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The music of the prolific Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) typifies Brazil, in its diversity, spirit of racial amalgam, and awesome beauty. Through the sheer quantity of his output, his original use of folkloric material, and the striking accessibility of his scores, Villa-Lobos has become the best-known and most significant Latin American composer of all time. This book provides an introduction to his music, and by focusing attention on important or unusual works from his large oeuvre, charts Villa-Lobos's own often anguished musical journey through the Brazilian landscape. Jungle, grasslands, river, city, and ocean all find a legitimate place in his aural mosaic of Brazil, but as he approached death his music assumed a deep spiritual quality of peace and resignation. His personal journey of discovery and fulfilment is clearly explained, set against the pervasive backdrop of social and political upheaval which characterized Brazil during Villa-Lobos's lifetime. Simon Wright has lectured, broadcast, and written on all aspects of Latin American music, and was awarded the Rocha Miranda Award of the Anglo-Brazilian Society for research in more

Product details

  • Paperback | 162 pages
  • 137.16 x 213.36 x 10.16mm | 226.8g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • music examples
  • 0193154757
  • 9780193154759

Table of contents

Background (1887-1911); themes and landscapes (1912-1922); a Brazilian in Paris - the synthesis (1923-1929); Bach and Brazil (1930-1945); Vegas and Brazil (1930-1945); last years (1946-1959).show more

Review quote

'the best concise biography available of Brazil's most renowned composer. It also provides a valuable perspective of contemporaneous political events in Brazil and the personal life of the composer...The conclusions drawn by Wright are thought-provoking and are bound to stimulate additional research and study of the life of Villa-Lobos...Simon Wright biography represents a splendid addition to the valuable Oxford Studies of Composers series.' David Appleby, M L Notes `this book, with its numerous musical examples, is a valuable addition to the Villa-Lobos bibliography' Tempo Wright..offers the best of both worlds, rooting the composer's story in the social and political upheavals which characterised Brazil during his lifetime and restricting in-depth technical discussion to a handful of key works... Could it be that we may yet come to regard him as one of the more significant composers of the twentieth century? Simon Wright's book should help us make a fairer assessment.' David Gutman, New CDs `Wright, as much as home in Brazilian literature and politics as in music, helps us to assess the extent of Villa-Lobos's hijacking of that tradition by viewing him from within his own culture.' Malcolm Troup, Musical Times `Strongly recommended.' Choice Jan'93 'Simon Wright's succinct and well-written guide will serve well ... this little book is more than a collection of program notes. In the end the reader comes away having learned something about the fascinating musical world of this composer ... Wright's illuminating expose arouses compelling interest in his subject, and he leaves us eager to investigate the unfortunately meagre discography available and to probe deeper into the bibliographic references he provides ... To this end, the author has achieved an admirable goal.' Robert Markow, Classical Music Magazine, September 1993 'The recent biography of Heitor Villa-Lobos by Simon Wright provides readers with the best concise biography available of Brazil's most renowned composer. It also offers a valuable perspective on contemporaneous political events in Brazil and on the personal life of the composer ... Wright has chosen his music examples carefully, after extensive research and listening ... The conclusions Wright draws are thought-provoking and bound to stimulate additional research and study of the life of Villa-Lobos.' David P. Appleby, Notes, June 1993 'Wright's well-written book ... is an excellent example of the new trend of historical musicology concerned with the understanding of "why" a musical expression is the way it is. Strongly recommended.' Kazadi wa Mukuna, Kent State University, Choice, Jan '93 'this book, with its numerous music examples, is a valuable addition to the Villa-Lobos bibliography, particularly when Wright concentrates on more matter-of-fact appraisals of the subject-matter' Lisa M. Peppercorn 'a very welcome addition to the excellent Oxford Studies of Composers series ... The musical examples are well considered and printed with the clarity and care we have come to expect from OUP at its best ... wholly readable and always stimulating.' Musical Opinionshow more

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