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Villa Lobos - Choros N.1

Villa Lobos - Choros N.1

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Villa Lobos – Choros N.1

Chôros is the title of a series of compositions by the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, composed between 1920 and 1929.

The word chôro is Portuguese for “weeping”, “cry”, and came to be the name used for music played by an ensemble of Brazilian street musicians (called chorões) using both African and European instruments, who improvise in a free and often dissonant kind of counterpoint called contracanto. In this context, the term does not refer to any definite form of composition, but rather includes a variety of Brazilian types. Villa-Lobos described the basic concept of his Chôros as a “brasilofonia”—an extension of the popular street-musicians’ chôro to a pan-Brazilian synthesis of native folklore, both Indian and popular.

The tenth work in the series is for mixed choir and large orchestra, and quotes at length from a popular song, originally composed as an instrumental schottische, Yará, in 1896 by Anacleto de Medeiros. In 1907, Catullo da Paixão Cearense transformed it into a popular song by adding words to the melody, retitling it “Rasga o coração” (“Rend Your Heart”). The Villa-Lobos work bears this phrase as a subtitle.

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