Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5

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Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5


If you have never heard Moniuszko’s songs, rare Pergolesi arias or Villa-Lobos’ beautiful Bachianas No. 5, then this album is a must have. This beautiful collection of songs also features works by Niewiadomski, Scarlatti, Chopin, Strauss and Weill.


If you have never heard Moniuszko’s songs, rare Pergolesi arias or Villa-Lobos’ beautiful Bachianas No. 5, then this album is a must have. This beautiful collection of songs also features works by Niewiadomski, Scarlatti, Chopin, Strauss and Weill.

  • Alessandro Scarlatti – Le Violette (2’23)
  • Giovanni Pergolesi – A Serpina pencerete from ‘La Serva Padrona’ (5’34)
  • Giovanni Pergolesi – Confusa Smarrita from ‘Catone in Utica’ (3’32)
  • W.A. Mozart – Das Traumbild, KV530 (6’25)
  • W.A. Mozart – Die kleine Spinnerin, KV531 (1’30)
  • Felix Mendelssohn – Auf Flügeln des gesanges (2’33)
  • Fryderyk Chopin – The Handsome Lad, Op. 74, No. 8 (2’27)
  • Fryderyk Chopin – Lithuanian Song, Op. 74, No. 16 (2’24)
  • Fryderyk Chopin – Dumka (1’15)
  • Fryderyk Chopin – The Warrior, Op. 74, No. 10 (2’15)
  • Stanislaw Moniuszko – The Little Fish (1’30)
  • Stanislaw Moniuszko – The Spinning Girl (1’32)
  • Stanislaw Niewiadomski – Indele and Mendele (2’22)
  • Richard Strauss- Ständchen, Op. 17, No. 2 (2’20)
  • Richard Strauss – Morgen, Op. 27, No. 4 (3’13)
  • Richard Strauss – Die Nacht, Op. 10, No. 3 (2’35)
  • Arnold Schoenberg – Gigerlette (2’14)
  • Arnold Schoenberg – Der genügsame Liebhaber (2’39)
  • Kurt Weill – Youkali (5’42)
  • Kurt Weill – Buddy on the Nightshift (3’11)

Heitor Villa-Lobos – Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, for voice & 8 cellos, A. 389

  • Aria (Cantilena) (6’21)
  • Dança (Martelo) (4’38)

Total running time (69’41)

Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725) was one of the most celebrated ‘opera seria’ composers of his time, gaining wide recognition for his skill in dramatic and lyrical arias. Le Violette is a delightful musical setting of Morselli’s poem about “dewy, cented and pretty violets” from the opera Pirro e Demetrio dated 1694.

A Serpina Pencerete is an aria from the opera La Serva Padrona (The Maid Mistress) by Italian composer, Giovanni Pergolesi (1710-1736). This was Pergolesi’s most successful comic stage work written in only two acts and with only three characters in the plot and the work that ensured his everlasting fame. Annette Celine recorded the complete opera with bass baritone, Sesto Bruscantini and the Rome Radio Symphony Orchestra under the direction of conductor, Alberto Zedda, from which this aria is taken.

Confusa, smarrita is from the opera Catone in Utica. In the best operatic style, this aria tells of confusion and bewilderment. It’s distinctive style and poise points towards Pergolesi as the composer, though scholars disagree on a definitive attribution.

Das Traumbild, KV 530 (The Vision) was composed in 1787 by Mozart (1756 – 1791) and is a settting of a text by Ludwig Henrich Christoph Hölty. It is one of Mozart’s rare works for voice and piano, one of thirty of so examples he composed throughout his life. These little pieces soon grew into important works as they were to have an influence on the songs of the Romantic composers such as Schubert and Schumann.

Die kleine Spinnerin, KV 531 (The Little Spinnster) was also composed in 1787 and its simplicity is a joy. The subject is the spinning girl who is being asked by a boy, Fritz, as to why she continues to spin her wheel instead of playing games. She refuses to join in, suggesting that the boy will be on his way after the game and that she would prefer to spend her time productively.

Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847) wrote over 100 songs for voice and piano and Auf flügeln des Gesanges, Op. 34, No 2 is certainly his best known. He composed this work in 1835 shortly after his move to Leipzig. This beautiful poem by Heine tells of transporting lovers by the wings of song to the most sublime place. It has been transcribed by the greatest virtuosos of every era, from Franz Liszt to Jascha Heifetz.

