Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS - A Bio-Bibliography
By David P. Appleby
Bio-Bibliographies in Music No. 9 (ISSN: 0742-6968)
Greenwood Press. Westport, Conn. 1988. 372 pages
LC 87-28042. ISBN 0-313-25346-3. AHV/ $65.00 (Reference Book)
AmazonUK   £60.95 AmazonUS $72.50

For composers of the chaotically prolific calibre of Heitor Villa-Lobos studies such as this are absolutely crucial. Villa-Lobos's worklist grew at the rate of undergrowth in the Matto Grosso and keeping some sort of track of it poses major problems exacerbated by his nomadic lifestyle, language issues and sources across Europe and the Americas.

Villa-Lobos was not alone in profusion of output. Milhaud and Martinu, both of a similarly gallivanting tendency (by choice or circumstance), produced deep and spreading acres of music. Like these two composers, Villa-Lobos had his Parisian years and spent time in the USA. Milhaud is an interesting comparison; he is as indebted as Villa-Lobos promises to be to Classic Produktion Osnabruck - better known to record collectors as CPO. Milhaud's dozen symphonies are all available on CPO, now in a boxed set. There are already two volumes of the Villa-Lobos Symphonies on CPO. These are CPO 999 568-2 (symphonies 1 and 11) [review]and CPO 999 525-2 (symphonies 4 and 12). The project is in the apt and steady hands of SWR-Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart conducted by Carl St. Clair. In fact the symmetry between Milhaud and Vila-Lobos is perfect; both wrote a dozen symphonies.

The present book has been in circulation for more than a dozen years but its value is little dimmed. If you have an interest in this composer then, in addition to Lisa Peppercorn's various books, you will need this one as well.

It is a hardback (no dust-jacket) and is sturdily bound in a sober dark maroon with misted gold-coloured lettering. This is a really substantial book with paper of a light cream non-gloss texture printed using a Helvetica type sans-serif font. It lists more than 2000 works if we count the arrangements as well as the original pieces. As we are reminded, the nomadic Brazilian composed by biological imperative not forced but as natural as the growth of the forest. The discography is a selected effort and anyone who wants to essay a truly comprehensive listing will have to track their way to the Museu Villa-Lobos and document the 5000 records there and the racks of reel to reel tapes now seemingly fragile with age and climatic conditions.

The biography comes first. It is compact covering only 8 pages but then the life is not the raison d'être of this work. There are keys to abbreviations and (by now) unreliable contact details for publishers. The web should give you a better handle on making contact with the performing materials. All works are listed chronologically with a W number used to identify them. Every entry shows title, orchestral specification, premiere details and publisher. This section (pp15-128) is followed by additional works listed and collections. Then comes a discography (pp161-240). The bibliography is a practical selection (pp241-266). Next we are into appendix 1 which lists the W numbered works alphabetically. Appendix 2 organises the works by genre: dramatic, choral, orchestral etc etc. The index is excellent giving a key into places, people and work titles across the whole book but all keyed to the W numbers not to page numbers.

This book gives excellent access to the riches of the Villa-Lobos treasury and imposes one shape on a body of work that, in its sheer quantity, can bewilder.

A first class study and well worth tracking down.

Rob Barnett




Direct purchasing links are given above

The ordering information for the UK is as follows:

Available from Greenwood Publishers, C/o EDS, 3 Henrietta Street,
Covent Garden, London WC2E 8LU.

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7240 0856.
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7379 0609.

Cheques must be made payable to EDS Publications Ltd

Following credit cards are accepted: Visa, Mastercard & American Express.

In the USA and Canada the book is available from:

Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc, 88 Post Road West, PO Box
5007, Westport, CT 06881-5007, USA.

Tel: (203) 226 3571.

Fax: (203) 222-1502.

Checks should be made payable to: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.

The following credit cards are accepted: Visa, Mastercard, American Express.
The US price is: 65 US dollars (check this price as it may be out of date)

In the USA the book can be ordered via Greenwood's toll-free number 1-800-225-5800
3 Henrietta Street
Covent Garden
London WC2E 8LU, UK
Tel: + 44 (0)20 7845 0819
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7379 3313




** Description **

"One of the most prolific composers of the 20th century, Heitor Villa-Lobos' influence on the music of Latin America was enormous. . . . Designed as a basic research tool for scholars interested in Latin American music and culture, performing musicians, and music students, the volume also includes helpful appendixes containing alphabetical and classified lists of compositions."

** Table of Contents **

-- Preface
-- Acknowledgements
-- Biography
-- Works and Performances
-- Key to Abbreviations
-- The Catalog
-- Additional Works
-- Collections
-- Discography
-- Directory of Record Companies
-- The Catalog
-- Bibliography
-- Books
-- Appendix I. Alphabetical Listing of Compositions
-- Appendix II. Classified Listing of Compositions
-- Index

** Author **

DAVID P. APPLEBY is Professor of Music at Eastern Illinois University.

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