textura! capacities, requiring thc highest levei
of virtuosity, intellectual understanding, and sensitive interprctation.
Varlous rcasons may have conspired against thc early recognition of
these tudcs. First is the fact that the instrument itself did not acquire
a permancnt place in European and North and Latin American educa-
tional institutions until the 1960s. Then the modem guitar repertory
began to expand only in the last two decades or so of thc nineteenth
ccntury, with theinstrumcntitselfacquiringastatus comparable to that
of other solo instruments by the 1930s and 1940s. In Brazil, thc guitar
continued to be regarded as an essentlally popular instrument wcll in to
the l960s, despi te the contributions to its literature of such composers
as Villa-Lobos and Francisco Mignone, among others. And it is perhaps
because of the overwhelming presence of thc instrument in folk and
popular music that professional guitarlsts did not emerge until the mid-
twenticth ccntury.
As a guitar composer and playcr, Villa-Lobos can be linked indirectly
to theSpanish school of Miguel Llobet (1878-1938), himself a pupil ofthe
great guitar virtuoso and composer Francisco Trrega, the originator of
modern playing techniques. Villa-Lobos bad close profcssional contacts
with Llobet in Paris, in addition to his friendship with Scgovia, thcrcby
reinforcing his knowledge of thc Spanish guitar t.radition of the nine-
tccnth and twcnticth ccnlurics. This know lcdge is quite apparcnt in thc
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos 139
Etudes which, however, transccnd for the most part the stereotypical
nineteenth-ccntury techniqucs. Concurrently, the nationalist idiom of
the guitar works of Spanish composers of the Turina, Torroba, and
Rodrigo generation must h ave appcared propitious to Villa-Lobos in the
development of bis own nationalist credo.
Santos 11975) and Pereira 11984) have provided detailed technical
descriptions of the Etudcs. What descrves to be stressed here concems
the works' relationship to the composer's nationalist aesthetics. Al-
though the vcry nature of the tude demands special attcntion to
technical matters and, by cxtcnsion, to virtuosity, Villa-Lobos went
beyond these considerations. Each piece explores certain characteristic
techniques, such as, among others, arpeggios in Nos. 1 and 2, legatos of
thelcft hand in No. 3, repeated chordsin No. 4, parallelchords in No. 12,
fast changcs of position in No. 6, and double harmonics on the same
string in No. 2. Thcse tcchniqucs are developed to effect remaikably
wcll-achieved and graceful skctches that delicately evoke the rcalm of
Brazilian popular culture. Turibio Santos noticed that "some lbasic]
framework quite akin to popular accompanirnent letude no. 4, etudc no.
6), the development of formulas idcntical to those of Carcassi, Carulli,
orAguado, but always with theflavorofaccompaniment (etudes 2,3, and
9), reveal thc influence of thc choro, although entirely dominated by the
erudite aitist in his attempt to fill lacunae in the repertory of the
instrument" !Santos 1975: 15). Indccd a number of formulas and almost
clichs ofnineteenth-ccntury guitar effects are common in tbese pieces,
but also some dcfinite innovations that transccnd traditional stereo-
types, such as the harmonic and polyphonic cxplorations of the instru-
ment las evidenced in Etudcs Nos. 4 and 5). A particularly noticeable
technical novelty occurs in the central section of Etudc No. 11, with a
bell sound effect rcsulting from the reiteration of the tonic lei on five
different strings, in contrast to the note d on thc fourth string. Likewise,
Etude No. 12 is generally considcrcd rcvolutionary, in its "unprec-
edented boldness: glissandi extcnding beyond the twelfth fret of the
guitar. In the central part, true drums are suggested through the simul-
taneous utilization of the sixth and fifth strings" (Santos 1975:20). The
same Etude No. 12 reveals an excellent command of performance
tcchnique, as seen especially in thc portamento of the three pitchcs of
tbe initial chord and thc parallel motion of the two rninor triads, which
creates a uniquely cffcctive outcomc (ex. 48).
The Brazilian qualhies attributed to these pieces by Brazilian musi-
cians elucidate the typc of associations that c e ~ t i n techniques and
figurations evoke in a nativc listencr. Etude No. 1, for example, in its
reminisccnce of the WeJl-Tempered Clavier, has been interprcted as a
brilliant mini Bachianas. Etudc No. 4, wtth ils chromatic chord forma-
tions, its nonrc!>olved harmon ics, and thc suddcn changes of tonal leveis,
140 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
Example 48. Etude No. 12 (for guitar)
anticipatcs for some the barmonic ingenuity of many bossa-nova guitar
players of the late 1950s and early 1960s (ex. 49).
The three-part polyphony in Etude No. 5, the deliberatc redundancy
of its accompaniment in thirds (typical of the viola caipira, the folk
guitar of theSo Paulo statc), its diatonic, conjunct melody (qualified by
Santos as "sad" and "sertaneja/' Le., of the serto or hinterland), its
simpler figurations, and its modal character, a1l suggest special aspects
of Luso-Brazilian folk guitar music. The exploration of the contrapuntal
potentiality of the instrument could be related to tbeponteio ("picked")
style of folk and popular players of viola and cavaquinho (a four-string
Portuguese guitar, similar to thc ukelele).
Etude No. 10 is generally seen as one of the most technically cballeng-
ing of the series. The middle section especially requires a fast rhythmic
ostinato in lega to groups of four sixtcenth notes with the melody in the
lower register, a passagc considered practically impossible to execute as
demandcd by Villa-Lobos, resulting in most performers' applying the
lega to to the first three sixteenth notes only. But perhaps the most daring
experiment in the last three tudcs comes from the dynarnic, contrast-
ing1 innovating rhythmic drive, derived from reminiscences of Afro-
Brazilian rhythmic patterns, shiftingaccents and ostinatos in No. I O and
No. 12. Santos finds Etude No. 11, the most "Brazilian" of all ( 1975:20),
probably because of the modinha-like languishing phrase of the first
section, in contrast to the slightly impressionistic omamentation,
imitating the harp.
The last three tudes conta in some of the ideas developcd in the five
Preludes, completed in 1940 and dedicated to Arminda Villa-Lobos.
Thcse short works represent some of Villa-Lobos's most profound and
affectionate expression of the Brazilian musical soul, as eacb portrays
specific featurcs of that soul in a most sincere and direct manner. The
popularity of thcse pieces stems not only from the general romantic
character of the popular models that inspired them but also from the
highly sophisticatcd and skillful exploration of the instrument. Villa-
Lobos gave the following subtitles to each of the preludcs:
No. 1: "Lyric melody. Homagc to thc Brazilian sertaneio" (thc man
from the serto);
The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos
No. 2: "Capadcia (rogue) and capoeira (ruffian) melody. Homage to
the carioca [from Rio de Janeiro] hustlcr";
No. 3: "Hornage to Bach";
No. 4: "Homage to the Brazilian Indian"1
No. 5: "Homage to sociallife. To the young teenagers who frequent
Rio's concerts and theatres."
The Preludes are actually quite dose in style to the Bachianas, in
overall melodic shape, harmonic idioms, and modulatory practiccs. The
modinha-like melody of the first section of Prelude No. 1 (ex. 50) with
its characteristic ascending fourth (b-e) in the lower register of the
instmment, is developcd through reiterated melodic skips, each time in
a higher register, as occurred frequently in romantic works. Santos
interpreted this melodic trcatment both as resulting in a "melancholy,
pungent and almost sad" [melody], yct "optimistic, always growing,
devilishly mobile" ( 1975:25 ). .
The expressive lyricism of this Prelude is once more closely assocl-
ated with the serenading mosic of the chores, in both melodic and
harmonic language. In addition, the central section whose accom-
panirnental figureis based on an E major thus
with the rather static accompanimen t of the first sectlon, evokes mstru-
mentally the bom age to the caipira or sertane;o folk guita.rist mentioned
by the composer. These two contrasting sections explore the various
qoalities of the instrument: chord sonorities in varyingrange, vibra to on
the lower strings, glissandi, arpeggios, polyphonic textures, anda whole
gamut of timbral craftiness.
Example 49. Etude No. 4 (for guitar)
'P -========
Example 50. Prelude No. 1 (for guitar)
b IJ
r tfr ;
142 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Searcb for Brazil's Musical Sou]
As an intendedevocation oftbemalandro ca:rioca, the second Prelude
relies on the choro as a musical genre, much like the Choros No. 1. The
systematic ruhato of the fust section, the structures of the first three
chords (tonic, dominant, dominantofthe dominant) in the main theme,
and the rhythmic pattern of the central section larpeggio of sixteenth-
note fguration), ali portray the character of Rio de Janeiro's choro. The
melody in parallel fifths of the central section is strongly rerniniscent o f
tbe performance of the musical bow lberimbau) in the stylized dance-
game known as capoeira, formerly attributed to ruffians' practice.
The open strings of the guitar make up the signature of Prelude No.
3, whose intended bomage to Bach becomes articulated in tbe second
section of the piece, primarily through the design of descending melodic
sequences and strong tonal refcrences. The spontaneous simplicity of
the flowing melody of this Prelude is perhaps the most convincing
argument for the affinity that Villa-Lobos felt throughout bis llie with
the music of Johann Sehastian Bach. The actual implementation of the
Indianist intention of the fourth prelude is difficult to ascertain, unless
one is willing to recognize that stereotypical formulas associated with
lndian music at the tirne-namely, short phrases, modality, and static
rhythm-are intcnded as evocations of primitive music. As pointed out
by Turibio Santos 11975:27), the central section of the piece follows
patterns already presen t in the second Prelude and E tu de No. 11, namely,
amelody in the low strings followed by an arpeggio based on one position
only, which "marches through the frets of the instrument," yet whose
result is anything but Indian-like.
The romantic waltz cultivated by numerous serenading popular
musicians inspired Prelude No. S. Although not written as a conven-
tional waltz, this piece is meant as a nostalgic remembrance of thc
elegance of the waltz, formerly danced in Rio by upper-class people.
Written in a 6/4 meter, the main theme (a "well behaved, serene,
bourgeois" melody in the words of Turibio Santos) implies the main
motion of the waltz, with its own balance resulting from the placement
of primary and secondary symmetrical chords on the first and fourth, and
second and fifth beats, respectively (ex. 51).
Although the Preludes are not technically as demanding and innova-
tive as the Etudes, they hold a special place in Villa-Lobos's music, since
they belong to the wholerange of expression of feehngs of the brasilidade
!or "Brazilian-ness") of the composer, without rcsorting to the most
obvious national style of music. They have become classics of the most
polished and tasteful manifestation of Brazilian musical nationalism.
Considering the intima te atmosphere of the Etudes and Prel udes, i tis
not surprising that Villa-Lobos showed some reluctance to accede to
Segovia's request that he should write a guitar concerto. He probably fclt
lirnited in combiningsuch unevcn pcrforming forces as a solo gutar and
The Muscal Language of Villa-Lobos 143
Example 51. Prelude No. 5 (for guitar)
an orchestra. Segovia didnotgive up, however, andin 1951, Villa-Lobos
completed what he first entitled a Fantasia Concertante for guitar and
small orchestra. The Fantasia did not include, of course, the traditional
cadenza, but Segovia succeeded in convincing the composer to add a
cadenza, which legitimized, in their minds, the new title of Concerto.
The work was premiered in 1956 by Scgovia, with Villa-Lobos conduct-
ing the Houston Symphony Orchestra. The Concerto not only summa-
rizes the whole experience of Villa-Lobos as a composer for guitar, in
both solo and chamber m usic works, but also adds a few ncw discoveries_
In bis own notes on the work in its original conception as a Fantasia, h e
The Fantasia Concertante was written for guitar and a balanced
orchestra, with a search for timbres in order not to nullify the
sonority o f the soloist. It includes three movements: "Allegro
preciso," "Andantino/Andante," and "Allegro non troppo." The
first movement begins with the orchestra and shows a very ener-
getic theme whlch will re-appear as much in the guitar as in the
orchestra. In the second part ("Poco meno"J the theme is cntirely
original and belongs to a new episode. This therqe recalls greatly
the melodic atmosphere of ce.rtain popular songs of Northeast
Brazil. The fust theme is then restated with the rhythmic structure
of the opening a minor third higher; the developmcnl and "strctto"
are rcduccd until the accclcrated cnding.ln thc "Andanlino," aftcr
144 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Searcb for Brazil's Musical Sou}
a short orchestral introduction (with simultaneous scales in
contrary motion), the principal theme reappears and is developed
until the
Andante." The
Andante" presents a new episode for a
few measures (6/81, in the manner of the introduction, until the
expressive melody played by the guitar. The return to the
"Andantino" is made a fifth higher, and the "piu mosso
" with a
melody different from the others in the whole thematic invention,
represents a sort of
Stretto" to conclude the movement. The
Allegro non troppo
" with an introduction of a few measures
(syncopated mclody and rhythm)
presents an orchestral theme,
soon taken over by the guitar. Up to the end of the Fantasia several
modulations occur with the intent of exploring the virtuosity of
the guitarist. (Document of the Museum Villa-Lobos
in Pereira 1984:74-751
Thc overall charactcr of the Concerto remains intimate
music-like1 avoiding the grandeur ofthe sympbonic solo concerto. 52 Thc
which was inserted betwcen the second and third movements
functions as a synopsis of many of the innovations contributed by the
composer to the guitar technique and literature. In fivc sections, the
cadenza utilizes the thematic ideas of the second and third movements
and includes various types of figurations, such as lega to runs combined
with opcn strings and parallel movemcnt of chords, arpeggio formulas as
ornaments or accompanimcntS
descending scales
natural harmonics
parallel chord formations in syncopated patterns, and polyphonic tex-
tures with the melody in the lower register of the instrument. The
virtuosity of the solo part in the last movement is quite remarkable. The
restatement by the guitar of the first theme o f the movement calls for thc
prescntation of the syncopated melody in parallel octaves on the first and
sixth strings with the second and thirdstrings open (ex. 52). The richness
of this sonority (one of Villa-Lobos's "discoveries," Pereira 1984:85)
results from the release of a whole series of fundamental harmonics. "In
most cases, the creative powcr of a composer consists in obtaining an
unusual result from the simplcst and most evident things; it is the case
of Villa-Lobos in this theme" (ibid.).
Example 52. Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra (maln theme, last nH.)
National Style versus
Musical Nationalism:
Villa-Lobos's Eclecticism
"Considero minhas obras como cartas que escrevi Posteridade,
sem esperar resposta. "
-Heitor Villa-Lobosl
Theories of Musical Nationalism
Although musicological scholarshp has concerned itself with musical
nationalism, its treatment has lackcd the necessary depth and sophisti-
cation from the cultural and historical dimensions of this phenomenon.
As a nineteenth-century romantic trend in Europc
musical nationalism
was undcrstood as referring to the art-music compositions originating
from the peripbery of the mainstream of tbe Western European tradition,
that is
Austria, ltaly
and France. Music written in the latter
part of the century by Russian
Scandinavian, Bohemianl English, and
Spanish composers that deliberately incorporatcd folk ar folklike mate-
riais was labeled nationalist, on the grounds that these materiais were
identiliable with the nationality or national group of the composer and
were exotic and novel to the listeners of traditional Western art music.
In the twentieth ccntury
the music of nationalist composers was also
considered in its relationship to folk music, recognizing that the folk
idioms often generated the creation of new stylcs rather than their merc
incorporation into traditional styles
as with the nineteenth-century
composers. The meaning of nationalism continues to be perceivcdl
generally along the same lines as national sty les. Little serious
attentionhas been paid to thc motivation of a givcn composer in electing
to incorporate national elcments in his music
to the degree of con-
sciousness of that motivation, to the pcrception of the musical results by
the very audience for wbom such music was intcndcd, and numerous
other problematic issucs of the ideology of musical nationalism itself.2
Chief among these are the sociopolitical powcr of music in dcfining
nationality and thc ideological position of thc "nationalist' composcr in
that circumscribing proccss.
146 Hetor VilJa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Muscal Soul
To be sure, while questions along such lines have been raised,
especially in relation to various Eastern European nationalisms, the
perceived difficulties of correlating specilicfactors of musical sty le with
national cultural traitshave constituted the main obstacle. But this was
the result of the fallacy that works of the great composers transcended
national boundaries on the basis o f their alleged universal character and
appeal. The general notion of "absolute" music, developed within the
idealistic concept of the autonomy of music, has always been opposed to
nationalist music, viewed as the epitome of a nonautonomous musical
system. Thus, most musicologists placedamuch higher artistic v alue ou
those great works of music that were thougbt to stand on their own
intrinsic qualities, assigning (with notable exceptions) a much lower
value to compositions relying on extramusical justifications. The gen-
eral contemporary belief among musicologists and ethnomusicologists
on the nonviability o f the au tonomous concept should help us substan-
tially in explaining and better understanding the phenomenon of musi-
cal nationalism as a sociocultural and aesthetic movement. Method-
ologically, the most essential step calls for an objectiveassessment ofthe
movement in a given country or social group from the perspective of the
representative composers of such a group. That is, those elements
defining a national musical style or expression have to be identified
emically, in other words, from within the culture of the composer or
group. The emic perspective must thus become the primary source of
Charles Seeger was one of the first scholars of tbe Americas to pay
attention to tbe relationship of the oral and written musical traditions
of tbe New World and the importance of the interaction [ or "continuous
acculturation," as he said) of the two in the course of New World history.
