I had heard of Heitor Villa Lobos for many years while reviewing classical music, but I had not listened to any music by this Brazilian composer until the arrival of Mario Adnet’s Villa Lobos--a beautiful collection of vernacular classical and Brazilian popular songs performed by some of Brazil's finest musical talent. While I’m not going to delve into history or give you biographical information of Villa Lobos, I encourage you to look up this fascinating early 20th century composer after listening to this stunning recording.
As an homage to Villa Lobos, Adnet teams up with a Brazilian orchestra (Orqestra de Cordas), Edu Lobo, Milton Nascimento, Mônica Salmaso, Muiza Adnet, Paula Santoro, Yamandu Costa and members of the Adnet family. The result is upbeat performances such as Mazurka Choro and the opening track, A Menina Das Nuvens as well as, dreamy pieces, Tristorosa (sung by Mario Adnet and Paula Santoro with lush orchestration set behind this duet), the melancholic Aria (Cantilena), and Ondulando (composed in 1914) with its pensive horn soaring over strings.
Canção Cristal provides us with Santoro’s wistful vocals framed by cascading notes of piano and harp, back by the orchestra. If you’re looking for a luscious duet, Salmaso and Lobo provide this on Caicó Aria, which also features Teco Cardoso’s flute, Marcos Nimrichter’s piano, and woodwinds (clarinet) by Igor Carvalho, Joana Adnet and Pedro Paes. Adnet closes the CD the effervescent piece Estrella é Lua Nova which features Yamandu Costa’s guitar and a large group of musicians and singers. This festive piece gets our feet moving in the right direction and its warmth conjures images of Brazil’s beaches.