The Guitar Preludes were written in 1940, and dedicated to Mindinha.
In a recent YouTube search, I found 286 videos of Villa-Lobos preludes. [Note: I just did the search again in November 2011, and found 2,370 videos!] Watch this John Williams performance from Japanese television:
See the article "Os Cinco Prelúdios para violão de Heitor Villa-Lobos e a transcrição para piano de José Vieira Brandão: uma análise comparativa" (full text in Portuguese, with an English abstract), for a discussion of the Brandão transcriptions of the preludes for piano.
Meirinhos, Eduardo, "Primary Sources and Editions of Suite Popular Brasileira, Choros No. 1, and Five Preludes, by Heitor Villa-Lobos: A Comparative Survey of Differences," Florida State University, 2003.
Villa-Lobos, Heitor. 1954. Cinq préludes: pour guitare. Paris: Éditions M. Eschig.
| Collected Works For Solo Guitar By Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959). Guitar solo book for guitar. 95 pages. Published by Durand. (HL.50560932)
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The piano version of the Preludes (arr. by José Vieira Brandao) are available in the compilation Heitor Villa-Lobos en dix-huit morceaux pour piano, from Di-Arezzo.
Julian Bream's disc of the Preludes, Etudes, and Guitar Concerto is at the top of my list: Guitar Concerto, Etudes, Preludes (Bream). I heard this music many, many years ago on an RCA LP.
I'm a big fan of Canadian guitarist Norbert Kraft. You can't go wrong with his Naxos CD of Norbert Kraft: Complete Music for Guitar (Naxos)
And on DVD:
Version for piano:
The premiere performance of the Preludes was by Abel Carlevaro, in Montevideo, Uruguay, on December 11, 1943.
The Preludes are extremely popular among today's guitarists. The Villa-Lobos Concert database under-states by far the number of concerts and recitals that include at least one Villa-Lobos Prelude.