Impressão moura

February 24 2011

To move, disreputably, from superficial history to mere orientalism, here is part of Heitor Villa-Lobos’s vast cycle of suites O Descobrimento do Brasil: his noble music for a very bad film of that name (1937) by Humberto Mauro.

Pedro Álvares Cabral, who is regarded as the discoverer of Brazil, may have had an Arab navigator on at least one of his ships in his voyage of 1500. Villa-Lobos thought he did and commemorated the fact, if it was a fact, and in any case the Moslem background of Iberia, by inserting a movement called Impressão moura into his work. The design of the caravels which made these voyages was influenced by Arab ships.

I have no idea why this piece charms me (isn’t it like like many others in its genre?), but it does every time. Villa-Lobos is conducting the Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française in the mid-’50s. It was in the giant French EMI box of LPs Villa-Lobos par lui-même.


One Response to “Impressão moura”

  1. […] Impressão moura (old post). […]

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