The Cello Concerto no.1 was Villa-Lobos’s first major orchestral work. Filled with youthful energy and displaying an eclectic style, it is the sound of the composer finding his voice. Three decades later and with his reputation at its height, the inspired melodies and flowing style of the Fantasia sees Villa-Lobos giving free rein to his vivid imagination. Composed for the Brazilian cellist Aldo Parisot, the no less inventive and lushly scored Cello Concerto no.2 from 1953 suggests man’s solitude when facing the vastness of nature.
Developed in collaboration with the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ‘Music of Brazil’ series presents around 100 orchestral, chamber, choral and vocal works from the 19th and 20th centuries recorded by the country’s top orchestras, ensembles and artists, and selected according to their historical importance for Brazilian music.
Villa-Lobos is of course an unmissable part of this series, and this release joins the Complete Violin Sonatas (8574310), considered ‘an attractive proposition’ in Gramophone, Choral Transcriptions (8574286), and the Guitar and Harmonica Concertos (8574018) in ‘universally first-rate performances’ (ClassicsToday.com).
Brazilian cellist Antonio Meneses won the First Prize and Gold Medal in the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow at the age of 25 in 1982, and his subsequent international career has seen him appearing as soloist with many of the world’s finest orchestras and working with eminent conductors such as Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, Riccardo Chailly, Mariss Jansons and Mstislav Rostropovich.
Artistic director and conductor of the Orquestra Petrobras Sinfônica, Isaac Karabtchevsky is also artistic director of the Baccarelli Institute and the Heliópolis Symphony Orchestra. He was awarded the Prêmio da Música Brasileira four times (2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018) for his recordings of the complete symphonies of Villa-Lobos with the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo (Osesp). Karabtchevsky has served as the musical director of the Teatro La Fenice, the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire and the Tonkünstler Orchestra. He has taught at the Musica Riva Festival in Italy since 2000.
The São Paulo Symphony Orchestra has made an acclaimed recording of Villa-Lobos’s complete symphonies (8506039), with Gramophone stating: ‘Isaac Karabtchevsky directs secure and consistently colourful performances and the sound is excellent, as is necessary given the composer’s wide-ranging orchestrations’. This team makes a significant contribution to the series and has already recorded Choros, Vol.1 by Carmago Guarneri (8574197).