NPR logo Parabéns, Heitor Villa-Lobos!

Parabéns, Heitor Villa-Lobos!

An undated picture taken in Paris of composer and conductor Heitor Villa Lobos. STR/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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STR/AFP/Getty Images

An undated picture taken in Paris of composer and conductor Heitor Villa Lobos.

STR/AFP/Getty Images

This is the Doodle on Google Brazil today. courtesy of Google hide caption

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courtesy of Google

Today marks the 125th anniversary of Brazilian composer and conductor Heitor Villa-Lobos' birth. And we're not the only ones celebrating — check out the Google Doodle that's currently greeting web surfers in Brazil.

Meanwhile, here in the States, we're listening to some of his music, from his most famous to the forgotten.

Parabéns, Heitor Villa-Lobos!

Cover for Arias & Brazilian Folksongs

Bachiana Brasileira No. 5

  • Song:
  • from Arias & Brazilian Folksongs
  • by Bidu Sayao

This 1945 recording of the sinuously beautiful fifth piece in Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras series features Brazilian soprano Bidú Sayão, with the composer conducting — and it may well be the most perfect version ever made.

YouTube

Buy Featured Music

Song
Arias & Brazilian Folksongs
Album
Arias & Brazilian Folksongs
Artist
Bidu Sayao
Label
Sony Music
Released
1996

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Cover for Heitor Villa-Lobos: Magdalena

'Magdalena'

  • Song:
  • from Heitor Villa-Lobos: Magdalena
  • by Various

And now for a rarity: Did you know that Villa-Lobos wrote a Broadway musical in 1948? It disappeared after 11 weeks; said Time Magazine of its original run, "The only thing more incomprehensible than the plot is the notion that any one could follow it." (And the New York Times called a 1987 revival a "lost cause.") Undaunted, Paris' Théâtre du Châtelet mounted a sumptuously staged revival in 2010.

Theatre du Chatelet YouTube

Buy Featured Music

Song
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Magdalena
Album
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Magdalena
Artist
Various
Label
CBS Records
Released
1989

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Cover for Popular Classics for Spanish Guitar

Julian Bream Plays Villa-Lobos

  • Song:
  • from Popular Classics for Spanish Guitar
  • by Julian Bream

In footage from the early 1960s, the guitarist plays Villa-Lobos' Preludes Nos. 3 (titled "Homage to Bach") & 4 ("Homage to the Brazilian Indian"), written in 1940.

YouTube