The program

  • XANGÔ (H. Villa-Lobos)

Ritual “macumba” chant, solemn “nagô” invocation of one of the most popular and powerful orixás of Candomblé and other African cult variants popular in Brazil: Xangô, lord of storms, thunder and lightning, lord of fire.
The rhythmic power of the stylized and striking melody with its rhyme changes on a Yoruba text of pure onomatopoeic character serves to accentuate the conjuring effect of the voice, accompanied by the vigorous and ostinato pace that suits it.

Arrangement of a singing melody with theme A, presenting the 'a cappella' theme for solo voice with the tabla to then introduce the piano and double bass in a evocative arc solo that sets the scene. Introduction to development with a period of ostinato style repeating with variations the main theme cell till the beginning of the piano solo with a pronounced Afro-character. Re-exposure of the theme following the arrangement under jazz aesthetic to the final with chromatic ascending key retaking the plot produced by the ostinato.

  • PRELUDE No. 5

Last of the series of five preludes for guitar, composed in 1940 (an alleged No. 6 was lost) and whose main property is the (poly)tonal playing and the corresponding change of harmonic ranges, doubtless with the purpose of enriching the relative simplicity of the melody that evokes a typical “seresta” (serenata).

The text (jrBustamante), inspired by the very structure of the prelude, assumes the character of a poetic reflection in a “seresta” tone, as a tribute to the popular genius of Villa “seresteiro”.

  • FUGA-VALS (A. Conde)

Composition by Alberto Conde (dedicated to Carmen Durán) in form of fugue and variations, in a refined “modinha” (salon music) style. Also in this work aims the lyrical text (jrBustamante), written directly on the original score, to become part of the underlying structure so as to achieve as close as possible a perfect fusion of poetic composition and melody with its rhythm and harmonic variations.

  • BACHIANAS BRASILEIRAS No. 5 - Aria / Cantilena (H. Villa-Lobos)

One of the most famous compositions of HVL and most performed in the world, here among us in a pejorative sense, that is mistreated, and that with astonishing frequency, even by big names, stars singers. Text by Ruth Valadares Correa. VL's music saves it from a certain innocuousness.

This is what, in deep artistic honesty, our elaborate interpretive contribution also aims, basically respecting the original through the creative arrangement by Alberto Conde and the masterful, truly classic and refined interpretation of Carmen Durán as well, without any vocal concession of a questionable popular taste, still usual and present in the Brazilian and the international market. We prefer to maintain a high classical level.

  • BACHIANAS BRASILEIRAS No. 5 - Dança / Martelo (H. Villa-Lobos)

Imitation or strongly rhythmic variation in a typical feel of Northeastern “embolada” and even “forró” – a traditional local challenge on the curious and quaint text (also Northeast!), commissioned to the great Poet (from Pernambuco, living in Rio and personal friend of VL) Manuel Bandeira, in a grand celebration of the vigor of his homeland with all its singing birds.

  • ON THE OTHER SIDE (A. Conde)

Alberto Conde’s original composition with some lyrics (in English) written later on by jrBustamante. Introduction in Afro-Brazilian rhythm. Orchestral instrumental theme with piano solo variations remembering Villa-Lobos. Contemporary jazz style. Theme for voice, pop-jazz, linking to an interactive end of turn-around type on the main theme cell with a strong style that fuses Afro-Brazilian with symphonic-jazz feel.

  • MURMÚRIO (A. Conde)

Piano improvisation, original by Alberto Conde, formally following the well known romantic style (Schubert, Chopin etc.) and intended as a sort of link to the next part of the program.

  • CHOROS No. 5 - “Alma Brasileira” (H. Villa-Lobos)

Also for this Choro we considered the possibility of adding some lyrics to the original melody of Villa-Lobos, alluding somehow to the structure of the composition “chorona”, which includes, as almost every piece of the series, significant subtitles, in this case “Brazilian soul”. Also here it’s worth to emphasize the meticulous respect for the original structure of the work, as both the arrangement of Alberto Conde as the text, inspired by Villa-Lobos instructions for the performance, try to leave intact the character of the same.

  • AYAHUASCA (A. Conde)

Afro-Amazonian piece for low register, percussion and bass, assuming the voice a magical character of ethnic-shamanistic evocation, emitting deep vocalises ruled in a vocal sequence close to a syllabic “Auê” ... almost anticipating the syncretism of the following piece.

  • CHOROS No. 10 - “Rasga o coração” (H. Villa-Lobos)

It’s our greatest artistic challenge to complete this project. We have chosen in this case the second part of the original composition, in which the mixed choir performs motives of the “Yara Schottisch” by Anacleto de Medeiros and of a Parecis Indians lullaby that Villa-Lobos used, as he usually did, according to his method, in many variations and with a onomatopoeic text that he invented to mimic the speech of the Indians, but rather meaningless here, excepted for the pure and simple musical / symphonic effect.

The original text of “Rasga o coração” (Rip your heart) by Catulo da Paixão Cearense could not be used during the time it was protected by copyrights, and so Villa-Lobos only used the melody of Anacleto de Medeiros resorting to vocalises for the choir interventions. For a long time he was accused of plagiarism. Today, the text being released, at least a few phrases of Catulo’s poem are eventually used in performances of the work. However, for aesthetic reasons concerning modern treatment, we’ve preferred to adapt it here in content and form, trying to keep time to the musical phrases of Villa-Lobos, arranged by Alberto Conde.

(Copyright © by jrBustamante, 2012)