In his discussion of folklorism and belletrism, he illustrated two types
of designation of "folkloristic," one the "folk singer" from the oral
tradition, tbe other the "folk singer
from the written tradition. In the
latter, he saw theresult "upon tbe higher levei of fine art plus folk art [as)
'long-hair,' 'city-billy,' msica folclrica, eventually sublimations such
as some of the work of Villa-Lobos, Chvez and Copland" (Seeger 1945:
342). Writing in 1950-1951, Seeger further outlined five generations of
American lhemispheric) republican composers in which h e established
the Villa-Lobos and Charles Ives parallel eght years before Copland
followed suit. For Seeger, this third generation of composers,
bom in the 1880s sought more specifically to weave local popular
and folk melodies into a fabric of a less conventional European
character in such a manner as to give a semblance of nationalism
or of that larger chauvinism americanismo musicaJ.S Thc distin-
National Style vezsus Musical Nationalism 147
guishing characteristic of this generation, however, was tbat it
gave the individual a chance to be an individual and, for the first
time in the history of American music, to know a group and so to
transcend the group levei. Carlos Gomes had succeeded in compos-
ing good music. But Heitor Villa-Lobos and Charles Ives made
some good music that, though it is mainly European in character,
has indubitably something not European in it. (Seeger 1977: 189)
Although Seeger did not explain what was, for him, this non-European
"something," he pointed out the intrinsic problems of the involvement
of the American composers witb vernacular musics, advocating a social
historical orientation toward the explanation of the problems, certainly
a more intelligent approach than that of the "isolated genius."
In what clearly appears as one of the most sensible, conceptual studies
on nationalism and music written in recent years, Carl Dahlhaus,
dealing with the historical concept in nineteenth-century Europe, dis-
tinguishes between national sty le of music and nationalism: "National-
ism, the belief in the spirit of a people as an active creative force, is an
idea with a character and a function which it is simplistic to identify
witb the phenomenon of a national style: in other words, they will not
be successfully pinned down by the roere act of describing tangible
musical characteristics" (Dahlhaus 1980:85). The traditonal view of a
national style strict1y defining nationalism is precisely what has pre-
vented for so long a clear, ali-inclusive conceptualization of musical
nationalism. While that view may have validity in numerous cases
where nationalism was lirnited to national style (especially in nine-
teenth-century romantic nationalism), it cannot be the main determin-
ing agent of nationalism as an encapsulating, in a highly
symbolic interpretive mechanism, the whole system of cultural values
forged by diachronic and synchronic factors. As Dahlhaus so aptly put it
in discussing tbe idea of nationalism as an "aesthetic factor: if a
composer intended a piece of music to be n ational in character and the
hearers believe it to be so, that is something which the historian must
accept as an aesthetic fact, even if stylistic analysis-tbe attempt to
'verfy' the aestbetic premise by reference to musical features--fails t o
produce any evidence" libid.:86-87).
Musical nationalism as an ideology, therefore, can and does take place
outside tbe preconceived notion of a stylistic format. What seems to
define it, therefore, is the whole complcx of attitu.des consciously
expressed or not toward specilicsets of cultural value;s, eq ually perceived
by the transmitters and the receptors aspossesstng qualities of collective
and individJJal identity. Certainly, many specific musical parametei-s
relate to. that identity, but tbose relations are culturally determincd by
l48 Heitor VilJa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
association or invcution. Indeed, numerous purely sound structures that
appcar similar or identical in the abstract may be given totally different
signilicance in different cultures. Moreover, the potential relationships
of sound to social/cultural identity follow a regular process of transfor-
mation over a period of time.
Dahlhaus further explores the mearring of exoticism and folklorism in
music of the pe.riod 1870-1889 and points out that "the key not
the original ethnic substance of these phenomena so as the fact
that they differ from European art music, and the function they serve as
deviations from the European norm" (Dahlhaus 1989:306). He defines
SOund-shcet," or I<langfliicbe as a principie followed in musical
renditions of nature,
outwardly static but inwardly in constant mo-
tion/' that "was drivcn to extremes in modem art music, even serving
as the basis for entire works" (ibid.: 307). This very useful concept can
be seen as one of the permanent components of a national, but also an
exotic, musicalstyle in Europe, and finds multiple applications in many
of the works of Villa-Lobos.
The thorny question of authcnticity of attitudc in relatiou to folk
cultures and, hence, of the type of use of folk or folklike materiais, also
has direct relevance to whether or not the listeners of a piece of music
perceive it to be national in character. In addition, the equally thorny
issue of appropriation of certain folk or popular music by art-music
composers, heirs of a specific social class's or cultural group's concept o f
nationality, carries important sociopolitical implications for determin-
ing the true sense of national identity. Frequently, the merereliance on
such an appropriation is not sufficient to guarantce the recognition of
such composers as nationallsts. Native listeners tend to go beyond the
utilization of sounds to identify such sounds as part of their own
tradition, includingtheir own perception ofthe composcr as a spokesper-
son of their culture or nation. Identity is indeed the key issue and can be
forged at various leveis of signilicance, from the most straightforward
association (as in a national anthem), to the most subtle connections
with folk music styles (as in Bartk's music), to the decidedly abstract,
sublimatedinvolvement with a plurality of regionalor national musics
(as in the case of numerous third-world composers since the 1960s).
Even experimental composcrs whose sound materiais have no obvious
relationship to local musical traditions have developed a more or less
well-defined national identity.
Converscly, not ali "ethnic
musical materiais can subsume nation-
alizing quaHtics within the boundaries of a given "nation." ln some
countries, ccrtain foll< or traditional musics bave developcd in relative
isolation from other musics that carne to represent the mainstream of a
national culture, sometimes by fusing the plurality of musical expres-
National Style versus Musical Notiontllism
sions. This was the case, for example, of Native American (U.S.) musical
traditions that didnot have the force of national expression as hop.ed for
by the composers of the Wa W an Press at the beginning of the twentieth
century. Likewise, Brazilian Indian music has been kept outside the
national cultural melting pot, and its sounds have rernained foreign to
the majority of Brazilians. In other cases, intemationalized urban popu-
lar musics havc had little or no potential for nationalist composers,
unless such musics, in the nationalizing process, had altered consider-
ably the original foreign models. The determination of the meanings of
musical nationalism warrants, therefore, more reflection, to which the
present study attempts to contribu te, for all of these ideas have relevant
applications to the case ofBrazilian musical nationalism in general, and
to Heitor Villa-Lobos's position within it, in particular.
Tbe Special Brand of Villa-Lobos's Nationalism
Although a politically indcpendent nation since 1822, Brazil continued
to be an intcllectual and artistic colony of Europe (at least in the high-art
sphere) at least until th e end o f World War II, that is, virtually through out
the life span ofVilla-Lobos. Within the cultural history of the country in
the early part of the twcntieth century, Frcnch, ltalian, and Gerrnan
postromantic values dominated the official musical circles in Rio de
Janeiro and So Paulo. Through a com bination o f various factors, Villa-
Lobos was predestined to beco me the symbolic liberator of the music of
Brazil: the untimely death of bis father, bis firsthand exposure to popular
and, to a lesser degree, folk culture, his acquaintance with Milhaud and
. Rubinstein, his l922 direct encounter with modernismo, his Parisian
sojourns and successes, bis timely association with and representation
of the populist and strongly nationalistic regime of the "Estado Novo,''
and his subsequent international recognition as the Brazilian composer
par excellence.
It was at first, however, bis genuine identity with the urban popular
culture represented by the chores that most likely guided him toward
the expression of his own artistic environment. All known evidence
allows us to believe firmly in the Violo clssico's ("classical guitar":
this was the nickname given to Villa-Lobos by the chores) authentic
and spontaneous interest in the music of the urban lower classes. From
his earliest works, the great superiority of Villa-Lobos as a potentially
nationalist composer, comparcd to his predecessorsAlcxandre Levy and
Alberto Nepomuceno, for example, was duc to this natural
empathy and affinitywith the popular culture of bis city, a sort of innate
intcrest in humanity's art. Next, regardless of the degree of true assimi-
lation and the amount of field collection of Brazilian folk and primilive
150 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
musical cultures in bis long and curious trps around the country, he
carne back to the big city, the nest of the Brazilian intelligentsia,
presumably with the knowledge of the musical "realities" of the com-
mon people and the Indians, as no other composer could claim at the
time. Ths in itself was a prodigious accomplishment because it gave
him a veracity and credibility that no one else in the 1910s and 1920s
could invoke. Furthermore, when the organizers of the "Week of Modem
Art" pondered who should and could represent music in that symboli-
cally important event, the name of Villa-Lobos carne up as the only
suitable one because of his credible reputation as a nationalist-modem-
ist artist "avant la lettre" and an innovative composer. This he owed to
himself. As avant-garde composer Gilberto Mendes expressed it: "He did
not need the Week, for h e carne on his own before it" (Mendes 1975:131 ).
The ideological discourse of the modernismo movement, however,
had profound influence not only on Villa-Lobos but on the reception of
his music by artists and intellectuals of the period. The most obvious
influence was the emergence and general recognition of a modernist
musical nationalistic movement whose foremost charnplon was to be
Heitor Villa-Lobos. Musical modernismo, represented primarily by
Mrio de Andrade, stressed the social value and educational usefulness
ofmusic, but primarily art music nationalized through the invigoration
of rural folk music. Andrade himself implicitly rejected urban popular
music under the influence of intemational fashion, in favor of the
"traditionally national" urban folklore, such as the choro and the
modinha (1962: 163-67). Rural popular culture was thus idealized as the
true source of national identity, to the exclusion of undesirable urban
popular musical genres beca use of their alleged "impuri ties. "
Such an
attitude resulted from a "centralized, homogeneous and paternalistic
view of thenational culture" (Wisnik 1982: 133) that had been officially
advocated since the establishmcnt of the First Republic (1889). Thc
concept of national autonomy at that time subsumed a dcfensive bias
against modernity. Fortunately, Oswald de Andradc's brand of
modernismo achieved, at once, the implicit recognltion of the potential
compatibility between modernity and nationalism and of the fragmcn-
tation and plurality of Brazilian traditional/popular culture.
On the other hand, Mrio de Andrade's nationalist project carried
interestingnotions of what constitutes national character and popular
culture. At the basis of his theoretical-ideological framework stands thc
belief that "a national art is already ma de in the unconsciousness of the
people" (Andrade 1962: 16), not unlike the Volksgeist hypothesis. Thus,
bis specific agenda of nationalizing art music entails the systcmatic
rellance on folk music, either as inspiration or documcntation. Thc
legitimacy o f bis nationallstic campaign comes from thc ncccssity at thc
National Style versus Musical Nationalism 151
time "to determine and normalize the permanent ethnic characters of
Brazilian music.ality" (ibid.: 28), to be found in folk music. Andrade's
thought is never dogma ti c, however, since h e recognizes that "Brazilian
Music must signlfy all national musicas creation, whether or not it has
an ethnic character (quality ]" libid.: 16). Yet, the "national character" is
to be sought in the popular sources through a cultivated transposition
that converts popular music into art music. The conception of thls
nationalist program clearly relies on the romantc notion of the folk
element as the essential source of identity for an authentic national
culture. lt also suggests an opposite view of the folk population as crude
masses in need of educational and political enlightment. Thus, the
nationalist artist has both an artistic and a social mission/ that is, the
attainment of the national expression and the strengthening of the
national character
and the cultural rapprochement between the lntel-
lectual-artistic social class and the folk group. Wisnik summarizes the
aesthetic-social program of this modemist cycle of musical nationalism
as follows: 'To synthesize and to stabilize a musical expression of
popular base/ as a means to conquer a language that reconciles the
country in the horizontality of its territory and the verticality of its
classes !raising the rustic culture to the universalized scope o f bourgeois
culture, and giving the bourgeois musical production a social base that
it lacks)" (1977:148).
With his early involvement in prcdominantly urban popular music,
combined with his experience in Indian music, the rural music of Brazil,
and theEuropean avant-garde of the 1920s, Villa-Lobos's trajectory went
considerably beyond the boundaries of orthodox nationalism. The elu-
cidation of his profession of faith as a composer must begin with an
attempt to understand his own personality. There can be no doubt about
his intirnate and natural identification with bis own cultural milieu.
Before any political, social, or other circumstantial consideration, he
turned his attention to that milieu that provided him with the ideas and
inspiration for bis creative work. A grcat deal has becn said about his
nonconformist, independcnt, and stubborn temperament that ma de hlm
reject the traditional acadcmic training that aspiring musicians of bis
social class were expected to receive to qualify as professionals. That
personal sense of independence ultimately became one of the most
important factors of Villa-Lobos's legacy to the music of Brazil, namely,
a gradual process of decolonization o f that m usic, allowing la ter genera-
tions of Brazilian composers to think and to create for themselves. The
fact that h e was attacked so systematically by the holders of neocolonial
values, such as Oscar Guanabarino and Vincenzo Cernicchiaro, is
symptomatic of his rebellious attitudc toward thc official status quo of
music making and music teaching.
152 Heitor VWa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
Although one could take issue with the implications of the rather
farfetched comparison made by Aaron Copland in his book Music and
Imagination (1959) of Villa-Lobos's music with that of the American
Charles Ives, the search for the cosmic and transcendental creative
thought and message through the native sentiment was as strong in
Villa-Lobos as in rves, albeit with totally different motives and results.
Gilberto Mendes's recognition of Villa-Lobos's example as the liberator
and individuaJist is quite telling, comingfrom a successful experimental
Brazilian composer:
Another important common point [with lvesJ is in the utilization
that both made o( polytonal and polyrhythmic compositional
proccdurcs much bcfore thcy carne in to contact with European
music. Ca.rricd by an invcntivc intuition, indcpendcntly and
without preconceptions, they reached the same results system-
atized by European composers, without the slightest influence
from them. Vula-Lobos wrote musicas he wanted it, without the
pretension of creating a school or followers, and without attaching
himself to any trend. He availed hlmself of everything that inter-
ested him ... , but he made his own music whose fundamental
distinction is the sound that he was able to create. (Mendes
That "sound
was the result of a rather typically unabashcd Westcrn
hemispheric confidence in disregarding conventionality and in main-
taining authenticity and independence of expression.
Villa-Lobos is oftcn rcportcd to havc said that music crcation consti-
tuted for him a biological necessity. While this may explain in part his
enormous output l"the fruit of an extensive, generous and warm land,"
as he himself said), it reveals the instinctive bent of his personality. His
instinct, together with h is vivid imagination and talcn t for assim ilation,
scrvcd him well throughout his creativelife. This naturalism madehim
feel and understand in his own manner the many facets of the landscape
and the people of a country as diversilicd and largc as Brazil. It also
explains the composer's aversion to preconceived compositional plans
and the resulting natural, even though uneven, flow of his creations as
well as the seemingly spontaneous, improvisationlike language of his
compositions. This instinctive approach to life also must have contrib-
uted to the ease with which he identified with the whole urban popular
musical scene in his carly ycars, since no onc in his family circle could
have been influential in this regard.
In an attempt to examine Villa-Lobos's compositional intcnt and how
he carried it out, we must also ascertain his own position in rclation to
National Style versus Musical Nationalism 153
the nature of composition. He expresscd his thoughts on the matter in
the following terms:
Like the pcrforrning artist, the composer is frequently accused of a
philosophy that can be expressed thus: I live for my art, everything
else is of no interest to me. But what is this art if not an cxprcssion
of humanity and of everything that refers to humanity ... Thcrc
are three typcs of composers: those who write "paper-music"
according to the rules or fashion; those who write to be original
and achicvc somcthing that others did not achieve and, finally,
those who write music bccause thcy cannot tive without it. Only
this third category has value. Tbcse composcrs work toward the
ideal, nevcr toward a practical objective. And the artistic con-
sciousness, which is a prcrcquisite for artistic freedom, imposes on
them the duty of making the effort for finding the sincere expres-
sion not only of themselves but of humanity. To reach such an
expresslon, the serious composer will havc to study the musical
hcritage of his country, the geography and ethnograpby of his and
other lands, the folklore of his country, cithcr in its literary, poetic,
and political aspect, or musical. Only in this manner can he
undcrstand the sou! of the people. !Presena de Villa-Lobos, vol. 2,
There cannot be the sligbtest doubt about Villa-Lobos's adherence to
musical nationalism as an aesthetic. For him, all of his creative efforts
wcrc gcarcd toward thc understanding and cxpression of tbe "soul" of
the people. True, in many of his works hc did cultivate an overtly
national style o f music, what is frequently called in Brazilnacionalismo
folclorizante (folklorizing nationalism)_7 But whether he dealt dircctly
with folk or popular music sources or indirectly with Amazonian or
northeastem Indian and caboclo legends, his ultimate objectives were
the same: to bc a central part of the construction of the myth of musical
nationalism, minglcd with the concepts of the "folk," of "folk music,"
of "sovereign nation," and ultimately of the "Brazilian race" (cf. Contier
Mrio de Andrade greatly admired some of the works of Villa-Lobos
and championed him on numerous occasions. But thcre is some evi-
dence that, by the 1930s and early l940s, h c more strongly advocated the
other two nationalist composers most in evidence, Camargo Guarnicri
and Francisco Mjgnone, whose works continucd ~ that time to be cast
in a strongly national style. Particularly with thc Choros and the piano
pieces Prole do Beb No. 2 and Rudepoema, Villa-Lobos by the 1920s
already transccnclcd thc mcrc "folklorizing" style of composition, al
154 Heitor VilJa-Lobos: The Seorch for Brazil's Musical Sou]
though, as in everything else, he did not do so in a systematic and
consistent manner. For example, the sixteen piano pieces Cirandas
( 1926) carry a very "national" style (each piece being built on a tradi-
tional children's folk tune) andare, at the same time, quite expressive o f
the composer's nationalist aesthctics. Andrade's prescriptions for writ-
ing nationalist music were clcarly incorporated imo thc principies of
writing in a "national styJe," dcspite his insistence on the need for
composers toinvent thcir own "folk" melodies. H c advocated, however,
a critically oriented nationalist position. There is a clear implication in
his writings of the rejection of the notion of using folk music sources as
cxoticism, and of bis ultimatc aim of decolonizing the art music of
While Villa-Lobos matched the basic premises of the nationalist-
aesthetic campalgn, thesc prescriptions were far too lirnited for an
artistic personality as vitally dynamic as his. His own nationalism had
to be kaleidoscopic to corrcspond to his numcrous compositional ideas,
many of which sublimated the simple incorporation of indigenous
musics. The expression of these ideas took numerous shapes, but in
addition to the subjcctive seJection and reinterpretation of numerous
musical-cultural symbols of the Brazilian community at large, Villa-
Lobos created his own individual symbols of identity and made them
acccptable to his country as unjquely national symbols. His personal
sense of cultural identity and his interpretation of it in bis works were
also multifaceted. As widely differcnt in sound structure or style as such
works as Uirapuru, Noneto, Choros No. 10, Bachianas No. 5, Ciclo
Brasileiro, or Assobio a faLo may be, the express intent was directed
toward the best possible represcntation of what he perceivcd as power-
fully suggestive of the wide continuum of thc multiple and varled
Brazilian cultural traditions.
