Villa-Lobos: the soul of Rio

A musical journey to the heart of Brazil

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Program notes

A musical journey to the heart of Brazil following in the traces of Heitor Villa-Lobos.

They called him "the white Indian." The white Indian, composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, was born in 1887 in Brazil and owed his nickname to a journey he made in the Amazon to record Indian songs on wax recording cylinders. His prolific and exuberant music (he wrote more than a thousand works!) embodies better than anything else the magic of his native land. His life itself expresses the creative energy of the years that marked the beginning of the 20th century, namely in Paris where he lived and where his circle of friends included Picasso, Varèse, Cocteau, Prokofiev, Ravel and Stravinsky…

These adventures that the film recounts are interspersed with fabulous archive footage of Villa-Lobos himself conducting or the pianist Arthur Rubinstein speaking at length and with his usual loquaciousness about their unexpected first encounter.

Better than a documentary it is a veritable musical journey into the heart of a magical continent.

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