The whole program with sample tracks
Ritual “macumba” chant, nagô invocation of one of the most popular and powerful orixás of Candomblé and other African cult variants, popular in Brazil: Xango, lord of storms, thunder and lightning, lord of fire.
The rhythmic power of the stylized, striking melodic line on a Yoruba text of pure onomatopoeic character, with its alternate rhymes, will accentuate the conjuring vocal effect, accompanied by the vigorous fitting pace.
Arrangement of a singing melody with theme A, presenting the a cappella theme for solo voice with the 'tabla' that introduces the piano and double bass with an evocative arc solo setting the scene. Introduction to development with a period of ostinato style, repeating the main theme cell with variations till the beginning of the piano solo with a pronounced Afro-character. Re-exposure of the theme under jazz aesthetic with chromatic ascending key retaking the plot produced by the ostinato.
Last of the series of five preludes for guitar, composed in 1940, whose property is the (poly)tonal playing and the corresponding change of harmonic ranges, doubtless with the purpose of enriching the relative simplicity of the melody that evokes a typical “seresta” (serenata). The text (JRBustamante), inspired by the very structure of the prelude, assumes the character of a poetic reflection in “seresta” tone, as a tribute to the popular genius of Villa as a “seresteiro”.
Composition (dedicated to Carmen Durán) in form of fugue and variations, in a refined 'modinha' (salon music) style. Also in this work the lyrical text (by JRBustamante), written directly on the original score of A. Conde, aims to become part of the existing structure, trying to achieve a perfect fusion of poetic composition and melody with its rhythm and harmonic variations.
One of the most famous compositions of HVL and maybe the most 'executed' in the world, that is mistreated, unfortunately with astonishing frequency, even by famous singers. Text by Ruth Valadares Correa. VL's music saves it from a certain innocuousness.
This is in all artistic honesty what our elaborate interpretive contribution also aims, basically respecting the original with the creative and happy arrangement by Alberto Conde and the masterful, truly classic and refined interpretation of Carmen Durán as well, without any vocal concession of questionable popular taste, still usual and present in the Brazilian and international market, from which we prefer to distance ourselves, as they don’t honor in our opinion the Villa-Lobos’ original in any way.
Imitation or strongly rhythmic variation in a typical feel of northeastern “embolada” and even “forró”, a traditional Northeastern “challenge” on the curious and quaint text (also Northeast!), commissioned to the great poet (from Pernambuco, living in Rio and personal friend of VL) Manuel Bandeira, in a grand celebration of the vigor of his homeland with all its singing birds.
A. Conde’s original composition with some lyrics (in English) written later by JRBustamante. Introduction in Afro-Brazilian rhythm. Orchestral instrumental theme with piano solo variations remembering Villa-Lobos. Contemporary jazz style. Theme for voice, pop-jazz, which links to an interactive end of turn-around type on the main theme cell with a strong style that fuses Afro-Brazilian with symphonic-jazz feel.
Piano improvisation, original by Alberto Conde, formally following the classical romantic style and intended as a sort of link to the next piece of the program.
For this Choro we also considered the possibility of joining words to the original melody of Villa-Lobos, commenting in some way the structure of the “chorona” (crying) composition, which includes, as almost every piece of the series, significant subtitles, in this case “Brazilian soul”. Also here it’s worth to emphasize the meticulous respect for the original structure of the work, as both the arrangement of A. Conde as the text, inspired by Villa-Lobos instructions for the execution of the work, try to leave intact the character of the same.
Afro-Amazonian piece for low voice, percussion and double bass, where the voice assumes a magical character of an ethnic-shamanistic evocation, emitting deep vocalises ruled in a vocal sequence close to a syllabic “Auê”... almost anticipating the syncretism of the following piece.
It’s our greatest artistic challenge to complete this project.
We have chosen in this case the second part of the original composition, in which the mixed choir performs motives of the “Yara Schottisch” by Anacleto de Medeiros and of Parecis Indians lullaby that Villa-Lobos used, as he usually did, according to his method, in many variations and with a onomatopoeic text that he invented to mimic the speech of the Indians, but rather meaningless here, excepted for the pure and simple musical/symphonic effect.
The original text of “Rasga o coração” (Rip the heart) by Catulo da Paixão Cearense could not be used during the time it was protected by copyrights, and so Villa-Lobos only used the melody of Anacleto de Medeiros resorting to vocalises for the choir interventions. For a long time he was accused of plagiarism. Today, released the text, at least a few phrases of Catulo’s poem are eventually used in performances of the work, which however, for aesthetic reasons concerning modern treatment, we prefer to adapt here in content and form, trying anyway to keep the rhythm to the musical phrases of Villa-Lobos, arranged by A. Conde.
(© by JRBustamante, 2012)