One shouldnot, however, hold as absolute truth the &equently stated
opinion that the overall creative output of Villa-Lobos is a comprehen-
sive synthcsis of the plurality of Brazilian oral music traditions. The
Brazilian folklorist Rossinl Tavares de Lima ( 1969) singled out children's
round dancesongs asrecurringelements in his music, andacknowledged
the supposedly lndian music assirnilation as an important aspect of his
nationalist consciousness. Although children's song repertory does
occur &eq uentl y in many o f h is piano pieces and in some o f his songs and
chorai works, the extent of Indianism in his works has been overstated.
As was suggested in thc first part of thls study, it is doubtful that the
composer had a firsthand knowledge of Indlan music. Moreover, he
probably sensed the inappropriateness of Indian music as a potential
expression of national music, since it remained until rccently outside
the mainstream of Brazilian music. H e resorted to Indian music mainly
National Style versus Musical Nationalism 155
as an evocation of this multiple and total vision of Brazil. Likewise, his
incursions into purely Afro-Brazilian musical traditions .remaincd su-
perficial (as the songs Xang and Estrela lua nova, of the series Canes
Tpicas Brasileiras, reveal). When he needed access to "authcntic"
Indian and Afro-Brazilian materiais, he turncd to the publications of
Roquette Pinto and Mrio de Andrade.
From a sound-structural viewpoint, tbe truly national tradition that
Villa-Lobos kncw well and with which he was able to identify fully and
most directJy was the carioca urban popular musico f his time, including
not only the gerues cultivated by the chores, but the choro itself as a
genre, the carnival samba and the ballroom samba of the 1920s and
1930s. It is not coincidental that Choros No. 1, for example, has been
arranged by severa! popular musicians in recent decades. In addition, he
also knew enough Luso-Brazilian folksongs and instrumental picces
from both southeastern and northcastern Brazil to be able to construct
thematic ideas that were sometimes closely relatcd to the melodic
contours of these folksongs. The richness of the folk modes ofered by
these folk music repertories, however, or the variety of Afro-Brazilian
multilayered polyrhythmic organization did not retain hls attention as
The Natwe of Villa-Lobos's Eclecticism
In the last analysis, it matters little whether the folk and popular sources
that inspircd thc music of Villa-Lobos were truly "authentic," beca use
he was able to impress upon the Brazilian listeners-if not convlnce
them all of-thc strength of hls own conviction that bis music was as
"folk" as that of thc people. Even his highly personal, almost mystic,
involvement in a rcinvented indigenous world, through a sort of
"Amazonic sound," had the advantage of calling the attention of pre-
dominantly urban artists to the contrasting cultural factors of the
Brazilian heritage. In reality, the "whlte, dressed-up Indian" discovered
in his unique and modernistic way the souJ of the music o f Brazil of hls
own time and made possible the further discovery by subsequent
generations of Brazilian composers. Concurrently, more than any other
composcr of his generation, he defined the sort of exuberant stylistic
eclecticism that continues to cbaracterize the present art music of
Brazil. The nature of that eclecticism is worth reflecting upon.
In efect, since the l920s Brazil has presented a true musical mosaic
made up of pronounced disparitics to which only an anthropophagic
bricolage, la Oswald de Andrade, could bring some cohesion. As one of
thc most creative minds of the modernismo movcment, Oswald de
Andrade gavc in his Manifesto antropofdgico (1928) a deliberately
156 Heitor Villo-Lobos: The Search for Brotil's Musical Sou)
sarcastic IDadaist-like) but realistic vicw of the problematics of Brazil's
modero cultural makeup. The first metaphor of that manifesto, "Tupi,
or not tupi that is the question," illustrates best thc cultural cannibal-
istic concept. That is, in the construction of modem Brazilian culture,
one considers whether or not to return to the na tive cultures, such as
those of the Tupi Indians, or whether one should acquire and assimila te
the tools and skills o f other cultures, from w herever they may come. The
latter alterna tive is obviously preferred, with the understanding that in
the process of assimilation, a natural qualitative sclection takes place,
followed by an imitation, rc-creation, and transformation of the foreign
cultural elements according to prevailing individual, historicaJ condi-
tions and nccds. What thls meant for the modemist literary figures and
musicians was basically a justification for the absorption lliterally, thc
"deglutination"l of foreign artistic and musical expcriences to the
specilic nceds of the moment.
For Villa-Lobos in particular, most of his works could be intcrpreted
as part of this process, but the series of the Choros cspecially represcnts
his first major step toward not only thc incorporation of native inspira-
tion and documcntation but the assimilation of many contemporary
European compositional technlques. It is not coincidcntal that h e began
with the simplest exprcssion of the urban genre (Choros No. li and built
gradually to more complexforms and expression in an amalgamation of
bits and pieces of traditional native and Afro-Brazilian music, childrcn's
round folk tunes, and other urban popular dance music genres, frc-
quently in an atmosphere of Carnavalesque happening, but all with a
decidedly modernistic technical vocabulary. We indeed have in this
music a "sonorous magma in permanent transfiguration" whose elabo-
ration "is a consequence of the unfolding of lde-constructed] material
... that he previously researchcd and latermultplicd in a flow of always
new musical events" (Mendes 1975:132).
The compositional lesson of Villa-Lobos was well understood by
subsequent gcneratons of Brazillan composers. Mendes particularly
sees thecompositional process ofVilla-Lobos as respondingto European
rationallty with a "chaotic informalism, young and lively, in an experi-
mental, anthropophagic free-for-all," whose disparate results are an
integral part of the impassionate search of the "transcendeu tal, !andJ thc
cosmic, through native scntiment ... Only in thc Americas could havc
emerged pop art, tazz, 'tropicalismo,' and the music of Villa-Lobos and
Ives" (ibid.: 131). Taking the scrcnading choro as his point of dcparture,
Villa-Lobos endcd up constructing the apothcotic vision of the Brazilian
reallty of his day, by articulating a number of signs indicative of the
Brazilian divcrsity, while contributing to the forging o{ the myth of a
unilied national culture. And herc is perhaps thc csscntial explanalion
National Style versus MusiCtJl Notionolism 157
of the eclecticism ofVilla-Lobos and of subsequent Brazilian composers:
the need to be nonexclusive and comprchcnsive concurrcntly in the
attempt to disclose the various cultural vibrations of Brazil.
Such a disposition, frequently intuitive, dcmands the most diverse
means of cxpression and techniques. It aJso entails a sociopolitical
consideration related to the anthropophagic position that implies the
rupture of the dlalectic between the firstand the third world lor between
colonizcrs and colonized). By approprlating the colonizer, the native
composer no longer can bela beled "colonized" when u tilizing ways and
means of European composition. At the center of this disposition is
obviously thcchanging perception of the concept "national culture." For
Villa-Lobos, in the last anaJysis, that conccpt was dear: hls lifc and
works bear witness to his vicw of Brazilas a fragmcntary nation to which
mosic, eclectic and experimental, wouJd bring both discipline and
1. "Were there among our composers now as many more [like] Vil[l]a-Lobos,
the music of.Brazil would be the greatest in the world, Iam cenain of it" [Mrio
de Andrade, 1930; reprinted in Msica, doce msica, 1963, p. 161).
2. The original title of the book by Brazilian pianist Anna SteUa Schic, Vi lia-
Lobos, souvenirs de l'indien blanc (published in F rance in 1987 and translated
into Pormguese in 1989), is stillrcflcctive of this association.
1. Toward a Criticai Biography of Heitor Villa-Lobos
1. "A minha obra musical conseqncia da predestinao. Se ela em
grande quantidade, fruto de uma terra extensa, generosa e quente" (in Presena
de Villa-Lobos, vol. 4, 1969, p. 98).
2. For example, the allegedly fonuitous encounter ofVUla-Loboswith Adolf
Hitler at the Frankfun airpon on his way to Praguc in 1936, recounted on pp. 93-
94, or the extravagant chronicle of the composer's discovery of the Amazon, on
pp. 42-46.
3. In his book A glria escandalosa de Heitor Villa-Lobos (The scandalous
glory of Heitor Villa-LobosJ, a notoriously deplorable attempt to impair the
reputation o f Villa-Lobos, Carlos Maul reproduces [on p. 268) the official written
declara tio o ofVilla-Lobos's mother, presumably the best and most trustworthy
witncss, attcsting that the composer was born on 5 March 1886 and not 1887.
The last chapter of the book (pp. 269-272) is made up of excerpts from C. Paula
Barros's biography, supposedly to reveal the contradictions and alleged impos-
ture of Villa-Lobos.
4. Reproduced in Presena de Villa-Lobos, voL 4, 1969, p. 98.
S. Reproduced in Presena de Villa-Lobos, voL 3, 1969, p. 140.
6. Vasco Mariz
who i.nterviewed Villa-Lobosabourthc trlpsin 1946, warned
that their chronology is not definitive, and that the information given by the
composer is, at times, contradictory ( 1989:40).
7. Literally "musical banner," but also refers to the sevcntccnt h- and
eighteenth-ccntury advcnturers (bandeirantes) who first cxplorcd thc interiorof
8. While in Rio between trips, Villa-Lobos is believed to havc takcn cclJo
lcssons from Professor Nicdcberger and registered for the course on hnnnony
taught by t hc wcll-known Frederico Nasci mento, both at thc Notionol lnst ltulc
160 Notes to Pages 6-12
of Music, but soon dropped out. While the institute's records do not rcflcct
formal registration, it is likcly that hc took lcssons privately.
9. As accurately pointed out by Bruno Kiefer (1981:159), there is only one
Guia Prtico ( 1932), the original volume of 137 pieces. The subsequent 60 piano
pieces in 11 albums, also entitled Guia Prtico ( 1932-1949), represent the same
material as the original volume.
10. Reproduced in Presena de Villa-Lobos, vol. 2, 1966, p. 96.
11. Ncvcrthclcss, a more likely explanation of Villa-Lobos's exposure to the
music ofBarbados is givenin Mariz(1989:44J. Thenew port ofBclm was under
construction at that time as an English financial venture (Port of Par), witb
Black labor coming from Barbados. It is more probable, tben, that Villa-Lobos
heard Barbadian music in Belm.
12. The intercsting book Villa-Lobos visto da platia e na intimidade (1912/
1935), written by Lucflia's brothers (Guimares et al. 1972), contains reproduc-
tions o f concert programs and critics' comments, covering exclusivcly thc period
of their common life. The compilersfauthors felt the need to promete Luclia's
achievcmcnts as a pcrfonner and a composer, as a result of their belief that her
name had been deliberately ignored by all Villa-Lobos biographers, under tbe
intimatcd cocrcion of the first director of tbe Museum Villa-Lobos-Arminda
Villa-Lobos! In his lcttcr of 18 April 1988, Vasco Mariz informed me that he
mentioned only the bare minimurn on Luclia Guimares in thc first editions o f
his book, "at Villa-Lobos's ownrcqucst." Only in the 1983 edition did h e amplify
his commcnts. He felt that her inf1uence was quite considerable but "not
essential," and added: "Villa-Lobos had two remarkable wivcs who hclped him
very much."
13. Vasco Mariz (1989:47-48) provides a good example of Guanabarino's
attacks on Villa-Lobos's music. On the other hand, on at least two occasions the
critic reviewed positively (on 16 August 1918) the symphonic prelude of the
opera/zahL, and (on 23 August 1!121 ) the cello and pianopieceE/gie, both rather
conserva tive works, like Guanabarino. In the first rcvicw, hc wrotc: "Mr. Villa-
Lobos's talcnt manilcstcd itsclf in such a way as to deserve the applause of ali
Brazilians who are interested in the art of music" (in Guimares ct al. 1972:35;
see also 55-56).
14. In his wish to reaffirm his independence, Villa-Lobos is reported to have
stated, "As soon as I fccl somcbody's influcncc, I shake it off and jump out"
(Mariz 1989:4SaJ.
15. Wisnik (19n:44, 146-151) provides analytic evidcnce of the obvious
prcsencc ofDcbussy's influence already in the Danas Africanas of 1914-1915.
16. For an updatcd discussion of Rubinstein's account of his mecting with
Vi lia-Lobos, see Carlos Katcr's article "O Villa-Lobos de Rubinstein" in Latin
American Music Review, vol. 8, no. 2 ( 1987), pp. 246-253. The author uncovcred
new written evh.lcnce in the early 1980s in the Max Escbig archive.
17. The well-known Brazilian pianist Guiomar Novaes, famous for hcr
intcrprctations of thc great romantic composers, playcd only thc first numbcr
1"0 Ginete do Pierrozinho"J o f the serics Carnaval das Crianas ( 1919- 1920) by
Villa-Lobos, a ratber harmless piece, together with the stylistically predictablc
pieces of Blanchet and Vallon. She was reported (O Estado de So Paulo, 13
Fcbruary 19221 to h ave writtcn a letter objecting to the idcas exprcsscd by Graa
Notes to Pages 13-20 161
Aranha in his first lecture, illustrated witb tbe pieceEmbryons DesscbsofErik
Satie (performed by Emni Braga), a parody of Cbopin's "FuneraLMarch." She
wrotc: "I fclt sincerely saddened witb tbe public exhibition of pieces satrica! of
tbe music of Chopin" (reproduced in Contier 1985:25). Nevcrtheless, sbe went
on to participa te in the festival, but was never a true adcpt of modem music.
18. The word raa (raceJ was used in thls contcxt with the specilic meaning
of "civilization" or "nationality," without any racial implication at all.
19. Andrade uscd the term popular here in its most generic sense of music "of
the people/' without any attempted differentiation between urban popular and
ruralfolkmusic. La ter in the Ensaio(" A msica e a cano popularesnoBrasil"J,
however, be referred to the "deleterious" influencc of urban culture (mbanismo)
on popular music and called for the distinction in urban folklore between tbe
traditionally national and popular and the populares co, a term implying some-
thing of low quality, cphcmeral, and under presumably undesirable foreign
influence (ibid.: 166-167).
20. An often mentioned incident that helped Villa-Lobos's popularity in Paris
refers to the published intcrvicw in L'lntransigeant by the poet Lucille Delarue-
Mard.rus. Having read Villa-Lobos's copy of tbe travei account to Brazil (origi
nally published in ISS 7 in Marburg, Germany) of the sixteenth-century German
Hans Staden, she decided to attributc to Villa-Lobos Staden's captivity ordeaJ
among the Tupinamb Indians. Whilc the story rased more than a few eyebrows
in Brazil (see Andrade 1963:143-144), it fascinated the Parisian public of the
time. In Brazil, many felt that the composer himsclf had much to do witb this
publicity "stunt," since h c did not refute the fanciful story (see Mariz 1977:63-
21. The 1983 cdition o f Mariz's book (Zahar Editora) carries the date of 3 May,
repeated in the 1989 (Editora Itatiaia) edition (p. 66), as aresult of a typographjcal
erro r.
22. As an example of thc &equently contradictory and confusing data sur-
rounding Villa-Lobos's works, the premiere of Choros No. 3 is indicated in the
composer's "ollicial " catalogue (Museu Villa-Lobos 1972:36) as 5 December
1927 in Paris (the correct date of 30 Novem bcr 1925 in So Paulo is given in the
1989 third edition of that catalogue), while that of Choros No. 10 is acknowl-
edged as baving becn in Rio but on 1 L November 1926. Nbrega (1975:43, 97)
repeated the information for No. 3, gavc thc corrcct date for No. 10 but the wrong
tbeatre (Teatro Municipal instead of Teatro Lrico). Guimares et al (1972:131-
132) also gave L 1 Novem ber as the date o f tbc eoncert butreproduced accurately
the three-part program. Fortunately, Kiefer (1981:135) cbeckcd at the archive of
the Villa-Lobos Museum the original copy of thc 15 November 1926 program,
presumably available to tbe museum at the time of the compilation of tbe
catalogue and to Adhemar Nbrega who workcd at the museum for many years.
The fact that thc concert was prcscnted as an homage to the govemment of thc
republic confirmed in itself the 15 November date, the proclamation of the
republic date. In addi tion, the [orna] do Comrcio reviewcd thc concert the next
day. The third edition of thc catalogue continues to indica te 11 November as the
premicre of Choros No. 10.
23. Once again, there sccms to bc some confusion about the dates of thc last
two "festivais o f Villa-Lobos." K1cfcr ( 1981: 138- 139) gives the c:Lttcs mcntloncd
162 Notes to Pages 20-24
hcrc, but Guimares ct al. (1972:174) and Mariz (1977:66, 1989:69) indicate 30
April and31 May. Other biographers, suchasNogueiraFrana (1973), donotrefer
to these concerts at all. The dates mentioned by Kiefer appear to be thc correct
ones, if one considcrs the dates o f tbe reviews in Le Monde Musical (30 April and
31 May), which could not have occurred on thc same days as the alleged
24. Among them were Suzanne Demarquez, whose articles in the Revue
Musicale ( 1929-1930) caught thc attention of Mrio de Andrade, as prcviously
alluded to, and Jules Casadesus, whose interview with Villa-Lobos was pub-
lishcd in thc 6 Junc 1930 issue of Le Cuide du Concert et de Thtre Lyrique.
Interestingly, the special issue of La Revue Musicale of July-August 1931, a
"Gographie musicale 1931 ou essai sur la situation de la musique en tous pays"
(written by Rene de Saussine), reviews tbe Brazilian compositional scene and
portrays Villa-Lobos as the "flagbearer of the Brazilian intellectual youth" (pp.
203-204). For further data on Villa-Lobos's friendship with Florent Schm itt and
his additional rcsidcncies in Paris, see Lisa Peppcrcorn 1980 and 1985.
