Villa-Lobos: Symphony No. 10

Villa-Lobos: Symphony No. 10

by Carl St. Clair
     
 

The release of Heitor Villa-Lobos: Symphony No. 10 Amerindia brings to a close CPO's ambitious cycle of Villa-Lobos' complete symphonies under Carl St. Clair; the only symphony not included in the CPO cycle is "No. 5," the score for which remains lost. This cycle has been "in the can" for quite some time -- CPO's disc was recorded…  See more details below

Overview

The release of Heitor Villa-Lobos: Symphony No. 10 Amerindia brings to a close CPO's ambitious cycle of Villa-Lobos' complete symphonies under Carl St. Clair; the only symphony not included in the CPO cycle is "No. 5," the score for which remains lost. This cycle has been "in the can" for quite some time -- CPO's disc was recorded in 1999, but not released until 2007. It is such a big, expansive, and expensive project that one might wonder how CPO could stand to keep this one on the shelf so long. However, unlike most of Villa-Lobos' symphonies, "No. 10" has been recorded a couple of times elsewhere, both as conducted by Gisèle Ben-Dor, who first revived, edited, and advocated this score in the 1990s. This is Villa-Lobos' largest symphony, scored in five movements for three male singers, chorus, orchestra, and organ and subtitled an oratorio; it's almost as if Gustav Mahler wrote a symphony on South American themes. The CPO release was delayed so long it actually comes in between Ben-Dor's two versions, which are as different from each other as they are from this one. In the work, Carl St. Clair emphasizes control, clarity of texture, and tempi that are regularized and do not race, an aspect of interpretation that eludes Ben-Dor in both of her recordings. Perhaps St. Clair isn't as generously colorful as Ben-Dor tends to be, but his clear-eyed reading with the SWR's Stuttgart Radio Symphony and chorus of this complex and unpredictable score seems the best exposition of its virtues thus far. Villa-Lobos' "Amerindia" was not well understood when it first came along in 1957; the Sao Paulo audiences found it too long, difficult, and intellectually involved, whereas the audience in Paris felt it was too conservative. Villa-Lobos was disappointed in its rejection, whereas the relative success of the symphonic poem with voice that he wrote later, "Floresto do Amazonas" -- an even longer work -- offered some validation for Villa-Lobos just in time for his death in 1959. "Floresta do Amazonas" is justly one of the most popular of Villa-Lobos' works; the "Sinfonia Amerindia" is not nearly as lush but it is captivating in other ways. While the density of its foliage characterizes "Floresto," not to mention the coloratura soprano voice sailing over the top of the forest canopy, "Sinfonia Amerindia" is more sinewy and restless -- it is city music tempered with a dash of native mysticism, exposing its clash, and concord with catholic, Christian culture. Its themes are a bit more serious than the heady exoticism in "Floresto," and admittedly, there are occasional moments of pretentiousness. Nevertheless, Villa-Lobos' "Tenth Symphony" is a work that well deserves hearing, and CPO's recording is spacious, atmospheric, and clear -- a job well done, and an appropriate send-off for its cycle of Villa-Lobos symphonies.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/26/2008
Label:
Cpo Records
UPC:
0761203978625
catalogNumber:
999786
Rank:
185273

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Symphony No. 10, for orchestra (Sinfonia ameríndia), for 3 soloists, chorus & orchestra, A. 511  - Heitor Villa-Lobos  - Eckhardt van den Hoogen  - Jurgen Linn  - Lothar Odinius  -  SWR Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra  - Burkhard Schmilgun  - Carl St. Clair  -  SWR Stuttgart Vocal Ensemble  - Felix Fischer  - José de Anchieta  - Henryk Böhm  -  Members of the Stuttgart State Opera Chorus

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