"An orgy of sound, color and Afro-Brazilian rhythms... Amerindia decidedly is music of overwhelming power, color and variety..."
John von Rhein
Sunday, January 21, 2001
Villa-Lobos Symphony No. 10, "Amerindia" Vocal soloists, Donald Brinegar Singers, UCSB Chamber Choir, Santa Barbara Choral Society, Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra, Gisele Ben-Dor, conductor (Koch International Classics).
The symphony's subtitle and the platoons of performers tell you what you're going to hear: an orgy of sound, color and Afro-Brazilian rhythms. More an oratorio than a symphony, the five-movement Tenth Symphony was composed for the 400th anniversary of the founding of Sao Paolo in 1952 but didn't receive its premiere until five years later. Villa-Lobos undertook nothing less than a history of his native Brazil in music, drawing on texts by a 16th Century Jesuit missionary which he set in Portuguese, Latin and the native Tupi language. His huge orchestra includes quadruple brass, triple woodwinds and a very large percussion battery. Subtle the score isn't.
But "Amerindia" decidedly is music of overwhelming power, color and variety, just the thing for listeners who enjoy a good wallow in lush, pictorial sounds. In this world-premiere recording, a solid West Coast orchestra with assorted choruses and soloists rises to the occasion under the energetic direction of the talented, Uruguayan-born music director of the Santa Barbara Symphony, Gisele Ben-Dor. Recommended, especially for collectors of esoteric, conservative 20th Century repertory.
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