Heitor Villa-Lobos

Bachianas Brasileiras No. 9, for chorus (or string orchestra), A. 449

    Description by Joseph Stevenson

    As the other Bachianas Brasileiras were written during the 1930s, the period of Gétulio Vargas' regime, No. 9 was the last one, written in the same year Vargas was deposed. Villa-Lobos had become associated with Vargas's government when it appointed Villa-Lobos music education superintendent for Rio de Janeiro.

    Bachiana Brasileira No. 9 is the only one that does not have double titles (one title based on classical music forms and the other relating to Brazil in some manner). Instead, this eight-minute work (the shortest in the series) is in quintessentially Bachian form of the prelude and fugue.

    The work is scored for string orchestra (Villa-Lobos also wrote a version of it for wordless choir, but this is rarely performed). The opening, marked with the Italian direction "vague and mystical" begins with a striking sonority using high strings. A very Bachian aria melody unfolds, with harmonization that is often bitonal.

    The concluding fugue (this Bachiana being one of four in the series that end in a fugue) has a typical quick subject. It rises to a strong and calm conclusion that is a fitting end to one of the most famous series of classical compositions ever written in South America.


    1. Preludio (Vagoroso e mistico)
    2. Fuga (Poco apressado)

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2012 CD Accord ACD 1682
    2011 EMI Classics 5099902820224
    2011 Haenssler / Haenssler Classic 93268
    2009 BIS 183032
    2008 Lorelt / Zebralution
    2008 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution 4767702
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099950084
    2007 EMI Classics
    2006 BIS 1400
    2005 Lorelt 115
    2005 Naxos 8557460-62
    2003 EMI Classics
    2001 Iris Musique 843
    1999 EMI Music Distribution 66964
    1998 Dorian DOR90249
    1998 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution 724356691223
    1998 Digital Sound 1042
    1996 Chandos CHAN9434
    1996 RCA Victor Red Seal 09026685382
    1992 Lorelt / Zebralution
    1991 Angel Records / Warner Classics 0777767229
    1990 EMI Music Distribution 47357
    EMI Music Distribution 61015
    Iris Musique 143