<< -- 3 -- Robert Anderson ALWAYS STIMULATING
By 1945, the lyricism that Villa-Lobos poured so generously into many of his
Bachianas brasilieras makes a mainly hectic contribution to Symphony No 7.
The work was entered for a competition in Detroit, and given its first performance
by the London Symphony Orchestra under the composer (1949). Scored for large
orchestra, it inhabits a different world from the Sinfonietta. It is uncompromising
and forceful from the outset
[listen -- track 1, 1:50-3:00].
The Scherzo is the most aggressive of the four movements, and the energetic finale,
melodically all hammers and nails, ends surprisingly with a major chord of defiant
[listen -- track 4, 9:01-10:13].
Through a biographical accident, this symphony was confused with Villa-Lobos's
Odyssey of a Race, written to celebrate the endless wanderings of the Jews.
If the Stuttgart Symphony Orchestra, under their adventurous Carl St Clair, manages
to record all dozen of these symphonies, including the No 5 said to be lost by
Grove, that will be an odyssey indeed, and I should like to be on board.
The players bring to the rich variety Villa-Lobos offers them a skill and
commitment the composer cannot too often have encountered during his lifetime.
The result may not be easy listening, but it is always stimulating and often
Copyright © 4 September 2004
Robert Anderson, Cairo, Egypt
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MORE VILLA-LOBOS SYMPHONIES ON CPO
Villa-Lobos: Symphony No 7; Sinfonietta No 1
999 713-2 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 57'30" 2004 CPO
Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR; Carl St Clair, conductor
Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959): Symphony No 7 (1945); Sinfonietta No 1 (1916)