- Cirandas (16), for piano, A. 220
- Cirandinhas (12), for piano, A. 210
- Caixinha de música quebrada, for piano, A. 256
The inauguration of a Villa-Lobos piano music series from Brazilian pianist Marcelo Bratke, who is ideally equipped to bring out the mixture of Brazilian and European elements in the composer's music, is cause for minor celebration. Villa-Lobos' piano music is not terribly common on concert programs, but he wrote a good deal of it, and it presents aspects of his compositional thinking in miniature. Both of the large collections of pieces on this album, "Cirandinhas" and "Cirandas," date from the peak of Villa-Lobos' career in the mid-'20s. The titles of both works refer to types of children's songs, and these are only some of the Villa-Lobos pieces that relate to children. Yet they are not children's pieces. Many of them work out a single idea in a crisp, economical way. What's most interesting here (and beautifully brought out by Bratke) is the contrast between these two works, even though both are made up of short programmatic works in simple forms with mostly diatonic melodies. The "Cirandinhas" are rigorously simple pieces that seem almost insignificant until you catch on to the small melodic problem being solved in a distinctively Brazilian way, while the "Cirandas" are more like circumscribed versions of the language in Villa-Lobos' more famous orchestral works. There's a subtlety in these pieces that takes a well-versed pianist to catch, and that's where Bratke is ideal. Recommended for Villa-Lobos fans despite a vague set of booklet notes.