Villa-Lobos and Modernism: The Apotheosis of Cannibal Music provides a new assessment of the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos in terms of his contributions to the Modernist Movement of the twentieth century. In this profound study, Ricardo Averbach elevates Cultural Cannibalism as a major manifestation of the Modernist aesthetics and Villa-Lobos as its top exponent in the music field. Villa-Lobos’s anthropophagic appetite for multiple opposing aesthetics enlightens through the juxtaposition of contradictory elements, leaving a legacy of unmatched originality, a glittering kaleidoscope of sounds that draw from the radical power of Josephine Baker to the outrageous extravagance of Carmen Miranda, from Dada to Einstein’s counterintuitive scientific findings, from folklorism to atonality. The constructed analyses use the works of Stravinsky as a familiar and popular touchstone for accessing Villa-Lobos as the leading exponent of an aesthetic movement that has been neglected due to a traditional Eurocentric view of Modernism. Averbach opens up new possibilities for the study of twentieth-century music, in general, while unveiling how much our present aesthetics owes to the Modernist ideas introduced by the Brazilian composer.
Ricardo Averbach is director of orchestral studies at Miami University and past president of the College Orchestra Directors Association.
Chapter 1: The Anthropophagic Aesthetic
Chapter 2: Villa-Lobos, the “Cannibal who Wore Tails”
Chapter 3: The Sad Clowns of Carnival: Polichinelo and Petrushka
Chapter 4: Taking Flight with Two Ballet Birds: Uirapuru and Firebird
Chapter 5: Dissecting Uirapuru
Chapter 6: Breaking Treaties: Amazonas and Le Sacre du Printemps
Chapter 7: Diving into the Amazonas
Chapter 8: Towards a New Assessment of Villa-Lobos
Chapter 9: The Influence of Surrealism in Villa-Lobos’s Modernist Works
Appendix 1: The Anthropophagous Manifesto: An Annotated Translation
Appendix 2: Glossary of Musical Terminology
About the Author
In this welcome addition to scholarship on Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887–1959), Averbach points out failures in previous studies of the composer and proposes new perspectives for the study of him as a man and composer. Written in clear, accessible language, the book comprises nine chapters with thought-provoking titles…. Villa-Lobos's era was one that brought back the 19th-century notion of nationalism, which allowed composers to draw their inspiration from national culture and landmarks. It is in this context that Villa-Lobos’s works are characterized as cannibal music. Rounding out the volume are two appendixes: an annotated English translation of "Anthropophagic Manifesto" (1928), by modernist Brazilian poet Oswald de Andrade, and a glossary of musical terminology. Highly recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty.
Ricardo Averbach presents an innovative framework for a fresh understanding of Villa-Lobos’s music in the context of the Brazilian early twentieth-century Modernism. The book addresses the multicultural influences that shaped the composer’s unique style and makes skillful use of analytical tools to unveil details of his brilliant works.
It is impossible not to recognize, in the manuscript, the work of an experienced, qualified researcher, whose results are presented in a text that is breathtaking, exciting, and pleasant to read. Cultural references demonstrate remarkable scholarship…the text serves as a kind of cartography of Brazilian culture.
Averbach carries out an impressive study, gathering at the same time expertise as a great performer of Villa-Lobos's symphonic works and as a theorist, analyzing the musical structure. The book does a remarkable job of presenting the cultural context of Villalobosian's work, from its connections with Brazilian popular music (carnival song, choro, samba, etc.), Bach, Stravinsky, and Modernism from Brazil and abroad.