Nonetto, Quatuor (el Records)

  • The Roger Wagner Chorale and The Concert Arts Ensemble, Roger Wagner Conductor
  • The Brazilian Festival Orchestra And Schola Cantorum; The Brazilian Festival Quartet And Women Of Schola Cantorum; Solo Soprano: Elsie Houston; Hugh Ross Conductor
  • Andrés Segovia
  • Julian Bream
  • Laurindo Almeida

Nonetto cover

Date Recorded: 
Cherry Red el acmem150cd

This fabulous new historical disc from Cherry Red's El Records includes two classic versions of the Nonetto and the Quatuor Symbolique (Quarteto Simbolico), from 1940 and 1957.  It's filled up with guitar pieces from the 1950s: Prelude #3 and Etudes #01 and #08 by Segovia; Preludes #2, #4, and #5 by Bream; and the Gavota-Choro by Almeida.

Chamber Music

Originally released on a Capitol LP in 1957 (CTL 7037), the Roger Wagner Chorale and the Concert Arts Ensemble performed two chamber works with chorus: the Quatour and the Nonetto. The sound on the disc was demonstration quality; the final movement of the Nonetto was included on Capitol SAL-9020 "Full Dimensional Sound: A Study in High Fidelity."

Here is a citation to a contemporary review:

Review: [Untitled]
Reviewed Work(s):

  • Villa-Lobos: Nonetto, for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone, Bassoon, Harp, Celesta, Battery, and Mixed Chorus; Quatuor, for Flute, Harp, Celesta, Alto Saxophone, and Women's Voices by The Roger Wagner Chorale and the Concert Arts Players, Roger Wagner, Villa-Lobos

Author(s) of Review: Richard F. Goldman
The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jan., 1954), pp. 157-158

Villa-Lobos thought very highly of Roger Wagner and his singers. Here's a quote from the official RWC website:

"Roger Wagner deserves all my admiration for his dedicated work...a notable achievement in technique and sound as well as perfect interpretation."

The second disc was released as a 78 rpm album in 1941 by RCA Victor: disc #LCT 1143, the title is "Festival of Brazilian Music." In the Nonetto, Hugh Ross conducts the Brazilian Festival Orchestra and the Schola Cantorum. The album also includes Bachianas Brazileiras #1 (with Walter Burle Marx conducting the Brazilian Festival Orch; the Quatour (with the great Brazilian soprano Elsie Houston, soprano and Ross/Brazilian Festival Quartet/Schola Cantorum); and Cancao do Careiro (sung by Elsie Houston, accompanied by Miguel, piano). This album was recorded in collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art and the Commissioner General from Brazil. Another record number for this set is Victor DM-773(5).

Here's a short review from the May 19, 1941 issue of Time Magazine:

"A Festival of Brazilian Music (Victor; 10 sides; $5.50). First big phonographic collection of works by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Brazil's No. i composer and one of the lustiest living. Beautifully recorded by Soprano Elsie Houston, the Schola Cantorum, conducted by Hugh Ross, a scratch orchestra under Burle Marx. Villa-Lobosities: a Bachiana Brasileira for eight cellos attempting to fuse the spirits of Bach and Brazil; a Nonetto for chorus and small orchestra, purporting to describe Brazil's geography."

  • An early Lionel Salter review of the Roger Wagner disc, from Gramophone, August 1953.
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