The early years of the twentieth century were a time of upheaval with new ways of thinking about society and one’s place in the world. Two world wars brought about changes of government and also social transformation. These changes took place in South America as well as in North America and Europe.
One of the less violent, yet significant revolutions that took place was in music with an interest in native folk music that developed in the second half of the 19th century. Our composer for this week is Heitor Villa-Lobos, a Brazilian composer who lived from 1887-1959. He, like many others of his time, was interested in the native music of the indigenous people of Brazil and spent about a decade traveling and listening and absorbing the sounds and stories of the native people. This then became the material that he used for many of his compositions. Villa-Lobos felt a tension between the tradition of European music and his desire to incorporate the nationalistic music of Brazil and tried to find a way to blend the two traditions.
You will be listening to two of his compositions one for piano taken from a collection called, Prole do Bebe, or the Baby’s Family and the second piece is for cello taken from a suite called Bachianas Brasileiras. This composition demonstrates his attempt at blending his love and admiration for J.S.Bach with his own sensibilities as a Brazilian composer.
Borzinho de Chumbo-
Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 arranged for cello and guitar