Unfortunately, Fryderyk Chopin (1810 – 1849) saw none of his 19 songs published during his lifetime and it’s likely that many more never even reached a publisher and are now lost. The majority of Chopin’s works carry a Polish flavour, particuarly his songs in which the rhythm of the mazurka is evident. The Handsome Lad is a poem by B. Zaleski and tells of a boy who is young, tall and striking, with a fresh complexion and dark eyes.

Lithuanian Song, set to a poem by Osínski, delicately sees a Mother quizzing her daughter on where she has been, only to discover she has a met a boy with whom she is in love.

Dumka is another poem by B. Zaleski and has a distinctive sorrowful nature. It was first published in the Polish periodical Slowo Polskie in October 1910 to commemorate the centenrary of the composer’s birth.

The Warrior tells of a man’s relationship with his horse. He seeks to defy destiny by letting his horse run free instead of entering into battle. The poem is by S. Witwicki.

Stanislaw Moniuszko (1819-1872) gained much recognition in his native Poland, particularly for his opera Halka, but is little known elsewhere in the world. He began writing songs at the time of his marriage and move to Vilnius in 1840 and composed, in total, 270 songs.

The Little Fish, describes life as a fish, splashing and swimming among the waves, setting to music the words of J. Korsak.

The Spinning Girl is a poem by J. Czeczot, which tells of a maiden’s dreams while she spins silken threads. This has also been arranged for solo piano by Melcer (also available on Brana Records, BR0014).

Fellow Polish composer, Stanislaw Niawiadomski (1859 – 1936) was, in fact, the biographer of Moniuszko who studied with the great Paderewski. He often used Polish folk-tunes as a basis for his compositions and thus, is one of the most popular Polish composers of art song. It is unknown who wrote the poem, Indele and Mendele which speaks of unrequited love.

Richard Strauss (1864 – 1949) composed his 6 Lieder, Op.17 between 1885 and 1887, which are musical settings of the poems of Adolf Friedrich von Schack.

Ständchen, Op. 17, No. 2 is a stunning serenade, popular among the greatest lieder singers, replete with bustling arpeggio piano accompaniment.

Morgen is perhaps Strauss’s best known song and is a setting of a text by the poet John Henry Morgan (1864-1933). It is a celebration of the eternal endurance of love. In 1894, Strauss was inspired through his adoration of Pauline, his wife, to set this poem to music.

Die Nacht, Op. 10, No. 3 was composed by Strauss at the mere age of 16 when he had just discovered the poetry of Hermann von Gilm whose texts were introduced to him by friend and fellow composer, Ludwig Thuille. Strauss had found his art – conveying true romanticism through melody and harmony.

The eight Cabaret Songs (Brettl-Leider) by Arnold Schoenberg (1874 – 1951) were received enthusiastically when they were first published in 1900. His humorous setting of Gigerlette, a poem by Otto Bierbaum, features alternating four and five-line verses.

Der genugsame Liebhaber (The Easily Satisfied Lover) is another of Schoenberg’s Cabaret songs. This peculiar and suggestive poem by H. Salus can be interpreted in a number of ways. It tells of a girlfriend who has a black cat that purrs loudly on which she dotes and of a man’s shiny, slick and silvery bald spot.

Youkali is taken from the Cycle des Chansons Cabaretistiques, composed in 1934 by Kurt Weill (1900 – 1950). Its subtitle is ‘tango habañera’ and tells of a land of desire, happiness and pleasure.

Buddy on the Nightshift is from Weill’s Propaganda Songs No. 5 (Songs for the War Effort). He wrote this work in New York in 1942 and it is a setting of words penned by the great musical lyricist Oscar Hammerstein.

Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 is without doubt the best known of the nine works Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887 – 1959) composed to demonstrate his admiration for the music of JS. Bach. This particular work for voice and 8 cellos is in two movements. The Aria (Cantilena) is a part vocalise of a poem about nature by Ruth Valdares Correia. The text for the second movement, Dansa (Martele) is by Manuel Bandeira and sees Villa-Lobos drawing on his Brazilian roots, evoking the birds of his homeland.


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