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Guitar music by Villa-Lobos -
reviewed by ROBERT HUGILL

'... charming and creditable.'

Guitar music of Villa-Lobos. Joseph Bacon, guitarist. © 2003 Mutable Music

The pieces on this disc span a significant part of Villa-Lobos' career; he wrote a bewildering number of works in a wide variety of genres, but the guitar was an instrument to which he returned. The earliest pieces on this disc date from 1912 when the young Villa-Lobos was playing guitar in chôros or street bands. The repertoire of these bands was based on European café music, so the Valsa-Chôro is a simple waltz, the Schottish-Chôro a quadruple time piece in Schottische rhythm and Chôros No 1 is strongly reminiscent of a rag.

We do have an unofficial recording of Villa-Lobos himself playing Chôros No 1, though his overall speed is a little faster than Joseph Bacon's (Bacon takes 4:38 compared to Villa-Lobos' 3:55). But Bacon's version of the piece on this disc, with its built in rallentandos, is charming and convincing [listen -- track 12, 0:00-0:58]. Bacon is an American guitarist whose teachers included Segovia and Julian Bream. He recorded this disc in 1965 but it has been remastered well and does not show its age unduly.

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Copyright © 28 October 2004 Robert Hugill, London UK


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