25. Rodrigues ( 1976:9) gives his name as "de Lins e Barros."
26. The last survivor of the So Paulo expedition, the renowned piano
tcchnician Antnio Cbcchim Fill10, rccountcd in grcat dctail thc various phascs
of the tours in a delightfu1 narrative of bis remcmbranccs of Villa-Lobos's
activities and their long conversations (see Chechim Filho 1987).
27. Obviously the musical results of such a large perforrning force could not
be vcry satisfactory. Villa-Lobos's tradicional advcrsary, the reactionary critic
Oscar Guanabarino, wrote the following cornments: "After ali, in a chorus of
twelve thousand children we can believe that a thousand could be in tune; tbe
remainder creates an uproarwhose tonal average only perhaps draws closerto the
desired sounds ... Villa-Lobos does not perceive when an ensemble is in tune
because his hearing is cducated in the constant dissonance of his musical
arrangcments; the children's group can, tberefore, shout as much as it wants
because for Mr. Dircctor everything is fine, always fine" (in Guimares et al.
1972: 186).
28. In response to those who had accused him of collaborating with the
totalitarian regime of the "Estado Novo," Villa-Lobos declared in a public forum
in 1954: "They want to destroy an acbievemem, but they can't. lr's not against
me, it's not against you, it's against music, against art. I have intcrcst for no
regime whatsoever, in a political sense, and I don't even have Jpolitical] ideals.
Wbat I want is discipline and lovefor art. I want to see a disciplined pcoplc. I envy
the foreigner. The only thing that I arn envious of the foreigner, the only one, is
the education that the foreigner h as, that we don't h ave" (reproduced in the video
production of Rede Manchete and Meta Vdeo ''Villa-Lobos, O Indio de Casaca"
29. H e took it upon himself to act as the spokesman for Brazilian musicians
bywriting a well- known memorandum to President Vargas on 12 February 1932,
depicting the "horrible scene" in which the Brazilian artistic comm unity found
itseli in terrns of educational objectives and lack of professional opportunities.
Citing statistical data of 34,000 unemployed artists in the country at large, he
appcalcd to thc prcsidcnt to create the Departamento Nacional de Proteo s
Artes (National Dcpanmcnt for the Protcction of the Arts).
Notes to Pages 25-28 163
30. Maul (1960:253-255) offers misleading criticism of some of the courses
taugbt at tbe conservatory and attcmpts, once more, to discredit Vllla-Lobos by
denouncing allegedJy excessive spcnding of public funds and numerous absences
from bis duties as director of the conservatory.
31. See particularly Villa-Lobos (1946:502, 526). Villa-Lobos is also said to
h ave drilled bis young cboristers with a six-part eanon on the words "Bondade"
(kindness), "Realidade" (reality), "Amizade" (friendship), "Sinceridade" (sincer-
ity), "Igualdade" (equality), and "Lealdade" (loyalty)wbose initialsspell''Brasil."
The choice of the words corresponds to the unquestionably civic-moralistic
stance of the "Estado Novo."
32. Villa-Lobos's activities in thc arca of music education have often been
describcd but still await an in-depth assessment. Mcncgale (1969), Rodrigues
(1976), and Vassberg (1975) are informative but generally lacking in critical
analysis. Tbe Brazilian music encyclopcdia (Marcondes 1977) provides no
updated information on SEMA and does not cvcn carry an entry on music
education in Brazil.
33. Horta (1987:63) considers this period tbe "most delicate moment of his
career" and "one of thc most raised factors, at present, when one thinks of
writing a biograpby ofVilla-Lobos. Our epoch is [not only] hypercritical [but also]
hyperpoliticized. Thc temptation isto project this manner of to Villa-
Lobos's period." Actually, the criticism leveled at Villa-Lobos in his own time
and later for subjecting himself and music in general to the service of the state
encampasses an ideological significance deserving of consideration regardless of
time period. I, for one, subscribe to the interprctation o f Villa-Lobos's intuitive
pragmatic scnse, which dictated to hirn the need to support the nationalistic
regime of Vargas if he were to enjoy thc bighly desirable patronage of the state
for his arnbitious program. This, however, does not in itself justify or fully
explain some of the composer's attitudes from an ideological standpoint.
34. The letter that h e wrote to ber from Berlin (28 May 1936) is reproduced in
facsimile in Guimares et ai. ( 1972:352-353).
35. V asco Mariz ( 1989: 79-80) reproduces some o f the passages Eram tbe book
A volw do gato preto by rico Verssimo, who recounts some of the most
memorable momcnts of VillaLobos's sojoum in Los Angeles. Among these are
the speech the composcr decidcd to give on the spur o f the moment at the award
ceremony for the Doctor o f Musical Sciences degree by the president o f Occiden-
tal College, as weU as his behavior at a reception in a strange Hollywood club
environmcnt, occasions on which Verfssimo served as his interpreter. His
description of Villa-Lobos's defensive demeanor is quite symptomatic of the
composer's pcrsonality. Scc also Robert Stevenson ( 1987 a and 1987b).
36. See Stevenson ( l987a). Magdalena was rcvived during the last week of
November 1987 in a concert performance at Alice Tully Hall in New York (see
Andrew Porte.r's report in The New Yorker, 7 Dcccmber 1987, pp. 163-164).
37. Mostbiographers(e.g., Mariz 1977:76,1983: 126, L989:84;Horta 1987:86)
mention thc composition of a tonc poem in homage to the new state of Israel
(1949), but none can be found anywhere for that year, including thc sccond and
third editions of VillaLobos, sua obra (Museu ViUa-Lobos, 1972 and 1989). The
only work dedicatcd to Israel, Odissia de uma Raa (Odysscy of a racc) for
orchestra, carne !ater in 1953, prcmicred by the Israel Philharmonic Orchcl>tra in
164 Notes to Pages 28-47
Haifa on30 May 1954, and for which royaltieswere to be donatcd to the state of
Israel. The dedication reads in part: "In the formation of the Universe God
created a race that lived and suffered, but overcame in Israel." This type of
confusion of facts and limitation on Villa-Lobos's works further confinns the
nccd of a serious thematic catalogue (scc Jacobs 1987:254-261 ).
38. At the initiative of Brazilian diplomats in Paris, a memorial plaque was
placed at the Bedford Hotel in 1971 bearing the inscription: "In this hotellived
from 1952 to 1959 the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, great interpreter
of the soul of bis country." As it happened, this was the same hotel where thc
Brazilian emperor, D. Pedro n, spent the last tWO ycars of bis We after thc
proclamation of the republic (1889) (see also Azevedo 1977: 135-138; Wright
39. The actual date of the prcmiere of the Nnth Symphony is not clear.
According to the Muscum Villa-Lobos's catalogues (Villa-Lobos, sua obra, 2nd
cd., 1972; 3rd ed., 1989), tbat sympbony was completed in Rio in 1952 and first
pcrformed by the Philadelphia Orchcstra under Eugene Ormandy, but no date for
the premiere is givcn. Enyart (1984:31 O) states, w.ithout providingevidence, that
it debutcd the same year as its completion. If that was the case, it would be the
only symphony that saw a premiere in the year of its completion. Considering
the number of factual errors in Enyart's thesis, onc should regard his statcment
with caution.
40. For a complete list of Villa-Lobos's honorific titles and decorations, see
Museu Villa-Lobos (1972:21-23).
41. See also Carpenticr's 1928 article for the Parisian Gazette Musica]e,
rcproduced in Toni (1987:77-83).
2. The Musical Language of Villa-Lobos
1. Mrio de Andrade ( 1963 J significantly included bis articles on V illa-Lobos
(and other Brazilian composcrs) under the subheading "Msica de corao"
(Music from the heart) in contrast to the other sections, "Msica de cabea"
(Music from the bead) and "Msica de pancadaria" (Musico f the body or perhaps
Pcrcussively noisy)!
2. This lecturcisreproduced in Presena de ViJla-Lobos, vol. 6, 1971, pp. 15-
3. It is irnportant to realize that Wagner's Tristan und [solde was first
produced in Rio in 1910, whileDebussy's Pellas et Mlisande had to wait until
1920. Arminda Villa-Lobos, referring to the opera lzabt, a work of 1912-1914,
wrotc: "In the opinion of our great musician, the melodic Line and thc orchestra-
tion of this opera are irnpregnated with thc iniluence ofPuccini and Wagner, bis
favorite composers" (in Presena de Villa-Lobos, vol. 6, 1971, p. 163).
4. Enio de Freitas e Castro's lecture on Villa-Lobos's harmony and form
contains some pertinent obscrvations. See Freitas e Castro ( 1972:57-78).
5. Reproduccd in Presena de Villa-Lobos, vol 4, 1969, p. 192.
6. According to Santos (1975:52), Villa-Lobos denied that he intended this
work to be designated as a "suite." Arminda Villa-Lobos confirmcd, however,
that the title of "sute" was the composer's original one.
7. The pianist Arnaldo Estrella (1970) presents a dcscriptive guide to Villa-
Lobos's string quartets that can hardly be called "analysis," since it is more a
Notes Lo Pages 49-6 7 165
reading of thc score presented in prose style. The vital statistics and general
comments on the quartets, however, are quite uscful.
8. IGefer (1981:47) himself clarifics the genesis of work. In response to
the general assertion that what Villa-Lobos had written in 1917 was a piano
version of thc ballct, with the definitive orchestral vcrsion supposedly appearing
in 1934, Klefer examincd the original autograph o f the orchestral score and that
of the piano rcduction, both signed by Villa-Lobos with the indication "Rio,
1917." The end of the orchcstral score bears the annotation "The end. Rio, 1917,
corrected ('reformado') in 1934." (I can confirm these findings, since 1 also
examined the autographs at the Museum Villa-Lobos). In addition, as Kiefer
observed, a piano "reduction" implies the previous existence of an orchestral
9. Curiously, the well-known Stokowski recording with the Stad.ium Sym-
phony Orchestra of New York (Everest SDRR-30 16) does not repeat this particu-
lar section, jumping from p. 17 of the AMP scorc to p. 31.
10. Kiefer (1981 :20) points out thatthc famous "Tristan'' chord appears at the
very beginning o f the work (m.l). Although the pi tches used by Villa-Lobos (F,
A flat, C flat, E flat) form the same "sonorlties," they ccrtainly do not function
like thosc o f the "Tristan" chord (F, B, D sbarp, G sharp), which only makcs scnse
within thc progressions of which it is a part (thc G sharp of the top of tbe chord
having a crucial function in that progression). The Uirapuru chord is static, as
confirmed throughout the introduction (mm. 4-18), and more probably is meant
as a v d.iminishcd seventh chord of G flat (see "Bird song"J.
11. Although it is wcll known that Stravinsky's Pirebird ( 1910) owes a great
deal to French irnprcssionism, it is quite remarkable that Villa-Lobos had not
heard Stravinsky's music in 1917. Perhaps Uirapuru confirms the French dictum
"Les grands csprits se rencontrcnt!"
12. The melodic invcntion o f both series confirms V illa-Lobos' s often q uoted
statcmenr: "I am folklorc; my meJod.ies are just as authemic as those which
origina te from the souls of the people," thereby reinforcing bis strong assim.ila-
t.ion of and identification with Brazilian popularculture. The statement perhaps
also reaffirms thc need to view thc music of Brazil in toto without the strict
categorization to which it is often subjected.
13. For an analysis and ample exemplific.ation of this deviccsee the article by
the Brazilian composer Jamary Oliveira (1984:33-47).
14. Souza Lima (1969:38) refers to "slcigb bell" effects and calls attention to
the rhythm of "Z Pereira" (a tradicional carnival march) in the bass part.
15. Souza Lima ( 1969:44-45) points out another aspect of this alte.rnation,
namcly, by considering the first two measurcs hc observes that thc white keys,
in tbe first measurc, ascend in pairs (E-F and F-GJ and, in thc next measure, thcy
desccnd (A-G and C-F), while the black keys procccd in ascending and descend-
ing fashion. In his opinion, this proccdure created "new aspects of pianistic
technique and, at times, requires entirely unpreccdcntcd hand positions."
16. Such a speculation brings to mind the frequcnt problema of chronology o f
Villa-Lobos's works. Rio and 1921 are thc place and date univcrsally acknowl-
edged for the composition of the set, but it is somewhat strange that thc sct was
dedicated to thc pianist Alinevan Barcntzen, whom Villa-Lobosmet in Paris and
who prcmiered it in Paris in 1927. h is also unlikcly that by 1922, thc ycar
Notes to Pages 68-84
Rubinsteinpremiered fourplecesof thefirstsetmRiodeJaneiro(on 8July), Vill.a-
Lobos would not have shown hls fantastic new pieces (the second set) to
Rubinstein. Could it be that the Prole do Beb No. 2 was truly not completed in
17. Freitas e Castro (1972:72-73) accurately observes the avoidance in thls
piece ofthe dominant seventh chord (wi th the exception ofthereturn to the tonic
key, mm. 49- 50) in favor of harmonic "ondulation" from the lcading tone to the
18. The title itself indicates that the composer conceived this work for nine
"major" instrumental (and vocal) groupings. Some have insisted (e.g., Adhemar
Nbrega, who called it a "dixtuor," in his notes for LP MEC/MVLfDAC/P AC/
014, 1975) that thecelesta should be considered as a separa te part,likethe piano
or harp. Obviously, Villa-Lobos followed the tradition of incorporating the
celesta within the percussion section. His treatment of it in this work, although
significant, would not justify an equal footing with the piano or the harp.
19. Surprisingly, Juan Orrego-Salas (1966:24) refers to the "musical vaguery
[i.e., vagueness] and the monstrous proportions" of the Noneto.
20. There are actually fourteen num bercd Choros, a Dois Choros (Bis) ( 1928 ),
for violin and cello, and an orchestrallntroduo aos Choros ( 1929), the last one
conceived as a sort of overture summarizing materiais from nine of the num-
bered works. The manuscripts for Nos. 13 and 14, incidentally, were lost. The
exquisite QuinLeto em Forma de Choros ( 1928), forwoodwind quintet with the
option of French hom or English horn, is not part of the series, althoughNbrega
(1975:26) included it in bis list.
21. Choros No.1 is from 1920 (and not 1921 as reported in thesecond edition
oftheofficial catalogue); No. 2, 1924;No. 3, 1925; No. 4, 1926; No. 5, 1925; No.
6, 1926; No. 7, 1924; No. 8, 1925; No. 9, 1929; No. 10, 1926; No. 11, 1928; No.
12, 1929; No. 13, 1929; No. 14, 1928; Dois Choros (Bis), 1 928; and Introduo aos
Choros, 1929. Villa-Lobos felt that the complete performance of the series
should begin with the Introduo and end with the Dois Choros (Bis).
22. On the history of this important genre (modinha) in Brazilian music,
see Andrade (1930), Arajo (1963), and Bhague (1968).
23. He had already use this same melody for the second song of the series
Canes Tfpcas Brasileiras, which also included another Parccis lndian song
Mokocc Mak (No. 1 in the series), a lullaby, which reappears in Choros No.
24. Nbrega ( 1975:41) points to tbe final chord (E flat-A flat-D flat-G flat-B
flat) of section 15 as the only "allusion to urban popular music in Choros No. 3, "
beca use the chor d refers to the tuning o f the guitar (a minor second below), the
serenading instrumento f the chores. The symbolism is rather farfetched in this
particular context.
25. Simon Wright (1980:66) appropriately compares one of the modinhas,
"Tu passaste por este jatdim," of the Canes Tpicas Brasileiras, with t he first
theme of Choros No. 5.
26. A "moderate" march but with a M.M. of 112 per beat (4/4). Neves
(1977:48)sccsin it an evocation ofa carnival marcha-rancho, but both thc tempo
and the basic rhythm would seem to indica te a different type of march.
Notes to Pages 85-106
27. In search of spccial timbre effects, Vill.a-Lobos calls for the insertion of a
sheet ofpaper between the piano strings (up toNo. 51 of theorchestralminiature
score). Some have interpreted this gesture as pioneering John Cage's "prepared
piano" idea (cf. Neves 1977:55). Needless to say, the comparison is unsustainable,
as one was an experimentalgesture, the other a full-fledged system, which does
not diminish in the least Vllla-Lobos's experiment.
28. The Villa-Lobos discography, which until recently did not contain any
recording of Choros Nos. 8, 9, or 12, has been entiched by the following
recordings: Nos. 8 and 9 wcre recorded in 1985 by the Hong Kong Philharmonic,
under Conductor Kenneth Schermerhorn (relcased on Compact Disc, MARC
8220322). The first world recording of Choros No. 12 was made in 1980 by the
Or chestre Philharmonique de Liege, under Conductor Picrrc Bartholome, and
released on LP Ricercar 007. See the selective discography in the appendix.
29. Yilla-Lobos was sued by the owner of the rights to the poem for utilizing
it without permission but was acquitted o f any premeditated wrongdoing. Maul
(1960) in bad faith claimcd plagiarism. See Nbrega (1975:99-107).
30. Villa-Lobos actually used the music written by Anacleto de Medeiros to
CatuUo da Paixo Cearense's text.
31. O li vier Messiaen is said to have been quite fascinated and "influenced" by
these bird calls and their timbral rendition, as in this last example (cf. Neves
32. Neves (1977:66) compares the effect of the flowing melody of this
modinha over the rhythmic ostinati to the alleged similar effect of the famous
cantilena of Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, although with a different "spirit and
force." In my opinion, the comparison is ill-conceived if one considers the
rhythrnic integration of the soprano line with the accompaniment in the
33. In bis good if rather subjective study, Orrego-Salas (1966:27- 28) consid-
ered the Choros in a cursory manner, only in comparison with the Bachianas,
and stated t hat thc lack of attention to the "concepts of pure music" in both
series of works is a dominnting feature of Yilla-Lobos's works in general.
34. Villa-Lobos actually wrote an orchcstral version of the work in 1932 and
prerniered it himself in 1942.
