The title The Guitar Manuscripts Vol. 3 might seem to consign this Naxos release to specialist territory, but in fact it has features of interest to anyone with the slightest liking for Villa-Lobos. The album doesn't even consist exclusively of guitar music; O papagaio do moleque (The Kite of the Guttersnipe) is a little symphonic poem on a juvenile theme. That goes with the collection that offers the best news here: the Fourteen Folksong Arrangements from Guia prático were intended for children. They were not guitar pieces, either; Villa-Lobos suggested various instrumental accompaniments, but the one here is the work of guitarist Andrea Bissoli. These virtually unknown pieces are exquisite chamber arrangements, absolutely charming, and unlike anything anyone else has done with children's music before. They consist of the traditional choro trio of flute, guitar, and four-string cavaquinho, with violin, cello, and double bass added in some of them. Brazil's Ensemble Cirandinha catches the popular quality of these, accompanying Bissoli, and while they might seem as much Bissoli as Villa-Lobos, they're terrific however they are defined. Bissoli also delivers strong performances of the 12 Etudes, the best-known work on the album, playing a guitar similar to one owned by the work's dedicatee, Andrés Segovia. A rousing tarantella opens the program. The engineering, from a couple of Italian venues, is very strong, with no extraneous guitar noise. Strongly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Fourteen folksong arrangements from Guia prático|