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Hyperion Records

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Wolf’s Head engraved on glass by Helen Millard (b?)
Photography by Simon Bruntnell
Track(s) taken from CDA67176
Recording details: October 1999
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: June 2000
Total duration: 27 minutes 41 seconds

Prole do bebê 2
composer
1921

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The second suite—1921, pictures of toy animals—is dedicated to the American pianist Aline von Bärentzen, who was born in a suburb of Boston in 1897 and who, as a child prodigy and pupil of Leschetizky in Vienna, gained an excellent reputation as a specialist in Hispanic music. (She went on to make the first-ever recording of Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain, for HMV, with Piero Coppola conducting.) So far as this suite is concerned, in harmonic terms, we note Villa-Lobos’s growing use of tonal custers, rather than polytonality as such. Despite these technicalities, the music continues the charm of the first suite.

A baratinha de papel: The little cockroach here is not very lively; this is a highly atmospheric opening to the suite, slowly unfolding before a spicy tonal cluster ends the piece.

O gatinho de papelao: The cat is dozing, Lentement, and only gradually stretches itself before settling down to a soft cluster of B flat and its adjacent keys.

O camundongo de massa: The mouse has the field to himself—running about, Très animé, here is a toccata-like and relatively extended piece that coalesces into C octaves at the end, as though he has finally been caught.

O cachorrindho de borracha: The dog here is not to be disturbed. This highly imaginative piece is like a brown study, with the animal quietly musing over the day’s events, recollected in serene tranquillity.

O Cavalinho de pau: The horse will not be still. Here, this lively little animal is all-action, getting faster as the time signature changes from 3/4 to 2/4 before a breathless conclusion in an individual G tonality.

O boizinho de chumbo: In contrast, the young ox will not be hurried. Un peu modéré is the order of the day before it ambles to the shed where it retires for the night.

O passarinho de pano: Set almost entirely in the treble, but not hurrying too much, this brilliant piece anticipates Messiaen in extraordinary fashion.

O Ursinho de algodão: The little bear is both playful and gracious, if the composer’s tempo indications are faithfully followed to conjure the appropriate mood of this tonally simple piece in C.

O lobinho de vidro: Finally, the suite concludes with an extended study, very difficult to play, the wolf anticipating Peter’s animal—‘this way, and that’—before a tonal cluster, centred upon E, brings this suite to a wondrous conclusion.

from notes by Robert Matthew-Walker © 2000

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