Bachianas Brasileiras #5

Appleby Catalogue W number: 

This is by far Villa's most popular work.  The words to the second movement "Danca (Martelo)" are by Ruth Valadares Correa and Manuel Bandeira.  Villa-Lobos dedicated the work to Mindinha, which you'll see in this picture of the original score of the version for voice and guitar.  The date "Rio, 1938" refers to the original version of the first movement. The second movement was added in 1945.

Appleby gives the version for voice & guitar the number W391, and the version for voice and piano, W390.

Bachianas Brasileiras #5 - Museu Villa-Lobos

original score from the Museu Villa-Lobos in Rio.

Year Composed: 
Bachianas Brasileiras
Orchestral Works

Voice and "an orchestra of cellos".

Villa-Lobos arranged this piece himself for voice and guitar, in 1947.


This comprehensive listing of Bachianas Brasileiras scores from the Major Orchestra Librarians' Association website contains lots of useful information.


The Aria was first performed by Ruth Valadares Correa and 8 cellists, on March 25, 1939 in Rio de Janeiro.  Villa-Lobos conducted the full work for the first time in Paris on October 10, 1947, with Hilda Ohlin taking the soprano part.

The version for voice and guitar was first performed at New York's Town Hall on December 2, 1951, with Olga Praguer Coelho taking the soprano part.

It's not easy to capture every performance of this piece.  The more than 300 performances (as of July 2011) in the Villa-Lobos Concerts database are only a small portion of the live concert performances of the original piece and the many, many arrangements of BB#5.