35. La urine Annette Elkins (1971) provides solid analytical insights in to this
36. For the most extensive analysis, see Eurico Nogueira Frana' s monograph
(1976:53- 56).
37. Neves (1977:88) refcrs to the period after 1930 as "post-Choros."
38. In bis sympathetic but overgeneralizcd study, which, however, reveals
good cultural insights, Wright (1980:70) stated: "The last 29 years of Villa-
Lobos'slifewere primarily concemed withmusical education, ethnom usicology
(sc), and extensive conducting tours .. . His musical style changed very little,
becoming if anything slightly more cosmopolitan." Admittedly, what consti-
tutes a "cosmopolitan" style in the period 1930- 1959 is difficult to ascertain.
lncidcntally, ethnomusicology is roo formal a term to describe the composer's
involvement with folk and popular music.
39. In their wcU-intentioned but scanty book on the Bachi anas, Chaves
168 Notes to Pages 107-145
Jniorand Palma(l971:11) divide tbcworks into three periods, accordingtotheir
years of composition, tbat is, (1)1930, (2)1938, and (3)1942-1945, without any
stylistic irnplication.
40. Nbrega singlcs out the famous Bachianas No. 5 as a masterpiece that "for
a long time appearcd among the greatest 'best sellcrs' of the United States, whicb
is nota recommendation but a tcstimony of the acceptance of a work of genius
by a large consuming markct" (1971: 19).
41. A word ofwarningabout the English vcrsion of tbisarticle is in ordcr. The
translation tends, at times, to misrepresent the author's intentions (e.g., "Desafio
a lo acadmico" is translated as "evolution of the academician"). The original
Spanish text deserves proper consultation (Orrego-Salas 1965:25-62).
42. Nbrega ( 1971 :30) likens this descending theme to that of Bach's adagio
from the Toccato, Adagio and Fugue, in C major (BWV 564).
43. A "watered-down Stravinskyian Neo-classicism'' as described by Wright
44. Botb embolada and marteloform part ofthe whole complex of the desafio
repertory. Strictly speaking, however, martelo is the designation of a special type
of poctic structure, namely, tcn-syllable lines in verses of six to ten Unes (cf.
Cascudo 1979:479).
45. It is sign.ificant that, among the various concerts in homagc to the
composer in 1987, conductor Kurt Mazur organized two conccrts in Leipzig,
Bach's city, with the Gewandhaus Symphony Orchestra, performing Bachianas
No. 2 and No. 5 (Vasco Mariz, personal communication).
46. A fragment (without date) of an eightcenlh quartet survives at the
Museum Villa-Lobos.
47. Estrclla (1970:46)states that thechoiccofpopular-music themes that lend
themsclvcs to a polyphonic treatmcnt gives to the movement a "clearly rhap-
sodic aspect."
48. Strangely, Eurico Nogueira Frana (1976:83) attributes a "scrcnading
stamp" to this theme.
49. These included Panqueca (1900), Mazurka in D major (1901), Valsa
Brilhante (1904), Fantasia (1909), Quadrilha (1910), Cano Brasileira (1910),
Dobrado Pitoresco (1910), Dobrados (1909-1912), and Tarantela (1910).
50. The date of composition of this "Chorinho" is unknown, although
Turibio Santos (1975:8) statcs tbat it was written in Paris in 1923. Santos also
reveals that Villa-Lobos did not like thc titlc of the suite "given more for reasons
of publication" than a deliberate intention.
51. Villa-Lobos apparcntly composed six prel udes, but thc last one, the "most
beautiful" according to him, was lost during thc Spanish Civil War in onc of
Segovia's houses.
52. Tbe lack of grandiosc sonority prompted Vasco Mariz to state: "It is a
cJearly lyrical work, and the only flaw that onc can find is the fortuitous lack of
intcnsiry" (Mariz 1989: 143).
3. National Style versus Musical Nationalism: Villa-Lobos's Eclecticism
I. "I consider my works as letters that I wrote to Postcrity, without
expecting any answer." (Reprinted in Museu Yilla-Lobos, 1972.)
2. The fact tbatThe New Grove Dictionary of Music and M usicians (Stanley
Notes to Pages 146-154 169
Sadie, ed., Macmillan, 1980) does not carry an entry on musical nationalism is
symptomatic of this lack of attention.
3. This tcrm was introduced in the 1930s by Francisco Curt Lange, to
attempt to foster more intcr-American musical intcraction and in bis campaign
for the rccognition of Latin American and Caribbean music.
4. With very few exccptions, the music of most national anthems of the
world, including those of third-world countries, shows little orno relationship
to local folk or popular musical traditions, as a result of the adoption of the
European concept o such antherns, based on military marches. Yet, thcy ali
function as some of the most meaningful patriotic identity symbols.
S. Intcrcstingly, an opposing attitude is expressed by Gilberto Mendes
( 1975: 130) who believes that folk musicas a passivc supplier of motivations and
themes of art music actually does not "act upon modero musicallanguage,"
whilc urban popular music, on rhccontrary, contributes most signilicantly to its
6. More recently, the well-known Cuban composer Leo Brouwer (in his
prologue to Giro's book1et on Villa-Lobos, 1990) charactcrized Villa-Lobos as
being parto f tbe '"real-maravilloso' de nuestra Amrica" ( 1990: 12), as are Garcia
Caturla in Cuba, lvcs in the United Statcs, and Revueltas in Mxico.
7. The best interpretive account of this type of nationalism is undoubtedly
Wisnik's chapter "Getlio da Paixo Cearense (VillaLobos e o Estado Novo)"
(1982: 131-190). Squef ( 1982:43-64), in thesamevolume, also providesexcellent
insights in to tbe problcms of tbe nature of Brazilian nationalism in music.
8. Mrio de Andrade refused to sing the pratses of the fust works of Villa-
Lobos based on thc utilization of Indian mclodies and rhythms, bccause he
considercd it an unwarranted cxoticism.
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Santos, Turibio
1975 Heitor Villa-Lobos e o violo. Rio de Janeiro: Museu Villa-Lobos.
(English trans., Villa-Lobos and tbe Guitar. Cork,lreland: Wisc Owl
Music, 1985.)
Schic, Anna Stclla
1989 Villo-Lobos: O lndio bronco. Rio de Janeiro: Imago Editora.
Sccger, Charles
1945 "Music in the Americas: Oral and Written Traditions in the Ameri-
cas, " Bulletin ofthe Pan American Union 79:5(May), 290-293; 79:6
(June), 341-344.
1952 "Music and Society: Some New World Evidence ofThcir Relation-
ship," in Pcoceedings of the Conference on Lotin-Americon Fine
Arts, !une 14--17, 1951. Austin: University of Texas Press, 84-97.
(Reprinted in SLudies in Musicology, 1935-1975. Berkclcy: Univer-
sity of California Press, 1977, 182-194.)
Segovia, Andrs
1958 "I Meet Villa-Lobos," in Guitar Review, no. 22, pp. 22- 23.
Silva, Francisco Pereira da
1974 Villo-Lobos. So Paulo: Editora Trs(" A vida dos grandes brasileiros").
Slonimsky, Nicolas
1945 Music of Latin America. New York: Crowcll.
Squeff, Enio
1982 "Reflexes sobre um Mesmo Tema," in O nacional e o popular na
cultura brasileiro: Msica. So Paulo: Editora Brasilicnse.
Stevenson, Robert
1987a "Heitor Villa-Lobos's Los Angelcs Connection: A Centcnnial Trib
ute," lnter-American Music Review, vol. 9, no. I (Fall-Winter).
1987b ''Brazilian Report of Villa-Lobos's First Los Angeles Visit," Inter
Americon Music Review, vol. 9, no. l(Fall-Winter).
Storni, Eduardo
1988 Villo-Lobos. Madrid: Espasa-Calpc.
Toni, Flvia Camargo
1987 Mrio de Andrade e Villo-Lobos. So Paulo: Centro Cultural So
Vassberg, David E.
1975 "Villa-Lobos as Pedagoguc: Music in the Servicc of the Statc,"
Journal of Research in Music Educauon, vol. 23, no. 3 (Fnli).
Verssimo, Erico
1947 A volto do gato preto. Rio de Janeiro: Ljvraria do Globo.
Villa-Lobos, Heitor
1937 O ensino popular do msica no Brasil. Rio de Janeiro: Secretario
Geral de Educao e Cultura.
1940 A msica nacionalista no govrno Getlio Vargas. Rio de Janeiro;
Departamento de Imprensa c Propaganda.
1946 "Educao Musical," Boletn Latino-Americano de Ms1co, vol. 6
Bibliograpby 177
Wisnik, Jos Miguel
1977 O coro dos contrrios. A msico em tomo do semana de 22. So
Paulo: Livraria Duas Cidades.
1982 "Getlio da Paixo Cearense (Villa-Lobos e o Estado Novo)," in O
nacional e o popular no cultura brasileira: Msico. So Paulo:
Editora Brasiliensc.
1989 O som e o sentido. Uma outro histria dos msicos. So Paulo:
Companhia das Letras/Crculo do Livro.
Wright, Si.mon
1980 ''Villa-Lobos: The Formarion of His Style," Soundings [UKJ voL 9
1989 "Villa-Lobos at the South Bank," Music and Musicians, vol. 37, no.
11, p. 13.
1992 ViDa-Lobos. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.
The following discography is selective but endeovors to provide a comprehen-
sive catalogue of items released on LPs and CDs during Lhe 1970s, l980s, and
early l990s. The list is organized by titles of works to facilita te the location of
the specific information. Severa] recordings of the same work are numbered
successively. Recordings of only portions or individual movements of works, as
well as pieces separated from their original cycles, collectons, or albums, are
excluded {Iom the list, with the excepton of those few items that represent
particularly important historical or high-quality recordings. Lil<ewise, record-
ings of arrangements for media other than the original instrumentation or
setting are omitted unless such auangements are by Villa-Lobos himself. To
avoid duplicaton, t.he various releoses of Lhe some recordings in various
countries (sometimes under different numbers and labels) are notincluded in
this list. Dates of recordng or release are indicated whenever available. For
complementary information on earlier recordngs, see the discography section
in Appleby, Heitor Villa-Lobos. A Bio-Bihliography (1988).
Alvorada na Floresta Tropical
1) MARC (1991), Czecho-Slovak (Bratislava) Raclio Symphony
Orchestra, R. Duarte, cond.
Amazonas (Bailado indgena brasileiro)
1) EMI/LA VOIXDESON MAITRE2C 165-16250/9, L'oeuvredepiano, A.
Stella Schic, piano
2) ANGEL3CBX-402.(l965), R. Szidon, piano
3) GEGA GD 102, Bulgarlan RadioSymphony Orchcstra, R. Avcrbach, cond.
4) MARC 8.223357 (1991), Czecho-Slovak (Bratislava) Raclio Symphony
Orchestra, R. Duarte, cond.
Assobio a Jato
l) CHANT.ECLER 2-08-404-088, Obras cameristicas brasileiras
2) CID MEC/MVL -007 (1972.), Concurso internacional de Conjuntos
Instrumentais 1972, C. Woltzenlogel, fi.; W. Clys, vc.
3) ARCH RECORDS 17601750 ( 1979), Twcntieth-Century Flute
4) KOCH1NTERNATIONALCLASSICS370012(1990), CharnberMusicfor
Flute and Strings
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
1) ENIR ECL -002, Coral Ars Nova (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais),
C. A Pinto da Fonseca, cond.
2) TAPECAR GRAVAES MEC/MVL 024, I Concurso Internacional de
Coro Misto, University of Texas Chamber Singers, M. J. Bcachy, cond.
Bachianas Brasileiras No. 1
1) EMI2 C 153-14090/9, Villa-Lobos parlul-mme, OrchestreNationaldela
Radiodillusion Franaise, Villa-Lobos, cond.
2) CAPITOL SP 8484 (1959), The Cello Galaxy, Mami, F. Slatkio, cond.
3 J FJA- 112 (MVL 30), li Concurso Internacional de Violoncelo, M. Tavares,
4) GASPARO GS-222CX, Members of the National Philharmonic of En-
gland, M. Hochberg, cond.
5) MEC/MVL/FUNARTE-0 16/1976,Associaodos Violoncelistas do Brasil,
M. Tavares, cond.
6) MGM E3105, Ensemhle of Cellists, T. Bloornfield, cond.
7) RCA LCT1143, Brazilian Festival Orchestra, W. Burle Marx, cond.
8) DELOS DCD-3041, Thc Yale Cellos, A. Parisot, cond.
9) TEL. 642339 AG, Ccllists from the Bcrlin Philhannonic
lO) EMIDigital CDC 7 47433 2,RoyalPhilharmonicOrchestra,E.Batiz, cond.
Bacbianas Brasileiras No. 2
1) ANGEL35547, Orchestre National de la Radiodillusion Franaise, Villa-
Lobos, cond.
2) ANCEL 36979, Orchestre de Paris, P. Capo longo, cond.
3) LE CHANT DU MONDE LDX 78.644, Orchestre National de l'URSS, V.
Bakharev, cond.
4) EMI 2 C I 53-14090/9, Villa-Lobos par lui-mme, Orchestn: National de la
Radiodillusion Franaise, Villa-Lobos, cond.
Bachlanas Brasileiras No. 3
1) VOX PL 10070 (1957), F. Blumental, piano; Filarmonica Triestina, L.
Toffolo, cond.
2) ANGEL S 37439, C. Ortiz, piano; New Philharmonia Orcbestra, V.
Ashkenazy, cond.
3) ANGEL S3CBX 493, M. Braune, piano; Orchestra National de la
Radiodiffusion Franaise, Villa-Lobos, cond.
4) EMI2 C 153-14090/9, Villa-Lobos par lui-mme, Orchestre National de la
Radlodiffusion Eranaise, Villa-Lobos, cond.
Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4
I) ANGEL S3CBX 493, Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Franaise,
Villa-Lobos, cond.
2) MGM E3105, M. Prcssler, piano
3) CHANTECLER 2.08-404-080, G. Tinetti, piano
4) EMI/LA VOIX DE SON MAITRE 2 C 165-16250/9, L'a:uvrc de piano, A.
Stella Schic, piano
5) EMI 2 C 153-14090/9, Villa-Lobos parlui-mme, Orchestre National de la
Radiodiffusion Franaise, Villa-Lobos, cond.
6) INTER AMERICAN OAS 002, Orquestra Sinfnica Brasileira, 1.
Karabtchevsky, cond.
Discography 181
7) LOU 762, Louisville Orchestra, f. Mester, cond.
8) KUARUP KLP BV1-4, Villa-Lobos 100 Anos, A. Guedes Barbosa, piano
9) CB$850091/2-464130 (CD) (1989), HeitorVilla-Lobospor A. Moreira Lima
Bachlanas Brasileiras No. 5
1) ANCEL35547lCDreleasc:EMICDH7 61015-2,1988], V. deLosAngclcs,
sop.; OrchestreNationaldela Radiodiffusion Franaise, Villa-Lobos, cond.
2) CAPITOL SP 8484 (1959), The Cello Galaxy, M. Nixon, sop.; F. Slatkin,
3) ANGEL36979, M. Mespl, sop.; Orchcstre de Paris, P. Capolongo, cond.
4) EMI2 C 153-14090/9, Villa-Lobos par lui-mme, Orchestre National dela
Radlodiffusion Franaise, Villa-Lobos, cond.
5) RCALSC-2795 (CD 1989release: RCGD87831), A. Moffo, sop.; American
Symphony Orcbestra, L. Stokowski, cond.
6) EMI Digital CDC 7.47433.2, B. Hcndricks, sop.; Royal Philbarmonic
Orchestra, E. Batiz, cond.
7) LONDON 411 730, K. Te Kanawa, sop.; L. Harrcll, ccllo; English Chamber
Orchestra, J. Tate, cond.
8) COLUMBIA ML 5231 (Aria only), B. Sayo, sop.; L. Rose, cello; ensemble
of cellists, Villa-Lobos, cond.
9) LE CHANTDU MONDE LDX 78.644 (Aria only), G. Vishnievskaya, sop.;
M. Rostropovitch, cello
ensemble of cellists
to) VANGUARD VSD-79160 (Ariaonly), J. Baez, sop.; M. Abravanel, cond.
11) SONY CD47544 (1993) (original recording 1963), N. DaVIath, sop.; New
York Philharmonic Orchestra, L. Bcmstcin, cond.
Bachianas Brasileiras No. 6
1) ANGEL 35547, F. Dufrene, flute
R. Plessier, bassoon
2) EMI 2 C 153-14090/9, Villa-Lobos par lui-mme, Orchestre National dela
Radiodillusion Franaise, Villa-Lobos, cond.
3) NONESUCH 71030, Baron, flute; Garfield, bassoon
4) RAVENNA RA VE 702, Soni Wind Quintet
5) ANGEL CDC-47357, Orchestre de Paris, P. Capolongo, cond.
6) ADDA 581074 (CD)(l989), Trio d'Ancbes Ozi (France), Brochot, flute;
Ouzounoff, bassoon
Bachlanas Brasileiras No. 7
1) EMI Digital CDC 7.47433.2 (1986), Royal Philbarmonic Orcbcstra, E.
Batz, cond.
2) EMI 2 C 153-14090/9, Villa-Lobos par lui-mme, OrchcstreNarionalde la
Radiodiffusion Eranaise, Villa-Lobos, cond.
3) VCD 47257, Orchcstrc RIAS de Berlin, Villa-Lobos, cond.
Bachianas Brasileiras No. 8
1) EMI 2C 153-14090/9, Villa-Lobos par lui-mme, Orcbestre National dela
Radiodiffusion Franaise, Villa-Lobos, cond.
Badanas Brasileiras No. 9
1) MGM RECORDS E-3444 (1957), MGM String Orchestra, C. Surinach,
2) EMI 2C 153-14090/9, Villa-Lobos par lui-mme, Orchestre National de la
Radiodillusion Franaisc, Vla-Lobos, cond.
3) ANGEL CDC-47357, Orchcsrrc de Paris, P. Capolongo, cond.
