A document submitted to the Division of Graduate Studies and Research of the University of Cincinnati in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of DOCTOR OF MUSICAL ARTS in the Division of Ensembles and Conducting of the College-Conservatory of Music
15 August 2006 by Dwayne Corbin
The compositional style of Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887 – 1959) changed significantly between 1921 and 1925, years that, not coincidentally, also included the composer’s first international travel. This change can be summarized in general by saying
that Villa-Lobos turned away from the strong influence of French impressionism and European modernism in favor of creating a new style of music that reflected the character of Brazil. He named this style Choro, after the Brazilian folk music that he performed as a youth.
In this document these claims are systematically supported through a detailed investigation of three works for winds and chorus: Quatuor, Nonetto, and Choros no. 3. These pieces were selected because they are Villa-Lobos’ only works for chorus and
winds, were composed within four years of each other, and are historically significant compositions within the larger body of works by Villa-Lobos. After a description of the European, and specifically French, influences in Brazilian culture during the time of
Villa-Lobos’ youth, each composition is examined to find how various musical elements point to either the French or Brazilian style. The composer’s use of rhythm, form, color, and instrumentation are individually described, and connections are made between the
three choral/wind works to show that they exemplify, in miniature, the larger changes that Villa-Lobos made during these five years.