Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bachiana Brasileira No. 5 ( Villa-Lobos)

In keeping with music from Latin America, listen to what is certainly considered a definitive performance of a beloved piece by Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959). Victoria de los Ángeles is incomparable! Also, listen to Bidu Sayão!

This is the fifth Bachiana from the series of nine suites, which constitutes the complete series Bachianas Brasileiras. This one is scored for soprano and orchestra of violoncelli (1938/45).

The two movements are:
Aria (Cantilena) (lyrics by Ruth V. Corrêa)
Dansa (Martelo) (lyrics by Manuel Bandeira)


  1. I absolutely love this vocalize. I’ve heard it done in a few orchestrations, with voice and guitar, as well as with two violins and voice. Each time I hear it I find new colors and love the unique harmonic and textural language that Villa Lobos uses. The second movement is new to me; the pizzicato mixed with heavy string writing provides a really unique accompaniment for the voice, and I’m very impressed with how this singer manages to hum so high with such consistent timbre.

  2. The legato of the soprano is beautifully written. The accompaniment is not what I would have expected with the pizzicato. I agree, it is very unique. The second movement has moments when it seems like it was taken out of an opera. When the humming starts at the end, the melody sounds very Latin American. Wonderfully sung.

  3. Another favorite of mine, possibly because I absolutely love the cello. This is one of the more exotic tributes to
    Bach and even though Villa- Lobos was certainly influenced by Spain and France, there is an unmistakable feel of the Brazilian jungle and the indigenous people about much of his music. This is some of his best writing that combines lush strings with a seamless vocal line.

  4. The harmonies and the color. Without text, the listener can hone in on these aspects of the music. I love the early music influence as well as the dramatic changes in harmonies. The humming sounds like different vowels, and i love the way she handles the dynamics within the humming.