182 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Searcb for Brazil's Musical Sou)
4) SCHWANNMUSICAMUNDICD-1l611{1983),BerlinRadioSymphony,
C. Albrecht, cond.
5) INDEPENDENT {LP), Orquestra de Cmara deBlumenau, N. Morozowicz,
6) MEC/DAC/MVL 022 (1978), Associao de Canto Coral, E. Lakshevitz,
7) PHILIPS 6598 308, Artis Canticum, N. de Macedo, cond.
Bendita Sabedoria
1 J ENIR ECL-002, Coral Ars Nova, C. A. Pinto da Fonseca, cond.
2) T APECAR GRA VAES MECfMVL 024, I Concurso Internacional de
Coro Misto, Uciversity of Texas Chamber Singers, M. J. Bcachy, cond.
3) BIS LP-4 (1974), Lulea Kammarkor, E. Isacson, cond.
Canes Tpicas Brasileiras
1) EMI ODEON SC10114, C. Maristany, sop.; A. Bocchino, piano
2) CLAVES D 8401 (1984) [Sclections], T. Bcrganza, mezzo sop.; J. A. Alvarez
Parejo, piano
3) SFP 31024/5/6, L'reuvre pour voix et instruments, A. M. Bondi, sop; F.
Petit, piano
Carnaval das Crianas
1 J DEUTSCHE CRAMMOPHON 2530 634, R. Szidon, piano
2) EMI/LA VOIXDE SON MAITRE 2C 165-16250/9, L'reuvre de piano, A.
Stella Chie, piano
Choros Bis
l) LE CHANT DU MONDE LDC 278835(1987), Les chros de chambrc, G.
Pareschi, vn.; W. Clis, vc.
vn.; W. Clis, vc.
Choros No. 1
1) BIS CD-233, Favourite Guitar Music, D. Blanco, guitar
2) LE CHANTDU MONDE LDC 278835 (1987), Les chros de chambre, T.
Santos, guitar
3) PAV ADW 7097, O. Cceres, guitar
4) RCA VCS-7057, Art of Spanish Guitar, J. Bream, guitar
5) EMI CDC7 49710-2 (1989), M. Barrueco, guitar
6) CBS CD44898 (1989), J. Williams, guitar
7) PHILIP 432 102-2PM (1992), P. Romero, guitar
Choros No. 2
1) ADES 14096-2, A. Stella Schic, piano
2) CARA VELLE MEC/MVL-004 (1971), C. WoltzenlogeJ, fL; J. Botelho, cl.
3) LE CHANTDU MONDE LDC 278835 (1987), Lcs chros de chambrc, C.
Rato, fl.; J. Botelho, cl.
4) EMI2 C 153-14090/9, Villa-Lobos par lui-mme, Orchestre National de la
Radiodiffusion Franaisc, Villa-Lobos, cond.
5) KUARUP KLB BVl-4, Villa-Lobos 100 anos, C. Rato, ll.; f. Botelho, cl.
Choros No. 3
I) KUARUP KLB BVl-4, Villa-Lobos 100 anos, Instrumental cnsemble, M.
Tavares, cond.
Discography 183
2) LE CHANTDU MONDE LDC278835 ( 1987), Les chros de chambre, Male
Chorus of tbe Association of Chorai Singing, Rio de Janeiro
3) NEWPNPD85518, Sine nomine Singers, instrumental ensemble, K. Finn,
Choros No. 4
1 J CARA VELLE MEC/MVL-004 { 1971 ), A. da Silva, hn.; G. de Mello, hn.; Z.
Svb, hn.; F. Nogueira dos Reis, trbn.
2) CRYST AL RECORDS S 3 78, G. Hustis, hn.; L. Larson, hn.; W. Scharnberg,
hn.; D. Rauscher, trbn.
3) LE CHANT DU MONDE LDC 278835 (1987), Les chros de chambre, S.
Svab, hn.; T. Tritle, hn.; C. Gomes de Oliveira, hn.; J. Sadoc, trbn.
4) LE CHANT DU MONDE LDX 78644, Bouianovski, Evstigneev,
Soukoroukiv, Benglovski
5) RICE RIC007010, Choros Enscmblc C-E Octors
6) NEWP NPD85518, B. Oldham, P. Cordon, J. Lantz, K Finn
ChorosNo. 5
1) ANGEL SBR-XLD-12276, M. Tagliaferro, piano
2) CARA VELLE CAR 43007, O piano de Villa-Lobos, A. Estrella, piano
3) ANGEL S-37110, C. Ortiz, piano
4) ADES 14096-2, A. Stella Schic, piano
5) LE CHANT DU MONDE LDC 278835 ( 1987), Les chros de chambre, M.
Santos, piano
6) DENON OX-7113-ND, A. Moreira Lima, piano
7) LONDON LLB 1110, N. Salgado, piano
8) SPECTRUM SR-198, C. Vasquez, piano
9) ETCE KTC1123, A. Heller, piano
10) RICE RIC007010, C. Bohets, piano
11) BAYE BR100118, A. Boainain, piano
12) MERI DUOCD89017, C.Iruzun, piano
13) ASV CDDCA607 (1988), A. Petchersky, piano
14) ADDA 581104(1990), F. Choveaux, piano
Choros No. 6
1 J PHILIPS 9500 120, Orquestra Sinfnica Brasileira, I. Karabtchevsky, cond.
2) VCD 47257, Orchestre RIAS de Berlin, Villa-Lobos, cond.
3) AV6113 (1988), World Philharmonic Orchestra, L. Maazel, cond.
Choros No. 7
1) KUARUP KLP BV1-4, Instrumental cnsemble, M. Tavares, cond.
2) LE CHANTDU MONDE LDC 278835 (1987), Les chros de chambre, C.
Rato, fi.; P. Nardi, ob.; J. Botelho, cl.; N. Devos, bn.; P. Moura, sax; C.
Pareschi, vn.; W. Clis, vc.; H. Tagnin, tamtarn
3) LORE LNT102, Lontano, O. de la Martnez, cond.
4) RICE RIC007010, Choros Ensemble G-E Octors
5) NEWP NPD85518, B. Cobb, M. Sullivan, J. Stone, E. Alexander, P. Cohen,
M. Cod, G. Morales
Choros No. 8
I) MARC 8220322 ( 1986), Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, K.
Schermcrhorn, cond.
184 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
Choros No. 9
1) MARC 8220322 (1986), Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchcstra, K.
Schermerhorn, cond.
Choros No. 10
1 J EMI 2C 153-14090/9, VUla-Lobos par lui-mme, Orchcstre National de la
Radiodiffusion Franaisc, Villa-Lobos, cond.
2) T APECAR GRAVAES MEC/MVL O 14!1975), Orchestra and chorus of
Teatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro; V. Verbitsky, cond.
3) DORI DIS80101 (1993), Simon Bolivar Orfen Univcrsitario and Sym-
pbony Orchestra, E. Mata, cond.
Choros No. 11
1) EM12C 153-14090/9, Villa-Lobos par lui-mme, OrchestreNational de la
Radiodiffusion Franaise, Villa-Lobos, cond.
2) RECERCAR RIC 007, Orchcstre Philharmonique de Liege, P. Bartolomc,
Choros No. 12
1) RICE RIC007010, Orchestre Philharmonique de Liege, P. Bartolome,
Ciclo Brasileiro
1) ADES 14096-2, A. Stclla Schic, piano
2) MERI DUOCD89017, C. Iruzun, piano
3} DECCA 417650-IDH (1987), C. Ortiz, piano
4) BAYE BR100118, A. Boainain, piano
5) ASV CDDCA607 (1988), A. Petchersky, piano
6) Cl3S 850091/2-464130 ICDJ (1989), Heitor Villa-Lobos por A. Moreira
Lima, A. Moreira Lima, piano
Cirandas (complete)
1) ADES 14095-2, A. Stella Schic, piano
2) EERMA TA 3080026, L Moreira, piano
3) CHANTDU MONDE LDC2781048, R. Szidon, piano
1) EMI/LA VOIXDE SON MAITRE 2C 165-16250/9, L'reuvre de piano, A.
Stclla Chie, piano
2) CHANTDU MONDE LDC2781048, R. Szidon, piano
3) ADDA 581104 (1990), F. Choveaux, piano
Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 1
1) MDG L3339 ( 1989), U. Schmid, cello; NW German Philharmonic Orchcs-
tra, D. Roggen, cond.
Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 2
1) ABC WESTMINSTER GOLD 6-30-404-004, A. Parisot, cello, Vienna State
Opera Orchestra, G. Mcicr, cond.
2) MDG L3339(1989), U. Schmid, cello; NW Gcrman Philharmonic Orchcs-
tra, D. Roggcn, cond.
Concerto for Guhar and Orchestra
1) CARAVELLE MEC/MVL 006 (1972), G. Ficrcns, guitar; Orquestra de
Cmara da Rdio MEC, M. Tavares, cond.
2) ANGELDS-38126, A. Romcro, guitar; London Phlhnrmonic Orchcstrn, J.
Lpez-Cobos, cond. . . .
3) EMI-HMV 2703301, A. Moreno, guitar; Phliharmomc Orchcstra o f Mcxtco,
E. Batz, cond.
4) MEC/SEAC/FUNARTE/MVL-025, TI Concurso Internacional de Violo, E.
Castanera, guitar; Orquestra de Cmara e Sexteto de Sopros daRdio MEC,
M. Tavares, cond.
5) MVL32, m Concursolntemacional de Violo, P. Soares, guitar; Orquestra
do Teatro Municipal, H. Morelenbaum, cond.
6) PHILIPS 416357-2, P. Romero, guitar; Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,
N. Marrincr, cond.
7) CBS CD44791, J. Williams, guitar; English Chamber Orcbcstra, D.
Barenboim, cond.
8) RCA RD89813 {1987), J. Bream, guitar; London Sympbony Orchcstra, A.
Prvin, cond.
9) ERA TO 2292-45744-2, T. Santos, guitar; Jcan-Franois Paillard Chamber
Orchestra, J. F. Paillard, cond.
10) AV6114(1988), R Dyens, guitar
J-W AudolilnstrumentalEnsemble, J-W
Audoli, cond.
11) DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 423700-2GH (1989), N. Yepes. guitar,
London Symphony Orchestra, G. Navarro, cond.
12) DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 429232-2GH ( 1990), G. Sllscher, guitar;
Orpheus Chamber Orchcstra
Concerto for Harmonica and Orcbestra
1) RCA RD87986 {1990), R. Bonfiglio, harmonica; New York Chamber
Symphony Orchestra, G. Schwarz, cond.
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1
1) DECCA 430628-2DH2 (1992), C. Ortiz, piano; Radio Philharmonic Or-
chestra, M. A. Gmez-Martfnez, cond.
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2
1} DECCA 430628-2DH2 (1992), C. Ortiz, piano; Radio Philharmonic Or-
chesrra, M. A. Gmez-Martlnez, cond.
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3
1) DECCA 430628-2DH2 ( 1992), C. Ortiz, piano; R adio Philharmonic Or-
chestra, M. A. Gmez-Martnez, cond.
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 4
1) DECCA 430628-2DH2 (1992), C. Ortiz, piano; Radio Philharmonic Or-
chcstra, M. A. Gmez-Martinez, concl
Concerto [or Piano and Orchestra No. 5
1) EM12 C 153-14090/9, ViUa-Lobos par lui-mme, Orchcstre National de la
Radiodfusion Franaise, Villa-Lobos, cond.
2) DECCA 430628-2DH2 ( 1992), C. Ortiz, piano; R adio Pbilharmonic Or-
chestra, M. A. Gmcz-Martnez, cond.
Danas Africanas
1) LOUISVILLE ORCHESTRA LS-695, Louisville Orchestra, J. Mcster, cond.
Danas Caractersticas Africanas
l) EMI/LA VOIXDE SON MAITRE 2 C 165-16250/9, L'reuvre de piano, A.
Stclla Schic, piano
186 .
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
2) ETCE KTC1101, A. Heller, piano
Descobrimento do Brasil
1) (ali four suites) EMI 2 C 153-14090/9, Villa-Lobos par lui-mme, Orchestre
National de la Radiodiffusion Franaise, Villa-Lobos, cond.
2) (Suite no. 4) MEC[MVL{DAC/PAC/014 (1975), Symphony Orchestra,
Teatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro; M. Rochat, cond.
Emperor Jones
1) TAPECAR GRAVAES MEC/MVL{PAC/011 (1974), Symphony Or-
chestra, Teatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro; L. Halasz, cond.
Eroso (Origem do rio Amazows)
1) TAPECAR GRAVAES MEC/MVL/DAC/PAC 015 (1975), Orquestra
Sinfnica Brasileira, S. Magnani, cond.
2) CSP AML 4615, Louisville Orchestra, R. Whitney, cond.
3) MARC 8.223357 (1991), Czecho-Slovak !Bratislava) Radio Symphony
Orchestra, R. Duarte, cond
12 Etudes (guitar)
1) BAM 5832, M. L. So Marcos, guitar
2) EMI lC 067 14-6757-1, E. Fisk, guitar
3) THOR CTH2052, M. Troster, guitar
4) GALL CD-572, D. Unhares, guitar
5) DECCA MCPS 414616-2 (1987), E. Fernndez, guitar
6) RCA RD89813 (1987), J. Bream, guitar
7) CHANT DU MONDE LDC278869/70 (1987), T. Santos, guitar
8) DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 423700-2GH (1989), N. Yepes, guita.r
Fanta&ia (for cello and orchestra)
I) MEC/MVL/FUNARTE 017/1976, C. Onczay, cello; F. Egger, piano
Fantasia Concertaote [clarinet, bassoon, piano)
1) CID MEC/MVL -007 (1972), Concurso internacional de Conjuntos
Instrumentais 1972, J. Botelho, cl; N. Devos, bn.; H. Alimonda, piano
2) BAYE BRIOOI18, W. Genut, W. Meyer, G. Pfitzenmaier
Fantasia Concertaote (for orchestra of cellos)
1) TAPECAR GRAVAES MEC/MVLOJ6, Associao dos Violoncelistas
do Brasil
2) EMI 067146759 IT, Philarmoniker Cellisten Kln
Fantasia for Soprano Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra
1) DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 2530 209 (1972), E. Rousseau, sax; Cham-
ber Orchestra Paul Kuentz, P. Kuentz, cond.
2) LECHANTDU MONDELDC278l067,P.Moura,sax;Brazilian Chamber
Orchestra, B. Besslcr, cond.
2) EM! CDC7 54301-2 (1992), J. Ha.rie, sax; Academy of St. Martin in the
Fields, N. Marriner, cond.
Floresta do Amazonas
I) UNITED AR TISTS RECORDS UAS 5506, B. Sayo, sop.; Symphony o f the
Air, Villa-Lobos, cond.
2) BANCO DO BRASIL (Karmim) 101-196 (1989), M. L. Godoy, sop.; Sym-
phony Orchestra of Rio de Janeiro, H. Morelenbaum, cond.
Francette et Pi
1) EMI/LA VOIX DE SON MAJTRE 2 C 165-16250/9, L'oouvrc de pinno, A.
Stella Schic, piano
. 187
1) CARA VELLE MEC/MVL 003/ST ( 1970), Orquestra do Teatro Municipal,
Rio de Janeiro; M. Tavares, cond.
2) MARC 8.223357 (1991), Czecho-Slovak (Bratislava) Radio Symphony
Orchestra, R. Duarte, cond.
Green Mansions (sclections)
1) UNITED ARTISTS UAS 5506 ( 1959), B. Sayo, sop.; Chorus, Symphony of
the Air; Villa-Lobos, cond.
Guia Prtico
1) EMl/LA VOIX DE SON MAITR.E 2 C 165-16250/9, L'a:uvre de piano, A.
Stella Schic, piano
2) ANGEL 3CBX-401/402 (1965), R. Szidon, piano
3) DECCA 417 650-2DH (1987), C. Ortiz, piano
Hommage Chopin
1) ANGEL 3 CBX-385 (1964), R. Szidon, piano
2) EMI/LA VOIXDE SON MAITRE 2 C 165-16250/9, L'reuvre de piano, A.
Stella Schic, piano
Invocao em Defesa da Ptria
1 J EMI 2 C 153-14090/9, Villa-Lobos par lui-mmc, Orchestre National de la
Radiodiffusion Franaise, Villa-Lobos, eood.
A Lenda do Caboclo
1) ANGELSBR-XLD-12276, M. Tagliaferro, piano
2) EMl/LA VOIX DE SON MAITRE 2 C 165-16250/9, L'reuvre de piano, A.
Srella Schic, piano
3) DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 2530 634, R. Szidon, piano
4) PHILIPS 6747 313, A. Estrella, piano
5) AUDI CD72023, N. Freire, piano
6) MERI DUOCD890 17, C. Iruzun, piano
7) ETCE KTC 1123, A. Hcller, piano
1) CBS CD44945 ( 1991), various soloists, New England Orchestra, E. Haile,
Mandu arar
1) CARA VELLE MEC/MVL 003/ST ( 1970), Brazilian Symphony Orchestra,
H. Morclcnbaum, cond. (Chorus of the Instituto Israelita Brasileiro;
Children's Chorus of Eisteinbarg School)
Missa So Sebastio
1) MECfDAC/MVL 022 (1978), Associao de Canto Coral, C. Person de
Mattos, cond.
Modinhas e Canes
1) CARA VELLE LP CAR 43.004, L. Salgado, sop.; M. Santos, piano
2) FP31024/5/6, L'reuvre pourvoix et instrumcnts, A. M. Bond1, sop.; F. Petit,
3) ETCE KTC1139 (1992), Series 1: M. Heller, tenor.; 1\.Hcller, piano; Series
2: C. Scimone, sop.; A. Heller, piano
ll EM12 C 153-14090/9, Villa-Lobos par lui-mme, Orchesrre National de la
188 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Sou]
Racodifusion Franaise, Villa-Lobos, cond.
2) ANGEL S 37439, C. Ortiz, piano; New Philharmonia Orchestra, V.
Ashkcnazy, cond.
