From the guy who brought you The Villa-Lobos Website and The Villa-Lobos Magazine.
Focus, Dean, focus!
Tumbling since April 2007.
In 1937, the 22-year-old composer Hans Joachim Koellreutter fled Nazi Germany with letters of recommendation from Paul Hindemith and conductor Hermann Scherchen.
“When we got off the ship in Rio de Janeiro, I did not have a penny. Absolutely nothing. I only had the letters of recommendation that were addressed to Villa-Lobos. We got a taxi and I couldn’t even speak Portuguese. The only thing I could do was to show the envelope with the name of Heitor Villa-Lobos to the taxi driver. At that time, the world was totally different. It was enough to show a name and the driver knew what to do. He took us directly to Villa-Lobos’s home.”
Hans Joachim Koellreutter: The musical revolutions of a Zen master, by Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta, p. 236-7. Koellreutter is best known for promoting atonal music in Brazil, and for being the teacher of Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Tom Jobim was born in 1927; he was 32 when Villa-Lobos died. Though he idolized the older composer, he never had a chance to meet him. Jobim often talked about how much Villa’s music meant to him. The great digital archive of the Instituto Antonio Carlos Jobim includes a three-page tribute to Villa-Lobos from the Centennial year 1987, which ends:
“O Villa-Lobos é assim meu pai, é meu tudo. Estou com vontade de bo tar uma musica do Villa-Lobos no meu disco. É mais do que uma homenagem, é pro disco ficar mais bonito. Pra eu sentir que tinha alguém que gostava mais de musica do que eu.”
Google Translate garbles this quite badly (and I’d appreciate a proper translation), but I think the gist of it is that Jobim thinks of Villa-Lobos as a father, and that putting a Villa-Lobos song on his record as a tribute would make it better. The Villa-Lobos song he’s referring to, I think, is Modinha (Seresta no. 5) from the 1987 album Tom Jobim inédito, which Danilo Caymmi sings to Jobim’s piano accompaniment (you can listen to the song at the website). Jobim ends his tribute: “To feel that I had someone who loved music more than me.”
Spent a whole day with Villa Lobos. I went to his rehearsal with a chorus of five thousand boys and girls which he conducts through a microphone. He has all kinds of tricks to teach children, and even bawls them out if they are not dressed properly. But he has no children of his own.
-Nicolas Slonimsky, August 30, 1941, letter to Dorothy Adlow