Villa-Lobos: Carnaval das crianças; Guia prático para piano

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Villa-Lobos
LABELS: Glissando
WORKS: Carnaval das crianças; Guia prático para piano
PERFORMER: Caio Pagano (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 779 009-2
It comes as a great surprise to learn that this is the premiere recording of Villa-Lobos’s Guia prático. The music is delightful and deserves to be widely known. Guia prático is the fruit of Villa-Lobos’s research into Brazilian children’s songs during the Thirties. Originally published with accompanying texts, the short pieces shed their words when 59 of them were transcribed by their composer for the piano in 1945, the first six volumes of which are presented here. A flavour of the missing texts is given in short descriptions that follow the title, a few of which really must be quoted: ‘A child throws a stick at a cat but the cat is unharmed’; ‘The shortcomings and benefits of being a hunchback’; ‘A rhythmic dance used for children to introduce themselves to new friends’.

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I found the entire presentation whimsical and charming. Villa-Lobos’s unflagging wit and invention guide him towards memorable music in a wide diversity of styles, including lullabies, chanted ditties and the odd samba. Each piece, scarcely any exceeding two minutes, is packed with brilliance and wonder, equally the case in the other collection of pieces on offer, Carnaval das crianças. As interpreter, Caio Pagano could not be bettered.