3) EMI 2909621, M. Tagliafeno, piano; OrchcstreNational de la Racodiffusion
Franaise, Villa-Lobos, cond.
New York Skyline
1) EMifLA VOIX DE SON MAITRE 2 C 165-16250/9, L'reuvre de piano, A.
Stella Sehic, piano
2) DEUTSCHE CRAMMOPHON 2530 634, R. Szidon, piano
3) ETCE KTC1123, A. Heller, piano
4) NEWP NPD85518, B. Roman, piano
5) ADDA 581104 (1990), F. Choveaux, piano
1) CAPITOL CLASSICS P8191, Concert Arts Ensemble, Rogcr Wagner Cho-
rale, R. Wagner, cond.
2) TAPECAR GRAVAES MEC/MVL014 (1975), Orchcstra and Chorus,
Teatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro; R. Duarte, cond.
Pequena Suite (for cello)
1) TAPECAR GRAVAES MEC/MVL-019 (1977), V. Addiego, vc.
Poema Singelo
1) EMI/LA VOIX DE SON MAITRE 2 C 165-16250/9, L'reuvre de piano, A.
Stella Schic, piano
2) PHILIPS 6747 313, A. Estrella, piano
3) SPECTRUM SR-198, C. Vasquez, piano
5 Preludes (guitar)
1) DECCA 414616-2 (1987), E. Fernndez, guitar
2) CFP TC-CFP4526 ( 1988), J. Byzantine, guitar
3) PICK SHM3186, J. Williams, guitar
4) RICE RIC039012, P. Lemagre, guitar
5) ARIO ARN68029, A. E. Street, guitar
6) 1HOR CTH2052, M. Troster, guitar
7) GALL CD-572, D. Linharcs, guitar
8) RCA RD89813 (1987), ). Bream, guitar
9) PICK PCD853, M. Kayath, guitar
lO) CHANT DU MONDE LDC278 869/70 (1987), T. Santos, guitar
11) DEUTSCH GRAMMOPHON 423700-2GH(l989), N. Yepes, guitar
12) PEAR SHECD9609 (1989), E. Kotzia, guitar
13) EMI CDC7 497 10-2 (1989), M. Barrueco, guitar
14) LEMA LC4260 I (1992), J. Freire, guitar
Prole do Beb No. 1
1) DENON OX-7113-ND, A. Moreira Lima, piano
2) ANGEL S-37110, C. Ortiz, piano
3) DA CAMERA 93106, A. Blin, piano
4) WESTMINSTER WN 18065, J. Echaniz, piano
5) MERI DUOCD89017, C. lruzun, piano
6) RCA RD85670 (1 987), A. Rubinstein, piano
Prole do Beb No. 2
1) SPECTRUM SR-198, C. Vasquez, piano
2) WESTMINSTER WN 18065, J. Echaniz, piano
3) UNIVERSIDADE FEDERAL DA BAl-DA 529.404.191/1012 (1987), A.
Oliveira, piano
4) SCHWANN MUSICA MUND13!0019 (Sclections) (1990), M. Verzoni,
Prole do Beb Nos. 1 and 2
1) EMifLA VOIX DE SON MAITRE 2 C 165-16250/9, L'reuvre de piano, A.
Stella Schic, piano
2) EMI 2 C 1.>3-14090/9, Villa-Lobos par lui-mme, Orchestre National de la
Radiodillusion Fianaise, Villa-Lobos, cond.
3) RCA 5670 1-RC, A. Rubinstein, piano
Quarteto [Quatuor] (or flute, oboe, clarinct, bassoon)
1) RA VENNA RA VE 702, Soni Ventorum Wind Quintet
2) CARA VELLE MEC/MVL 004, Quarteto Santiago
3) WESTMINSTER WL 5360, Ncw Art Wind Quintet
4) CALIG CAL 50840, Munich Residenz Quintet
Quarteto de Cordas No. 1
I) CARA VELLE LP CAR 43.006 ( 1965 ), Quarteto Rio de Janeiro
2) RBM Records RMB 3034, String Quartet of the University of Braslia
3) LE CHANT DU MONDE LDC278 1052 (1991), Bessler-Reis Quartet
4) MARC 8 223389 (1992), Danubius Quartet
Quarteto de Cordas No. 2
1) LE CHANT DU MONDE LDC278 1052 (1991), Bessler-Reis Quartet
Quarteto de Cordas No. 3
1) LE CHANT DU MONDE LDC278 1052 (1991), Bessler-Reis Quartet
Quarteto de Cordas No. 4
1) LE CHANT DU MONDE LDC278 901 (1988), Bcssler-Reis Quartet
Quarteto de Cordas No. 5
1) VICTOR 11 212, Quarteto Carioca
2) LE CHANTDU MONDE LDC278 901 (1988), Bcssler-Reis Quartct
3) ELAN CD 2234 (1990), Cuartcto Latinoamericano
Quarteto de Cordas No. 6
1) CAPITOL P-8054 (1950s), The Hollywood String Quartet
2) COLUMBIA FCX 467, Le Quatuor Hongrois
3) LE CHANT DU MONDE LDC278 901 ( 1988), Bessler-Reis Quartet
Quarteto de Cordas No. 8
1) MARC 8 223389 (1992), Danubius Quartet
Quarteto de Cordas No. 11
1) FESTALDR-5020, Quarteto da Rdio Ministrio da Educao e Cultura
2) MEC/DAC/MVL O 13, Quarteto de cordas Mrio de Andrade
3) MARC 8 223390 (1992), Danubius Quartet
Quarteto de Cordas No. 12
1) LE CHANT DU MONDE LDC278 1066 (1992), Besslcr-Reis Quartet
Quarteto de Cordas No. 13
1) LE CHANT DU MONDE LDC278 1066 (1992), Bessler-Reis Quartet
2) MARC 8 223389 (1992), Danubius Quartct
Quarteto de Cordas No. 14
1) LE CHANTDU MONDE LDC278 1066 (1992), Bessler-Reis Quanet
190 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
Quarteto de Cordas No. 15
Quarteto Santiago
2) LE CHANT DU MONDE LDC278 948(1989)
Bcssler-Reis Quartet
Quarteto de Cordas No. 16
l J CBS 160174
Quarteto da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
2) MECfDAC/MVL 013
Quarteto Rio de Janeiro
3) MECfDAC/CFC/MVL 020 (1977)
Cuarteto de cuerdas de la Universidad
Nacional de la Plata
4) LE CHANT DU MONDE LDC278 948 (1989)
Bessler-Reis Quartet
5) MARC 8 223390 I 1992)
Danubius Quartet
Quarteto de Cordas No. 17
l) CARA VELLE LP CAR 43.006(1965)
Quarteto Rio de Janeiro
2) CBS 60141 (1967)
Quarteto de Cordas da Escola Nacional de Msica
3) MEC/DAC/CFC/MVL 020 (1977)
Audubon Quartet
4) ELAN CD2218 (1989)
Cuarteto Latinoamericano
5) LE CHANT DU MONDE LDC278 948 I 1989)
Bessler-Reis Quartet
6) MARC 8 223390 (1992)
Danubius Quarret
Quatuor "Impresses da vida Mundana" (for fcmalevoices
flute, sax
harp, and
ceies ta)
1) CAPITOL CLASSICS P819l, Concert Arts Enscm ble, Roger Wagner Cho-
rale, R. W agncr, cond.
2) LORE LNT102, BBC Singers Lontano
O. de la Martnez, cond.
Quintet (harp, flure, string trio)
1) ADDA 581035, Groupe Instrumental de Paris
Quinteto em Fomta de Choros
1) LYRICHORD LLST 7168, Soni Ventorum Wind Quintct
2) NONESUCH 71030E, New York Woodwind Quintet
New Art Wind Quintet
4) PAN VERLAG VLEUGELS OV-75004, Autos Wind Quintet of Stuttgart
5) CBS MK-39558, Ensemble Wien-Bcrlin
6) KUARUP KLP BV1-4, Villa-Lobos 100 Anos, Quinteto Yilla-Lobos
7) ADDA 581035, Groupe Instrumental de Paris
8) CALI CALS0840, Munich Residenz Quintet
9) LE CHANT DU MONDE LDC278835 (1987), Les chros de chambre, C.
Rato. fL; B. Limonge
ob.; G . Carneiro, cl.; S. Svab, hn.; A. Barbosa, bn.
10) NEWP NPD855 18, Quintet of the Americas
11) SIGNUM SIGO 19-00, Soloists ftom the Philharmonic Orchestra Rheinland-
12) ETCE KTC 1144, A. Bondi, fl.; E. Bardekoff, ob.; J. Coopcr, c!.; K. Ellis, hn.
D. Johannessen, bn.
13) HYPE CDA66295 (1989), W. Bennett, H.; N. Black
ob.; J. Knight
c!.; T.
hn.; R. O'Neill, bn.
Rud, Bailado Amerndio
1 J MEC/MVL 005 ( 1972), Orquestra do Teatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro; M.
1) DENON OX-7113-ND, A. Morctra L i m : : ~ piano
2) DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 2530 634, R. Szluon, pinno
3) EMI/LA VOIX DE SON MAITRE 2 C 165-16250/9
L'reuvre de piano/ A.
Stella Schic
4) EMS 10, J. Abram, piano
5) TELEFUNKEN SAT 22547 6.41299, N. Freire
6) WERGO WER 60110, V. Banfield, piano
7) MHS 512076 (1987), G. Allen, piano
8) DECCA 417 650-2DH 11987), C. Ortiz
Saudades das Selvas Brasileiras
1) DA CAMERA 93106
A. Blin, piano
2) DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 2530 634, R. Szidon, piano
3) EMI/LA VOIX DE SON MAITRE 2 C 165-16250/9
L'reuvre de piano/ A.
Stella Schlc
4) ETCE KTC1123, A. Heller, piano
5) DECCA 417 650-2DH (selections) (1987lt C. Ortiz, piano
1) EMI CHS7 69741-2(1) ISelections) (1992, original rec. 1941), E. Houstont
sop.; P. Miguel, piano
2) PHILIPS 4122111
M. L. Godoy, sop.1 M. Proena/ piano
3) MEC/MVLOlO (selections) 11974), N. Lebedeva, sop.; Orquestra Sinfnica
do Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, M. Tavares/ comi.
4) SFP 31024/5/6, L'reuvre pour voix et instruments, A. M. Bondi, sop.; F.
Petit, piano
5) BAYE BR100 118, A. Baldio, tenor; F. Solter1 piano
Sexteto Mstico
1) MVL 32, III Concurso Internacional de Violo, various performers
2) LORE LNTl02
Lontano, O. de la Martinez, cond.
3) LE CHANTDU MONDE LDC278 869/70 11987), various performers
Simples Coletnea
1) ANGEL 3 CBX-385 (1964), R. Szidon, piano
2.) EMI/LA VOIX DE SON MAITRE 2 C 165-162.50/9, L'reuvrc de piano, A.
Stella Schic
Sonata Fantasia No. l (Dsesprance) (violin &. piano)
1) FUNARTEPROMEMUSLP356-404-009 11979), O. Borgeth, vn.1 l.Gomes
Grosso, piano
2) MVL 31, L. Lcvin
vn.; L. H. Scnise, piano
3) ETCE KTC 1101, J. Yao, vn.; A. Heller, piano
Sonata Fantasia No. 2(violin & piano)
1) FUNARTE PROMEMUS LP 356-404-009 I 1979), O. Borgeth, vn.; I. Gomes
Grosso, piano
2) MVL 31, J. P. Jourdan, vn.; S. Goulart, piano
3) ETCE KTC 1101, J. Yao, vn.; A. Heller, piano
Sonata No. 2 (ccllo & piano)
l) FESTA IG 79.013
I. Gomes Grosso, vc.; R. Gnatalli, piano
2) MARC 8 223164 (1990), A. Nunez
vc.; M. Duphil, _piano
Sonata No. 3 (violin & piano)
1) FUNARTE PROMEMUS LP356-404-009Il979)
O. Borgeth, vn.; I. Gomes
Grosso, piano
2) MVL 31, A. Castanho de Lima, vn.
L. Medalha, piano
192 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
31 ETCE KTC 1101, J. Yao, vn.; A. Heller, piano
Suite Floral
11 COPACABANA CLP 11.641, B. Carneiro de Mendona, piano
21 DE.UTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 2530634, R. Szidon, piano
31 E.MI/LA VOIX DE SON MAITRE 2 C 165-16250/9, L'a:uvre de piano, A.
Stella Schic, piano
41 ETCE KTC 1101, A Heller, piano
Suite Infantil (l &. 2)
1 I CARA VELLE. LP CAR 43.004, S. M. Strutt, piano
21 E.Ml/LA VOIX.DE SON MAITRE 2 C 165-16250/9, L'a:uvrc de piano, A.
Stella Schic, piano
Sute Populaire Brsilienne
1 I BIS BIS-CD233, D. Blanco, guitar
2) DA CAMERA MAGNA SM 93609, S. Prunnbaucr, guitar
3) PAV ADW 7097, O. Cceres, guitar
4) TURNABOUT TV 34676, M. Ba.rrucco, guitar
S) RICE RIC039012, P. Lemaigre, guitar
6) THOR CTH2052, M Troster, guitar
7) LE CHANT DU MONDE LDC278 869/70 (1987), T. Santos, guitar
81 AUVI AV6114 (19881, R. Dyens, guitar
Sul Amrica
1) EMI/LA VOIX DE SON MAITRE 2 C 165-16250/9, L'a:uvrc de piano, A.
Stella Schic, piano
2) ETCE KTC1123, A. Heller, piano
Symphony No. 4 (A Vitria)
1) EMI 2 C 153-14090/9, Villa-Lobos par lui-mme, Orchestre National de la
Radiodillusion Franaisc, Villa-Lobos, cond.
Trio (oboe, clarinet, bassoon)
l) WESTMINSTER WL 5360, New Art Wind Quintet
2) RAVENNA RAVE 702, Soni Vcntorum Wind Quintct
3) PI-llLOTSOM MVL-001, P. Nardi, oh.; J. Botelho, cl.; N. Devos, bn.
4) CALIG CAL50840, Munich Residenz Quintct
5) HYPE CDA66295 (1989), N. Black, ob.; T. King, cl.; R. O'Neill, bn.
6) PICK MCD38 ( 1992), London Wind Trio
Trio (violin, viola, cello)
I) CARA VE.LLE. MEC.MVL 007, Quarteto Guanabara
2) ADDA 581035, Groupe Instrumental de Paris
Trio No. 1 (piano, violin, ccllo)
I) GOLDEN CREST GC 4213, MacAlester Trio
2) MARC82231821l989/1990),A.Spillcr, vn.;M.Duphil, piano; J.Humcston,
v c.
Trio No. 2 (piano, violin, cello)
1) PHJLOTSOM MVL-001, Trio Novo Pro Arte
2) CENTAUR 1004, Philadelphia Trio
3) MARC8 223164 (1990), A. Nuez, vn.; M.Duphil, piano
J.Humeston, vc.
Trio No. 3 (piano, violin, cello)
1) MARC8 223182 ( 1989/1990), A. Spiller, vn.; M. Duphil, piano; J.llumcston,
v c.
1) PRLD24924 (CD from EVEREST SDBR 3016), Stadium Symphony Or-
chestra of New York, L, Stokowski, cond.
2) DE.LOS DE 1017 (1989), A Brazilian Music Extravaganza, Orquestra
Sinfnica da Paraba, E. de Carvalho, cond.
3) GEGA GD 102, Bulgarian Radio Syrnphony Orchestra, R. Averbach, cond.
