Cover painting by Alexis Napoliello
This disc features the first CD recording of Villa-Lobos's last ballet, "The Emperor Jones." Long thought to be lost, conductor Jan Wagner discovered the orchestral parts among costume boxes in the archives of the Jose Limon Institute. The scenario of Villa-Lobos's ballet is based on the celebrated play of the same title by Eugene O'Neill, wherein Brutus Jones, a black fugitive from an American chain-gang, is shipwrecked on a Caribbean island and sets himself up as its ruler and tyrant. "The Emperor Jones" is top-drawer Villa-Lobos - rich and colorful, with powerful Ostinato rhythms suggesting both tribal dancing and the teeming forces of life within the forest. The Venezuelan conductor, Jan Wagner, leads a spectacular recording by the Odense Symphony Orchestra. The remainder of this disc span Villa-Lobos's entire career, with his early ballet, "Uirapuru," opening the disc. Middle period Villa-Lobos is represented by the Brazilian master's 1941 orchestration of his "Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4." Recorded in the acoustically superb Odense Koncerthuset (Denmark), Villa-Lobos's multi-layered scores are captured with stunning detail and opulence.
Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4
The Emperor Jones