Hyperion Records

First line:
Alleluia. Alleluia. Magnificat anima mea Dominum
1958; commissioned by Pope Pius XII and the Italian Association of St Cecilia to celebrate Lourdes Year; first performed in the Teatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro, on 8 November 1958
author of text
Luke 1: 46-55

'Villa-Lobos: Missa São Sebastião & other sacred music' (CDH55470)
Villa-Lobos: Missa São Sebastião & other sacred music
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55470  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Track 20 on CDH55470 [7'29] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

After the removal from office of Vargas in 1945, and the ending of the War (in which Brazil had taken part on the Allied side), Villa-Lobos began to travel extensively once more as a conductor of his own music, spending large portions of each year in Europe and the USA. Consequently his activities in Brazil as choral conductor, composer and educationalist diminished considerably. The requirement for patriotic choral works in any case ceased, and Villa-Lobos turned his compositional energies to operas and orchestral music.

At the end of his life, however, two commissions resulted in further sacred choral works, and in these Villa-Lobos literally bid farewell to the world. A request from Pope Pius XII himself, via the Italian Association of St Cecilia, to celebrate ‘Lourdes Year’, resulted in a fine Magnificat-Alleluia for mezzo-soprano (or contralto), chorus, and orchestra, which was first performed at the Teatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro, on 8 November 1958, conducted by Edoardo di Guarnieri. A further performance was given the following September. The terminally ill composer, recently discharged from hospital, attended, and was visibly moved by his own music. The audience gave him a spontaneous and generous ovation, and he waved feebly from his seat. This was the last concert he ever attended, and weeks later he was dead.

Magnificat-Alleluia alternates the text of the Magnificat (contralto solo) with blocks of ‘Alleluia’, sung by the whole chorus. The intricate polyphony of São Sebastião or of the huge choral tour de force Bachianas brasileiras No 9, is eschewed. The choral writing of the ‘Alleluias’ is Gabrieli-like in its resounding antiphonies from voice to voice, and in its melismatic cadences; melismatic or chant-like too is the setting of the Magnificat text. Singer and chorus eventually unite in a surging, climactic ‘Amen’.

from notes by Simon Wright © 1993

Track-specific metadata
Details for CDA66638 track 20
Recording date
9 January 1993
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Villa-Lobos: Missa São Sebastião & other sacred music (CDA66638)
    Disc 1 Track 20
    Release date: April 1993
    Deletion date: April 2012
    Superseded by CDH55470
  2. Villa-Lobos: Missa São Sebastião & other sacred music (CDH55470)
    Disc 1 Track 20
    Release date: June 2014
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
   English   Français   Deutsch