Valsa da Dor
1) CARA VELLE CAR 43007, O piano de Villa-Lobos, A. Estrella, piano
3) CBS850091/2-464130(CD) (1989),HcitorVilla-Lobospor A. Moreira Lima
4) E.TCE KTC1123, A. Hcller, piano
5) DECCA 417 650-2DH ( 198 7), C. Ortiz, piano
6) ASV CDDCA607 (1988), A. Petchersky, piano
7) ADDA 581104 ( 1990), F. Choveaux, piano
Subject Index
Aboio, 5
Aguardo, Dionysio, 139
Almeida, Guilherme de, 12
Almeida, Renato, 2
Amaral, Leopoldina do ("Zizinha"), 4,
"Amazonic sound," 155
Americanismo musical, 146
Anderson, Marian, 27
Andrade, CarlosDrummond de, 12
Andrade, Mrio de, xill, xiv, 6, 7, 11,
12, 13, 15, 16, 26, 27, 54, 56, 150,
151, 153, 154, 155, 166
Andrade, Oswald de, 12, 15, 81, 150,
Anthropophagicmanifesto, ofOswald
de Andrade, 15, 155-156
Appleby, David, 179
Appropriation, of folk or popular mu-
sic, 148
Aranha, Graa, 12, 14
Arajo, Mozart de, 166
Arrau, Claudio, 27
Asociacin W agneriana (Buenos
Aires), 9, 30
Astruc, Yvonne, 16
Authenticity, in use of folk music,
Autos (dramatic rcligious plays and
dances), 5
Azevedo, Luiz Heitor Corra de, xvi,
2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 19
Bach, Johann Sebastian, 5, 6, 22, 27,
lOS, 106, 107, 110, 111, 122, 142
Ballets Russes. See Diaghilev, Sergei
Bandeira, Manuel, 10, 12, 18, 81, 118
Barentzen, Aline van, 19, 165
Banos, C. Paula, 1, 5, 6, 16
Bartk, Bla, 148
Beethoven, Ludwig van, 22, 27
Boston Symphony Orchestra, 27, 28
Braga, Emni, 12, 161
Braga, Francisco, 8, 9
Brahms, Johannes, 11
Brando, Tos Vieira, 28
Brouwer, Leo, 169
Bruitisme, 92
Burle-Marx, Walter, 26
Caboclo, 6
Cage, J ohn, 16 7
Caipira accordion, 126
Caipira folk music, 107
Caipira guitar, 141
Callado, Joaquim Antonio da Silva,
Candombl, 15
Cantador, 5, 122
Canto orfenico, 22,26
Cantoria, 5, 118
Capoeiia, 141, 142
Caracax, 85
Carcassi, Matteo, 139
Caripuna Indians (Mato Grosso), 8, 48
Carpcntier, Alcjo, 29, 30, 164
Carulli, Ferdinando, 139
Carvalho, Ronald de, 12, 13
196 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
Casais lnternational Cello Compet-
Cascudo, Lufs da Cmara, 168
Casella, Alfredo, 16
Cavalcanti, Di, 16, 17
70, 75,140
CBS Symphony Orchestra, 28
Cearense, Catulo da Paixo, 87, 167
Cernicchiaro, Vicenzo, 8, 45, 151
Chase, Gilbert, xvi
Chaves Jnior, Edgard de Brito, 167-
Chvez, Carlos, 146
Chechim Filho, Antnio, 162
Chocalho, 70, 85
Chopin, Frdric, 6, 22
Choro (chores), 2, 3, 4, 74, 82, 84,
112, 126, 133, 139, 141, 149, 155
Choro, 3, 61, 150
Ciranda, 60
"Civic Exhortation" (Exortao
cvica), 22, 25
Claudel, Paul, 9
Cco, 107
Coeteau, Jean, li
Colonne Orchestra, 19
Compostion, Villa-Lobos's concept
of, 153
Conservatrio Brasileiro de Msica,
Conservatrio Nacional de Canto
Orfenico, 25
Contier, Arnaldo D., 153
Copland, Aaron, 27, 146, 152
Corra de Azevedo, Luiz Heitor. See
Azevedo, Luiz Heitor Corra de
Cowcll, Henry, 63
Cuca (pufta), 70, 85
Curso de Pedagogia de Msica c Canto
Orfenico, 25
Dahlhaus, Carl, 147-148
Dchussy, Claude, 9, I O, 12, 22, 45, 164
Demarquez, Suzanne, 6, 7, 162
Desafio, 5, 107, 118
Diaghilcv, Sergei, 10, 20
Dilthey, Wilhclm, 1
D'lndy, Vinccnt, 16, 46, 69
Donga (Ernesto Joaquim dos Santos),
4, 70
Downes, Olin, 46
Dukas, Paul, 16
Dumesnil, Ren, 20, 28
Elkins, Laurinc Annettc, 167
Ellington, Duke, 27
Embolada, 107, 120
Enya.rt, Jobn William, 69, 164
10, 18,56, 74,137
Escola de Msica (Universidade Fed-
eral do Rio de Janeiro), xiii
Estrella, Arnaldo, 123, 164-165, 168
Falla, Manuel de, 16
Fcmndez, Oscar Lorenzo, 56
Filarmnica de la Asociacin del
Profesorado (Buenos Aires), 30
Filarrnnica de La Habana, 30
Frana, Eurico Nogueira, 133, 162,
167, 168
Franck, Csar, 45, 69
Freitas e Castro, Enio de, 164, 166
Garca Caturla, Alejandro, 169
Geenz, Clifford, 43
Gcwandhaus Symphony Orchestra,
Giacomo, Arnaldo Magalhes de, 5
Ginastera, Alberto, 30
Gonzaga, Francisca (Chiquinha), 82
Goodman, Benny, 27
Guanabarino, Oscar, 8, 13, 151, 162
Guarnicri, Camargo, 153
Guimares, Luclia. See Villa-Lobos,
Guinle, Arnaldo, 10, 16, 82
Guinle, Carlos, 10, 16, 18
Honegger, Arthur, 16
Hong Kong Philharmonic, 167
Horta, Luiz Paulo, xvii, 3, 163
Houston, Elsic, 16, 19
Houston Symphony Orchcstra, 143
ldentily, music and, 148
lndianism In Villa-Lobos's works, 154
Subject lndex
Instituto Nacional de Msica (Rio de
Janeiro), 45
Instituto Villa-Lobos, 25
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, 164
Ivcs, Charles, 146, 147, 152, 169
Janacpulos, Vera, 16, 17, 18
Janssen, Werner, 27
Janssen Symphony Orchestra, 27
Kater, Carlos, 23, 160
Kiefer, Bruno, 7, 16, 17, 19, 23, 160,
161, 165
Koussevitsky, Natalic, 28
Koussevitsky, Serge, 27, 28
Lacerda, Benedito, 70
La Guardia, Fiorcllo, 27
Lange, Francisco Curt, xvi, 26, 169
Larin American Music Festival
(Caracas), 30
Le Fiem, Paul, 16
Lifar, Serge, 51
Lima, Joo de Souza, 16, 19, 21, 48,
102, 165
Lima, Rossini Tavares de, 154
Llobet, Miguel, 138
Lundu, 75
Macumba, 79
Malfatti, Anita, 11, 12
Manossolfa, 23
Mariz, Vasco, xvi, 1, 2, 3,4, 6, 7, 12,16,
18,26,27,44,48, 168
Martelo, 118
Matraca, 85
Mau1, Carlos,159, 163, 167
Maxixe, 3, 61, 75, 76
Medeiros, Anacleto de, 4, 88, 167
Mendes, Gilberto, 150, 152, I 56, 169
Menegale, Heli, 163
Menuhin, Yehudi, 27
Messiaen, Olivier, 92, 167
Mignonc, Francisco, 69, 138, 153
Milhaud, Darius, 9, 10, LI, 76, 149
Modem Art, Weck of ("Semana de
Arte Moderna"), xiv, 2, 8, 9, 11-16,
47, 67, 150
ModentiSrno, 11, 72,149,150
Modinha,3, 5, 75, 82, 94, 95, 113, 114,
123, 140, 141, 150
Muricy, Andrade, 30, 43-44
Museum Villa-Lobos. See Villa-Lo-
bos Museum
Musical nationalism: Mrio de
Andrade's ideology of, 15; theories
of, 145-149; Villa-Lobos's special
brand of, 149-155
Music education: activities in favor
of, 21-27; Villa-Lobos's ideas of,
Nacionalismo folclorizante, 153
Nascimento, Frederico, 160
Nazareth, Ernesto, 4, 5, 10, 11, 61, 76,
82, 126, 135
Nepomuceno, Alberto, 11, 46, 149
Neves, Eduardo das, 4
Neves, Jos Maria, 82, 85, 166, 167
New York City Symphony, 27
New York Museum of Modem Art, 27
New York Times, 28
New York University, 29
Niederbergcr, Benno, I 59
Nin, Joaqun, 16
Nobre, Marlos, xv
Nbrega, Adhemar, xv, 44, 104, 106,
166, 167, 168
Novaes(Novais), Guiomar, 12, 21,67,
Nunes, Nair Duarte, 21
Odeon Thearre, 4
Oito Batutas, Os, 70
Oliveira, Jamary, xv, 165
Orchestre des Conccrts Poulet, 55
Orchestre National de la Radiodiffu-
sion Franaisc, 28
Orchestre Philharmonique de Liege,
Orfeo dos Pro f cssorcs do Distrito Fed-
Organization of American States
(OAS), xiv
198 Heitor VilJa-Lobos: The Search for Brazil's Musical Soul
Ormandy, Eugene, 27
Orpheonic singing. See Canto
Orquesta del Teatro Coln, 30
Orquestal, 30
Orquesta Sinfnica de Chile, 30
Orquesta Sinfnica de Crdoba, 30
Orquesta Sinfnica del SODRE
(Montevideo), 30
Orquesta Sinfnica de Venezuela, 30
Orquesta SinfnicaNacional (Mexico),
Orrego-Salas, Juan, 30, 110, 122, 166,
167, 168
Oswald, Henrique, 11
Palma, Enos da Costa, 168
Parccis Indians, 91, 166
Paz, Juan Carlos, 30
Peppercorn, Lisa, 2, lO, 28, 162
Pequeno, Mercedes Reis, xv
Pereira, Marco, 139, 144
Pessoa, Epitcio, 9
Philadelphia Orchestra, 28, 164
Picchia, Menotti del, xiv, 13, 16
Pincherle, Marc, 28
Pinto, Edgard Roquette, 76, 77, 91,
Pixinguinha (Alfredo Rocha Viana
Filho), 70, 106
Ponteio, 140
Porter, Cole, 27
Poulenc, Francis, 12
Prato de loua, 70
Predestination, Villa-Lobos's scnse of,
Prokofiev, Sergei, 16, 22
Prunicrcs, Hcnry, 16, 19
Puccini, Ciacomo, 46, 113
Pulta. See Culca
Radiodiffusion Franaise, National
Orchestra and Choir, 28
Rameau, Jean-Philippe, 110
Raskin, Maurice, 21
Ravel, Maurice, 16, 45
Reco-reco, 52, 70, 85
Revueltas, Silvestre, 169
Rockefeller, Nelson, 27
Rodrigo, Joaquin, 139
Rodrigues, Lindalva, 163
Roussel, Alben, 16
Rubinstein, Arthur, 2, 10, 16, 17, 18,
19,30,58,63, 100,149,166
Rudge, Antonieta, 21
Saint-Sans, Camille, 11, 45
Salle des Agriculteurs (Paris), 16
Salle Caveau (Paris), 18, 19, 20, 28, 55,
Salles, Vicente, 7
Samba, 3, 75, 155
Samba-school, 85
Santoro, Claudio, xvi
Santos, Turibio, xv, 27, 138, 139,
142, 164, 168
Satie, Erik, 11, 12
Scarlatti, Domenlco, 22
Schic, Anna Stel1a, 159
Schmitt, Florent, 16, 19, 85, 162
Scbumann, Robert, 102
Schwerk, lrvin& 43
Seeger, Charles, 146
Segovia, Andrs, 16, 135, 138, 142,
SEMA (Superintendncia de Educao
Musical e Artfstica), 24, 25, 26
Semana de Arte Moderna. See Mod-
em Art, Week of
Silva, Francisco Pereira da, 5
Sinfnica del Estado (Argentina), 30
Slonirnsky, Nicbolas, 26
Sociedade de Concertos Sinfnicos
(Rio de Janeiro), 3, 8
Sociedade Sinfnica de So Paulo, 26
Souza Lima, Joo. See Lima, Joo de
Squeff, Enio, 169
Staden, Hans, 161
Stadium Symphony Orchestra ofNcw
York, 165
Stevenson, Robcrt, xvii, 163
Stokowski, Leopold, 27, 165
Stomi, Eduardo, 30
Subject Index
Strauss, Richard, 46
Stravinsky, lgor, 10, 16, 18
29, 51,54,
77, 165
Surdo, 52
Szell, George, 27
Tamborim, 52, 70
Tango brasileiro, 3
Trrega, Francisco, 138
Tchaikovsky, Peter Uich, 22
Teatro Coln (Buenos Aires), 27,51
Teatro Lrico (Rio de Janeiro), 18
Teatro Municipal (Rio de Janeiro), 3,
Teatro Municipal (So Paulo), 12
Teatro Odcon, 4
Teatro Recreio, 4
Teixeira, Ansio, 24
Tern, Toms, 16, 19
Thtre des Champs Elyses, 10, 28
Tone-cluster, 63
Torroba, Federico Moreno, 139
Toscanini, Arturo, 27
Tropicalismo, 156
Tupinamb, Marcelo, 11
Tupinamb Indians, 161
Turina, Joaqun, 139
Varese, Edgard, 16, 18
Vargas, Getlio, 21, 23, 2A, 25
Vassberg, David, 163
Verssimo, rico, 21, 163
Viana, Frutuoso, 12
Villa-Lobos, Arminda Neves
d' Almeida, xi, xvii, 2, 27,44, 126,
Villa-Lobos, Heitor: aesthctic credo
of, 16; and "EstadoNvo" andcam
paign for music education 11930-
1945), 21-27; international accla-
mation of (1945-1959), 27-31; na-
tureofstylisticeclecticism of, 155-
157; special brand of musical na-
tionalism of, 149-155; trips of, to
various Brazilian states, S--8; and
"Week of Modem Art" and Pari-
sian experience, 11-21; works to
1922, and dcfinition of a style, 45-
69; works of the 1920s, a period of
the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, 104-
144; youth and early adulthood (to
1922), 2-11
Villa-Lobos, Luclia, 2, 8, 12, 18, 21
Villa-Lobos, Nomia, 3
Villa-Lobos, Ral, 2, 3, 54, 55
Villa-Lobos Museum, xi, xvi, xvii,
Viola, 140
Viola caipira, 140
Violinofone, 51, 55
Vivaldi, Antonio, 110
Volksgeist, 150
Wagner, Richard, 11, 46, 164
Wa Wan Press, 149
"Week of Modem Art." See Modem
Art, Week of
Wisnik, Jos Miguel, xv, 11, 12, 13,
14, 150, 151, 169
Wright, Simon, 166, 167, 168
Zizinha. See Amaral, Lcopoldina do
Index of Compositions
"Alma Brasileira." See Choros, No. 5
Assobio a Jato, lOS, 131, 133, 154
Bacbianas Brasileiias, xiv, 6, 18, 44,
104, 105-107, 141; No. 1, 107-110,
111- 112, 120; No. 2, 107
No. 3, 28;
No. 4, 106; No. 5, 87, 105, 114, 154;
No. 6, 106; No. 7, 27; No. 8, 106;
No. 9,106
Baratinha de Papel, A, 64, 65
Bendita Sabedoria, 29
Berceuse, 9
Boisinho de Chumbo, O, 64
Canes Tpicas Brasileiras, 46, 91,
Estrelaluanova, 155
Capriccio, 9
Carnaval das Crianas, 47, 58
Cavalinho de Pau, O, 65
Choros, xiv, 4, 17, 20, 44, 72, 153, 156,
166; Dois Choros Bis, 74, 166;
Introduo aos Choros, 166; No. 1,
47, 74, 76, 84, 135, 142, 155, 156,
166; No. 2, 166
No. 3, 18, 19, 76,
99, 166
No. 4, 19, 43, 166; No. 5
I" Alma Brasileira"), x, 17, 68, 82,
94, 110, 166; No. 6, 27, 166; No. 7,
166; No. 8, 19, 27, 84-86, 88, 1661
No. 9, 27, 166; No. 10, ("Rasga o
Corao"}, 17, 18, 19, 20, 77, 78, 87,
90, 94, 154, 166
No. 11, 1661 No.
12, 27
No. 13, 166
No. 14, 166
Ciclo Brasileiro, 44, 104, 154
Cirandas, 17, 20, 100, 102, 154
Concerto for Gutar and Orchcstra,
135, 142-144
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.
Dana do Indio Branco, 48
Danas Caracteristicas Africanas
(Trs) , 8, 12, 46, 48
Descobrimento do Brasil, O, 28, 104
Epigramas Irnicos e Sentimentilis,
Eroso (Origem do rio Amazonas}, 43,
Estrela lua nova, 155
12 Etudcs (guitar), 137, 139; No. 1,
139; No. 4, 139; No. 10, 140; No.
ll, 140, 142
Fantasia Concertante, 143. See also
Concerto for Gutar
Fiandeira, A, 4
Floresta do Amazonas, 29
Gatinho de Papelo, O, 65
Guerra, A, 9
Guia Prtico, 6, 25
Historietas, 47
202 Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Searchfor Brazil's Musical Soul
Hommage Chopin, 104
Izaht, 9
Lenda do Caboclo, A, 44, 47, 58, 62,
Lobozinho de Vidro, O, 64
Magdalena, 28
Mandu arai, 104
Melodia da Montanha, 23
Mirmis (Myremis), 9, 46, 54
Missa So Sebastio, I 05
Na Bahia Tem, 17
Naufrgio de Klenicos, 9
Negrinha, 63
New Yorl< Sl<yline, 104
Noneto (Impresso Rpida de Todo o
Brasil), 17, 19,20,61,69, 72,84,99,
103, 104, 154
Odissia de uma raa, 163
Papagaio do Moleque, O, 44
Passarinho de Pano, O, 65
Penses d'Enfant, 17
Poemas Indgenas. See Trs Poemas
Polichinelo, O, 48, 63
5 Preludes (guitar), 140-142
No. 1,
No. 2, 142; No. 3, 142; No. 5,
Prole do Beb sutes, 30, 58, 59, 61
Prole do Beb No. 1, 17, 20, 44, 46, 58
Prole do Beb No. 2, 19,20,47, 64, 65,
100, 153
Quarteto de Cordas: No. 2, 91 No. 3,
12,46;No. 4,46;No.5, 123;No.6,
123-126; No. 11, 126; No. 17, 130
Quatuor (flute, oboe, clarinet, bas-
soon), 103
Quatuor/Quarteto Simblico: lm-
pressesda Vida Mundana, 12, 13,
17, 47, 7l
Quint.eto em Formo de Choros, 43,
100, 103, 104, 166
"Rasga o Corao." See Choros, No.
Rodante (from Simples Coletdnea),
Rudepoema, 10, 19,20,27, 100,153
Serestas, I 00
Sexteto Mstico, 44, 46
Simples Coletnea, 47
Sonata Fantasia No. 2, 8, 46, 47
Sonata No. 2(cello and piano), 12
String quartets, 8, 123
Sute Caracterstica, 8
Sute Floral, 46, 47, 63
Suitefor Voice and Violin, 16, 17
Sute Popular Brasileira,8,46,47,134
Symphonies, 8, 69; No. I, 46; No. 2,
5, 47; No. 8, 28; No. 9, 28; No. 10,
28, 164;No. 11,28;No. 12,28
Trenzinho do Caipira, O. See
Bachianas Brasileiras, No. 2
Trs Poemas Indfgenas, 17, 19
Trio (oboe, clarlnet, bassoon), 16, 17,
43, 47, 71, 103, 132
Trio (violin, viola, cello), 131-133
Trio No. 1 (piano, violin, cello), 8
Trio No. 2(plano, violin, cello), 12, 46,
Trio No. 3 (piano, violin, cello), 12, 46
Uirapuru,8,27,43,46,49,54, 154
Ursinho de Algodo, O, 65
Valsa Mistica (from Simples
Coletnea), 47
Vidapura, 44
Xang, 155